Dogs, like humans, need water to live. But how long can a dog go without drinking? The answer is different for every individual dog and depends on factors such as the climate or environment in which it lives, its size, age, breed and health condition.
A general rule of thumb is that an average sized dog needs about one cup of water per 10 pounds of weight each day. For example if you have a 60 pound Labrador Retriever mix you should give him 6 cups of water per day. If your pet weighs more than 100 pounds they will need around 8 cups per day while smaller dogs under 20 pounds will only need 2-3 cups per day.
The best way to ensure your pup has enough hydration is to keep fresh water available at all times. Each time your dog takes a drink, check the bowl and freshen it with more clean, cool water. A simple way to monitor how much your dog drinks is to note how many times he goes for a drink during the course of the day (for example six trips) and multiply this number by two which gives you an idea of how many cups of water he’s had.
If you happen to be away from home most of the day or live somewhere very hot or humid, make sure you leave out enough clean, fresh water for your pooch not only when you’re around but also each time it comes back after being outdoors. If you will be gone longer than usual provide them with an additional 1/2 to 1 cup of water for each hour you’ll be gone.
Note that not all dogs are created equal when it comes to their need for sufficient hydration. Illness, medications, diet and activity levels can also affect how much your dog needs to drink so make sure your pet is well hydrated but don’t overdo it – giving too much water at once can lead to vomiting or diarrhea so always offer fresh drinking water frequently rather than one big bowlful.
Keep in mind that even if you apply this general rule of thumb formula some dogs might still not drink enough while others may take in too much – an easy way to tell if they’re getting the right amount is by checking their urine. Pale yellow or clear urine means your dog is hydrated while dark-colored urine is a sign they’re not getting enough liquids.
If you suspect your pet is dehydrated, especially on a warm day, immediately provide them with more water and take them to the vet. Severe dehydration can be a potentially life threatening condition that needs immediate veterinary attention.
And remember that even if your dog drinks plenty of water it’s still important to make sure they have access to shade outdoors on hot days as well as indoors when temperatures rise. Provide them with plenty of cool, comfortable living space, offer lots of fresh drinking water and give them breaks from the heat by letting them play inside or taking them for an air conditioned car ride.