How Much Water Should Your Dog Be Drinking?

Learn how much your dog should drink daily.

Notice your dog lapping from his water bowl frequently, especially after exercise or in warm weather. That's a good sign. Dogs, like people, are made up of about 80 percent water, and like us, they need to drink enough water to prevent dehydration, help their organs function well, and keep those cute noses moist. But how much water should your furry friend drink daily?

"There is a calculation that you can do to figure out how much your dog should be drinking. It averages out to be about one ounce per pound of the dog's body weight every day," says Dr. Stephanie Lantry with Airvet, a 24-7 veterinary telehealth service out of Sarasota, Florida. So, a 10-pound dog would need about ten ounces of water daily, whereas a 50-pound dog would require more like 50 ounces, a little shy of a half-gallon.

However, the calculation is just a ballpark guide. Dr. Lantry says that it's rarely necessary to calculate, and every dog differs in the amount they drink based on size, activity level, and the weather.

Dog Drinking Water from Hose
Capracotta Photo / Getty Images

Is Your Dog Drinking More Than Normal?

Once you learn how much and when your dog mostly laps up her water, a more important question is if she's drinking more than usual. If the answer is yes, it can be a red flag for conditions like diabetes, kidney problems, and Cushing's disease. You'll know because you'll have to fill up the water bowl more than usual, and your dog may also need to go outside more. If you notice an increased thirst or urination, talk to your vet, who can run simple blood and urine tests to rule out any health problems.

Provide Fresh, Clean Water

To ensure your pup always has the opportunity to drink enough, always provide fresh, clean drinking water in a clean water bowl she can access easily. If you don't, your dog could drink out of some questionable—think gross—sources like a puddle, standing water in the yard, or the toilet.

"Drinking out of contaminated water sources does carry risks of infection to dogs. They can ingest bacteria and parasites that can cause vomiting and diarrhea and even become life-threatening," says Dr. Lantry. So, it's also essential to carry fresh, clean drinking water and a portable bowl or container when you and your pup are away from home. That way, she won't be tempted to drink from standing water or freshwater streams, ponds, or rivers where contamination is likely.

Wash That Water Bowl

One more thing you can do to ensure your dog's good health is to wash her water bowl with soap and hot water daily (the food bowl, too, by the way). You may not realize it, but water and food bowls develop a layer of bacteria-ridden slime because of the bacteria in your dog's saliva.

If you give bowls a cursory rinse or refill them without a wash, this slimy bacterium builds up and could make your dog sick. So, wash dog bowls daily with hot, soapy water or in the dishwasher on the hottest setting to keep them squeaky clean, and safe for your puppy's best health.

*Always consult your veterinarian first about your pet's nutrition and care.

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