Although many dog owners don’t think of water as a nutritional requirement, it is actually more important than food for your dog. A puppy is made up of 84% water and a fully grown dog owes about 60% of its body weight to water. It is also interesting to note that a dog can go without food for several days and survive, but losing even 10% of the water in his or her body can lead to serious health complications and even death.
Knowing how much water to provide your dog or puppy with on a given day is really a tough measurement to make. Researchers have shown that to stay healthy a dog has to consume at least two and a half times as much water by weight as the weight of his or her daily food intake. This is for an average dog under average exercise and environmental conditions. Dogs that are running about, particularly in hot water, many need as much as three times that amount just to stay properly hydrated.
Generally dogs will drink enough water per day to stay healthy, so it is up to the people in their lives to make sure it is available. Water needs to be fresh, clean and kept out of areas where there is dirt, pollution, feces, contact with other dogs as well as other contaminants. Many dog diseases, including bacterial and viral infections, can be spread in water so always provide your dog with his or her own water supply in public parks and other areas where strange dogs are present.
Allowing your dog to drink out of puddles, ponds and ditches is never a good idea. While it may be the most natural way a dog would get water it is also a chance that your dog will get parasites, protozoa and bacterial contaminants in the water. In most cases this will simply cause diarrhea and an upset stomach for a short time but in some areas other water borne diseases can be more problematic.