When it comes to a puppy there are so many questions. Be it you’ve had a few over the years or this is your first time having a four legged best friend from an early age there are lots of concerns for new puppy parents. People talk all the time about proper foods, safe chew toys and ways to potty train but there is one category of care that not many bring to light: Dehydration. With so much else to monitor it’s hard to remember everything so I’ve comprised a pretty simple list of things to keep in mind about your fuzzy little friend.

So how much water should my puppy drink?

Puppies, oh wondrous puppies. They chew our shoes and make lots of accidents in our houses. If you’re anything like me you’ve called the vet over a dozen things but how much (or how little) your puppy is drinking may not be one of them. Never fear, we can help! Not surprisingly, there is no exact amount as to how much a puppy should be drinking on a daily basis.

However, a good rule to go by on days with minimal activity is an ounce of water per pound of body weight. Example: An eight pound puppy should drink, at minimum, eight ounces of water every day.

On active days with play dates or walks around the neighborhood boost that amount up, sometimes to twice the minimum daily amount!

How can I tell if my puppy is dehydrated?

No sweat! There are a few varied ways to tell if your puppy is getting enough intake when it comes to fluids. A puppy’s coat should fit just so on his body with a little bit of wiggle room over his shoulders.

If you ‘scruff’ your puppies shoulders and the skin quickly snaps back into place you’re good to go!

If the skin over your puppies shoulders is slow to snap back into place then we have an issue. A slow ‘snap back’ time indicates a dehydration level between seven and eight percent, ten percent being a dangerous level.

Another good way to gauge hydration in your canine friend is to check it’s capillary refill time. By gently pressing your finger onto the puppies gums you can block the flood of blood (don’t worry, it doesn’t hurt or cause damage) and when you release your finger it will allow you to gauge hydration. By pressing the gums you turn the area white. When your finger is released that white section should turn a healthy pink within two seconds, indication your puppy is well hydrated.

If it takes between four to five seconds to return to it’s normal color your puppy is dehydrated and anything more then five seconds is dangerous!

Puppy dehydration causes

Now that we’ve gone through the diagnose of dehydration let’s look at a list of things that can cause such an issue for our puppies.

  • Vomiting – Excessive vomiting can quickly lead to dehydration.
  • Diarrhea – Same as vomiting, this can quickly become a big problem.
  • Excessive Urination – This can be a sign of major problems including kidney disease and diabetes.
There are many causes of dehydration and if ever in doubt, call the vet.

How can I help my puppy?

If it takes longer then five seconds during the capillary refill test then a veterinarians attention is needed immediately for your puppy. The vet can give intravenous fluids and help your puppy get back to a normal hydration level while sourcing why he or she became so dehydrated to begin with.

If your puppy was between the two and five second count then take the puppy away from any activity, offer a bowl of cool water and a bowl of warm or room temperature water to encourage drinking. Keep the puppy calm for at least an hour, checking refill time every fifteen minutes.

My puppy drinks a lot of water, should I worry?

Opposite of dehydration is excessive drinking. This can also indicate problems.

If your puppy is emptying his eight ounce water bowl four times a day but isn’t doing much a vet visit may be in order.

Sometimes a change in food, exercise level or atmosphere can cause some extra drinking but if your puppy is drinking what seems like too much there could be a major, underlying problem.

Regardless of what’s going on in our lives our puppies have to be raised with a watchful eye so pay attention to what goes in and what comes out for a happy, healthy four legged friend!