Your dog should drink around 30-50ml per kg or 15-25 ml per lb of body weight per day. However, there is often variation amongst individuals depending on the water content in their food and exercise.
Based on this rule, a 20lb/10kg dog will drink about 300-500ml per day. If your dog is consistently drinking 80-100ml per kg per day or more, then this may be a sign of polydipsia (drinking too much water). Polydipsia can suggest there is a health problem to address.
If you are concerned, measure your dog’s water intake by filling up their water bowl with a set amount of water and see how much is left after 24 hours. The best thing is to do this for a few days in a row then average the result, so there is less of a daily variation.
Of course, if your dog is eating well and seems otherwise healthy, it is very unlikely that there is an issue.
What does it mean if my Dog is drinking excessive amounts of water?
It could be a number of things, the most likely cause of drinking too much water simply boredom or that it is excited about drinking water. This is known as psychogenic polydipsia. It could also be that it is hot and your dog is more thirsty because the heat is on too high or that it is just too warm.
However, if it is not hot and your dog is drinking an abnormal amount of water on a regular basis, there may be an underlying medical condition causing it. This can be a range of diseases ranging from endocrine disorders such as Cushing’s disease or diabetes. It could also be a sign that there is potentially a problem with the kidneys.
There are a number of diagnostic tests to help rule out or rule in these causes. If you would like to confirm your dog does not have any issues, you will need to see a vet to help perform these tests. Initial tests may include a urine sample and possibly a blood test.
It is important that you do not prohibit your dog from drinking water if it is showing signs that it would like more water without first ruling out these other causes. This is because if it is one of the diseases mentioned, it is drinking the water because their metabolism needs the extra water.
For more information on drinking too much water, please read our article about what it means if your dog is drinking too much water.
Is my Dog Drinking Enough Water?
Just like people, sometimes dogs do not drink enough water. This could be a sign that they are not feeling well and there is oftentimes nothing wrong so long as they are still eating well, not acting lethargic and still acting normally otherwise. However, if any of those signs are present, you should definitely see a vet straight away to make sure there are no medical conditions causing them to not drink enough water.