How long can a dog go without water?
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Thread: How long can a dog go without water?

  1. #1
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    How long can a dog go without water?

    Hi all!

    I hope this is the right forum for posting this -- it’s not quite training, but it’s as close a match as I could find. I also tried several searches, but nothing seemed to come up -- if someone’s already gone through this, feel free to point me to the right thread. Anyway...

    For rather mundane reasons, we need to switch the pooches over to water bottles. The full size dog gets it; the little dog is not participating. We want to eventually take the water bowls away completely, leaving him with no choice but the bottle.

    He’s a fifteen-pound miniature pinscher. He tends to take a common breed description, “willful,” to the extreme — he knows how to use it, knows what’s in there, but just won’t drink from it.** For the time being, we’re giving him water from his dish in the morning and at night, but he’s clearly thirsty during the day.

    We figure as long as he’s getting water like this, he’ll never make the full transition to the bottle, hence the question. We didn’t give him any water this morning. We may not give him any later tonight, but we don’t want to end up in a pattern where he knows he’ll be getting water, and learns he just has to hold out. There are bottles in every room (where there used to be water bowls), and we now also have one in his crate.

    Will his survival instinct kick in before he comes to harm? If not, how long do we wait before caving and giving him water?

    Thanks,

    Rhythm




    ** What makes us think he knows what to do? Few things. Perhaps most telling is that when we put beef broth in the bottle, he has no problem drinking it. We can go as far as giving him the soup bottle (an identical, second water bottle) for a bit, then taking him out of the room while switching the bottle, and letting him go. He’ll trot down the hall, make a beeline for the bottle, actually take a couple drinks (i.e., find out it’s just water), and then start looking around for the soup.

    Also, given that he’s so observant in things like snack-stealing, morsel finding, and toy thievery, his seeing, hearing, witnessing, etc., his brother’s modeling how to use it seems quite suggestive.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member battlemonkey's Avatar
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    Re: How long can a dog go without water?

    ok, so I'm not sure I quite understand, why are you giving them water bottles? Is there a problem with them drinking from a water dish?

    Sorry, but I'm not getting it, maybe I'm just a little slow. I've never heard of these water bottles except for caged mammals like hamsters and such. Are they supposed to work with dogs as well?

    I won't be of any help but hopefully somebody else will.
    Jesse - Part of the Muttley Crew

  4. #3
    Senior Member GreatDaneMom's Avatar
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    Re: How long can a dog go without water?

    yes im not getting it either..... youre not slow, i think we just werent given that info.... but i do think its something we need to know in order to help answer this question
    The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's. ~Mark Twain

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    Re: How long can a dog go without water?

    Hi battlemonkey,

    Sorry about the paucity of details -- I wasn’t sure what was relevant, and didn’t want to make my initial post too long. But here goes:

    The decision to move to bottles was based on the older pooch’s development of a drinking problem. In short, he drinks and drinks and drinks too fast, gulping up water to the point where about five minutes later he spits it up on the floor. He’s always had the tendency to do this, but it used to be three to five times a week, mostly when he was excited or nervous -- not a big deal. But as time wore on, it became not uncommon to have ten to fifteen glurps on the floor every day. Oh, and “on the floor” is a generalization. It could be on a shoe, over the coffee table, on someone’s lap... he wasn’t too discriminating.

    We’ve had extensive blood work done at the vets (all negative), and it was at the vet’s suggestion that we try the bottle to slow him down. The bottles are pretty much exactly what you’d find in a hamster cage, but they hold 64 ounces at a time, and the drink-tube has a much larger diameter.

    It worked wonders! He picked up on it within a few days coaxing and cajoling. A bit of tapping on it, showing what’s inside, and a bit of peanutbutter on the end got the point across to him. He’s a thirty-five pound doberman/husky mix, and after measuring the changes in water levels we know he’s drinking between forty and fifty ounces a day. He’s also -- most importantly to everyone’s sanity -- keeping it all down.

    We can’t do both the bottle and the bowl, because they’re always with us (we run our business from our home) and there’s no way to keep the big guy from drinking from the little guy’s water.

    I hope that helps flesh out the details... if I’ve forgotten anything, let me know.

    Rhythm

  6. #5
    Senior Member battlemonkey's Avatar
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    Re: How long can a dog go without water?

    OH OK, thanks for clarifying all of that...And thanks to GreatDanemom...I thought I was the only one not getting it...lol...

    Well, my dog does exactly what you described, but only when she's excited, especially after coming in from a walk or the dog park and seeing the cats again, she'll drink and drink and drink and then spit it up (thankfully always on the laminate floor). What we've come to realize is that she doesn't drink when nobody's home. We fill up the water dish with fresh water in the morning before going to work, and we come home and nor her nor the cats have touched it, and we're gone for sometimes 9hrs at a time.

    Some of you might think it's a bad thing that we're leaving her for so long without a pee break or without her drinking, it's not like we're not giving her the choice of not drinking, she probably just doesn't want to pee in the house. Also, she holds it in (except for a few times in our new house, she was nervous when we first moved in). But, it's fine, the vet says that's totally fine and she's not in danger or anything. She's not dehydrated, and she's not getting sick from it so I would say it's fine if your dog doesn't drink every hour on the hour.

    You say you've done the peanut butter thing with the older dog, have you tried it with the little guy?? If so, did you eventually start cutting back on the peanut butter so that he only tastes the water so he realizes that's what's coming out of there?

    Maybe he just doesn't like the coldness on his tongue, I'm not sure. I can't say for sure because I don't have that problem but it's cool to know that there's new things out there that I had no idea existed! Thanks for that info!
    Jesse - Part of the Muttley Crew

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    Senior Member TooneyDogs's Avatar
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    Re: How long can a dog go without water?

    Sounds like a workable solution. Did the vet say anything about trying to elevate the water bowls which reduces the air intake that causes regurgitation? I assume you have the bottles elevated which accomplishes the same thing.

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    Senior Member briteday's Avatar
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    Re: How long can a dog go without water?

    I understand the use of the bottles. There is a little ball in the sipper tube which only allows a small amount of water to come out. The animal actually licks the ball to push it back in the tube, allowing a bit of water to come out.

    If you have tried baiting the water tube, and the dog knows what is in the bottle and understands how to get water, then I wouldn't worry about his ability to get water. If the dog is thirsty enough he will drink. I believe that your little one has figured out how to train you to put better stuff in the bottle, like broth. Once he figures out that the only way he gets water, and you are not going to be manipulated into putting treats (broth) in there, then he will lick the bottle.

    REalistically, you don't want any animal in a dehydrated state for too long. But they go all night without drinking, 8 or so hours.

    Sounds like a stubborn little dog. But smart too!
    Being smart is learning from your own mistakes. Being wise is learning from others' mistakes.
    Cally- 14 yo papillon, Moose the puppy, McKenna 8 yo pomeranian grand-dog, and chickens

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    Senior Member Love's_Sophie's Avatar
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    Re: How long can a dog go without water?

    I agree, sounds more like he has you trained...Lol!! Typical lil Min Pin!!!

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    Re: How long can a dog go without water?

    Heh... we vacillate whether he’s intelligent or unbelievably stupid. Sometimes we figure he’s actually one, but pretends to be the other -- the question is, which is which?

    Anyway, thanks for the reassurances. Between yesterday and today, he’s taken a few swigs, finally doing so voluntarily and on his own (as in, he just walks up and takes some without us pointing or cajoling him), but it’s not enough to keep him fully hydrated.

    It’s quite disconcerting to see him so clearly uncomfortable, but the gist of this thread has been whether or not he’ll actually hurt himself. We fully recognize the dog-training-us possibility, and are prepared to persevere until he fully gets it, but not if we were taking undue risks. It seems like no, he’ll suffer some, but not come to harm.

    Now, about training the cats...

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    Senior Member FriendsOfZoe's Avatar
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    Re: How long can a dog go without water?

    I would say if you're concerned, maybe put down a little water for him at meal times or something--only for him, so he can drink and then you take the bowl away. That way you know he's still getting his water, but he'll be using the bottles if he wants water at any other time...just in case he doesn't start getting enough out of the bottle on his own for another day or two.

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    Senior Member GreatDaneMom's Avatar
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    Re: How long can a dog go without water

    is your dobe-husky X full grown? sry, just wondering, 35lbs seems a bit small if he is... maybe its just me though. my pups is 6months and over 50. im glad to hear the little guy is getting it. if he knows its there, i wouldnt worry. my vet (and hes a great vet) has always told me, a healthy dog will not starve himself.. that goes for drinking too. if its there, and he knows it, he will get it when he needs it. ive never had a problem with spitting it up or anything so i didnt know why in the world you would need to switch to bottles lol, when my dog drinks most of it ends up on the floor anyway....or on me... or whoever she walks over to after she takes a slurp. gross... i just feel bad when its the cat...he usually looks like hes had a bath- thats how we know lol
    The dog is a gentleman; I hope to go to his heaven, not man's. ~Mark Twain

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    Senior Member Love's_Sophie's Avatar
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    Re: How long can a dog go without water

    With your cats, you could always place a water bowl up and out of reach of the dogs; I am assuming that is what you do with their food already...atleast that is what I do; cat food is terribly fatty for dogs, Lol! I just have a section baby gated off in my bathroom though; the kitties can jump in but the dogs know they aren't supposed to; plus if they did, they would smoosh into the wall first! Haha!

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    Senior Member CrzyBritNAmerica's Avatar
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    Re: How long can a dog go without water?

    I love the water bottles too! Bridgette has a regular water bowl, but is crated when we aren't home. We tried all kinds of bowls to hang on the crate but they only served as chew toys and I didn't want her going for any period of time w/o water. I got a water bottle to hang on the outside of her crate and she took to it immediately to my surprise! She actually goes in her crate just to drink from the bottle even when her bowl is full...it's really funny actually.

    However, for a stubborn dog I would pick up the water bowl and try to coax him to use the bottle.

    I think that if he is going too long without water and you're worried offer him some in a bowl so that you know he isn't getting dehydrated.

    The only thing vicious about my pit bull is her gas!

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