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How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water? 7 Alarming Signs of Dehydration Revealed

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water? 7 Alarming Signs of Dehydration Revealed 1

Dogs, like humans, require water to keep their bodies operating properly, but they also lose water naturally through perspiration and urination. So, what happens if for some reason your dog stops drinking water or has no access to water at all? How long can a dog go without water? 

If you're asking this question, then, chances are you either forgot to refill your dog's water bowl before leaving for work or you're not sure if your dog might be dehydrated because he's been unwell, having diarrhea, or vomiting.

As a dog owner, you might experience a situation where your gregarious and healthy dog stops drinking water.

To ensure you take the proper actions in treating your dog, it is imperative that you comprehend the various reasons for his behavior.

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water?

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Generally speaking, dogs can go between 48 and 72 hours without drinking, but that doesn't truly convey the full story.

Survival is at a minimum, and a dog who is only allowed to drink once every two days will suffer brutal treatment.

Without proper access to fresh, clean water, their important organs would malfunction and could possibly result in death. In addition, being constantly dehydrated has a significantly bad impact on a dog's quality of life.

Also, there is really no one-size-fits-all answer as to how a dog can go without water since every dog is unique, and there are several factors in play that could change the time frame.


Puppies can go longer without water than adult dogs since mature dogs require more water daily than pups. On the other hand, dehydration may exacerbate the health problems that senior dog already has.


Make sure your dog drinks water every day if they have any health difficulties, as dehydration in dogs affects every organ and makes any condition worse. A pregnant dog will also need to consume a lot of water each day.


Your dog will be able to go longer without water if you live in a mild area as opposed to one that is hot, dry, or humid. More sweating occurs when it is hotter, which causes more water loss.


Breeds with thick, long coats, those that are more active, and breeds who drool frequently would require extra water each day to make up for typical water loss. Your dog will need to drink more water on a regular basis as a result of their routines and activities.

Overall Lifestyle

If your dog is a couch potato, he might be able to go longer without water than a more active dog. Healthy dogs will typically need water more frequently the more active they are.

How Long Can Dogs Go Without Water

Why Is Water Essential in Dogs?

Water is one of the most neglected nutrients for dogs, but it happens to be the most important one.

Water is sometimes disregarded because its nutrition serves more as a facilitating support than a functional one, unlike food ingredients that provide energy, vitamins, and other elements to support your dog's health.

This means that while water does not in and of itself contain any nutrients, it is essential to the digestion, absorption, movement, and elimination of nutrients within the body of your dog.

Here are a few bodily functions that your dog needs water for:

Good Digestion

Water plays a part in each stage of digestion and aids in the production of saliva, stomach acids, and bile in your dog. Your dog's body would be unable to separate food into its various nutrients without moisture.

Water also helps move nutrients through the bloodstream so they may be properly distributed throughout the body. Hence, you should let your dog drink water all the time.

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Cellular Cycle

One of a cell's fundamental elements is water. Your dog's cell cycle, particularly cell development, and division, will be hampered without enough water in its body. The earliest effects of this will show as poor skin and coat health.


Water in your dog's system aids in digestion and the removal of toxins from the bloodstream. The water in your dog's body will filter out harmful pollutants and excess water-soluble nutrients through the kidneys, excreting them in urine.

Dehydration can cause kidney and urinary tract problems if the organs are unable to function normally, which can add to the accumulation of toxic substances in your dog's body.


Dogs don't like the heat in general, but the intense heat and humidity of the summer can cause a dog to overheat very rapidly.

Your dog's inherent capacity to regulate body temperature depends on proper hydration. Dogs need enough water in their bodies to sweat through their paws and pant to remove heat.

Additional measures, including the appropriate canine cooling equipment, should be done to keep your dog cool and comfortable in hot weather. However, maintaining regular hydration is a key component of the solution.

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water? 7 Alarming Signs of Dehydration Revealed 2

Why Do Dogs Stop Drinking Water?

Dogs in excellent health typically do a decent job of controlling their water intake. They naturally look for water when they are thirsty.

So, it is pretty odd for a dog to go for days without drinking. Nonetheless, there can be more than a few causes for your dog to not drink water.

1. Illness or Injury

A dog's average water consumption can be affected by illness. You shouldn't anticipate the dog drinking water if he has a urinary tract infection, as well as mouth injuries.

For instance, if your dog has wood chips caught in its mouth or tongue after playing catch with a splintered stick, it is likely that your dog with a sore mouth will avoid eating and drinking.

Other illnesses or injuries that may make dogs lose their interest to drink water include mouth cancer, periodontal disease, tooth root abscess, dislocation, and fractures.

2. Traumatic Experience

A dog may refuse to drink any water after going through a painful experience, such as dental work, castration, neutering, etc. This is a result of the experience's shock, which may have made them too anxious to drink water.

3. Unfamiliar Environment

Dogs can rapidly recognize whether they are in an unfamiliar area because of their incredible sense of smell. This may make them wary or excessively anxious, and as a result, they can decline to drink water.

4. Cold Weather

The weather is another factor that contributes to a dog going long stretches without drinking. Most dogs consume water to replenish the fluid lost due to heat. They may adjust their body temperature by sometimes drinking water.

Your dog might not drink as much water, though, when it's cold outside since he isn't losing as much fluid.

5. Lack or No Access to Water

Some dogs simply don’t have access to water, especially those who are homeless. And sad to say, this could result in dehydration when they are not able to find water to drink regularly.

6. Dirty or Tainted Water

Dogs are extremely sensitive animals that can distinguish tastes and odors that most people might not even be able to detect. A dog can turn down water without displaying any signs of distress or unease.

When this occurs, you should inspect the water for anomalies since it can be contaminated with iron or dirt. Dogs must always have access to pure, clean water for them to stay healthy.

7. Aging

Even though they still need to drink water, older dogs may have trouble staying hydrated. Dogs who are getting older are typically unwilling to spend their dwindling strength to reach a water source.

Also, because they do not exercise as frequently as younger, more nimble dogs, they might not feel as thirsty. As a result, their level of thirst will be lower.

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water? 7 Alarming Signs of Dehydration Revealed 3

How Much Water Should Your Dog Drink?

More than 70% of your dog's body weight is made up of water, therefore it's important for him to drink lots of water every day to keep himself hydrated.

As a general rule, a dog should drink one ounce of water for every pound of body weight. So, a 25-pound dog needs about 25 ounces or 3 cups of water every day, while a 75-pound dog would need around 2 liters of water per day.

However, an exception to this rule exists. As a puppy is being weaned and moving from milk to solid food, they need to drink about a half-cup of water every two hours or so to make up for the lost milk and to stay hydrated.

Your puppy will start to need more water after being weaned and eventually need as much as a dog that is fully grown.

Warning Signs of Dehydration in Dogs

Dehydration is a dangerous condition that, if left untreated, can be fatal. So, make sure your dog has been drinking the water you provide him every day by regularly checking his water bowl.

Decreased Appetite

Reduced appetite is one of the signs of dehydration in dogs. This is because a dog's ability to swallow food and even digest food is severely compromised when it is dehydrated.

Hence, if you find that your dog has suddenly lost interest in eating, it's possible that your beloved companion is dehydrated.

Low Energy or Lethargy

Your dog won't have the energy to be as playful as he usually would if he's dehydrated. Like us, humans, dogs will become weak and exhausted from not having access to fresh water, lose their vigor, and become generally slothful.

Sunken Eyes

Look into your dog's eyes. Lack of fluids behind the eyes from dehydration can give one a sunken appearance. If you notice this, consult a veterinarian right away.

Excessive Panting

Excessive panting in your dog is an indication of heat exhaustion and perhaps mild dehydration.

This often happens when you take your dog for a walk during hot weather. It is important to address the problem immediately and not to let him continue panting for too long, or else his situation will just worsen.

Dry Nose and Gums

A dog in good health nearly always has a pink, wet mouth and nose. A dry nose and pale gums are signs of a severely dehydrated dog. Dry noses quickly become cracked and are undoubtedly a bad sign for the health of the dog as a whole.

Dark Yellow Urine, or Very Little Pee

The color of your dog's urine may also be an indication of dehydration. Urine that is pale and light yellow is usually a sign that a dog is properly hydrated. Your dog is dehydrated if the yellow color is darker than normal.

But if your dog's urine color remains unchanged by increased hydration, it's important to call the vet to rule out other problems because this could also be a sign of other health problems.

Low Skin Elasticity

Dogs typically have extremely elastic skin. That is, if you tug on your dog's skin, it will instantly snap back into place.

The skin of a dehydrated dog, however, takes some time to regrow after being pushed out of place. This is a result of his body not having enough water.

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water? 7 Alarming Signs of Dehydration Revealed 4

Tips to Prevent Dehydration in Dogs

We hope that your small dog won't have to go up to three days or more without water. This is due to the fact that serious dehydration may occur, especially if your dog goes without water on a day that is exceptionally hot.

Follow the simple tips below so your dog won't be at risk of being seriously dehydrated or running out of water:

Always Provide Your Dog Access to Fresh Clean Water

Make sure your dog eats and has constant, easy access to fresh water. Put his water bowl in a practical location that he can easily access.

Give Him Wet Food

The easiest technique to hydrate your dog quickly after sickness is to serve him hydrated food. Your dog may need canned food, some coaxing to drink, or urgent hydration.

You can also wet kibble with fresh water and wait a few minutes for the pellets to hydrate before giving it to your dog to eat.

Avoid Salty Foods

All dogs, regardless of size, should avoid salty meals. This is due to the fact that salt can cause high blood pressure and produce excessive thirst. An excessive salt intake in your dog may cause tremors, vomiting, and fits.

Bring Water With You When You Take Your Dog on a Walk

It is crucial to walk your dog. If you do this on a hot day, be sure to bring some fresh, clean water with you.

When taking your dog on a long walk, being thirsty is a great cue. If you are thirsty, then, it's highly possible that your canine companion would love to lick on freshwater, too.


Your dog needs water just as much as it needs nutrition like protein and carbs. Give your dog the appropriate amount of water so that it can remain hydrated and healthy.

And if your dog becomes overly dehydrated, be sure to call your veterinarian straight away so they can provide the appropriate care, such as giving IV fluids.

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