Drinking plenty of fresh clean water is critical to good health. Water is essential for all cellular, organ, and tissue functions of the body. Dogs that drink too much water can be a concern to pet owners. There are normal reasons for a dog to drink a lot of water but also abnormal reasons for a dog to drink too much water that can be a medical concern. Below we will review how much water is too much to drink and the possible causes.
How Much Water Should a Dog Drink?
The amount of water a dog should drink per day is dependent on his size as well as other external factors such as the type of food eaten.
The general rule is that dogs drink 20 to 40 ml of water per pound of body weight per day. This comes out to about 3 to 4 cups of water for a 20-pound dog. Please note that there is a range. Much of the range is determined by multiple factors that we will review below.
Factors that Influence Dog Drinking Too Much Water
There are several factors that impact how much water a dog drinks. Reasons include:
- Dry dog food – Dry dog food has approximately 15% to 30% water content while canned dog food can contain 50% to 75% water. Dogs that eat dry food may drink more water.
- Bodyweight – Large-sized and breed dogs require more water than smaller dogs. Water requirements are based on body weight. If you have a 10-pound dog they may only drink ¾ cup of water per day while a 100-pound dog may drink 2 to 4 liters per day which is almost 9 cups to just over 19 cups of water per day.
- Sodium – Sodium is salt and dogs that eat salty food or treats will ingest more water. For example, a dog that gets table foods such as chips or salty pizza may drink more water.
- Exercise & Activity – Active dogs drink more water.
- Weather Exposure – The high temperatures of the spring and summer generally cause dogs to pant. Panting helps them regulate their body temperature but also is a way they lose water. It is critical for dogs to have access to shade but also plenty of fresh clean water at all times.
- Drug therapy – Some medications may increase a dog’s water intake. Drugs include diuretics such as Furosemide (commonly known as Lasix) or steroids (such as prednisolone) can substantially increase a dog’s water intake.
- Disease – Importantly, there are abnormal reasons for dogs to drink more water. Two very common diseases that cause this are kidney disease and diabetes. Often with the increased thirst, there is also an increase in urine production. If you believe your dog is drinking too much water, please call your veterinarian.
Why You Should Keep Your Dog From Drinking Too Much Water
When your dog drinks water it is important that they drink pure clean fresh water. Water from the swimming pool, ocean, mud puddle, pond, stream, creek, river, random bucket can be dirty water and is not a good source of water to drink. So it is important to keep your dog from drinking too much water if it is bad water.
One way to do this is to keep your dog on a leash. This will help to control what he is exposed to or not exposed to. You can also maintain a fenced in yard if possible and monitor it regularly for water pooling, buckets left out that fills with rainwater, and other sources of water that you believe may not be fresh and clean.
It can also help your dog to drink good water by ensuring you have plenty of fresh clean water available in all his environments, both indoors and outdoors. You can entice some dogs to drink more water by using pet fountains, offering additional water bowls, offering water in bowls made of different materials, or even by adding ice cubes to the water.
What are Water Recommendations for Dogs?
- If your dog is active, outside, exposed to high heat or humidity, has any fluid loss such as from vomiting and diarrhea, they may require more water than what is listed above. In any of these cases, your dog should always have plenty of fresh clean water at all times. If your dog is vomiting, call your veterinarian.
- Your dog’s water bowl should be washed thoroughly twice weekly. You can wash most bowls in the dishwasher or scrub with Dawn dishwashing liquid and rinse well, then refill.
- Your dog’s water bowl should be big enough to hold at least 1 ½ to 2 days worth of water.
- Always keep one water bowl outside and one inside.
- If you have multiple dogs or dogs and cats, it is recommended to have more than one water bowl in the house.
- Please contact your veterinarian if you have any concerns about your dog’s water intake. Learn more about Why is My Dog Not Drinking Water? Not drinking can be dangerous and lead to life-threatening dehydration. Learn more about Dehydration in Dogs.
- Never allow your dog to drink out of creeks, ponds, streams, rivers, or mud puddles. These dirty sources of water can contain toxins or bacteria that can be dangerous to your dog. It can be difficult to keep your dog away from these sources but possible if you keep your dog on a leash and frequently offer plenty of fresh clean water.
Dangers of Bad Water for Dogs
Even water that visually looks okay can be contaminated with pesticides, parasites, or bacteria. Parasites and bacterial organisms can be common in ponds, lakes, bogs, creeks, streams, rivers, and other small bodies of water. One such organism that can cause problems is Giardia. Common signs of problems are diarrhea, vomiting, gas, decreased appetite, and lethargy. Learn more about Giardia in Dogs.