How Much Water Should A Dog Drink?

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! 💦

Have you ever wondered if your dog is drinking enough water? Or maybe you noticed your dog is extra thirsty lately, and it’s freaking you out.

Too much or too little water can be bad for dogs, so it’s good to know what the ideal amount is.

The Dodo reached out to Dr. Lindsey Bullen, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist at BluePearl Specialty and Emergency Pet Hospital in Cary, North Carolina, to find out exactly how much water a dog should drink a day, and why your dog might drink more or less than what’s generally recommended.

Is there a typical amount of water a dog should drink?

According to Dr. Bullen, every dog is unique, so the amount of water they need will vary from individual to individual.

However, if you’re just looking for a ballpark amount of H2O to strive for — Dr. Bullen recommends one milliliter of water for every calorie your dog needs to eat per day.

For example, if a pet needs 250 kilocalories (kcals) per day, they will likely need close to 250 milliliters (ml) per day,” Dr. Bullen told The Dodo.

What factors affect how much a dog drinks?

According to Dr. Bullen, your dog’s water needs are based on her individual internal metabolism, but they’re also dependent on external factors, like:

If she’s exercised

According to Dr. Bullen, if your dog has been exercised heavily, her water needs will be increased (just like ours).

If it’s hot out

“Similarly, if it is hot and the pet is kept outside, they will need more water than if they were in a thermoneutral (think 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit) environment,” Dr. Bullen said.

The life stage she’s in

“Puppies have a higher water requirement per body weight compared to adult counterparts,” Dr. Bullen said. Additionally, lactating mothers also need more water.

Other reasons why your dog is thirsty

In general, a thirsty pup is a normal physiologic response to dehydration, and your dog will usually know how to naturally combat that (like when she smacks the empty water dish with her snoot to ask for more).

However, there are other factors that can affect your dog's thirst levels that you should keep in mind.

Certain diseases or medical reasons

There are some medical issues that can affect how much your dog is drinking because they affect either her sugar levels or how much she’s urinating, etc.

These can include:

  • Chronic kidney disease
  • External steroids or excess secretion of cortisol
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Diabetes insipidus

Switching your dog's food

If you’ve recently changed your pup’s food from a canned diet (which is usually 75 percent water) to a dry diet (​8 to 12 percent water), it can cause an increase in thirst.

“If a pet parent is not used to this, it can be alarming,” Dr. Bullen said.

Changes in the weather

Going from spring to summer can also result in increased water consumption due to the increase in temperature.

When to contact a vet

According to Dr. Bullen, anytime your pet’s drinking and/or urinating habits have changed, it’s not a bad idea to call and discuss this with a vet.

“If possible, try to quantify how much they are drinking AND eating, as well as provide [her] exercise routine, so that your vet can help,” Dr. Bullen recommended.