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Reviewed by Christy Caplan, C.V.T., on July 18, 2022
You know that you’re supposed to drink eight glasses of water a day. But what about your dog? You see them drink, but how much water are they actually lapping up? We’ve gathered the what’s what on dogs and water, so you can be confident that your pup is hydrated—or recognize the signs when they aren’t.
Helping Your Dog Stay Hydrated
Most dogs drink eagerly when they’re thirsty, but it may be that your dog seems reluctant to drink up. To encourage hydration, check the basics first. Make sure your furry friend is always supplied with clean water. It’s harder for your dog to become dehydrated when they have access to really fresh H2O. To ensure your pooch isn’t parched:
- Replace your pet’s water every day. Just like you, your dog needs access to lots of fresh water. Clean your pet’s bowl daily to prevent bacteria and germs from building up in the bowl which may prevent your dog from desiring a drink, and could potentially make them sick.
- Keep an eye out for debris that may land in your pet’s bowl. It’s easy for hair and bits of kibble to contaminate their water and make it unappealing.
- Leave bowls in a cool or shaded area of the house, out of the sun. Your dog is less likely to drink out of a warm bowl that has been sitting in the sun.
Providing Water on the Go
If you’re going for a long walk, dog park visit, or hike, pack extra water for your dog.
Even if your outing is relatively short, bring water if it’s hot. If you’d want a water bottle, your dog probably would too.
A collapsible silicone water dish is convenient for easy drinking on the go, or a dog thermos such as the Highwave AutoDogMug is essentially a water bottle with a drinking bowl on top so that your dog can easily slurp a few sips when you squeeze.
For more about portable dog water bowls and bottles, check out the following articles:
- Do You Need a Dog Water Bottle? The Hidden Value of Portable Hydration
- Sleek, Smart, Budget: A Review of the Malsipree, OllyDog, and Gulpy Dog Water Bottles
- 7 Must-Have Dog Water Bottles and Travel Dog Bowls
How Much Water Do Dogs Need?
Dogs should drink about an ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. If your dog is really active, or a puppy, they may need more. And like humans, dogs also need more water when they spend time outside in hot, dry conditions.
During the hot summer months, it’s important to keep your dog hydrated at home and on the go, but you should know the signs that your pet hasn’t had enough to drink. To tell if your pup is dehydrated, check the following:
- They’re listless. A dehydrated dog won’t seem like themselves, and may pace or drool.
- They’re looking for water. If your dog is thirsty, they’ll be searching frantically for something to drink.
- Their gums are pale, dry, and/or sticky. Pale, dry, or sticky gums are a reliable symptom of dehydration.
- You’ve checked their scruff. Take your dog’s scruff (the loose skin over their shoulders) and lift it away from their back. If your dog is dehydrated, the skin will take a long time to settle back down. If your furry friend is hydrated, their skin will snap back immediately.
In general, if your dog has a medical condition, is sick, vomiting, has diarrhea, or is otherwise ill, monitor their water intake and be sure to keep a close eye on them to ensure they don’t develop the signs of dehydration.
If You Suspect Dehydration in Your Dog
What do you do if you suspect your dog is dehydrated?
- Offer your dog little sips of water to help them rehydrate—don’t let them drink too fast or it may cause vomiting.
- If they aren’t interested in water, try offering a few ice cubes—again, making sure they aren’t eaten too quickly (as this can cause bloat).
- If your pet’s symptoms are not improving, or worsening, take them to the vet immediately.
- Is My Dog Dehydrated?
- What You Need to Know to Prevent Heatstroke in Dogs
- Do Dog Water Fountains Encourage a Pup to Drink More?