(Last Updated On: April 17, 2021)
If you just got your first puppy, then you’re probably trying to speed-learn everything you need to know on taking care of it. Some things you’re learning seem logical and obvious. While others like ‘how much water should a puppy drink a day’, are some things that never crossed your mind. Because – don’t puppies know how much water they need? Should puppies always have access to water?
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The simple answer is – no. You need to take care of what and how much your puppy eats and drinks to maintain his health and well-being. Keep reading for everything you need to know about water intake for puppies or if you should leave water out for your puppy all day.
A General Guideline
It’s good to follow a general guideline loosely. It all depends on your dog’s specific breed, size, diet, daily activities and so on. A good guideline is that your dog should drink between half and one ounce of water for every pound of body weight. This applies to a healthy dog with no specific health problems.
If you have a 65 pound Labrador Retriever (see these lab toys), you can allow your dog to drink around 33 to 65 ounces of water each day.
How to tell if your puppy is dehydrated?
One of the concerns about controlling water intake for puppies is dehydration. It’s a dangerous condition that can lead to serious health complications in puppies. Some causes for dehydration in puppies are vomiting, diarrhea, fever and excessive urination.
If your puppy has experienced any of these, the first thing you need to do is to prevent dehydration. Give your puppy lots of water. If your puppy is already dehydrated, there are certain things you can do to make sure your pet is getting enough water intake.
Check the skin over your puppies shoulders
Grab the skin of your puppy and pull back a bit. If it takes time to snap back into place, then your pet might be dehydrated. Usually, when the skin is slow at snapping back in place, it means that the dehydration level is 7-8%. The dangerous dehydration level is 10%.
Check your puppies capillary refill time
You can do this by gently pressing your finger onto the puppy’s gums. This way, you will block the puppy’s blood flow. Once you release your finger the area of the gums you pressed should turn from white back to pink within 2 seconds.
But if turning back to healthy pink color takes 4-5 seconds, your puppy might be dehydrated.
Too much water is also not good
Just like drinking too little water, drinking too much water a day can lead to health problems. It’s usually during the hot months in summer that puppies tend to drink too much. Especially after an active hang out or a long walk in the park.
Some causes for over-drinking can be a change in food or change in atmosphere. Sometimes, it can be even some bigger underlying problem.
If your puppy is drinking eight ounce water bowl four times a day, you might need to check if it’s over-hydrating and visit your vet.
If your puppy is an over-drinker, and the visit to the vet concluded that it is not a sign of some health issue, you can try to limit your pet’s water intake by:
- Letting your puppy lick bottles, like the ones used for horses. This way you can limit your puppy’s water intake.
- Don’t feel up your puppy’s bowl with water, instead ration it during the day by dividing it in several refills instead of one big one.
- For the nighttime, try a rabbit water feeder that you will place in your puppy’s bed.
- Drop a few ice cubes into your puppy’s water bowl before filling it up with water. Licking and chewing the ice cubes will help your puppy cool down after an activity, and result in him drinking less water.
How much water should a puppy drink a day?
How can you know if your puppy is drinking too much or too little water if you still don’t know how much is normal? What is a good puppy water schedule? There is no exact amount about how much water a puppy should be drinking. But there are some general rules you can follow.
The most basic rule is that on days with low activity, your puppy should drink an ounce of water per pound of body weight.
This means if your puppy weighs 9 pounds, it should drink 9 ounces of water a day. But keep in mind that on active and hot days, a healthy puppy might need double the normal amount of water.
How much water a dog should drink daily depends on several factors:
- The size of the dog – like we discussed, normally a puppy should drink an ounce of water per pound of body weight
- The food the dog eats – Dogs that eat only dry food will need more water than those that eat canned food.
- The dog’s age: Puppies need time to learn how much water they need to drink, so you have to monitor them. Half a cup of water each two hours is good.
- Exercise and weather: After being active or during hot summer days, your dog will need to drink more water. Those days, try the trick with putting ice cubes in their water bowl.
- Medications: If your vet out your dog on some new medications, don’t forget to ask them if it will make your dog drink more water or less than usual.