How Long Can Dogs Go Without Water?

No one likes to go without water and that is also true for dogs and puppies

Water is one of the main ingredients for life and so without it, living beings won’t be able to survive.

Humans can go 3 days without water before suffering horrible dehydration symptoms. 

How Long Can Dogs Go Without Water?

Dogs will show increasingly severe dehydration symptoms after 24 hours and, like humans, can only go 72 hours, or 3 days, without water before suffering permanent or fatal consequences. It’s recommended that you always give your dog access to water so they can stay hydrated.

Sometimes, it can be hard to tell if your dog is getting enough water. 

Surely, your dog won’t go 3 whole days without water, but they can still struggle if they aren’t getting enough water each day.

How To Tell If My Dog Is Dehydrated?

Dogs are pretty expressive animals. 

If they aren’t getting enough water each day, there are some tell-tale signs that they are dehydrated. 

If your dog is starting to show some of these signs, you’ll then want to do a skin elasticity trick to know for sure if they aren’t getting enough water.

Here are the signs that your dog isn’t getting enough water:

  • Lacking appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Less skin elasticity
  • Dry nose
  • Dry gums
  • Thick saliva
  • Panting
  • Hollow eyes

If your dog is showing these signs, follow these next steps. 

Step 1: Gently pinch some of your dog’s skin that’s close to their shoulder blades.

Step 2: Release gently.

Step 3: Notice how the skin returns. If the skin bounces back quickly, then they are hydrated.

If the skin takes longer to return to normal, then they are dehydrated. 

Of course, you can also tell if your dog is dehydrated by them taking a lot longer to drink from their water bowl. 

If you are finding yourself hardly having to fill up their bowl with more water or having to refresh the water often, it is a sign that your dog isn’t drinking enough. 

Why Is My Dog Dehydrated? 

How Long Can Dogs Go Without Water? 1

In normal circumstances, people aren’t trying to deprive their dogs of water. 

More often than not, dehydration in a dog is a sign of some other sickness. 

If you are finding that your dog is dehydrated and won’t drink water, you will want to bring your dog to the vet to see what else could be wrong.

Here are some reasons why your dog is dehydrated:

  • Overheated
  • A fever
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Excessive panting
  • Digestive problems
  • Another underlying condition

It is always best to bring your dog to the vet sooner than later so that any condition can be treated right away.

Dehydration is a very common symptom among many sicknesses that your dog can have. 

How To Help Your Dehydrated Dog

Luckily, there are things that you can do to help your dog if they are hydrated.

You can try some of these tricks if they aren’t showing other signs of sickness and before taking them to the vet. 

Again, if these tricks aren’t helping, it can be a sign that something else is also wrong. 

Check Their Bowl

Having the right kind of bowl can help encourage your dog to drink more water.

Make sure that you are using the proper size bowl for your dog.

It should be big enough that your dog can comfortably fit its face into but also not so big that your dog can’t properly reach. 

Fresh Water

Water in a bowl that has been sitting out can collect objects that deter your dog from drinking from it. 

Water that has been sitting for a while can collect dust, flying bugs, crumbs of food if the bowls are next to each other, and maybe even dirt your dog brought in from outside.

Making sure that your dog has fresh water whenever you feed it will give your dog safe water to drink from.

That way, it will be more encouraged to drink more water because it will be better water to drink from. 

Have Several Bowls

If your dog is feeling sluggish or if you have a larger house, having several bowls of water around the house will make it easier for your dog to get water. 

You’ll want to replace the water in the bowls at least daily so that it’s clean. 

More bowls will give your dog more options. 

That way they don’t have to walk all the way to a certain part of the house to go and get a drink. 

This is especially useful if your dog is sick and doesn’t have the energy to move far. 

Water-Rich Foods

If your dog is still refusing to drink water, your vet may suggest giving your dog water-rich foods. 

Fruit such as watermelon, some berries, peaches, or cucumbers can be a way to eat their water content instead of drinking it. 

Always check to see if the fruit is safe for your dog to eat and which parts are safe for it. 

You can also make fruit popsicles that they can lick to also increase their water intake. 

A cold treat and sweet treat can encourage your dog to increase water intake in an enjoyable way. 

Besides, some of the fruit or vegetables you can give will provide extra nutrients and vitamins. 

In terms of their everyday food, you can switch your dog to wet dog food for the time being. 

Wet dog food has a higher water content which will increase your dog’s overall water intake. 

If your dog is dehydrated and is refusing to drink water, increasing their water intake through food will help. Even if it seems like a little change, every bit counts and will help.

Keep Toilet Seats Closed

Some dogs insist on drinking from the weirdest places. 

However, drinking from a toilet bowl or another form of old standing water can actually harm them more. 

There are a lot of bacteria that can form in these places that can make your dog sicker and therefore more dehydrated.

This also includes drinking from a kiddie pool outside. 

Some people have pools of water outside that sit out, allowing leaves to fall in and bugs to take a swim

Having your dog get a drink from these places can also make them sicker. 

It is best to keep providing your dog with fresh water and to prevent your dog from getting into these water sources. 

How Much Should Dogs Drink in a Day?

It is said that a dog should drink an ounce of water for every pound they weigh. 

This means that a 20 lb. dog should be drinking at least 20 ounces of water a day. 

Your dog should also be drinking more water if they spend a lot of time exercising or being outside.

Hot weather means more water.

Not many people measure out how much water they are giving their dog a day, but it may be beneficial to note how many ounces the dog bowl you have can hold. 

Then, you can get an estimate on how much water your dog has access to and around how much they are drinking a day. 

When Should You Go to The Vet for Dehydration?

It can be hard to know when you should bring your dog to the vet

A good guideline is that if you notice sudden and/or rapid changes in your dog’s behavior, you should bring them to the vet. 

If you see that your dog is not touching their water bowl for a period of time, it is good to bring them to the vet as soon as you can. 

This is especially true if you are trying some of the hydration tricks above and your dog doesn’t seem to be getting better.

If you can afford the vet, it is better to be safe than sorry. 

At the first signs of concern, you should at least give your vet a call and see what they advise you to do. 

Final Thoughts

Dogs are a huge part of many families, and we all want to make sure our pets are happy and healthy. Dehydration can be very debilitating to dogs, with symptoms starting within the first 24 hours.

Even though a dog can go 3 days without water, it is not an advisable thing to do. 

Making sure your dog has access to plenty of clean water is important in keeping them healthy

However, sometimes a dog will begin to refuse to drink its water.

This can be due to many reasons, many of them relating to an underlying illness.

It is good to give the vet a call right away so that you can get some guidance.

You can also try some of the hydration tips above to get some extra water into your dog’s system. 

Dogs need their body weight in ounces per day. A 14 lb. dog should be getting at least 14 ounces of water in order to stay hydrated. 

We love our dogs, so we need to make sure they are hydrated too. 

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