Usually, a dog can survive without water for about 3 to 5 days; far less than without food. Although there have been reports of dogs lasting more than two weeks without water and food.
However, this depends on the dog’s breed, body size, overall health, and weather. On one hand, a healthy dog can withstand a week before getting dehydrated. On the other hand, a dog with a weak kidney will only endure 12 hours without serious health problems.
So, how do I tell how long can a dog go without water? The golden rule of dog hydration is measuring a dog’s weight and giving them one liter of water every 33 lbs per day. So, if a dog weighs 50 lbs, it needs about one and a half-liter of water per day to remain healthy.
Alternatively, a puppy needs eight ounces of water, a quarter of a liter, nearly every hour due to its demanding metabolism.
Furthermore, hot weathers make humans more thirsty, so it’s obvious that the same happens to our canine companions.
Both hot and cold weather increases the amount of water a dog needs throughout the day: hot weather makes a dog lose more fluids than normal, whereas freezing temperatures reduce the humidity levels of the air.
All in all, it’s advisable to know how to trick your dog into drinking water regardless of the weather. Never let your dog not drink water for more than one day.
What Are The Signs of a Dog’s Dehydration?
It may happen that you don’t know your dog’s specific needs. Although dogs’ health is a delicate matter, most owners don’t know the clearest symptoms of dehydration. Even experts make an effort to spread the word about this critical condition.
To help you out, here’s a list of the telltale signs of dehydration:
Loss of Appetite
When a dog losses the desire to eat it means there’s something wrong. Dogs, as well as humans, require liquid for easier digestion. Otherwise, your canine won’t even try to eat food with their mouths completely dry.
Loss of Energy
Just like eating less, a listless dog usually means trouble. Food and water give any living being energy, so dehydration causes any animal to stop being so cheerful and energetic. Nonetheless, keep in mind loss of energy and appetite might be the effect of other illnesses too.
Dry Nose and Gums
This symptom is one of the most noticeable and worrying signs of dehydration. A cracky or flaky nose is a serious condition that weakens the nose’s skin, which in turn makes your dog more likely to hurt its nose.
If there’s a dry nose, then there are dry gums too. Even though gums do get parched after sleeping, gums shouldn’t be tacky all day long. Take a look at your dog’s gums if you suspect your friend is not drinking enough water
Panting Too Much
This sign is a byproduct of heat and energy loss. Some dogs don’t notice they are indeed dehydrated, so they act like they usually do, but see themselves panting excessively after regular activities. A telltale sign they have reached their limit is foam foaming in its mouth. Whenever a dog is panting too much, it must drink water immediately to cool off.
Not only are sunken eyes hard to look at, but they also are a warning of dehydration. Eyes and their muscles sink thanks to lack of water, so sunken eyes should warn you that your doggo, for whatever reason, is not getting enough water.
This is a severe symptom, so reach a veterinarian ASAP.
Reduced Skin Elasticity
Dogs’ skin goes back to its place when tugged, but will take longer if your dog needs more fluids. Again, this drawback borns out of dehydration: the skin is like a protective coat powered by water and blood vessels, so dehydration thins down this protective coat.
Are These Signs Only Related to Dehydration?
Of course not. All of these signs could be the aftermath of another, unrelated condition or illness, but these symptoms in combination have a high chance of being the consequences of dehydration.
Even if you don’t know why your dog shows these symptoms, you must take your canine to your veterinarian whenever you can. Apart from mildly dry nose and gums, all these signs are unnatural, unhealthy issues your dog is suffering from.
My Dog Is Dehydrated. What Should I Do?
The first thing to do is obvious: pay a visit to your trusted vet.
If you can’t go to the vet yet, there are several things you can do to make your friend’s life easier in the meantime:
- Take Cover
Avoid your pet staying under the sun or around hot areas. Let it rest inside your house, or cool areas with enough shade.
- Here, Buddy!
Take into account how much water your dog needs to consume every day and try to make your dog at least drink the required minimum of water. You can use treats and verbal praise as reinforcements.
- Examine Your Dog Frequently
Take a look at your dog’s nose and mouth, its appearance, and its behavior. As we mentioned early, there are telltale signs you can check, so look for them to see whether your dog is finally getting better or needs professional assistance.
How Long Can a Dog Go Without Food?
We covered how long can a dog survive without water, but what about food? Parallel to water consumption, the amount of food a dog requires depends on the dog’s genetics, weight, climate, and wellness.
Typically, a healthy dog can live between 5 to 10 days without food, two times longer than without water. Conversely, an ill dog can last up to 2 days.
There are three main reasons for this:
Dogs Don’t Feel Like It
Stress and sadness might overwhelm your dog and make them too dejected to even take a bite. This usually happens when the owner is not around for too long or your dog is not comfortable with its new surroundings.
It’s Become Difficult to Eat
You don’t want to eat when your teeth hurt, right? A dog feels the same. Whenever their digestive system is affected, dogs tend to eat less or don’t eat at all, since it’s uncomfortable for them, or outright pains them.
Saving Energy to Recover Faster
Canines, alongside many mammals, tend to eat far less when they are sick. Why? Digesting food takes energy, so some animals tend to eat a different diet in order to distribute their energy towards their immunologic system.
However, eating less will ultimately result in smaller incomes of energy, so it’s not advisable to let your dog eat less and less if they don’t get over their sickness.
The most important thing is not to get to the point of asking yourself: how long can a dog go without water? Never go to extremes with pets. The more hydrated they are the better. Remember that having a dog is not an obligation, it should be a conscious decision. We assure you that all the love you give, your dog will thank you. They are called "man's best friend" for a reason.