How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water?

Whether you’re a personal or professional pet owner, it’s essential to know – how long can a dog go without water?  Like most living things, canines can’t survive without water for longer than three days.

Although some dogs can survive that long, you should never deprive a dog of water longer than 24 hours. The lack of water causes dehydration in your dogs which affects all bodily processes.

how long can a dog go without water

If they fail to consume enough freshwater, dehydration will cause health issues such as organ failure and eventually lead to death.

If your pup has stopped drinking water for more than a day, you must bring it to the vet immediately.

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water?

how long can dogs go without water

A dog’s tolerance to dehydration varies widely. Some dogs can live longer than three days, while others will succumb to death earlier than that.

One thing you have to consider here is the overall health of the dog. If your puppy has a lingering illness, it can withstand less dehydration. This is the same for dogs with small bodies that can only store a small amount of water at a time.

Remember that a dog’s body is made up of 80%, which is way higher than that of the human body with 60% moisture.

If your dog experiences water loss of about 10% of its ideal body moisture, dehydration will set in. The consequences could be irreversible or fatal if not treated right away.

How Much Water Should You Give Your Dogs To Drink?

The dog needs to drink at least 50 ml for every kilogram of its body weight to stay healthy and keep vital organs running. So if you have a dog that weighs 25 kg. (55 lbs.) it should consume at least 1.25 liters of water a day.

Adult dogs may consume more water than puppies due to size, but it depends on size and activity level.

Also, it’s not enough that the dog has something to drink. The water should be clean and potable to prevent poisoning or stomach upset. Their water bowls should be changed out daily.

However, if you need to be away longer than 24 hours, it’s best to board your dog at a friend’s house or a boarding facility. This will ensure that your dog will be hydrated and fed correctly.

Why Would A Dog Not Drink Water?

dog won't drink water

Healthy dogs must search for water whenever they feel thirsty. But, a dog that’s refusing to consume water even if given some might be suffering from a health problem.

Here are the possible reasons why a dog would not drink:

Medical problem

One of the leading causes as to why a dog won’t drink is a medical condition. For example, an urinary tract infection can decrease your dog’s thirst, resulting in dehydration.

Also, conditions like diabetes and kidney disease may cause fluctuations in your dog’s likelihood of drinking water. Please read here: Why does my dog hack after drinking water

If you suspect your pooch is suffering from this condition, you should immediately bring it to the vet. Proper diagnosis and treatment will prevent the fatal consequences of Dehydration.

A dog that’s feeling nauseous will not drink because it will only trigger their discomfort even more.

Lack of potable water

If a dog doesn’t have any water supply, it would be forced not to drink at all. Worse, it may seek other water sources, which can be contaminated.

Take note that water deprivation during the hot season will speed up dehydration in your dog. If you’re not around to fill your dog’s bowl, ask someone to do it for you.

Mouth sores

If your dog has mouth sores or mouth injuries, it may refuse to drink due to the pain. A piece of wood might have gotten stuck inside the dog’s mouth, or a sharp object might have cut its gum.

You should check your dog’s mouth weekly so you catch any problems immediately. Provide the necessary treatment to your dog and contact your vet for professional advice.


Old dogs tend to have less energy to walk around. If the water bowl is far from where they are lounging, your old doggo might decide not to drink because it takes too much effort.

Since aging canines don’t get as much physical activity as younger dogs, they tend to be less thirsty.

However, old dogs still need to stay hydrated even if they are not physically exerting. If your dog seems to be drinking less than usual, trick your dog into drinking water or switching to wet food might do the trick to supplement the lost moisture.


Dogs are intelligent beings, and they learn quickly by association. If they associated the water bowl with a negative or traumatic experience, they would stop drinking from it.

It’s possible that someone stomped on their tail while drinking or that something scared them off while taking a sip.

Again, dogs learn by association. This means you can circumvent the situation by re-associating the water bowl with something positive. For example, you can dunk a treat into the water to encourage the pup to drink.

Then, when your dog does retrieve the treat, praise it, so the pooch will know that going to the water bowl is a good thing.

However, if your pooch won’t budge, it might be time to get a water bowl with a different design.

How Can You Tell If A Dog Is Dehydrated?

If your dog is not drinking or consuming any water, you must be wary about dehydration. This is a hazardous condition that can kill a dog in a matter of hours or days.

The signs of dehydration in dogs are the same as in cats:

  • Excessive panting
  • Poor appetite
  • Sticky and dry gums
  • Dry nose
  • Lethargy and unwillingness to move
  • Dry and sunken-looking eyes
  • Mucolytic saliva
  • Skin tenting

Of all these symptoms, loss of skin elasticity is the most telling in terms of dehydration. If you pinch your dog’s skin and it doesn’t fall back into place right away, it’s a sign that dehydration is already happening.

However, if you have a wrinkly breed like Pugs, Shar-Peis, and the likes, this symptom might be tricky to point out. This is why you should have an idea of what your dog’s healthy skin looks like before the possible dehydration.

If you notice any of these symptoms on your dog, you must bring them to the vet right away.

First, the veterinarian will put your dog on an IV drip to hydrate it. Then, further tests will be conducted to identify if your dog has underlying health problems that made it stop drinking.

How Do You Rehydrate A Dog?

If your dog has been living without water for a day or two, you should hydrate it slowly. For safe rehydration, you must keep the following points in mind:

Offer some broth

If your dog doesn’t drink plain water, low- or no-sodium broth might do the trick. Aside from the moisture, the broth also contains vitamins and minerals that will replenish the lost nourishment in your dog’s body.

Give icy treats

frozen treats for dog

 Pupsicles or frozen bananas will help in giving added moisture to your dog. When making a popsicle, mix it with some electrolyte supplement made for dogs so your pooch won’t miss essential nutrients.

Add water to dry dog food

If feeding dry dog food such as kibble, add a little water to rehydrate the food before feeding. This can be plain water, vegetable broth, or bone broth. Make sure the broth doesn’t have added sodium.

Switch to wet food

Transitioning your dog to wet food will help ensure that it gets ample hydration each day. However, you have to perform the switch slowly to prevent stomach upset and other adverse side effects.

You should also consult with your dog’s vet before introducing the new food.

Bring it to the vet

If your dog is refusing any form of hydration, the best resort is to take it to the veterinarian.

Don’t wait longer than 24 hours since your dog’s life is at risk. If your dog needs an IV trip, vets are trained and certified to administer them.

How To Hydrate A Dog That Won’t Drink Water?

It’s important to let your dog consume enough water every day. Unfortunately, some dogs are always careless about drinking water, which can lead to dehydration.

However, there are some tricks you can apply to hydrate these dogs.

  • Keeping water bowl available in multiple areas
  • Add water to kibble
  • Feeding them wet foods
  • Adding some flavor to water
  • Contacting your vet

How to hydrate a dog that won’t drink water?

Encourage your dog to drink even an ounce of water at a time by splashing their mouth. Keep water bowls available in multiple locations. Feed wet food or add some broth to flavor the water.

Can a doggo 10 hours without water?

A healthy dog can stay almost 3 days without water. So, 10 hours is not a big task. If your dog’s health is okay, if it is indoor, then it can quickly go 10 hours without a drop of water.

Is it okay to limit dogs’ water at night?

It’s better to let your dog intake water during the day rather than at night. Especially for puppies, remove water pots at night. Dogs get hydrated in the daytime. The water they intake at day will keep them hydrated overnight.


Water is as essential for animals as for humans. But, even without water, animals can survive better than humans. So, how long can a dog go without water?

Never let your dog go without water for more than a day.

Two or three days is the maximum, but you should never let your dog reach that point because dehydration can cause life-threatening circumstances. The first day that your dog refuses to drink is more than enough reason for you to bring it to the vet. Remember that being proactive can save a life.

Written By