How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water?

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water?

Here’s a detailed description of dog hydration, covering how much water they need, why it’s crucial, and what to do if your dog refuses to drink enough.

Water: Essential for Canine Health

Water is vital for your dog’s well-being. It doesn’t provide calories, but it’s integral to:

  • Hydration: Prevents dangerous dehydration.
  • Digestion: Helps break down food and aids overall digestive health.
  • Body Temperature Regulation: Especially critical during hot weather.
  • Detoxification: Flushes out toxins through the kidneys and urine.
  • Metabolism: Supports healthy weight management.
  • Cellular Health: Promotes growth and division of cells.

How Much Water is Enough?

While the average dog can survive 2-3 days without water, this is highly dangerous. Don’t risk it! Many factors influence how much water your dog needs:

  • Breed: Big, thick-coated breeds may need more
  • Size: Larger dogs naturally require more water
  • Activity Level: Highly active dogs need more frequent hydration
  • Health: Dogs with illnesses may need extra water; pregnant females definitely do
  • Age: Puppies may need less than adults, senior dogs might drink less due to decreased activity
  • Weather: Hotter climates increase water needs
  • Diet: Dry food diets necessitate more water intake

General Guideline: A dog needs around 20-70 ml of water per kilogram of weight daily. (Consult your vet for specifics)

Why Might Your Dog Refuse Water?

  • Stale Water/Dirty Bowl: Change water daily, wash the bowl often.
  • Aging: Senior dogs sometimes get lazy; bring water closer to them.
  • Hidden Sources: Your dog might be getting moisture elsewhere (puddles, toilet etc.)
  • Lack of Exercise: Active dogs get thirstier.
  • Illness: Many illnesses cause decreased appetite and thirst – see a vet if concerned.
  • Oral Pain: Mouth injuries can make drinking painful.
  • Post-Surgery: Temporary loss of appetite is normal after procedures.
  • Pregnancy: Sometimes occurs in later stages, but consult a vet if extreme.

Dangers of Dehydration

Lack of water is serious. It can lead to:

  • Skin and coat problems
  • Lethargy
  • Organ dysfunction
  • Joint pain
  • Chronic illnesses
  • Toxin buildup

What To Do If Your Dog Won’t Drink

  • Schedule: Consistent feeding times and walks encourage drinking.
  • Fresh, Accessible Water: Clean bowl, always available.
  • Fountains: Running water can be enticing for some dogs.
  • Vet Visit: Rule out any underlying health issues if the refusal persists.

Key Takeaways

  • Water is NON-negotiable for your dog’s health.
  • Don’t wait until they’re dangerously dehydrated to act.
  • Fresh, clean water should always be available.
  • Factors like breed, activity, and weather influence your dog’s individual needs.
  • If your dog consistently refuses water, a vet visit is essential to rule out medical problems.


Why Water Is Important For My Dog?

Water is important for any living being out there. Unlike all solid foods out there, water does not contain any nutritional value that can offer energy to your dog but it is very important for your dog.

Water not only makes sure that your dog is hydrated enough but also it helps in your dog’s digestion, nutrient absorption, etc. So, let’s find out why water is so important for your dogs.

Enough Hydration:

Water keeps your dog’s body well-hydrated so that your dog does not suffer from issues like dehydration. If you want your dog to be healthy and fit, you must make sure that your dog has enough water to avoid dehydration.

When a dog drinks a little and urinates a lot, the body develops dehydration. Even 12 hours of this condition can have a detrimental effect on your dog’s health. If dehydration becomes chronic, the pet becomes lethargic, metabolism is disrupted, and diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and cardiovascular system develop.

To Beat The Heat:

Generally, dogs are quite okay with the hot temperature. However, the extreme humidity and heat of summer can cause issues like quick overheating to your dog. In such cases, your dog needs enough water consumption to beat the heat of summer.

Better Digestive System:

For a better digestive system, your dog’s body needs water. Water helps to stomach acids, produce saliva, and bile, as well as plays a vital role in digestion. Not only dogs but also human beings need water for a better digestive system.


Water helps flush out toxins from your dog’s bloodstream. Spare water-soluble nutrients and harmful toxins will be purified via the kidneys as well as passed in urine by the water. So, for detoxification water consumption is very much important for any living being out there.

For Good Metabolism:

Although water does not contain any nutrients water helps in improving the metabolism and helps your dog not get obese.

For Better Cell Health:

Without enough water in a living entity’s body, the cell health will be restrained, particularly cell growth as well as division. For better cell health your dog needs to drink enough water. However, how much water is enough for your dog, that is the question. So, let’s know about that below.

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water?

The quick answer to this question is that your dog can survive around 2-3 days without drinking water. However, that does not capture the entire picture. Without sufficient access to clean, fresh water, your dog’s vital organs may fail and can potentially cause death. Also, being dehydrated causes continual strain on them that will have negative effects on their lives.

However, since every dog is different many variables can impact the time frame of a dog’s survival without water. Let’s have a look at the factors that can affect the time frame of your dog’s survival without water.

Breed Of The Dog

How long can a dog go without water that depends on the dog breed. A big thick-coated dog breed that is overly active and dogs that drool a lot will need more water intake daily to fight against normal water loss. On the other hand, a small dog who is not so active will need less water to fulfill its daily water intake requirement.

Activity Level Of The Dog

An active dog will lose more water through sweat and thus will need more water intake than an inactive dog breed. So, activity level also plays a vital role in the water requirement of your dog. So, how long can a dog go without water somehow depends on the activity level of the dog.

Health Of Your Dog

In case your dog has certain health problems, it is crucial to ensure they drink adequate water daily, as dehydration affects the dog’s every organ, intensifying any sickness. Moreover, if your dog is pregnant then she will have to drink a lot of water daily.

Age Of Your Dog

An adult dog requires more water daily than a puppy does, so your puppy can easily go without water for longer compared to your adult dog. Since an adult dog tends to have more health issues than a puppy and is more active than a puppy, they will need more to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Lifestyle Of Your Dog

In case your four-legged friend is a lazy one, then your dog can survive a longer time without water as compared to a more active dog. Normally, the more active a dog is, the more frequently they will need water intake to stay healthy and fit.

Weather Of Your Area

Your dog will survive longer without water if you reside in a warm area than if you do in a dry, hot, or humid region. More panting results from increased heat, which increases water loss.

If your four-legged friend has declined to drink water for over a single day, consult with your vet right away for an emergency visit.

How To Understand How Much Water My Dog Needs A Day?

Let’s start with how long a dog can go without drinking water at all. On average, a dog can live comfortably without fluid for 2-3 days, depending on age, breed, and health status. However, complete refusal of liquid is rare in nature. This usually only happens in cases where the dog does not have access to water at all.

It’s another matter when there is water, but the dog does not drink from the bowl for several days or consumes much less liquid than normal. You can determine that your dog is not drinking enough on his own.

Based on the average drinking regime, an animal needs 20-70 milliliters per kilogram of weight daily. Thus, if a pet weighs 7 kilograms, then he needs about 140-490 ml of liquid per day.

For example, in hot weather, dogs drink more fluids, just like people. On cool days, the dog drinks little and urinates little; however, when walking in winter, pets can get some of the liquid from the snow. During pregnancy and lactation, fluid consumption increases, and with age it decreases. These are natural processes characteristic of all pets.

Moisture intake also depends on the feeding method. For example, canned food initially contains a lot of moisture (up to 91%), so the dog needs less liquid. Dry diets contain only 10% moisture, so it’s natural for pets to start drinking more.

Water consumption directly depends on many factors: breed, weight (small, medium, large), age (puppy, adult dog, elderly dog), activity, diet (natural or dry food), and weather).

Reasons Why Often Dogs Refuse To Drink Water:

The fact that a dog begins to drink less water may be due to several factors. Here I am listing the potential factors below. Let’s have a look at the factors:

Stale Water Or Dirty Bowl

The water needs to be changed daily, and the bowl itself must be washed at least 2 times a week using mild detergents. The main sign that the problem lies in contamination is that the dog approaches the bowl, sniffs the water, but refuses to drink. The pet may not like the dishes themselves, so in some cases, changing the bowl is enough to solve the problem.


With age, fluid intake decreases notably. In some cases, the dog is simply too lazy to get to the bowl. Therefore, old dogs always drink less than young ones, regardless of other circumstances.

Additional Source of Liquid For Your Dog:

In such situations, the pet does not drink anything but eats as usual. In particular, the dog can drink from puddles or the toilet, this is enough to replenish fluid, so the dog ignores the water in the bowl.

Insufficient Physical Activity

After physical exertion, dogs become hot and the body intensively loses moisture. As a result, dogs become thirsty and drink a lot. If the dog moves a little and drinks a little, there is nothing wrong with that.


If your dog stops drinking, it may be sick. For many pathologies, the main symptom is loss of appetite and lethargy. In such situations, it is better to consult a veterinarian, especially if refusal of water is accompanied by other symptoms.

Oral Injuries:

Dogs lap up water with their tongues, so if soft tissues such as the tongue or gums are inflamed, it simply hurts for your pet to drink. In such situations, pets usually refuse food, but at the same time experience feelings of thirst and hunger.

After A Surgery

After sterilization and other surgical interventions, loss of appetite is often observed. This is due to general weakness of the body and goes away after rehabilitation.


Refusal occurs in the later stages when the dog simply ignores the water offered to it. It is quite normal. However, if your pregnant dog completely refuses water, you must contact your vet as soon as possible.

What Are The Consequences of Not Drinking Water?

A lack of fluid in the body of your dog can cause serious complications, including irreparable ones. Dehydration has the following consequences:

  • Deterioration of coat and skin condition
  • Decreased physical activity and being lethargic
  • Disturbance in the functioning of internal organs
  • Problems with the joints, as a result of which animals experience pain when walking
  • Development of serious chronic diseases
  • Slowdown of metabolism, and as a result the accumulation of toxins in the body

If you notice signs of dehydration, you need to react immediately before your pet’s condition worsens.

What Should I Do If My Dog Does Not Drink Water?

Let’s try to figure out what to do if the dog doesn’t drink water. A decisive role in this matter is played by the correct schedule of nutrition and activity of the pet:

  • Feeding should be strictly on schedule so that the dog does not confuse thirst with hunger;
  • Regular physical activity – the more the dog moves, the more often it drinks. So, make sure your dog is getting enough physical activity to become thirsty.
  • Constant walking – you need to take the dog outside 2-5 times a day. If your dog goes for a walk 2-5 times a day and does not go to the toilet, then it will feel thirsty and will ask for water.
  • Provide free access to water – the dog should drink as much water as he wants, and the bowl should always be in one place. This will offer easy access to water and your dog will come and drink water whenever it feels thirsty.
  • A good solution would be to use a drinking fountain that attracts pets and provides them with fresh water.

There are also certain requirements for the water itself. A dog can even drink from a puddle; this is not good for health. Therefore, it is best to drink running or bottled water for pets. In the first case, it is recommended to settle the water for 7-8 hours so that all foreign impurities precipitate. It is better to purchase bottled water in pet stores.


If your dog doesn’t drink enough, this is not normal. Any living organism needs water for normal development. For example, in a dog’s body, moisture normalizes the functioning of the circulatory and digestive systems. In addition, the optimal moisture balance is responsible for the condition of the mucous membranes, coat, and skin.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at

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