How Long Can Dogs Go Without Water?

Dogs can usually go without water for 72 hours, i.e., up to three days.

In general, even healthy dogs will find it challenging to spend more than a few days without water.

Of course, this will vary depending on the dog’s size, breed, and condition.

After 24 hours without water, your dog will begin to experience the side effects of dehydration.

Healthy dogs generally survive 6 to 10 hours without water without suffering too much

There isn’t “the right” answer to the question “how long can dogs go without water”, but there are a lot of things you need to know about.

How Much Water Should Dogs Drink?

How long can dogs go without water

You also need to know how much water your dog needs.

Most dogs must regularly consume 1 ounce of water for every pound of their body weight.

Accordingly, a 10-pound dog requires roughly two-thirds of a 16-ounce bottle of water daily. 

Puppies or dogs who are pregnant or have recently given birth often require more water per pound of weight than less active puppies. 

Because they are significantly more active and their bodies are still developing, puppies often drink much more than adult dogs.

Your dog may drink a little less if they consume soft or wet food because the food contains more water. 

It’s a simple equation:

  • A 1-pound dog needs 1 ounce of water

  • A 10-pound dog needs 10 ounces of water

Warning Signs That Your Dog Is Dehydrated

Dry Nose

Dog nose

The nose of a dog should be damp.

The dryness of your dog’s nose may signify dehydration or another health problem, such as a skin infection.

Dark Yellow Pee, Or Very Little Pee

Bright or dark yellow or very little pee from your pet is most frequently the result of dehydration or other reason that could be a kidney-related problem.

It could result from various medical disorders or insufficient drinking water.

Low Energy Level and Lethargy

Dehydrated dogs get weak and want to lounge around.

They have no desire to play, move around, or jump.

Instead, individuals try to save energy to stop the progression of their dehydration.

No Appetite

Dogs tend to lose their appetite when they are dehydrated.

That’s the moderate stage of dehydration.

Even your dog’s favorite goodies may not be enough to attract him, which may indicate that he has a more severe issue.

Dry Eyes

The amount of fluid inside the fat pads behind the eyes is reduced, resulting in the eyes sinking into the eye sockets; this is frequently a sign of severe dehydration.

Dry, Tacky Gums, And Pasty Saliva

A dog’s saliva should typically be thin and watery.

Dehydrated dogs usually have thick, ropey saliva that sticks to their mouths.

Low Skin Elasticity

The simplest way to check for dehydration is to test for a loss of skin elasticity.

Vets advise that you carefully grab a portion of the dog’s skin close to his shoulder blades, lift it, and then release it to check for it.

Keep an eye out for when it settles back into place.

The skin rapidly returns to its natural place in well-hydrated dogs.

On the other side, the skin will take longer to fall back in dehydrated dogs.

Dehydration in dogs can result from insufficient daily water intake, which can happen if a dog doesn’t have good access to water or won’t drink enough.

Make sure to leave adequate water for your dog to drink whether you’re at home or only gone for a part of the day.

What To Do? My Pup Is Not Drinking Enough Water!

Dog drinking outside

Usually, dogs won’t drink water for the following reasons: 

  • Lack of activity and exercise 

  • Unfamiliar environment 

  • Aging 

  • Illness and disease  

  • Fear and bad experiences

If your dog is not drinking enough water, let’s look at some tricks to get him to drink water.

Constantly Keep The Water Clean And Fresh

Make sure your dog doesn’t consume any unfit water.

Throughout the day, constantly replace the water in your dog’s bowl.

Give them cooled, filtered water that is refreshing to drink.

Additionally, this will lessen the likelihood of hazardous germs proliferating and irritating their stomach.

Let Your Dog Drink From Your Hands

Dog drinks from hands

There are times when dogs won’t drink from their bowls, so if this ever occurs to your pet, you’ll need to devise a workable solution.

Your dog may lick some water from your cupped hand if they are flatly refusing to drink.

Teaching them how to do this is a terrific approach to get them interested in and attached to you as a pet owner.

Clean The Bowl Daily

Everyone hates a dirty plate because it’s unhealthy and can cause illnesses.

The water bowl for your dog is the same; dogs drink water from clean bowls. 

Make careful to clean it properly, ideally with antibacterial soap and warm water, if you detect it is becoming sticky or otherwise appearing off.

Perhaps your dog’s refusal to drink water is primarily due to the condition of the dish itself. 

Try Some Tasty Water Alternatives

Another helpful tip is to add something flavourful to your dog’s water, like bone broth or lactose-free milk.

Another option is to use a supplement such as green-lipped mussel powder, which has a pleasing aroma for dogs.

What Happens To A Dehydrated Dog?

Dehydrated dogs get weak and want to lounge around.

They have no desire to play, move around, or jump.

Instead, individuals try to save energy to stop the progression of their dehydration.

Also, dogs who are dehydrated may feel pain and headaches, as we humans do.

How To Prevent Dehydration?

  • Ensure that your dog has access to plenty of fresh, clean water.
  • After every few hours, check the bowl.
  • Take water bottles with you when you go for a stroll or trip.
  • Avoid taking your dog for a walk in the heat.
  • Avoid taking your dog for a walk in the heat

  • Never leave a dog in a vehicle.

  • Avoid too much salt.

Why Does My Dog Get Dehydrated?

Dehydration can occur in dogs of any age for a variety of reasons.

These are a few of the most typical.

Knowing these causes will help prevent dehydration in your dogs.


That occurs when a dog overheats to a temperature of 105.8 Fahrenheit (41 Celsius).

Being locked inside a closed vehicle, engaging in vigorous exercise, or having frequent seizures could all contribute to this. 

Even when the outside temperature is 60°F, you should never leave your dog in an enclosed car.

Even with cracked windows, dogs can still experience heatstroke in an enclosed car in this hot weather within 15 to 20 minutes.

Persistent Diarrhea Or Vomiting 

For various reasons, dogs with persistent vomiting and diarrhea regularly lose fluids through their feces.

Any dog that has continued vomiting and/or diarrhea for longer than 24 hours has to be taken right away to a veterinary hospital.

Not Getting Enough Water      

A dog will become dehydrated if they are not given enough water to meet its daily needs.

Please make sure the water bowls for your dog are always full of fresh, clean water by checking them each day, both inside and outside the home.

Chronic Disease 

Diabetes, Cushing’s illness, and kidney disease cause dehydration in dogs, who frequently consume more water than usual.

Dogs with these long-term conditions are typically still dehydrated even with increased water intake


The intestinal virus parvovirus is highly contagious and frequently results in lethargy, poor appetite, severe vomiting, and bloody diarrhea.

Due to the persistent vomiting and diarrhea that the parvovirus causes in puppies, this virus increases the risk of dehydration.

How Can I Know If My Dog Isn’t Hydrated?

Skin Tent 

The elasticity of your dog’s skin can be used to detect dehydration.

You can accomplish this by first releasing some loose skin on your dog’s shoulder blades or at the back of their neck. 

The loose skin should immediately return to its proper position in well-hydrated dogs.

Dehydrated dogs’ skin may take longer to regrow and have a tent-like appearance above the neck or shoulders.

A “skin tent” is what this is.

Excessive Panting 

Dog hot weather

It’s usual for dogs to pants to stay calm.

It might be a symptom of mild dehydration. In addition to being a sign of dehydration, excessive panting in dogs can also be a symptom of Cushing’s illness, chronic pain, or anxiety.

If your dog’s panting has increased, contact your neighborhood vet.

How Fast Can My Dog Recover From Dehydration?

Severe dehydration requires a longer recovery time. The time it takes to recover will rely on two things: 

  1. The seriousness of the situation 

  2. The reasons why you’re dehydrated 

For instance, extreme dehydration that weakens your pet’s organs may require more care.

For instance, it can take your pet a day at the clinic before they receive IV fluids and reach a safe level of hydration.

What Can I Do For My Dehydrated Dog?

Dog in sun

The safety of your dog depends on you being able to treat dog dehydration at home.

Here is everything you should do if your pet appears to be dehydrated. 

  • Bring your dog inside

Remove your pet from hot environments, so it doesn’t become even more thirsty.

Bring it indoors or to a position with less shade, where it will be more relaxed.

  • Could you encourage them to drink more? 

Give your dog water or an electrolyte drink if it shows moderate dehydration.

Remember to ask your veterinarian how much hydration your dog requires.

For tiny animals, 18 cups of fluid per hour are sufficient, while larger dogs benefit from 14 cups of liquid per hour.

Call your veterinarian as soon as your pet exhibits severe dehydration symptoms. 

  • Monitor your dog’s condition

See whether your pet starts to feel better soon after drinking some water.

If not, call your veterinarian. 

  • Rest up 

Spend the remaining time of the day indoors.

Allow your dog to slumber while you remain in a cool area.

How Do I Help To Drink Water?

The Right Size Of Water Bowl

If your pet’s bowl is too big or too little, it cannot consume water.

Make sure your dog can adequately drink from the bowl it uses because the size will vary depending on the size of your pet.

Offer A Bowl Full Of Water Everyday

Fill up your dog’s water bowl first thing in the morning.

Keep an eye on your pet’s fluid intake throughout the day, and don’t forget to fill their bowl before dinner.

Keep Water Bowls In Different Areas Of The House

While your pet is playing around the house, make sure it is drinking fresh, clean water.

Make sure there is a water dish on every floor; if you can, put it in water fountains.

Keep Toilet Seat Closed

If the toilet seat is closed, your dog will be kept safe from sticking its head into the toilet and consuming toilet water.

Toilet water may contain dangerous microorganisms that could infect your pet.

Wet Food

Kibble or dry dog foods have low-moisture levels; feeding your dog wet food, which is hydrated food, which contains as much water as other canned food kinds, can also help it stay hydrated.

To encourage your dog to drink more water, serve wet dog food with water added at a ratio of 1:1. 

Water During Outdoor Activities

Dogs can dehydrate during long walks, outdoor runs, or extended car trips.

Bring water for your pet when he is outdoors.

Cool Treat

Are you aware of the fact that dogs like to eat ice cubes?

They can stay hydrated with an ice cube, especially in the summer.

Even frozen delights like chunks of watermelon or cantaloupe can be made.

If you’re traveling, don’t forget to pack an ice-filled cooler so your dog can keep hydrated.

Why Is Water Important For Dog’s Body?

Dog drinking a lot


Water is crucial for a healthy dog’s digestive system, says Global Animal.

Water aids in the digestion of the food the dog swallows as well as the absorption of the nutrients.

Additionally, water helps to secrete the enzymes and acid required to finish the digestive process.

And the more quickly a dog’s digestive system can run normally, the healthier and more energetic a dog will be.

If a dog does not go potty frequently and appears lethargic, sufficient hydration may be a problem.

Cell Cycle

As we’ve seen, water is crucial to almost all biological processes.

Water not only aids in digestion, but also moves nutrients and waste out of systems, regulates body temperature, and keeps a dog properly hydrated. It also lubricates and softens joints, allowing for pain-free movement and mobility.

The eyes, mucous membranes, spinal cord, and many other internal systems are among the organs and tissues that depend on water for normal function.


From a dog’s nose to its tail, cells are fed by the blood, which transports nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.

Blood contains a lot of water.

To ensure that every muscle and organ receives the correct nutrition, water’s role is to assist in moving nutrients into and out of cells.

Water also aids in evacuating this waste, which manifests as bowel and urine motions, making it nearly effortless.


Water is essential for dogs to maintain a healthy body temperature.

Panting is their primary method of controlling body temperature.

They don’t sweat as we do but mostly perspire through their paws.

You may occasionally find damp areas under their feet on warm days.

That results from the minimal sweating that they do.

When they pant, though, their tongue practically doubles in size to hasten the evaporation of water and further cool their body.

This is the most effective technique for them to expel body heat.

When Do I Need To Go To The Vet / Vet Clinic?

Call your veterinarian immediately if your dog is exhibiting shock, heatstroke, or severe dehydration.

It would help if you visited the vet asap before the ill effects get worse.

On your way to the veterinarian’s clinic, you might be instructed to give your pet a small quantity to start the rehydration process. 

To rehydrate severely dehydrated dogs, intravenous fluids are often administered.

Before You Go…

Now you know the answer to the question, “How long can dogs go without water?'”.

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

Dimitra Kokologianni, DVM
Dimitra holds a Masters’s degree in public health and a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. She is a versatile professional with over 7 years of experience. Her passion for animal welfare and preventive medicine makes her an excellent resource for our readers.