How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water? Unveiling the Surprising Truth

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water

For your furry friend to thrive, they need both nourishment and clean water. However, water is more crucial.

But sometimes your pooch might refuse to drink water because of some underlying health condition, or you need to remember to fill their water bowl before heading out.

Situations like this get you asking, “How long can a dog go without water.”

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about dog dehydration, including warning signs and common causes.

How Long Can a Dog Go Without Water

Generally, dogs can survive without drinking water for 48 – 72 hours. If it exceeds that, your dogs might suffer from severe dehydration.

However, as a dog owner, you should ensure your dog drinks water at least 2 – 3 times daily. Water is essential for proper blood circulation and the normal functioning of the vital organs. So, keeping your dog hydrated is crucial.

But many factors contribute to how long your dog can go without water safely.

Age: adult dogs need more water than puppies. So, larger dogs are more susceptible to dehydration than smaller dogs.

Health: your dog’s health is integral to how much water is taken. A pregnant dog drinks more water, while a sick one will avoid the water bowl.

Weather: in a mild climate, your dog can go without water longer. However, during warm weather, you are more likely to refill your dog’s water bowl more often than in chilly weather.

Lifestyle: small dogs, especially lazy house-pup, are usually less active. This means they are less likely to drink water than active dogs. Inactive dogs barely need to drink water to lower their body temperature.

How Much Water is Needed to Keep a Healthy Dog

The dog needs water, but how much water has to offer your pet depends on the dog’s breed and body weight. The rule of thumb is to provide half a cup of water for every 10 pounds of your dog’s body weight.

Warning Signs of Dehydration in Dogs

There are a couple of signs of dehydration in dogs you should watch out for.

Listlessness: this is one of the common signs of dehydration. Your canine friend might start acting lethargic due to fatigue or weakness. Dehydration leads to poor blood flow, which can be the primary cause of listlessness in your dog.

Excessive panting: during hot weather, dogs pant to cool down their body temperature. When the panting becomes heavier, it might indicate your dog is dehydrated.

Dry mouth: if your dog’s gums are dried, it likely means it is dehydrated. A healthy dog would have a moist mouth or gum. If otherwise is the case with your dog, visit your vet immediately.

Poor appetite: a dehydrated dog would not be interested in food. Dehydration makes it challenging for dogs to swallow and chew solid food.

Sunken eyes: this is a sign that your dog is severely dehydrated. Sunken eyes are a result of the muscle holding their eyes drying out.

Inelastic skin: for a properly hydrated dog, the skin would be elastic. This means when you pinch the skin, the pinched shape disappears quickly. if theskin is losing shape, then it’s likely your dog is dehydrated.

Other signs include a dry nose, pasty saliva, and dark yellow pee. It’s important to schedule an appointment with your vet asap to avoid any complicated health issues.

Why Would a Dog Not Drink Water?

It’s not uncommon to see a dog not drinking water. There are several reasons why your pet would go without water for hours. Keep in mind that this shouldn’t last more than a day, except if your pet has some underlying health issues.

Usually, dogs with sore mouths tend to avoid drinking water. It can be painful to drink water and eat.

Another common culprit is disease and illness. Dogs suffering from urinary tract infections, kidney disease and diabetes are more likely to avoid drinking water.

Also, your dog might be scared of the water bowl. Other causes of short-term dehydration in dogs include lack of physical exercise or nervousness.

How to Prevent Dehydration

It’s essential to know how to treat and prevent dehydration for your dog’s safety.

Keep them inside – keeping your dog indoors, especially during hot weather, helps avoid excessive thirst and panting.

Also, you want to encourage your pet to drink a lot of water for proper hydration. You can replace water with an electrolyte drink to ensure your dogs are staying hydrated.

Also, you can offer your dog wet food to encourage more water intake. Wet food has more water content than dry dog food.

Furthermore, you should pack water during long walks to ensure your dog stays hydrated. Even better, you can offer your dogs ice cubes, especially during hot days.

On top of that, you want to avoid giving your dog a lot of canned food. They contain too much salt, aggravating the issue and potentially leading to costly health issues.

Related FAQs

Can a dog survive without water for more than five days?

No, it is not recommended for a dog to go without water for more than 2 to 5 days. Adequate water intake is crucial for a dog’s body to function properly.

Can I determine if my dog is dehydrated by checking its nose?

The moisture level of a dog’s nose is not a reliable indicator of dehydration. Other signs, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, dry gums, and reduced urine output, can indicate dehydration in dogs.

If my dog is dehydrated, can I give it ice cubes to help hydrate it?

While ice cubes can provide some hydration, offering your dog fresh, clean water is better. Ice cubes should not be the sole water source for a dehydrated dog.

How long does it take for a dog’s capillary refill time to return to normal after dehydration?

Capillary refill time, which is the time it takes for the blood vessels in a dog’s gums to regain colour after being pressed, can take longer in dehydrated dogs. It is best to consult a veterinarian to assess the dog’s hydration status and overall health.


How long can dogs go without water depends on a lot of factors. However, it’s crucial to provide your pets with enough water, as dehydration can lead to countless health problems.

If you are dog is dehydrated, seek vet care immediately. Your canine companion will receive iv fluids to stay hydrated while the underlying health problem is being addressed.

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