How Long Can Dogs Go Without Water?

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on June 22nd, 2022

Dogs are certainly intelligent creatures. However, while they can fend for themselves when necessary, they also require care in the same way that humans do. You’d be doing your pet dogs more damage than good if they didn’t have access to sufficient food, water, and care.

Can dogs go without water for an extended period of time? In general, dogs can go three days without drinking water. That figure is regarded as the maximum number of safe days permitted. In actuality, even leaving a dog without water for 24 hours may be hazardous to their health.

short-coated tan and white dog lying on teal surface

The amount of days your dog may go without water depends on the circumstances. For example, if your dog consumes wet food, he or she may survive without water for more than three days.

You must, however, consider the weather and temperature. The more heated it is, the more water your dog requires. Allowing your dog to go without water for three days in extreme heat or high temperatures may induce dehydration sooner than planned.

Continue reading to find out how long dogs can go without water and how to identify if your dog is thirsty.

How Long Can Dogs Go Without Drinking Water?

Your dog is a cherished member of your family, and he, like the rest of you, requires enough of water every day. But, in a haste to get to work, we’ve all left the house without replenishing our dog’s water bowl.

Your dog may also be uninterested in drinking water owing to sickness, lifestyle changes, or overall nervousness. Let’s talk about how long your dog can go without water safely.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to assessing how long your dog can go without water. Here are a few things to think about:

  • Age. Because an adult dog requires far more water per day than a puppy, your puppy can go without water for much longer than an adult dog. Your older canine friend most likely has health problems that might be aggravated by prolonged dehydration.
  • Health. If your canine friend has a medical condition, it is critical that they drink water on a daily basis, as dehydration in dogs affects every organ in the body, exacerbating any sickness. It also goes without saying that a pregnant dog will need to consume lots of water every day.
  • Conditions of the weather If you live in a temperate region, your dog will be alright without water for a longer period of time than if you live in a hot, dry, or humid area. Remember that heat causes greater panting, which causes more water loss.
  • Breed. A large, bushy dog with a thick coat will require more water than, say, a hairless type.
  • Overall way of life. If your dog is a sluggish house-pup (which we like! ), she may be able to tolerate it for a longer amount of time than a more active dog. In general, the more active your dog is, the more water he will require, and the worse off he will be if he goes without water for an extended length of time.

Under normal conditions, a dog can survive 6-10 hours without water without becoming dehydrated. Don’t be alarmed if you forget to refill his water bowl before leaving for work, or if your dog knocks his bowl over while you’re gone. He’ll be alright if he’s indoors, cool, and in good health.

The basic rule of thumb is that your dog can last 72 hours without water, but the consequences of dehydration will become apparent after the first 24 hours. Beyond that, you may be causing irreversible harm. We must be as concerned about the health of our dogs as we are with the health of ourselves and our family.

Though some have recommended withholding water to prevent dogs from peeing in the home or in their kennel all day while their owners are at work, it is critical to never purposefully deprive your dog of water for any reason.

How Much Water Do Dogs Need?

Water accounts for more than 70% of your dog’s body weight, thus your dog must maintain this water content by drinking enough of water every day. We all know that eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day is the recommended amount for humans, but what about your dog?

For dogs, a reasonable rule of thumb is one ounce of water for every pound of body weight. So, a 25-pound dog need around 25 oz. of water (or 3 cups), but a 75-pound dog requires over 2 liters of water each day.

This may appear to be a lot, but keep in mind that it is spread out across their whole day, and as we shall see later, there are lots of other methods to boost your dog’s hydration needs than merely feeding him cool, refreshing water.

Why Would a Dog Refuse to Drink Water?

It’s unusual for a dog to go days without drinking water. However, there might be more than one reason why your dog refuses to drink water.

Illness or Injury

Illness might cause a tiny dog’s normal water consumption to be disrupted. If the dog additionally has oral injuries or urinary tract infections, he or she will not drink water.

Urinary tract infections often begin in the urethra and progress slowly to the bladder. The inflammatory condition can sometimes impact the kidneys.

So, if you see any of the following symptoms in your dog, he most certainly has a urinary tract infection:

  • Inability to have a free or regular flow of pee, shown by a lack of strength to stand and urinate.
  • Having symptoms of a weakened or impaired immune system.
  • A urine concentration that is unusually high.
  • If left untreated, this might result in bladder and kidney infection.

Infections of the Urinary Tract in Dogs

Urinary tract infections are more frequent in female, older dogs, and can cause symptoms such as:

  • Urination is excruciatingly painful.
  • Urination is becoming more frequent.
  • Urine with blood in it
  • Urination in the house, for example.

The discomfort from this inflammatory condition can be so intense that a dog may go for extended periods of time without drinking water.

Some of the injuries that may cause a dog to be without water for a lengthy amount of time are as follows:

  • Abscess of the tooth root
  • Cancer of the mouth
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Dislocation, fracture, and so forth.

Poor oral hygiene is linked to both tooth root abscess and periodontal disease, which is a bacterial infection of the mouth.

Trauma to the teeth causes fracture, loss, dislocation, and other problems.

This occurs when the dog chews an object so forcefully that a tooth is broken off. Mouth cancer is an abnormal tumor or development in the mouth that can affect dogs of any age. It is, however, more frequent in older dogs.

Inadequate Water Access

Some dogs may not have easy access to water, especially if they are homeless, and hot temperatures can cause dehydration.

Water Contamination

Dogs are very sensitive creatures, capable of perceiving tastes and scents that most humans do not even notice. A dog can refuse to drink water without displaying any signs of anxiety or distress.

When this happens, you should inspect the water for any anomalies, since it might be contaminated with dirt or iron. To be healthy, dogs require pure, clean drinking water at all times.


Even while older dogs still need to consume water, they may have difficulty staying hydrated. Aging dogs are sometimes hesitant to expend their dwindling energy to travel to a place where they can drink water.

Furthermore, because they do not engage in as many exercises as younger and more agile dogs, they may not be as thirsty. This implies that they will be less thirsty.

a traumatic event

When a dog goes through a painful event, such as dental surgery, castration, neutering, and so on, he may refuse to drink any water. As a result of the experience’s shock, you may be too stressed to drink water.

The Weather Is Freezing

Another reason a dog will go without water for an extended period of time is due to the weather. Most dogs drink water to restore what they have lost due to heat. Drinking water on a regular basis also aids in the regulation of their body temperature.

When the temperature is chilly, though, your dog may not drink as much water as he used to since he is not shedding as much fluid.

Being in an Unfamiliar or Unknown Environment

A dog’s keen sense of smell allows them to swiftly recognize whether they are in unfamiliar terrain. As a result, the dog may become wary or excessively frightened, and may refuse to drink water.

How Can I Get My Dog to Drink Water Again?

If your dog isn’t drinking because of discomfort or sickness, the only thing you can do is take them to the doctor to address the underlying problem. You shouldn’t dally either, since you don’t want your dog to be without fluids for too long.

Sometimes the water bowl is the source of the problem, especially if the dog has had bad experiences with it in the past. In that scenario, just shifting the bowl or changing it totally may suffice.

Your dog may also be cautious to drink from the unclean bowl. If you haven’t cleaned it in a while, you should give it a good scrubbing and start over (be sure to rinse it thoroughly first).

If it doesn’t work, you can try mixing food into the bowl or adding water to their food. Your dog may not want to drink, but if they want to eat, you can sneak water into them that way. Some dogs may drink chicken broth or similar liquids; just make sure it’s low-sodium, since too much salt will aggravate the condition.

However, if the unwillingness to drink lasts more than a day, you should visit your veterinarian.

How Can You Tell If Your Dog Is Dehydrated?

It’s not as simple to tell if your dog is thirsty or dehydrated, but you can keep an eye on him and look for indicators of dehydration.

Checking the suppleness of your dog’s skin is one way to see whether it has been without adequate water for an extended period of time.

All you have to do is squeeze your dog’s skin, especially near their neck, then release it.

If the skin instantly returns to its normal position, there is no need to be concerned.

An elastic skin – when you pull back your dog’s skin, it rapidly returns – indicates that he is properly hydrated. However, if it takes some time for your dog’s skin to return to normal, this suggests that he is dehydrated.

By this point, you should be cautious about how much water they drink or whether they drink any water at all. While some people do not believe this to be a reason for concern, discovering that your dog is dehydrated is something you should be concerned about.

If your dog is bothered by all of the skin tugging, you can do another test that is less bothersome to your pet. This test is extremely difficult to do since some dogs have loose skin around their necks.

Another test you may conduct is just observe or inspect your dog’s gums and nose. A properly-hydrated dog will constantly have moist and slippery gums, as well as a wet nose. However, if your dog lapping at you with dry or sticky gums, you should be concerned since these are signs of dehydration.

Other Symptoms of Dehydration

A dry nose on your dog is one of the simplest ways to spot indications of dehydration. However, because a dry nose is also an indication of illness in dogs, we have included a few other telltale indicators to alert you that your dog is severely dehydrated.

  • Lethargy is caused by a shortage of water in your dog’s body, which causes them to lose energy. It also reduces blood flow in their body, making them appear lethargic or “lazy” compared to their typical energetic self.
  • Excessive panting: Because dehydration reduces blood flow significantly, your dog may pant for breath. Don’t confuse this for the warm weather; it’s an early indicator that they’re becoming dehydrated.
  • Loss of appetite: Dehydration frequently produces dry or sticky gums, making it difficult for dogs to accept food, especially if they are on a dry food diet.
  • Sunken eyes: If your dog has sunken eyes, you should be concerned since this signals that their dehydration is serious and may be harming their organs even more. This warning indication also necessitates an emergency visit to your veterinarian to provide your dog with the medical treatment it requires to rehydrate.
  • Yellowish or dark-colored urine from your pet dog signals that their body isn’t getting enough water to wash away pollutants. While this is not an urgent reason for concern, make sure your dog drinks water quickly and regularly.

Dogs become dehydrated as a result of illness.

Your dog, like people, requires water to aid with metabolic operations. Water also aids in the regulation of their body temperature, especially when it is hot. Of course, your pet requires water to remove poisons from their systems. That’s why, if your dog doesn’t get enough water, his or her body might shut down and suffer tragically.

When dogs are unwell, they may not feel like eating or drinking, which is typical in most situations. However, if your dog also gets diarrhea or vomiting, you should take them to the doctor right away since it hastens the process of dehydration in their bodies. Both diarrhea and vomiting can cause serious organ damage in your dog, which can be deadly if not addressed quickly.

Sickness in dogs can sometimes force them to go without water for extended periods of time. Serious illnesses such as heat stroke, diabetes, or renal disease might lead your pets to dehydrate on purpose.

This is due to the fact that sick dogs lose more water than they consume. It’s also why you should take your dog to the vet right away if he or she is vomiting or has diarrhea.

As a first aid measure, your veterinarian may place your dog on IV fluids to rehydrate them quickly, as well as supply additional nutrients to speed the process of recovering the water loss in your dog’s body. Most of the time, the length of IV rehydration is determined by how quickly your dog recovers from being dehydrated for an extended period of time.

How Much Water Should Dogs Drink to Stay Hydrated?

It’s rather simple to keep your pets hydrated. Just make sure they have enough water at all times by replenishing their bowls with clean, fresh water.

It is critical to remember that your dogs, like humans, should drink clean water to avoid stomach disorders or diarrhea. Furthermore, unless they are really thirsty, some dogs will only drink clean water.

Your dogs won’t know how much water they need drink, but as their owner, you should. Dogs are intelligent animals, but they act instinctively, such as drinking water when thirsty.

A decent rule of thumb is to give your dog one ounce of water for every pound it weighs. That is, if your dog weighs 20 pounds, he should drink 20 ounces of water every day. Of course, you won’t feed your dog the entire 20 ounces of water in an one swallow.

The overall amount of water your dog drinks in a day is also determined by various factors. For one thing, your dog will need extra water when engaging in strenuous activities such as workouts, training, or games. The weather is also a factor. Water intake is sometimes affected by how frequently and how much your dog consumes.

The truth is, it is critical that you provide your dog with adequate water on a regular basis. Make sure they have access to clean and fresh water, especially if the weather is hot. If you don’t want to refill your dog’s water bowl every hour or two, you may invest in an automatic sipping system.

If your dog does not drink water, the easiest approach to persuade them to drink is to flavor their water, give them wet food, or give them any other inducement. Your ultimate objective is to get them to drink and not leave them thirsty for too long.

To be safe, use the basic guideline of giving your dog one ounce of water for every pound of body weight. Don’t put off finding out how long your dogs can go without water. Your dog would be in horrible health by the time you made your observation, and rehydrating at home might not be enough for you or your animal pet.

What is the best way to rehydrate a dog?

If your dog has been without water for a day or two, you should progressively rehydrate it. Keep the following factors in mind for safe rehydration:

  • Serve some broth. If your dog refuses to drink simple water, a low-sodium broth may help. Aside from hydration, the soup contains vitamins and minerals that will replace your dog’s body’s lost sustenance.
  • Provide frosty snacks. Pupsicles or frozen bananas will assist your dog retain moisture. When creating a popsicle, combine it with a dog electrolyte supplement to ensure that your pup doesn’t lose out on critical nutrients.
  • Change to moist food. Transitioning your dog to wet food can assist ensure that it receives adequate fluids throughout the day. However, you must make the move gradually to avoid stomach discomfort and other negative side effects. Before introducing the new food, you should also speak with your dog’s veterinarian.
  • Take it to the vet. If your dog refuses any kind of hydration, the best option is to take him to the veterinarian. However, you should not delay any longer since your dog’s life is in danger. In addition, only a veterinarian is authorized to deliver an IV drip to a pet.

How to hydrate a dog who refuses to drink water.

It is critical that your dog drink adequate water every day.

Unfortunately, some dogs are constantly irresponsible about drinking water, resulting in dehydration. However, there are several strategies you may do to keep these pets hydrated.

  • Keeping a watering can here and there
  • Wet meals are given to them.
  • Enhancing the taste of water
  • Getting a veterinarian

What Should I Do If My Dog Is Dehydrated?

Knowing how to cure dog dehydration at home is critical for the safety of your canine. Here’s all you need to know if your pet is thirsty.

  • Bring your dog inside: Keep your pet away of scorching spots that will only make it thirstier. Take it indoors to a cooler location or to a location with insufficient shade.
  • Encourage them to drink: If your dog is dehydrated, offer him water or an electrolyte drink. Don’t forget to consult your veterinarian about how much hydration your dog need. A rehydration rate of 18 cup of fluid per hour is adequate for little pups, while a rate of 14 cup of fluid per hour is adequate for larger canines. If your pet is displaying indications of severe dehydration, contact your veterinarian immediately.
  • Keep track of your dog’s health: Check to see whether your pet will feel better after being hydrated in the following several hours. Otherwise, contact your veterinarian.
  • Remainder: Spend the rest of the day relaxing indoors. Allow your dog to take a snooze in a cool spot.

How Quickly Will My Dog Recover From Dehydration?

Serious instances of dehydration necessitate a longer recovery time. The duration of recuperation will be determined by two factors:

  • The gravity of the situation
  • The reason behind the dehydration

Serious dehydration, for example, that has caused your pet’s organs to weaken, may necessitate additional care. For example, your pet may need to stay at the clinic for a day or two until they get IV fluids and achieve a safe hydration level.


Can dogs go without water for an extended period of time? A dog can go without water for a maximum of three days. A dog, on the other hand, should not spend even one day without water. When it’s hot outside or your dog is tired from walking or running, they should drink within 1 to 2 days.

Sickness, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or renal disease, hastens the onset of dehydration in dogs. Because puppies are more active than adult dogs, they require more water.

When your dog shows indications of dehydration, it’s important to rehydrate them right away by encouraging them to drink water. Adding ice to your dog’s water will help them drink more, especially in hot weather.

If your dog does not want to drink much, you can moisten their meal with gravy or broth to help them rehydrate. If your dog refuses to drink water at all, even when you flavor it, you should contact with your veterinarian.

In hot conditions, dogs can easily get dehydrated. Dogs can go for a week without eating but only two to three days without drinking water.

Dogs that consume wet food are less likely to drink more water than dogs who exclusively eat dry food since they get a water supplement from their meal.

If you must leave your dogs for more than eight hours, make sure they have someone to look after them or that they have access to enough food and water.


Editorial Staff

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