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How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water?

Dogs should have fresh water available for them to drink all the time. Water is essential to life. But what if your dog is sick and not drinking water or doesn’t have access to water for some reason?

Dogs can go three days max without water, but if they refuse to drink any water for 12 hours you should go to the vet.

How long can a dog go without water? How soon should you start to worry? When should you see the vet?

Why Would a Dog Not Drink Water?

There are several reasons that a dog may refuse water. Everything from health issues, to stress, to the season.

Indeed dogs typically drink less in the cooler weather months. Usually, they are less active and don’t need the water to help them cool down.

Dogs may choose to not drink water due to a sore in their mouth or another mouth injury.

Several health issues can cause a dog to not drink water or to become dehydrated. These include:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Kidney Disease
  • Heat Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Lethargy
  • Excessive Panting
  • Fever

Diet Plays A Role

You may notice that some dogs seem to drink more than others. This can be due to their activity level, their breed, whether they run hot or cold, and their diet.

Dogs who eat dry kibble are likely to drink a lot more water then a dog fed a diet that has more moisture in it.

A dog who eats a raw, species-appropriate diet will drink much less than he would if he ate dry kibble.

This is because a raw, species-appropriate diet is made of real food that has moisture in it.

Most kibbles have 10% or less moisture while a raw diet will have as much as 70+% moisture. So, it makes sense that a raw fed dog would drink less water.

How Long Can A Dog Go Without Water?

Well, this depends. Puppies and senior dogs can’t go as long as adult dogs who are not seniors yet. Generally, a dog can go 2-3 days without water. This time is much shorter for puppies.

Dehydration, on the other hand, can set in much quicker. So, if your dog has not lapped up any water for 12 hours it’s time to go to the vet.

Especially if there are any other symptoms present.

Signs Of Dehydration

If you suspect that your dog may not be drinking enough water check for these signs of dehydration:

  • Lack of Appetite
  • Dry Gums
  • Dark Yellow Urine
  • Sunken Eyes
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Collapse
  • Loss of Skin Elasticity
  • Excessive Panting
  • Excessive Vomiting or Diarrhea

If you observe these signs in your dog, get to the vet right away. Your precious pup will likely need to go on IV fluids along with anything else needed to fix the root issue.

Preventing Dehydration

Always have fresh clean water available to your dog where ever he is, even when created. I highly recommend that you change your dog’s water daily.

That way you can check and see how much water he drank the day before. Then you can be sure that he is indeed drinking his water.

Bring water with you on your walks, especially if it is hot outside. Even if you are going to a place where there is a stream or lake, bring water for your dog.

He might not like the other water. Also, don’t let your dog drink salt water. This can cause salt poisoning!

It is important to note that drinking strange water can also cause a dog to have diarrhea and potentially dehydrate.

By strange water, I mean water that your dog is not used to drinking.

For instance, if your dog usually drinks soft water and then drinks hard water it could cause issues for your dog.

Also, if you and your dog live in Indiana and then you travel and your dog drinks water from Illinois this could cause tummy upset.

If your dog is not drinking water try offering bone broth. Most dogs love the taste and it will offer moisture, amino acids, and other minerals and nutrients that should help him feel better.

Above all, if your dog does not drink for 12 hours go to the vet and get him sorted out!


How long can a dog go without water? Three days max. If you notice dry gums or sunken eyes or loss of appetite this could mean your dog is dehydrated.

Try offering bone broth. If your dog will not drink that and hasn’t drunk anything for 12 hours it’s time to go to the vet.

Also, if you are looking for more information on how long dogs can go without pooping check out our article.




I started this site because I am a dog lover. Most of my social feeds are full of dogs and I am always learning more about them. I also have a lifetime of experience with dogs packed with tactics, tips, and funny stories that I want to share with the world!

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