How much should your dog (or cat) drink? It’s important to always have fresh, clean water available for your pets. I have actually seen dogs develop “drinking problems” because their owners deprived them of water. So when they finally get some, they drink it all as fast as they can. And they often become obsessed about getting all the water they can and act OCD about it.

Wouldn’t you do the same if you didn’t know when you’d get your next drink, and were worried that if you left anything or drank too slowly, it would be taken away? (This is an example of The Pooch Coach’s empathic dog training(sm) – getting into your dog’s head so you understand why he’s exhibiting a behavior).

So, how much is too much – or too little?

Most dogs need about an ounce of fluids per pound of body weight per day, so a 10-pound dog needs a bit over a cup of clean water daily. Really active or lactating dogs may need more and puppies generally drink more than adult dogs. If your dog drinks a lot more than that, it may signal a health problem.

Dog Drinking from Pool Photo Credit: Soulful Pet Photography

It all depends on his activity level, size, age and the weather, but in general, an average dog needs to drink between 8.5 to 17 ounces of water per 10 pounds (55 to 110 milliliters per kilogram) per day.
Know what’s normal for your pet.

It’s important to know what’s common for your dog or cat so that you can tell if they are not feeling well. Pay attention to how much he is drinking. You can even measure it out occasionally to have an accurate read. Then, if he seems to be slowing down or increasing his intake, you will know something’s up. If it’s dramatically different, see your vet. If it’s mild, look for other symptoms (diarrhea, coughing, lethargy, lack of appetite). If there is a combination of any symptoms, also get to your vet for tests.

What about cats?

As for cats, the amount of water drunk by an individual cat depends on a variety of factors, including the cat's size and activity, the season, and whether the cat's diet includes wet food or dry cat food only. Factors such as high heat, exercise, or lactation can double or triple the amount a cat drinks. And, of course, diseases such as hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, and diabetes will all greatly increase a cat's daily water requirements (I'll talk more about water and hydration in these cats in my next post).

cat drinking

So how much should a cat drink? A normal cat’s daily water requirement ranges from 5 to 10 fluid ounces per day (or an average of 60 ml/kg/day). Cats eating canned food will receive much of their daily water needs from their food, since canned food is about 70 to 80 percent water. In contrast, dry food is only 7 to 10 percent water. Normal cats eating canned food may need to drink less than 1 ounce of additional water per day, whereas a cat consuming only a dry diet may need to drink over 7 ounces per day to stay hydrated. This higher amount of water can be difficult to achieve because cats are not prone by nature to drink large amounts of water.

Keep it flowing!

pet with poster Photo Credit: The Pooch Coach

So, please do conserve water if you’re in a drought area like CA… But don’t ever skimp on a fresh few ounces for Fido or Mittens throughout the day!

Written by Beverly Ulbrich, she has been seen regularly on TV, as well as working in movies and on stage, Beverly Ulbrich is an expert canine trainer and behaviorist. Her motto is “Any Dog. Any Problem.” Visit her blog for more tips.