Just like with us humans, water is vital for dogs. And while estimates are that a dog may survive up to 3 days without water, this does not mean that it will be in good health after 2-3 days without it.
As a whole, dogs and people can survive for much longer without food, but water is absolutely essential for sustaining life.
How long can a dog last without water?
The average healthy dog may be able to survive without water for 2 to 3 days, but please note that dehydration can be dangerous and lethal, so no dog should purposely be subjected to it.
The lack of water leads to dehydration, which affects each organ and process in the dog’s body. Thus if a dog is left without access to clean and safe drinking water, it will rapidly start to experience vital organ failure, and if left thirsty and untreated, it will die.
If you are worried that your pup is ill and is refusing to drink any water, you should contact your veterinarian or an emergency vet right away.
The veterinarians will perform a checkup and help keep the sick pup hydrated via IV fluids while testing it to diagnose and treat the underlying reason for its refusal to drink water.
Suppose you are a first-time dog owner and are having problems determining whether your pup is staying adequately hydrated. In that case, you can measure the amount of water in the dog’s bowl in order to determine how much water it drinks per day.
But how much water should a dog drink to stay healthy?
According to the AKC, an average healthy adult pup should drink an ounce of water per pound of its body weight.
So, if your adult dog weighs 45 lbs., you should provide it with at least 45 ounces of freshwater per day.
As for puppies, their need for hydration differs from that of adult dogs. In general, once a puppy is being weaned from its mother’s milk, it will need to have access to about ½ cup of freshwater per hour.
Once the puppy is completely weaned and eats solid food, you can start following the requirements for water consumption for adult dogs.
But if your pup is not drinking exactly the recommended quantity of water, you shouldn’t panic because every dog is different. Some dogs may need more water when the weather is hot or after vigorous exercise than sedentary pups that may drink less water per day.
Still, as a dog parent, you should keep an eye on your dog and its well-being and look for any signs of dehydration if you worry that it is not drinking enough water.
What are the symptoms of dehydration in dogs?
You should always monitor your pup for signs that it may be dehydrated, especially when the weather is dry and hot. Keep an eye on the water level in the dog’s bowl, and contact your veterinarian if it looks like your dog may be becoming dehydrated.
The most common symptoms of dehydration in dogs include:
- Excessive or heavy panting – this may mean that your dog is overheating. Regular panting is normal and is the natural way for dogs to cool down their bodies and regulate their temperature.
- A loss of appetite – a dog that has become dehydrated will lose interest in eating, as it will find it difficult to swallow food or digest it without enough water.
- Lethargy and weakness – if your dog becomes dehydrated, it will become sluggish and fatigued due to the lowered blood circulation due to the lack of enough water in the organism.
- Dry gums and mouth – a healthy dog should have a wet mouth and gums. You can check whether the gums are moist enough if you press them, and they restore their pink color immediately after you remove the pressure. If the color remains white, this can be a sign that the pup is dehydrated.
- Sunken eyes – this can occur when the muscles which hold the eyes dry out.
- Lack of elasticity in the skin – this can be tested if you pinch and pull up the skin of the dog, and it doesn’t restore its normal form immediately but remains in the lifted shape instead.
Overall, you should never leave your pup without access to enough fresh and clean water, especially if you are going out and are going to be missing for long hours. If you are going somewhere for days, then make sure that you get a dog sitter who will ensure that your fur baby has access to food and water on a daily basis, and of course, walks.
Otherwise, not only will your dog be terribly lonely, but it may suffer from potentially dangerous dehydration.
Further Reading: Can Dogs Drink Sparkling Water?