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How Long Can Dogs Go Without Water?

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For most of us, our dog is one of our best friends.

But sometimes we forget to fill up a water bowl or get worried because we have to crate them while we’re at work.

Many of us, at some point or another, will ask the question, exactly how long can dogs go without water?

Dogs can go a significant of time without drinking water, but there is a fine line between how long is okay and when they start to suffer from catastrophic health issues that even a vet cannot cure.

As a responsible dog owner, it is important to know how long your dog can safely go without water each day.

Water is vital to the health of all dogs but there are some times when we are unable to give them constant access to water.

The key to keeping your dog hydrated is to know exactly how long they can go without water and how much water they need each day.  

Why is Water Important for Dogs?

Everyone knows that animals need water but we sometimes forget how critical daily water consumption is for our dogs.

Water is not only essential for the basic function of an dog, it keeps their organs working, their joints lubricated, and allows them to digest the food that they eat!

When dogs do not drink enough water, the water that is in their system begins to diminish as it is used as a last resort reservoir to keep them alive.

beagle dog drinking water

This is called dehydration and simply means that their bodies are not taking in the amount of water they are losing. Without adequate water each day, a dog’s body will begin to slowly shut down. 

How Long Can Indoor Dogs Go Without Water?

Indoor dogs can technically survive up to 3 full days without water, but once the 24 hour mark hits, their bodies begin to shut down.

The damage that occurs after 24 hours without any water can be irreparable, even if the dog survives.

Indoor dogs in cool climates can safely go for around 4 to 10 hours each day without access to water.

This means if you have to leave your dog crated or if you forgot to fill up their water bowl this morning, than have no fear! Your dog will be fine, as long as you give it water as soon as you get home.

If your dog is sick and not drinking water at all, be sure to contact a veterinarian so that they are on standby.

If sickness is causing dehydration, then you will need to get the dog to a veterinarian soon if it refuses to drink water for more than 10 to 12 hours.  

How Long Can Outdoor Dogs Go Without Water?

Dogs that live outside all the time or during certain times throughout the day will need to have regular access to water.

This is especially true during hot summer days when the temperature outside can get very high.

Outdoor dogs that are in the heat for too long can suffer from heat stroke and dehydration, which can be fatal in just a few hours.

Outdoor dogs should have a constant access to water as well as a dog house and adequate shade to keep them as cool as possible throughout the day.

If you forgot to give your outdoor dog any water at all this morning and it is hot outside, call a friend or find a way to get them some water as soon as possible!

dog drinking water from a water bottle

How Much Water Does My Dog Need Daily?

Each day, dogs need to drink about an ounce of water per pound of weight.

You do not have to measure the amount they drink each day, but that gives you an estimate so that you will know if your dog is drinking enough.

They may drink more or less depending on their level of activity and the temperature outside.

When you give your dog access to water, make sure it is not limited.

Since there may be times throughout the day that it cannot drink water, the dog will need to drink all it needs when it is able to do so.

This, of course, does not apply to dogs that suffer from medical conditions where water consumption may be limited.

How Long Can a Sick Dog Go Without Water?

A dog that is suffering from an illness can become dehydrated quickly and even die.

Sometimes, the illness is so severe that they cannot keep water even though they try.

A dog suffering from depression can refuse to drink water to the point that their bodies just stop functioning.

If your dog is not drinking water either voluntarily or because they cannot keep it down, consult a veterinarian immediately.

They can help treat the medical issue and provide immediate hydration options that do not require the dog’s cooperation.

Water When Crate Training Dogs

Balancing the need for water with the need to keep a dog crated for a few hours each day can be a delicate balance.

Dogs that are left in a crate for just a couple of hours will not need water during that time.

If you have to leave your dog in the crate longer, consider leaving water in the crate for them.

Keep in mind, however, that dogs that have to be crated for more than a few hours will need to be let out to pee if you leave water in their crate for them.

Consider having someone let them out to pee if this is the case.

Signs of Dehydration in Dogs

Dogs that are dehydrated will display noticeable signs and it is important that you recognize them immediately.

Dehydrated dogs will be lethargic and not act like their normal selves. They may refuse to eat, pant for no reason, or stumble when they try to walk.

Dogs suffering from dehydration will have dry, cracked noses, along with dry, pale-colored gums.

Their eyes will appear sunken in as well as dry and their skin will lack elasticity, meaning it does not immediately pop back into place when you pull on their skin.

dog drinking water from garden tap

What to Do if Your Dog is Dehydrated

  1. Provide cool water immediately.
  2. Offer Pedialyte or other dog-safe electrolyte-filled drink.
  3. Consult a veterinarian if the dog will not drink or does not recover after hydrating it.
  4. Determine the cause of dehydration and if you cannot, consult a veterinarian to rule out medical issues.

How to Keep Your Dog Hydrated

There are several ways to make sure your dog has access to water as much as possible.

Products like automatic waterers and crate bowls will help keep water available to your dogs throughout the day.

If you use buckets for outdoor dogs, be sure to check them daily to make sure they are full and have not been turned over.

Consider clipping or securing the buckets to the fence or kennel to prevent them from getting knocked over through the day.

Automatic Waterer Options for Dogs

To make sure your dog has water available at all times, invest in an automatic waterer and you will not regret it!

We all forget to fill the water bowl at some point, but these automatic waterers help make sure our canine friends do not go thirsty, even we are away!

1. Petmate Microbran Gravity Waterer

This 1-gallon automatic waterer is a great option for indoor dogs.

It offers a Microban material that prevents bacterial growth and keep your dogs safe.

Petmate Replendish Gravity Waterer With Microban for Cats and Dogs, 1 Gallon

2. Veken Automatic Water Fountain

This automatic water fountain may seem over the top to some, but really it is a healthy and fun option for your dog.

This water fountain keeps the water flowing constantly which creates a fresh and unique water experience that indoor dogs usually miss out on.

Veken 100oz Pet Fountain, Automatic Cat Water Fountain Dog Water Fountain with LED Lights, 3 Replacement Filters for Cats, Dogs, Multiple Pets

3. Namsan Automatic Water Bowl

Outdoor dogs can use regular automatic waterers but they are more likely to get tipped over in outdoor settings.

Consider using an automatic watering system like this one that connects directly to your hosepipe.

Namsan Automatic Dog Water Bowl Dog Waterer with Float Valve Automatic Water Bowl for Dogs, Cats, Chickens, Ducks

These waterers are less likely to flip over during the day.

Water Bowl for Crates

If you need a water bowl for your dog’s crate, consider one that connects to the crate wall.

Bowls that sit on the floor of the crate can be easily tipped over by dogs, especially puppies.

Remember, only provide water in the crate if they will be in it for just a few hours at a time or if someone is going to let them out to pee at least once while you are gone.

Snap’y Fit Stainless Steel Crate Bowl

MidWest Homes for Pets Snap'y Fit Food Bowl / Pet Bowl, 20 oz. for Dogs, Cats & Small Animals

Final Thoughts

Our dogs mean the world to most of us, so it is important for us to make sure they have everything they need, including water.

To prevent water concerns in the future, consider getting an automatic waterer for your pup to make sure they never go thirsty.

If you have to crate them, that is fine, just make sure they get plenty of water when you are home.


Understanding the importance of water for your dog is imperative to keeping them as healthy as possible. These are the sources used in this article:

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