Undeniably, eating and drinking are both essential to a dog’s health and survival. But between the two, water is more important than dog food. In fact, dogs can survive longer without food than they can without water.
How long can dogs go without water?
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Dogs can typically survive approximately 2-3 days without water. But, it is important to note that just because they might survive it, it doesn’t mean it’s something they should be subjected to. When a dog is dehydrated, it affects all the processes in their body. Without enough access to fresh, clean water, their vital organs will fail and could potentially lead to death.
If your dog is ill and has refused to drink water for more than a day, it’s essential to go seek help right away. Very likely, your vet will keep them hydrated with IV fluids, apart from diagnosing and treating the underlying cause.
How much water should you give dogs to drink?
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If you’re new to caring for a dog, don’t worry too much about not being able to spot changes in their water consumption. You can determine if you should encourage your dog to drink more by measuring how much they currently drink.
According to the American Kennel Club, the average adult dog should drink an ounce of water for every pound they weigh. For example, if you have a fully grown Golden Retriever with a body weight of 65 pounds, you should give them access to 65 ounces or about 2 liters of water per day. On the other hand, an adult French Bulldog weighing about 25 pounds should drink 25 ounces or approximately 750 milliliters or water daily.
Puppies have different hydration needs. When they’re transitioning from their mother’s milk to solid food, they’ll need access to about half a cup of water every other hour. It is only after they’ve successfully weaned that they can transition to adult hydration requirements.
Keep in mind that these are merely guidelines. Your dog might need more water depending on a variety of factors, including the weather, their health, and their activity level. What your dog eats can also affect how much water they need. Make sure you also observe your dog for signs of dehydration.
What are the warning signs of dehydration?
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If the weather happens to be incredibly hot and dry, or if you notice that your dog’s water bowl has barely been touched, keep en eye out for these signs of dehydration that might require a trip to your vet’s office:
Excessive panting. Panting is your dog’s way of regulating their body temperature. But if they start to pant too heavily, it could mean that they’re overheating.
Loss of appetite. Poor hydration makes dogs uninterested in food because it becomes difficult to swallow or digest.
Listlessness or lethargy. Water is essential to proper blood circulation. Without which, your dog will feel fatigued and weak.
Dry mouth and gums. Although a dog may have a dry nose for a variety of reasons, their mouth and gums should always be moist and wet. When pressed, your dog’s gums should immediately turn back to its original pink color. If it stays white for several seconds, your pup needs to be hydrated.
Sunken eyes. When severely dehydrated, the muscles that hold the eyes in place dry out and could make the eyes look noticeably sunken.
Lack of skin elasticity. In a healthy dog, the skin should flatten out immediately after pinching it. If it holds its pinched shape, your dog is dehydrated.
Never leave your dog without filling up their water bowl. If you’re going to be gone for more than a few hours or even for days, make arrangements so they don’t lose access to both water and food. Get someone to check in on them, fill up their bowls, and maybe even take them out for walks. Otherwise, they could suffer not just from loneliness but also some potentially deadly health issues.