Dog Water Basics

Providing a dog water is an essential part of feeding him proper nutrients. Water is a key nutrient for any living organism as it is necessary for almost every body function. A puppy's body consists of 84% water and an adult dog's body contains 60% when properly hydrated. It is important to maintain these levels in order to promote good health as even a 10% drop in water has a serious impact on a dog's health.

Daily Water Requirements for Dogs

A dog's daily water requirement varies day by day, depending upon his activity level, whether he is healthy, the weather and other contributing factors. General guidelines suggest that a dog should drink two and a half times the amount of food that he eats. This can vary greatly, so if possible, it is best to allow him to have free access to water. Sometimes this isn't possible as in air travel or extenuating circumstances. In these instances it is best to provide access immediately before crating to board the plane and as soon as possible after departing the plane as air travel can be very dehydrating for dogs.

Water Sources

A dog owner should provide the cleanest, freshest water available for their dog. Depending on the home's water source, tap water is fine. In areas where there are high levels of minerals or contaminants in the water, filtering the water will greatly improve the water quality. Do not allow your dog to drink from the toilet, puddles, ponds or other sources that may have bacteria or other contaminants that could impact your dog's health. If you question the quality of water available, provide bottled water or water from a drinking fountain in order to keep your dog from getting sick.

With the increasing abundance of dog parks, it is important that your dog does not drink from a communal dog water bowl. These bowls are accessed by any number of dogs who may be carrying any number of diseases that are transmitted through shared water sources. In these cases, it is best to bring your own water source for your dog so you know what your dog is getting.


When a dog hasn't been getting enough water on a daily basis, he may become dehydrated. A quick test for dehydration is to grab the loose skin above your dog's shoulders and gently pull it up. When released, a properly hydrated dog's skin will quickly fall back into place. A dehydrated dog's skin will take several seconds to move back into place. In dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea, you may want to withhold water for up to 24 hours in order to give your dog's stomach a rest. If the dog is still vomiting or having loose bowel movements after 24 hours, see a veterinarian immediately. For a dog that hasn't had access to water or is dehydrated from activity, allow them to drink their fill to rehydrate.

Water is a critical element in your dog's life. It is essential to good skin, good performance and overall good health. Keeping your dog properly hydrated will help keep him healthy and active for a long time.