How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that drinking water daily is extremely vital for humans. But how about dogs? How long can a dog go without water? There seems to be a whole lot more confusion as to whether this also applies to dogs. Of course, it’s common knowledge that dogs need water to survive as well, but to what extent?

How Long Can Your Dog Survive Without Drinking Water?

So how do we determine how long can your dog survive without water? First of all, let’s start by recognizing the difference between dogs. There is no such thing as an absolute rule that says that each and every dog out there can’t go a certain amount of time without water. However, as a rule of thumb, you could say that dogs can go 3 days without drinking water, more or less.

Now that that’s established, it’s important to note that certain distinctions need to be made.

For example, there’s a difference between mature dogs and puppies. As mentioned, an adult dog can go about 3 days without water, but that’s not the case with puppies. No, a puppy won’t be able to go without water that long so that’s definitely something to consider.

Small dog drinking water from a kitchen sink

Secondly, you also need to take body weight into account. Needless to say, the bigger your dog, the more water they will need to consume to be healthy.

Thirdly, it also goes without saying that your dog will need to drink slightly more water during the warm, summer months. In this aspect, dogs are extremely similar to humans. Namely, we also need to drink more when it’s hot out seeing as we lose more body fluids during these months.

Lastly, just because a dog can technically go 3 days without drinking water, doesn’t mean that certain complications can’t arise even sooner. Concretely, signs of dehydration can already come up after 1 day without drinking water. Even more so, it’s recommended to let your dog drink, at least every 5-6 hours!

Why Is Drinking Enough Water Essential For Dogs?

A dog playing outside with water from a garden hose

Next up, it’s also important to learn a little more about why exactly drinking enough water is so essential for dogs. To make this less abstract, water fulfills many crucial functions, which are indispensable in your dog’s life.


One of the main functions of water is to make sure that your dog doesn’t get dehydrated. This function really shouldn’t be underestimated since severe dehydration can eventually lead to your dog’s organs shutting down. Of course, slight dehydration won’t necessarily cause grave danger to your dog, but it’s still something to look out for.

Other Health Issues

Besides dehydration, not drinking enough water could also give rise to other health problems. For example, this could lead to the development of kidney stones, which results in an extremely painful experience.

Therefore, drinking enough water is crucial if you want your dog to be completely healthy!

Recognizing Signs Of Dehydration In Your Dog

Dehydrated Siberian Husky with his tongue hanging out

1. Dry Gums

The gums of your dogs should be the first thing you ought to check if you suspect that your dog is dehydrated. That is to say, when a dog’s gums are more dry than usual, this could be a sign that the dog in question needs to start drinking more water.

2. Tighter Skin

Moreover, another sign that your dog is dehydrated is that your dog’s skin becomes tighter and less elastic than would normally be the case. You can easily check this by putting some of your dog’s skin between your thumb and forefinger. If you notice that the skin stays upright, even after you’ve let go, this means that your dog could be dehydrated.

3. Low Energy

Another clear sign that your dog needs to drink more water if you notice that he’s less lively than your dog normally is.

4. Thick Saliva

Furthermore, another noticeable sign that your dog is dehydrated is if you notice that your dog produces more saliva than would otherwise be the case. Additionally, you should also look at the thickness of the saliva, since thick saliva is also a sign of dehydration.

5. Other Signs

The above-mentioned are the most prominent signs that your dog is dehydrated, but there are numerous other signs that you need to take into account. For example, other signs are breathlessness, dry eyes, a dry nose, fatigue, dark yellow urine, vomiting, reduction of appetite,…

Useful Tricks To Get Your Dog To Drink Water

Labrador eating pop icicle as a trick to stay hydrated

Now, there are different reasons as to why your dog isn’t drinking enough water. It could be that your dog’s feeling unwell, but it could just as easily be that your dog’s just not thinking about drinking plenty of water.

Whatever the reason, you need to find ways to remedy this situation and thus, you need to find ways to get your dog to drink its needed intake of water! Luckily, there are a couple of tricks that you can keep in the back of your mind and that will help you greatly along the way!

1.Ice Pops

The first extremely helpful and delicious trick is to make ice pops for your dog. You can get really creative with this or you could try browsing the web for some yummy recipes.

Either way, this is a great trick to get your dog through the hot, summer days. Not only will your dog see this as a treat, which is always something to strive for, but your dog will also get its daily water intake in a very fun way.

2.Multiple Drinking Bowls

The next tip is relatively self-explanatory. That is to say, you should make sure that you have multiple drinking bowls available in your house and outside for your dog. This way, your dog will be able to enjoy the water in different places.

Consequently, water is never far off and thus, the chances are higher that your dog will drink the required amount of water each day.

Labrador pup drinking water from a bowl

3.Let Your Dog Drink Out of Your Hand

Sometimes, your dog will just need you to lend them a hand, literally. That’s why it could be really beneficial if you were to try to let your dog drink out of your hand from time to time. This is a remarkably effective way to encourage your dog to start drinking more since this makes your dog feel more at ease.

4.Mix Some Water Into Your Dog’s food

Finally, just because your dog’s not the world’s best drinker, doesn’t necessarily mean that the same can be said about your dog’s eating habits. That’s why it can sometimes be helpful to mix some water into your dog’s food, doesn’t matter if we’re talking about dry or wet food. This way, you’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone!


After all this, how long can a dog go without water?  It’s clear that drinking enough water is truly a necessity for your beloved four-legged friend. That’s why it’s so unbelievably important that you keep the above-mentioned information in the back of your mind at all times. However, if your dog shows signs of a real problem when it comes to drinking water, please don’t hesitate to contact your vet!

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