Water is an integral part of a dog’s body and is crucial for good health. Water is necessary for all cellular, organ and tissue functions of the body. A person is aware of the importance of water when faced with the negative effects of dehydration. Only 10% of water loss in the body can be fatal.
Water in the body is not static, but is a constant and dynamic process. Dogs lose water by breathing, shortness of breath, urination, and bowel movements. Dogs take water mainly through drinking water, but also get some water from food and to a small extent in accordance with the normal body metabolism.
We call this dynamic flow of fluids both inlet and outlet. Consumption mainly from drinking and water content in food. The result is fluid loss with conventional methods of asphyxiation, drooling, urine, bowel movements, and abnormal means such as diarrhea, vomiting, or blood loss.
Dehydration is the result of a greater “yield” than “consumption”. Excessive hydration is the result of more “consuming” than exiting.
Factors that affect how much a dog should drink
There are factors that can affect how much water a dog should drink. For example:
- Dry dog food versus canned dog food. Dry dog food contains from 15 to 30% water, while canned dog food may contain from 50 to 75% water. Dogs that eat canned food can drink and consume less water.
- Body weight. Large dogs require more water than small dogs. Water requirements are based on body weight.
- Sodium. Just as we have increased thirst after eating high in salt, eating high sodium in dogs can create a need for increased water intake.
- Exercise and activity. Dogs that are more active usually drink and require more water.
- Exposure of weather. High temperatures in spring and summer usually cause dogs to suffocate. Breathing helps them regulate their body temperature, but also helps them lose water. It is very important for dogs to have access to the shade, but also to clean fresh water.
- Drug therapy. Some medicines can increase the water intake of the dog. Drugs can include steroids or diuretics, such as furosemide (commonly known as Lasix).
- Disease. Some diseases, such as kidney disease or diabetes, can cause increased thirst in dogs.
How much water should a dog drink?
The amount of water a dog should drink per day depends on its size. The general rule is that dogs drink between 20 and 40 ml of water per pound of body weight per day. This gives about 3-4 cups of water for a 20-pound dog.
Below is a table with more detailed information depending on the size. Please note that there is a range. Most of the range is determined by the factors listed above. And like humans, some dogs drink water better than others. Here is a table that will help you understand how much water your dog needs, based on its weight.
Dogs 3 – 5 pounds
From 60 to 200 ml / day
Almost almost a cup
Dogs 6 to 10 pounds
120 to 400 ml / day
½ cup to just over 1 ½ cup
Dogs 11 – 20 pounds
220 ml to 800 ml / day
1 cup to 3 1/3 cups
Dogs 21 – 30 pounds
420 ml to 1200 ml / day
1 ¾ cups to 5 cups
Dogs 31 – 40 pounds
From 620 to 1600 ml / day
2 2/3 cups up to 6 ½ cups
Dogs 41-50 pounds
From 820 to 2000 ml / day
3 ½ cups to 9 1/3 cups
Dogs 51 – 60 pounds
1020 ml – 2400 ml / day
4 to cups up to 10 cups
Dogs 61 – 70 pounds
1220 ml – 2800 ml / day
5 cups to 11 2/3 cups
Dogs 71-80 pounds
1420 ml – 3200 ml / day
6 cups to 13 1/3 cups
Dogs 81 – 90 pounds
1620 ml – 3600 ml / day
7 cups to 15 cups
Dogs 91 – 100 pounds
1820 ml – 4000 ml / day
7 ½ cups to 16 2/3 cups
Dogs 101 – 110 pounds
2020 ml – 4400 ml / day
8 2/3 cups to 19 1/3 cups
Dogs 111 – 120 pounds
2220 ml – 4800 ml / day
From 9 to 20 cups
Dogs 121 – 130 pounds
2420 ml – 5200 ml / day
10 to 21 cups
Dogs 131 – 140 pounds
2620 ml – 5600 ml / day
11 cups to 23 1/3 cups
* rounded to the nearest quarter of the cup
Note: A 240 ml cup, 4 cups quart, 8 cups half a gallon and 16 cups a gallon.
What are water recommendations for dogs?
- If your dog is active, has a fever, or has a loss of fluid, such as vomiting and diarrhea, she may need more water than indicated above.
- It is recommended to constantly give your dog plenty of clean water.
- Your dog’s water bowl should be washed thoroughly twice a week, ideally through a dishwasher.
- Your dog’s water bowl should be large enough to hold 36 to 48 hours of water.
- Offer one outside water bowl and one inside. If you have several dogs, it is recommended to have more than one bowl of water in the house.
- Please contact your veterinarian if you have any questions about your dog’s water intake. Learn more about why my dog does not drink water?
- Not drinking can be dangerous and lead to life-threatening dehydration. Learn more about dehydration in dogs.