How long can dogs go without water

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water? Signs of Dehydration

As a dog owner, you want to ensure your furry friend is healthy and happy. One essential aspect of your pet’s well-being is hydration. Water is vital for dogs to maintain their overall health and bodily functions. But have you ever wondered how long your dog can go without water? In this article, we will explore the importance of hydration for dogs and answer, “How long can a dog go without water?”

The Importance of Hydration for Dogs

Water is essential for dogs to maintain their health and well-being. It helps regulate their body temperature, supports the functioning of vital organs, and aids in digestion. Dogs need to drink enough water to stay hydrated and prevent dehydration, which can cause serious health problems.

Dehydration occurs when your dog’s body loses more water than it takes in. This can happen due to various reasons, such as illness, hot weather, exercise, and inadequate water intake. Dehydration can lead to serious health problems, such as kidney failure, heatstroke, and even death.

How long can dogs go without water?

The duration a dog can go without water depends on various factors such as age, size, activity level, and health status. Generally, a healthy dog can go without water for up to three days. However, this should not be a rule of thumb, and you should never intentionally withhold water from your dog.

Factors can affect how long a dog can go without water

Several factors can affect how long a dog can go without water, such as age, size, activity level, and environment.

1. Breed

Dog breeds have varying tolerances when it comes to going without water. Smaller breeds, such as Chihuahuas and Toy Poodles, which have smaller bodies and higher metabolic rates, can usually only go a day or two without water.

Larger breeds, such as Great Danes and Mastiffs, which have larger bodies and lower metabolic rates, can usually go several days without water.

2. Age

Puppies need to drink more frequently than adult dogs and should not go more than 12 hours without water. Senior dogs may not be able to go as long without water as younger dogs and should be given access to water at least every 8 hours.

3. Health Conditions

If your dog has any medical conditions, such as diabetes, or kidney or heart disease, it may need to drink more frequently. Dogs on medications may also need to drink more frequently than normal.

4. Weather

Hot weather can cause a dog to dehydrate quickly, so it may need to drink more often. If your dog is going to be outdoors in hot weather for an extended period of time, it is important to make sure they have access to plenty of fresh, clean water.

What happens when your dogs are dehydrated
Dogs may pant heavily when they are hot and need water.

Signs of Dehydration in Dogs

As a responsible pet owner, it’s essential to be aware of the signs of dehydration in dogs. Here are some common signs that your dog may be dehydrated:

  • Dry nose and mouth
  • Sunken eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry or sticky gums
  • Panting
  • Reduced skin elasticity

If you notice any of these signs, you should take your dog to the veterinarian immediately.(Resource)

What happens when your dogs are dehydrated?

Let’s see what happens when your dog is dehydrated.

Day 1

Your dog may have less energy than usual if he doesn’t drink water for a day. He won’t be actively running around and greeting you when you come home. At the end of the day, he tends to pant heavily, which is a warning sign of very hot conditions.

Day 2

On the second day, your dog may be wholly deprived of energy. He can barely move at all.

Day 3

At this time, some organs of your dog, such as the liver, kidneys, etc., are damaged due to prolonged dehydration. Immediate intervention should be made to prevent organ failure, which even leads to death afterward.

Don’t let it get to day three. When you notice signs of dehydration in your dog, you should get him to drink water or eat moisture-rich food immediately.

How long should I wait if the dog not drinking water?

If your dog is not drinking water, you can wait at least 12-24 hours before taking action. Here are some steps you can take if your dog is not drinking enough water:

1. Offer fresh, clean water: Ensure your dog has access to fresh, clean water. Change the water frequently to keep it fresh.

2. Try a different water source: If your dog is not drinking from their regular water bowl, try offering water from a different source, such as a water fountain or a different bowl.

3. Make water more appealing: You can make water more appealing to your dog by adding ice cubes or a small amount of low-sodium chicken broth.

4. Offer water-rich foods: You can offer your dog water-rich foods, such as watermelon or cucumber, to help keep them hydrated.

5. Contact your veterinarian: If your dog is still not drinking enough water or shows signs of dehydration, such as lethargy or dry gums, contact your veterinarian for advice.

How to prevent dehydration in dogs
How to prevent dehydration in dogs

Why is my dog refusing to drink?

There can be many reasons why a dog may refuse to drink water. Here are some common reasons why your dog may be refusing to drink:

1. Illness: If your dog is not feeling well, they may refuse to drink water. Illnesses such as kidney disease, fever, and gastrointestinal issues can make dogs feel sick and cause them to lose their appetite and thirst.

2. Change in routine: Dogs are creatures of habit and may refuse to drink water if there is a change in their routine, such as a change in their feeding schedule or environment.

3. Dental problems: Dental problems, such as tooth decay or gum disease, can make it painful for dogs to drink water, causing them to avoid it altogether.

4. Medications: Some medications can cause dogs to lose their appetite and thirst, making it difficult for them to drink water.

5. Fear: Some dogs may be afraid of their water bowl or the location of their water source, causing them to avoid it.

If your dog refuses to drink water, it’s important to address the underlying cause to ensure their well-being.

How to prevent dehydration in dogs?

If you notice signs that your dog isn’t getting enough water, you should offer him a drink immediately. However, what should you do if your dog refuses to drink water?

Here are some tips to ensure your dog is well-hydrated in that case.

1. Use moisture-rich food

It’s simple: Just add water when preparing meals for your doggo. In addition, you can also count on canned foods, which are primarily juicy and filled with water.

Another simple method is to feed your dog a treat that offers extra moisture.

2. Use water alternatives

Sometimes, dogs aren’t interested in water since it is bland. If so, you can feed them flavorful beverages such as raw goat’s milk. However, these alternatives can’t replace drinking water. Your canine friend needs water to survive.

3. Avoid salty foods

Salty foods are not recommended for dogs; they only worsen when your dog is dehydrated. Don’t be tempted to share your snacks and biscuits with your doggo under any circumstances.

4. Change the bowl

Some dogs are picky when it comes to bowls. They may refuse to eat or drink anything from a bowl they don’t like. Therefore, changing the bowl’s shape, size, or color is worth a try.

Make sure you choose a bowl with a suitable size, neither too deep nor too shallow, for the dog to drink water comfortably. In addition, you should invest in a metal or ceramic item to avoid odor.


1. Can a dog survive without water for a week?

No, dogs cannot survive without water for a week. Dehydration can lead to serious health problems and even death.

2. How often should I give my dog water?

You should give your dog water frequently throughout the day. Fresh, clean water should always be available to your dog.

3. What should I do if my dog is not drinking enough water?

If your dog is not drinking enough water, you should encourage them to drink more or contact your veterinarian for advice.

4. Can dehydration in dogs be treated at home?

Mild dehydration can be treated at home by encouraging your dog to drink more water. However, severe dehydration requires prompt veterinary attention.

5. What are some water-rich foods that I can give my dog?

Some water-rich foods you can give your dog include watermelon, cucumber, and strawberries. However, you should always check with your veterinarian before introducing new foods to your dog’s diet.

6. How much water should a dog drink a day?

On average, a healthy dog should drink between 1/2 and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight daily. So, a 40-pound dog should drink between 20 and 40 ounces of water daily.

For larger dogs, the amount of water they need may be slightly higher. However, this is just a general guideline, and your dog’s needs may differ.

Closing thoughts

The answer to “How long can a dog go without water?” is 2-3 days, depending on the listed factors. However, it is essential to keep your dog well-hydrated since dehydration can cause serious health effects.

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