How Much Water Should My Puppy Drink

One thing about me that my friends and family know is that I’m a big water drinker. I drink water all day long and not much of anything else because it’s super healthy. It’s also vital for proper health and wellness.

The same goes for your puppy. They need water from the start of their doggy day to the end, and it should be available for them to drink whenever they need it. 

That made me wonder about a question I hear all the time from readers like yourself, namely, how much water should my puppy drink?

The answer is that generally speaking, a puppy needs about 1/2 cup of water every 2 hours, or 6 cups of water throughout the day. As they get older, that should be increased to about one ounce of water for every pound they weigh.  

The size of your puppy will make a big difference in how much water they need to drink every day. A Chihuahua puppy, for example, is going to drink a lot less than a Great Dane puppy. Also, the amount of physical activity that your puppy gets will affect how much water they need, plus how hot and dry it is where you live.

Now that you know how much water your puppy should drink, you might be wondering if it’s okay for them to drink water all day and what happens if your puppy drinks too much water. For those answers and several more, please read on. 

Should I Let My Puppy Drink Water All Day?

The thing about puppies is that all they do is sleep, eat, and play during the first few months of their life. Knowing this fact, it’s easy to control how much your puppy drinks and, more importantly, better predict when they will need to go potty.

Knowing, more or less, when your puppy will need to relieve itself can be extremely helpful when potty training. For that reason, rather than leave water out for your puppy all day, you should only leave it out when they’re eating. Once they’ve finished eating and have lost interest in their food, take the water away until the next time you feed them. 

If you only give your puppy water when they eat, one thing to remember is how active they are. For example, if your pupper is getting a lot of exercise or exposure to a lot of outdoor sun and heat, you should give them extra water during this time also. 

Puppies need regular access to water to avoid dehydration, which is a condition that can rapidly become deadly for them. If you decide to let them have access to water all day, however, keep in mind that you will need to take them outside for frequent potty breaks.

How Much Water Should a Puppy Drink During Potty Training? 

As with many questions related to puppies, the answer to this one depends on the age, size, and breed of your puppy. Bigger, more active puppies will need more water during potty training than small, less active pups. 

However, your puppy doesn’t need any more or less water during potty training than they do during any other time of their life. The only reason to restrict their water use is to help them control their bladder and avoid accidents.

As I mentioned earlier, that’s about half a cup of water every two hours, give or take.  However, if your puppy begins to show signs that they’re dehydrated, you can increase the amount of water you give them by half a cup every two hours.

When to Cut Off Water for a Puppy

Most veterinarians and dog trainers recommend cutting off your puppy’s water supply about two hours before bedtime. In that way, they can relieve themselves one last time before bedtime and significantly reduce accidents during the night.

Cutting off their water supply before bed is essential if you’re not crating your puppy and wish to wake up in the morning without having to clean up their excrement and urine. However, cutting off their water supply before bedtime is important, even if you’re crating your pup at night. That way, your puppy won’t suffer trying to hold it in until morning, which is painful and unhealthy. 

Also, as I mentioned above, cutting off their water supply after your puppy has finished eating can be helpful when potty training. If you don’t, it’s okay, but you will need to be observant and take your puppy out to urinate frequently during the day.

What Happens if my Puppy Drinks Too Much Water?

Many puppy parents, including myself when I adopted my first puppy, are unaware that too much water is not only harmful but can be fatal for a puppy. There’s even a name for this condition; water intoxication.

The thing is, when a puppy drinks too much water, their digestive system can become overwhelmed by it. An overwhelmed digestive system can cause the amount of sodium outside of their cells to drop, causing hyponatremia, a condition that can be deadly. 

Hyponatremia causes the body to increase the amount of fluid inside their cells, which can cause your puppy’s organs to swell, including the liver and brain. The problem is that, while the liver has plenty of space to swell a bit, the brain does not because it is encased in solid bone. 

Below are some of the symptoms of water intoxication in puppies, including:

  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy (a lack of energy)
  • Restlessness
  • Bloating
  • A staggering gait (They can’t walk straight.)
  • Excessive drooling
  • Dilated pupils and pale gums
  • Glazed eyes (It looks like they’ve been crying.)

The worst part is that as your puppy’s brain swells and the pressure increases, they can begin to have difficulty breathing. If the problem persists, they can go into seizures, slip into a coma and die if nothing is done to correct the problem.

What Dog Breeds Are at a Higher Risk for Water Intoxication?

Any puppy that drinks too much water is at risk for water intoxication. That being said, several breeds are at a higher risk for it. High-energy dog breeds with a high drive to excel are the most prone to the problem.

For example, Papillons and Jack Russell Terriers have a higher risk of water intoxication. That’s because they have, as I mentioned, high energy, are very agile, and have lower fat reserves. 

These dog breeds also have a higher threshold for pain. That can be dangerous as they will often ignore the symptoms of water intoxication and the discomfort they cause, pushing through the pain at the risk of their health.

Final Thoughts

Water is essential for life on planet Earth and your precious puppy also. Veterinarians advise giving your puppy as much water as they want, within limits.  For example, cutting off their water supply before bedtime is a good idea, and restricting their water during the day when they aren’t eating. 

As far as how much water your puppy should drink, about half a cup of water every 2 hours is recommended. Keep in mind that larger puppy breeds will drink more while smaller ones will drink less. 

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog about “how much water should my puppy drink.” If you have more questions or want to learn more about raising your puppy, please see my other blogs. I do my best to fill them with real-world, actionable information to empower you to be a great puppy parent.