K9sOverCoffee | How much water does my dog really need?

How much water does my dog need?

We all know about the importance of supplying our pups with clean, fresh water on a regular, daily basis, right along with washing their water dishes to prevent bacteria growth. But how do we know if our dogs drink enough water?

K9sOverCoffee.com | How much water does my dog really need?

How much water does my dog really need?

While we should drink anywhere between 2-4 liters (67 to 135 oz) per day, depending on our lifestyle and age, the rule of thumb for our dogs is about 1 oz of water for each pound of body weight per day. This number will be influenced by our dogs’ activity level, weather, and age. 

Puppies & lactating dogs will drink more water as their adult, non lactating counterparts. Dogs who exercise a lot will also require a greater water intake.

My pups Missy & Buzz weigh 52 & 72 lbs, respectively. Missy’s 52 lbs translate into 6.5 cups of daily water intake, while Buzz’s 72 lbs require him to drink about 8 cups of water every day.


As mentioned above, the pups’ water needs depend on their level of activity. When hiking with them or playing an intense game of fetch, we always offer fresh, clean water in between. That’s when our collapsible outdoor bowls come in very handy!

Missy Enjoying A Walk At The Beach in NC

How do I know if my dog is dehydrated?

There is an easy way to check your dog’s hydration level: Gently pull up some of the skin on the back of your dog’s neck; If it stays up or only goes back down very slowly, your dog is dehydrated. If the skin goes back down right away, he is doing just fine.

What to do if my dog is dehydrated?

If you’re dealing with a mild level of dehydration, say after a tiring walk, offering him fresh, cool, clean water should do the trick. Another option might be to give him an ice cube or two to lick/crunch on. Our boy Buzz is a sucker for those!

Should Fido be seriously dehydrated, he will need to go see a vet, who will likely hydrate him intravenously, and run some tests.

What are the signs of a seriously dehydrated dog?

The following are signs of a seriously dehydrated dog:

  • Pale gums
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dull looking coat
  • Non-elastic skin
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Collapse

How to entice your dog to take in water

Some dogs may not be drawn to their water dish, so you may have to get a bit creative to ensure he’s staying hydrated:

  • If your dog is kibble fed, adding some water to his daily meals is the most obvious option
  • A better option is to top his meals off with raw dog food
  • Better yet is to make the switch to a 100% raw, balanced diet. That’s because raw fed dogs need to drink less water as their raw food contains a lot more water than dry dog food.
  • Offer refreshing snacks like ice cubes and watermelon (without the seeds). Some dogs really like ice cubes, and you can take the ice cube option up one level by placing small treats into an ice cube tray prior to adding the water. 
K9sOverCoffee | Delicious Watermelon For The Pups & For Myself
How do you ensure your dog drinks enough water? We’d love to hear about them in the comment box at the bottom of the post!

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Barbara launched her blog K9sOverCoffee in 2014 and has been feeding her dogs raw dog food since 2015. As a former professional dog walker, she’s passionate about balancing species-appropriate exercise with healthy dog nutrition. Barbara is raw dog food nutrition certified from “Dogs Naturally Magazine” and the author of several e-books about minimally processed, balanced raw dog food.






4 responses to “How much water does my dog need?”

  1. Lindsay Avatar

    My dog is one who will chug his whole bowl, so he usually doesn’t have an issue with dehydration! I guess I’ve never had to think about how to get a dog to drink more water. I bet there are products you can add to the water to make it have more flavor. Like beef or chicken flavor. If that doesn’t already exist, then you and I better create it!

    1. Barbara Rivers Avatar

      Haha, I like the way you’re thinking ;-)) That’s a great idea!

  2. DZ Dogs Avatar

    I think Dante drinks twice his recommended daily dose! He is such a water lover, we have a giant dog water bowl that I fill up no less than once a day. And after our bout of giardia last summer I bring a giant water container and collapsible dish anywhere we visit or hike so that they don’t drink from puddles.

    1. K9sOverCoffee Avatar

      Missy is the same way 😉 It’s Buzz who needs to be enticed to drink on a regular basis..very smart idea taking along water on hikes! Our pups wear doggie backpacks that hold several water bottles. We also bring a collapsible water dish that attaches to their backpack 😉

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