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 stick around that long, it’s not wise to deprive a dog of water longer than 24 hours. Dehydration will set in that will lead to organ failure and eventual death. If your pooch has stopped or refuses to drink for more than a day, you must bring it to the vet right away.
How long can a dog survive without drinking?
A dog’s tolerance to dehydration varies widely. Some dogs can leave 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 pooch has a lingering illness, surviving dehydration is nil. 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 human bodies with 60% moisture. If your dog experiences water loss of about 10% of its ideal body moisture, dehydration will set in. The consequences would be fatal and irreversible if not treated right away.
To stay healthy, the dog needs to drink at least 50 ml for every kilogram of their body weight. So if you have a dog that weighs 25 kg. (55 lbs.)It should consume at least 1.25 liters of water a day. 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.
If you can’t go home alone and top up your dog’s water bowl, ask someone to stop by to do it for you. However, if you need to be away longer than 24 hours, it’s best to board your dog to 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?
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. Urinary tract infection can decrease your dog’s thirst, which can result in dehydration.
Also, conditions like diabetes and kidney disease may cause fluctuations in your dog’s likelihood of drinking water. If you suspect your pooch is suffering from this condition, you should bring it to the vet immediately. 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
This one’s quite a given. 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. Unlike cats, only a few dogs are fond of drinking from the sink.
- 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 this so you can give the necessary treatment to your dog. The advice of a vet is valuable, as always.
Old dogs tend to have less energy to walk around. And if the water bowl is far from where they are lounging, the old doggo might decide not to drink because it takes a lot of effort. Also, since aging canines don’t get as much physical activity as younger dogs, they tend to be less thirsty as well.
However, old dogs still need to stay hydrated even if they are not physically exerting. If your doggo seems to be drinking less than usual, switching to a 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 to a negative or traumatic experience, they would stop drinking on 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 to something positive. You can dunk a treat into the water to encourage the pooch to drink. 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. You must check for the following symptoms, which is the same with dehydration 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 it to the vet right away. The veterinarian will put your dog on an IV drip to hydrate it. 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-sodium broth might do the trick. Aside from the moisture, the broth also contains vitamins and minerals that will replenish the lost nourishment on your dog’s body.
- Give icy treats. Pupsicles or frozen banana 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.
- Switch to wet food. Transitioning your dog to wet food will help a lot in ensuring 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 the veterinarian. You shouldn’t wait any longer since your dog’s life is at risk. Also, only the vet is allowed to administer an IV drip to pets.
How long can a dog go without water? Three days is the maximum, but you should never let your dog reach that point. 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.