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How long can a dog go without water?

When a dog goes for an extended period without drinking, it can lead to the symptoms of dehydration. Here, our Alpharetta vets share the signs and symptoms of dehydration and answer a commonly asked question, 'How long can a dog go without water?'

Dehydration in Dogs

While your dog may drink frequently, they are also losing water constantly. If your pet does not drink enough water, it can lead to dehydration and cause various health problems. Lack of fluid intake in your pet's body could restrict blood flow and lessen the amount of oxygen that reaches the organs and tissues. This makes access to water crucial at all times.

What causes dogs to experience dehydration?

Here are some of the most common causes of dog dehydration:

  • Heatstroke or fever
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Pain
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or panting
  • Frequent urination caused by kidney failure and diabetes

What are the symptoms of dehydration in dogs?

Some of the symptoms that most commonly affect dehydrated dogs include:

  • Less elastic skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting with or without diarrhea
  • Less energy
  • Fatigue
  • Panting
  • Hollow and dry-looking eyes
  • Dry nose
  • Dry and moist gums
  • Thick saliva

How long is recovery from dehydration?

If your dog is just beginning to experience the effects of dehydration then drinking some water should begin to relieve the symptoms fairly quickly. If severe dehydration has occurred, the recovery may take a longer period and will require veterinary care.

How long it takes for them to recover will vary depending on the severity of their dehydration and the underlying cause. With prompt veterinary care, their hospital stay may only last a day or two and require IV fluids.

How much water does my dog need each day?

Water accounts for more than 70% of a dog's body weight, so they must drink plenty daily. A good rule of thumb for dogs is one ounce of water for every pound of body weight. So a 25-pound dog requires 25 oz. (or 3 cups) of water per day, while a 75-pound dog requires nearly 2 liters. This is spread out over their day, and there are other ways to supplement their hydration needs rather than offering them small amounts of water.

How long can my dog go without water?

When your dog has noticeably stopped drinking you will likely begin to ask yourself questions like 'How long can dogs go without water (or food)?'.

If there are no health or environmental concerns, a healthy dog may go many hours without taking a drink of water. So don't stress too much about what happens when you aren't looking.

If your dog goes an extended period without water then you may begin to see the effects of dehydration after the first 24 hours. Though some have suggested withholding water to prevent dogs from urinating in the house or their crate all day while their owner is at work, it is critical to never leave your dog alone without water.

Dogs can go a little longer without food than they can water, although it is just as dangerous. A healthy adult dog can go about 5 days without food, although this varies based on their water intake.

Ensuring that your dog is hydrated and fed is crucial to their health and survival, so if you plan on leaving your dog alone for a while and are wondering how long can dogs go without food and water then you may want to consult with your vet or book them a stay at a kennel.

What should I do if my dog isn't drinking water?

Typically, a healthy adult dog will need no help making sure that they are hydrated each day. However, if they refuse to drink water, they might be experiencing an underlying issue such as a stomach upset or an intestinal or urinary blockage.

It is critical to take action to get a dog to drink water, especially if the dog has been vomiting or has had consistent diarrhea. This is especially dangerous because it rapidly loses moisture while not consuming enough water or food to compensate.

If this occurs you should contact Loving Hands Animal Clinic & Pet Resort during regular office hours for emergency veterinary care

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Has your dog been avoiding the water bowl? Contact our Alpharetta vets today to schedule an exam as soon as possible.

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