Getting Enough Water for your Dog

Dogs just love water. And while they need all the essential nutrients to survive, they need water most of all. Fresh, clean water. Dogs can go for amazing length of time without food, but without water they’d perish in a few days.

Make sure she has fresh water, says Kathy Michel, D.V.M., a clinical assistant professor of nutrition at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine in Philadelphia. “If the water’s not fresh, some dogs will drink only when very thirsty.” Clean the bowl and change the water every morning, then check it during the day. This is especially important in hot weather or if your dog spends time outside. For an expectant or lactating mom, continual access to clean, fresh water is most important. Water carriers’ nutrients to the developing fetuses and also helps flush wastes out of the mother’s system. During lactation, she needs lots to keep up her milk supply for her new family.

Your dog can drink however much she likes, whenever she likes, except around serious exercise time. (Her water bowl should be off-limits for at least 30 minutes before and after exercise.) Generally, you need never to be concerned about giving her “too much” water. Talk to your vet if you notice a marked increase in your dog’s water consumption, though. “Diabetes, kidney failure, Cushing’s disease and other things are all characterized by increased thirst,” says Dr. Michel.