Make Sure Your Dog Never Goes This Long Without Drinking Water

The symptoms of dog dehydration are important to learn to make sure your companion is well-hydrated.

Jamie Bichelman - Author

Feb. 16 2024, Published 12:25 p.m. ET

A smiling woman in a hat provides her dog with water from a clear bottle surrounded by green trees.
Source: iStock

Whether you're going on a hike with your dog, bringing your companion with you on a plane, or planning your next camping getaway with your pup, it's natural to wonder how long a dog can safely go without drinking water.

While it is obviously never recommended to test the boundaries of how long any animal can go without food or water, it is of course beneficial to be aware of the symptoms of dehydration and to plan ahead to keep you and your companion safe.

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As you envision your next adventure with your dog, it is always best to consult with a veterinarian to ensure your dog's unique needs are responsibly planned for well in advance. Keep reading for additional information to be the best parent to your pooch and help them avoid dehydration.

A smiling woman in a blue tank top and black shorts provides water to her dog from a clear bottle outside of their car on a dirt road surrounded by grass.
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How long can a dog go without water?

Generally, dogs can survive a maximum of three days without water, according to the Northwest Veterinary Clinic of Mount Vernon.

That said, many considerations, including your dog's age, health, and the level of activity you anticipate with your dog all may factor into how long your dog can go without drinking water, the veterinary clinic notes.

However, just because most dogs can technically survive 72 hours without water doesn't mean that serious symptoms of dehydration won't set in sooner.

Per the Heart of Brooklyn Veterinary Hospital, vomiting, diarrhea, panting, loss of appetite, and low energy are some of the symptoms of dehydration in dogs.

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Some of these symptoms of dehydration may appear after around 24 hours, and considering your dog's current health needs, it is imperative to make sure they have safe access to water much sooner.

Additionally, per Eastgate Animal Hospital, a dog's breed, lifestyle, and the climate in which they live, are other factors that may accelerate the rate at which a dog experiences dehydration.

Severe dehydration can lead to dogs experiencing kidney failure and losing consciousness, per the Northwest Veterinary Clinic of Mount Vernon.

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How much water should a dog drink a day?

A rule of thumb for keeping dogs hydrated is to give them around 1 ounce of water each day for each pound of body they weigh, per WebMD. For example, if your dog weights 25 pounds, you should make sure they consume at least 25 ounces (3.125 cups) of water each day.

But in most cases, it's good for dogs to drink even more than that. You can ensure this happens by keeping their water bowl "fresh and filled," per Advanced Care Veterinary Hospital.

Overall, keeping your dog adequately fed and hydrated is "crucial to their health and survival," stated the Heart of Brooklyn Veterinary Hospital.

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A Labrador retriever is holding a dog bowl in his mouth in a kitchen at home.
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How long can a dog go without food?

Just as any human shouldn't explore the limits of how long they can go without food, water, or rest, dogs should likewise never go without these basic needs for more than a few hours.

According to a veterinarian interviewed by The Dodo, dogs can go a maximum of three to five days without food, so long as they're consuming water.

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Additionally, per PetMD, a dog not eating for days may be symptomatic of a larger concern. It could signify a medical issue; indicate aging; or mean that something is wrong with your dog's food, such as it going rotten or being inadequately prepared.

If you plan on going out with your dog for adventures and trips of all kinds, we recommend packing a portable, collapsible bowl for food and water, as well as any medications and rain gear, to ensure they're protected and comfortable in different climates.

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