My dog is dehydrated! How Long Can My Dog Go Without Water | Signs Of Dog Dehydration

Dogs are naturally very active pets. You will be surprised at the levels of acrobatic skills they are capable of, not to mention jumping and running around a whole lot. All this activity will lead it to huff with its tongue out in need of water. It is essential to keep your dog hydrated. You must ensure that your dog always has a fresh and clean supply of water.

How Long Can My Dog Go Without Water
Dog Dehydration

The body of a dog is made up of 80% of water, which is a little higher than what it is for humans, which is only about 70%. This should give you an idea of why dogs need water so frequently. Especially during the summer day or if the sun is too hot, and when the dog goes through vigorous physical activity, you need to give it water as soon as you see that it needs it.

When dogs don’t get their daily required amount of water, they can get dehydrated. Dehydration can cause serious problems if your dog is left without water for long periods or if they are ill. That leads to the question: how long can a dog go without water? The answer is; not long. It would be best if you kept your dog hydrated to ensure its good health.

Table of content:

How Much Water Should Your Dog Drink

More than 70% of your dog’s weight is made up of water. So for it to be healthy and hydrated, your dog needs to consume this much water every day. So how much should your dog drink per day? The general guideline for this is that your dog should drink an ounce of water for every pound it weighs on a daily basis. 

So if your dog weighs 75 pounds, it should drink 2 liters of water a day ideally. Although this might seem like a lot, you must remember that this needs to be spread out throughout the whole day. You also need to support this daily moisture of your dog with treats as well as water.

Why Isn’t Your Dog Drinking Water

Usually, a dog will be very regular at maintaining its water intake. It’s instinctive for them to seek out water when they are thirsty. So should you be concerned if your dog isn’t drinking water even when it is offered? Your dog’s refusal to drink water even when it is thirsty might be due to some underlying issue. It may be due to a simple reason like an upset tummy or more severe issues like a blockage of the urinary or intestinal tract. 

You need to take prompt action if you notice that your dog has stopped eating or drinking. Another reason for your dog’s refusal to drink might be experiencing consistent diarrhea or vomiting. This can be a more serious reason for concern, as these conditions lead to a rapid loss of moisture while your dog isn’t drinking enough water to replenish it. 

Causes Of Dehydration In Dogs

Water simply not being available is usually one of the first reasons for a dog to get dehydrated. The common cause of this might be the owners accidentally left the dog alone without providing any water for its drink. Dogs might get dehydrated due to an underlying illness, such as fever and diarrhea. 

Harsh weather might also result in dehydration for dogs. You must remember that it is not just intense heat that causes dogs to get dehydrated, but also cold temperature causing severe dryness, resulting in dehydration for your dog. So to avoid this dangerous condition for your dog, you must ensure that it always gets a fresh supply of clean water.

Signs Of Dog Dehydration

You can mostly tell that a dog is dehydrated by the way they look. Some visible signs that a dog is dehydrated are sunken eyes, a dry nose, exposed tongue while panting and making agitated movements. However, every dehydrated dog might not have these symptoms. Sometimes there might be no symptoms if a serious illness is causing your dog to be dehydrated.

Being an owner, you need to keep an eye out for any such symptoms in your dog and investigate further if you feel that your dog is indeed losing fluids. You can do this by checking if its mouth is dry or if the saliva has become thick. You can also pull its scruff to see if the skin is taking time to come back to its original form. This can mean dehydration as a dog’s skin loses its elasticity during this time.

The gums are naturally a moist area of your dog. You can lift its lips and run a finger over its gums to see if it’s tacky or dry. Dry gums might mean that the dog needs a drink soon. Check if the nose is dry or not, as the dog usually lick their noses. So if your dog’s nose is flaky, dry, or cracked, it can mean that the dog is dehydrated. Check the color of your dog’s urine. If it is pale or light yellow, then there is nothing to worry about. The darker the shade of yellow the urine is, the lesser hydrated your dog is.

How Long Can My Dog Go Without Water

Water is an essential daily requirement for dogs. If your dog is refusing to drink the water due to some reason, then it is a good idea for you to know how long it can safely go without drinking any water. Normally a dog can safely go 6-10 hours without any water. So you don’t necessarily need to panic if you forgot to top up its water bowl before you left for work. 

You need to provide it the required water as soon as you get home and be sure never to leave without providing it water intentionally. Some people might do this so the dog does not pee inside the home, but you should never follow this.

A dog can survive up to 72 hours without drinking any water, but it will start to show symptoms of dehydration after the first 24 hours. Going beyond this time without water can cause irreparable damage to your dog’s wellbeing. Discussed below are the experiences the dog would have as it goes each day without water.

Day 1

After a full day of having no water, your dog will get restless as it will continue to look for water. Your dog needs water every day to cool down, so an entire day without water will result in your dog having lesser energy than usual. Your dog will start to pant more heavily as it gets more dehydrated. In such a case, you need to provide them fresh water and foods that are rich in moisture in small doses to help them rehydrate and cool their body gradually. 

Day 2

A second day without water makes the dog desperate to relinquish its thirst. Your dog might have some behavior issues and display signs of inevitable weakness that will start to sink in. your dog will get lethargic, and its mobility will get limited. You need to keep them in a quiet area of your house as you attempt to rehydrate them. Use a clean soaked washcloth to dab some water on its gums. This might get it encouraged to drink more. If your dog has had diarrhea or has vomited during this time, then it needs urgent medical attention.

Day 3 

Three whole days without food and water is definitely fatal for most dogs. At best, it is in very critical condition. Your dog is bound to be very weak and lethargic and be unable to walk at all. It is crucial that the dog is rushed to the vet and gets rehydrated through medical attention as soon as possible. The veterinarian can administer IV fluids to replenish the fluids it lost to avoid imminent organ damage at this stage.  

What To Do For Dog Dehydration

You can change the dog’s water often to make sure that it is clean and fresh. When heading outdoors with your dog for a longer period of time, remember to take a bottle or jug of water with you so that your dog can drink from it from time to time. If you are leaving the dog for a few days, then you can leave a water fountain or self-filling water dispensers so your dog can drink from it even when you are not around.

You can give your dog fresh fruits and vegetables as well to keep them hydrated and ensure to keep them in a cool environment with proper ventilation. If your dog does get too sick, then ensure that the vet gives it the required medical attention, such as IV fluids or other medicine intakes. You can even try fluid therapy at home. Canned food is also a good way to keep your dog hydrated, so get the best-canned food for it. There are plenty of treats available in the market that are moisture-rich; you can try these as well.

You can add a little variety by adding some flavor to their beverages. You can use bone broth to make them some dog popsicles or add some goat’s milk to their food. On a hot day, you can give your dog frozen treats when you have to spend time outdoors with your dog. These tasty alternatives will add much-needed moisture to their food.  

In Conclusion

For many of us, dogs are more than just pets that entertain us or guard our homes. Most of us think of these furry paws as members of our family. So we need to make sure that their essential needs, such as water, are being taken care of. We need to be sure that our best companions are not suffering from dehydration and make sure that they are always well cared for. 

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