Puppies are constantly on the move, and need plenty of food and water to stay healthy and grow into happy dogs. How much water your puppy should consume has to do with his size, age and activity level more than anything, but there are some general rules worth following if you want to make sure your dog stays well hydrated. Both overhydration and dehydration are dangerous for puppies and adult dogs.
Very young puppies will initially get the hydration they need from their mother’s milk. As they begin exploring the world and eating more solid foods, they will need a steady supply of fresh water to drink. Growing puppies need around 1/2 cup of water every couple of hours depending on their age and size, so keep a close eye on any young pups to ensure they are spending adequate time at the water bowl.
Once your puppy is out of the weaning phase and cruising toward adulthood, his water needs decrease significantly. The average dog needs between 1/2 ounce to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight in a given day. If your puppy weighs 20 pounds, for instance, he’d need between 10 and 20 ounces of water for the day to stay hydrated. Most dogs will automatically hydrate to the correct amount, though some may over- or under drink.
If a dog doesn’t have enough water to drink, he can quickly become dehydrated. Dehydration is extremely dangerous for your pup and can lead to serious health complications, so it’s important to be certain the dog has access to enough clean water. The easiest way to check for dehydration is to grab the skin on your dog’s neck and stretch it out. If the skin doesn’t snap back into place, your dog could be dealing with dehydration. Always check with a vet if you think your dog is experiencing health problems.
Dealing with Heat
During the hot months of summer, your dog may have a tendency to overdrink after hanging out outside or completing a walk. In order to prevent bloat and ensure your dog doesn’t drink too much, drop a few ice cubes into his water bowl before filling it up. Licking and chewing the ice cubes will help him cool down, which in turn encourages him to drink less water. If you do take your dog out for walks or vigorous exercise, be sure to bring water to keep him hydrated along the way.