Dog Health, Pet Tips

How Much Water Should Your Pet Drink?

May 26, 2022

Does your pet drink enough water?

Two weeks ago now, I took Fenrir, my Alaskan Klee Kai, in for his annual checkup.  Thankfully he got a clean bill of health.  Except for the fact that 3+ years after his original diagnosis, he still tests positive for Lyme disease.  The first time he tested positive was back in 2019.  Despite little Fen otherwise being the picture of health, I decided to follow up on his positive Lyme snap test.  Our vet ran a Quant C6 blood test (to check his Lyme antibody numbers).  We also ran a urinalysis to check his kidney function.  In some unfortunate cases, Lyme disease in dogs can lead to something called Lyme nephritis, a potentially deadly condition when Lyme disease impacts the kidneys.

Collecting urine samples from little male dogs is quite the task, let me tell you!  It took me a handful of times, and getting peed on more times than I care to admit, before I got a sample that was good enough to bring into the vet.  I didn’t end up dropping off Fen’s urine sample until around a week after his original appointment.  That meant I had plenty of time to think…scratch that, overthink, things.

Fen is ok!

Water Pet DrinkThankfully, earlier this week Fen’s vet got back to me with his test results.  His Lyme antibody numbers are low (that’s a good thing) and the tests we ran to check his kidney function came back normal!  I’m SO happy that that’s one less thing for me to stress about, for now.

All this research about kidneys and urine tests really put the topic of dogs and how they process water in the forefront of my brain.  Despite Fen’s kidney results all coming back normal, his vet did mention that his urine was quite concentrated.  This can be normal sometimes, such as when you’re testing first morning urine.  But, it can also be a sign of dehydration.

How much water should our pets drink?

I think every good pet owner already knows, pets should have constant access to fresh, clean water.  Giving your pet clean water everyday is one of the easiest things you can do for them.  After all, unlike topics such as selecting your pet’s food, dental products, deciding how often to bathe them, and even what type of bowls to use for them, giving your pet water daily is pretty much a no-brainer!

But you should be monitoring how much water your pet drinks.   Sudden changes in the amounts of water your pet consumes can be an indication that something is wrong.  In addition, there are health issues that can be caused from not drinking enough (dehydration, kidney issues, organ failure), and even from over drinking (electrolyte imbalances, hyponatremia, bloat).

How much your pet should drink daily will depend on a lot of factors.  Things such as the weather/temperature, how active your pet is, their size, and diet.  A general rule for dogs is that you want to see them drink around 1 ounce (1/8th of a cup) of water for each pound of body weight daily.  However, this is not a set in stone type of rule.  Because there can be so many different factors that impact how much our pups drink, it’s a good idea to take the time to learn what’s a normal amount of water consumption for your individual pet.  This way, you’ll more easily be able to recognize when/if they begin to deviate from their personal norm.

Water Pet Drink

How to encourage your dog to drink more water?

I’m on a quest now to attempt to up Fenrir’s water intake.  He does drink normally on his own, and (thankfully) his kidneys are healthy, but I think a bit more water daily might do him some good.  Plus, it’s getting warmer here, and we’ve been spending a lot more time adventuring outside.  Staying hydrated is especially important when it’s hot, and when you’re being physically active.

Around when we moved last September, I switched Kitsune and Fenrir (temporarily, or so I told myself) to kibble.  I was having a hard time keeping up with making their home made diet while we looked for a new rental and packing.  When Fen gets stressed he tends to develop a lot of stomach symptoms too.  I found a sensitive stomach kibble that both dogs seemed to like and do well on.  I had every intention of switching them back to their regular, homemade, diet after the move.  Where the heck have the past 8 months gone!?  We’re still not fully unpacked, by the way!

Long story slightly shorter, I’m finally getting back to feeding the boys a fresh, homemade diet.  It’s quite a bit more work than just throwing some kibble in a bowl, but I think the added water content in the fresh food will be a good way to up Kit and Fen’s liquid intake, among many other benefits.  I’ve also been offering them dog safe, flavored liquids such as a bit of bone broth or goat’s milk with their meals.

Using a water fountain verses a regular bowl seems to help encourage some pets, especially cats, to drink more.  I’ve also noticed that my dogs, Fenrir in particular, are picky about their water.  He drinks more if his water is fresh and clean, and less so if it sits for awhile or gets dirty.  I’ve found that cleaning his water bowl and offering fresh water a few times a day seems to encourage him to drink more.  Picky little mister!

And with that, I need to go get some water…

Filling your pet’s water bowl each day may mostly be a mindless task.  But monitoring their fluid intake can definitely be beneficial.  Sound off below!  Do you monitor how much water your pet drinks each day?  Has doing so ever helped you discover, or prevent, a health issue?

Water Pet Drink

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  • Reply Marjorie Dawson May 27, 2022 at 3:21 am

    To make sure you know what’s going on and if you need to worry, you need to know what your ‘normal and ordinary’ is. Then you can watch and make sure your dog’s water consumption is on track. I always make sure we have plenty of water for the cats but I know comsuption goes up in summer and down a bit in cooler winter months

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack May 28, 2022 at 11:33 am

      For sure! I’m with the animals, I really have to force myself to drink enough water in the winter. But in the summer, there’s nothing like a tall glass of ice water.

  • Reply Ruth Epstein May 27, 2022 at 10:28 pm

    Layla drinks a lot of water but my vet is not concerned, she sleeps through the night and then when she wakes up before a walk she will drink, go for a walk and drink more when we get home. She with age is sleeping more LOL so when she does wake up she drinks water but am not concerned as she goes for 4 or 5 walks a day and pees all along the walk plus with the weather heating up am relieved she is staying hydrated. Great post and always good to remind us

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack May 28, 2022 at 11:35 am

      It’s important to stay hydrated! It sounds like Layla does drink a lot, but as long as her vet has ruled out any health issues than I wouldn’t worry. My Kitsune drinks a lot more than Fenrir does, but they are, thankfully, both healthy.

  • Reply Terri May 28, 2022 at 2:17 pm

    I keep a very close eye on Henry’s water intake as well. He does a good job at drinking. However, he is one heck of a backwasher. I had a horse that I thought had horrible backwash. I’d clean out his trough every few days because of it. He was nothing compared to Henry. I have to clean Henry’s water a few times a day. Sometimes I think it’s a game to him to see how dirty he can get his water in the shortest amount of time. I think he wants to be PigPen from Peanuts. I want to be clean and organized aka Martha Stewart. But he’s loveable and comical! And thank goodness he doesn’t have Lyme Disease! I’m glad Fen is doing well.

    Thanks for sharing this important reminder!

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack May 28, 2022 at 6:15 pm

      lol Henry! That’s so funny, and I can relate to wanting the water to stay nice and clean but having a dog who seems determined to make a mess. Fen has a bad habit of dipping his paws into the water bowls, which of course makes a mess and means that I’m usually refreshing my dog’s water multiple times a day too. These crazy little ones sure do like to keep us on our toes don’t they!?

  • Reply Kamira Gayle May 28, 2022 at 4:30 pm

    Having adequate hydration and avoiding dehydration is so important, especially in the summer months. I always monitored my cat’s water and food bowls daily for any changes. It’s actually a great way to alert you if something is “off” so you can address it at your next vet visit. Also, giving your pets filtered fresh water is beneficial to their health.

  • Reply Beth May 30, 2022 at 9:18 pm

    We have 3 dogs and a cat that share the water bowls. I try to keep track of their water intake, but it can be tricky at times.

    • Reply Michelle & The Paw Pack June 2, 2022 at 8:02 pm

      It is a bit trickier with multiple pets!

  • Reply Robin May 30, 2022 at 9:23 pm

    I’m so glad to hear that your pups are okay. Anytime a pet has a potenial illness, it is so scary. Pets definitely need access to as much water as possible. I have a water fountain for my cats, but I can’t use it because Dexter likes to knock it over with his head. This kitty likes getting his forehead wet I suppose! I do monitor my cat’s water intake. I notice how many times I have to fill the bowl. When something seems off, we head off to the veterinarian.

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