Do you know a dog is made up of approximately 70 percent water? This careful balance is maintained by the regular consumption and loss of water through urination, respiration, and evaporation.
Because a dog’s body loses water through urination, respiration, and evaporation; weather, exercise, diet, and age can greatly affect your dog’s hydration level. A loss of as little as 10% of a dog’s water make up can cause serious dehydration and long term damage, but it’s not always obvious if your dog is drinking “enough” water to stay healthy and hydrated.
For dogs under 20 pounds, a good rule of thumb is drinking one cup of water (8oz) per five pounds of body weight each day. This calculation gets a bit trickier with larger and more active dogs. According to Dogster.com, average dogs over 20 pounds consume between .5 and one ounce of water per pound per day, so a 50 pound dog would consume between 25 and 50 ounces (.75 – 1.5L) of water in day.
Again, these estimates are generalizations, and your dog’s coat, diet, activity level, age, and energy level can vastly skew this number. For example, older dogs that eat a water-rich diet of wet food will consume far less water than a high energy pup whose diet consists of mostly dry food.
The best rule of thumb for keeping your dog healthy and hydrated is noting any changes in the amount of water they drink. If your dog is drinking any more or less water than usual, seek a veterinarian’s advice, as it could be a symptom of a more severe condition.
As always, when heading out on an adventure, be sure to bring extra water and a collapsible dog bowl for your dog in case there are no natural bodies of water for them to rely on for hydration. Another option is to have them carry their own water with a pack!