Many dog owners leave water out for their dogs all the time with the thought that their dogs will drink as much, or as little, as they need. But how much water should a dog drink? Monitoring your dog’s water intake can improve his health, prevent illness and more. While some dogs naturally do this on their own, some either under-drink or over-drink. Too little water can lead to dehydration in dogs, kidney stones, organ failure and even death. Drinking too much water can lead to stomach bloat, electrolyte imbalances, and Hyponatremia (water toxicity).
Also, keep in mind that if your dog is under-drinking or over-drinking, it could be a sign of an underlying illness. Under-drinking can indicate parvo, leptospirosis or pancreatitis. Over-drinking can signify a bladder infection, another type of infection or diabetes. Have your vet check your dog if he’s doing either.
How much water should a dog drink daily? How much and how carefully you have to monitor him depends on several factors:
When answering the question, “how much water should a dog drink,” we must also discuss dehydration and over-hydration. To look for dehydration in dogs, grab a piece of skin at the back of your dog’s neck. Stretch it out, then let it go. A properly hydrated dog’s skin will snap quickly back into place, while the skin of a dehydrated dog will return slowly and form a “tent” in the process. You can also check your dog’s gums for dehydration — wet, slippery gums are healthy. Dull, sticky gums suggest dehydration.
Dogs who over-hydrate will often vomit, act confused or become lethargic.
Now that we’ve answered the question, “how much water should a dog drink,” let’s talk about how to manage under-drinkers and over-drinkers. There are a few ways to manage these pooches:
To help insure that the water supply for both humans and canines is protected, you can do one simple action — clean up after your dog. And by providing a healthy diet and the right amount of clean water to your pooch, you can prevent illness and promote health. For as Mark Twain says, “Water, taken in moderation, cannot hurt anybody.”
Worried that you’re not getting enough water? Don’t know why drinking water is important? Check out 6 reasons to stay hydrated >>
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Thumbnail: Photography ©K_Thalhofer | Thinkstock.
This piece was originally published in 2017.