Getting and taking care of a puppy seems easy enough. You get some toys for it to chew on, some “age-appropriate” dog food and a feeder, some brushes for its fur, etc. However, we can tell you from first-hand experience that there are lots of things you need to know and do about your pup.
For example, how much water should a puppy drink during potty training, and how do we go about it? One wrong step can make a difference between a healthy, potty-trained dog and a rabid mutt.
Potty training is a major part of getting a pup to behave. Once you train it to go to specific areas around the house, you won’t worry about the cleaning bills. But again, how much water should a puppy drink during house training? Is there a set limit to the amount it can hold in at that age? That’s what we’re here to find out.
How much water should a puppy drink during potty training? The Importance of Proper Hydration
Before we answer the ‘how much water should a puppy drink during potty training’ question, we need to talk about hydration. Dogs are mammals like us, and all mammals have to stay hydrated throughout the day in order for their bodies to function.
Various metabolic processes keep the puppy’s body healthy. These include brain activity, breathing, digestion, and most importantly, blood flow. They all require water to function. In fact, a dog’s blood is almost 90% water.
As H2O enters the body of our canine, it flows through the bloodstream, cleaning any harmful toxins and other materials along the way. In addition, it transports oxygen throughout the body. If the puppy doesn’t get enough water, none of these actions can happen. As a result, the toxins will pile up and cause harm to some of our pet’s vital organs.
But water does more than just transport oxygen. During hot weather, our little buddy needs to regulate their body temperature. Of course, panting will keep the dog cool, since it’s releasing H2O by way of breathing. Sadly, the pup loses lots of water through its tongue. As such, a dog might have to drink more water than it normally does.
In short, a pup needs water as much as an adult dog does. So what happens when it doesn’t get enough of it?
As its name suggests, this condition occurs when a dog (or in this case, a pup) doesn’t get enough water. Usually, dogs of any age self-regulate when it comes to drinking. More often than not, they’ll only drink if they’re thirsty and even then, they’ll only take a set amount; no more, no less.
However, there are times when pups will feel dehydrated. For example, if a pet suffers from diarrhea, vomiting, or fever, its drinking habits will be affected. In addition, a dog that urinates excessively will lose more water than it takes during the day. Interestingly, sometimes a dog might be eating a little too much dry food, which doesn’t contain enough liquid and, as a result, doesn’t provide any H2O.
Finally, there are times when a pup just doesn’t like the bowl it needs to drink from. All we have to do is observe its behavior around the bowl and, if needed, replace it with a different dish.
Puppy Dehydration Tests
Sometimes, noticing dehydration won’t be easy. Luckily, there are some tests that can help you find out if your dog needs to drink more water or not. They are as follows:
- Feel the pup’s gums; if they stick to your hand or feel dry, the puppy needs more water
- Gently grab the scruff of the pup’s back of the neck, then stretch it and let go. If the skin snaps back into place, the pup has proper hydration. However, if it’s slow to come back, you should be worried.
- Press your finger gently across the gums and prevent the blood flow for an instant. The spot where you’re pressing should turn white. After that, release it and wait for the pink hue to come back. If it comes back quickly, your pup is alright. On the other hand, if it takes time to get there, it’s time to give more water to the pup.
how much water should a puppy drink during potty training? Encouraging the Pup to Drink
Using the tests above should be easy enough. But once we determine that our pup needs more water, what do we do next?
As experienced dog owners ourselves, we can provide several useful tips on encouraging the dog to drink. Most of them are easy to do and don’t require any drastic changes in your behavior as an owner.
First off, you need to let the pup feel that their water bowl is their “friend.” Usually, it’s enough to place the bowl close to the pup’s crib. Some pups tend to sleep quite a bit, so the crib will be their favorite place to spend time. Other pups might prefer that you place their water bowl next to their food dish. This trick can work with other pets as well, such as cats and ferrets.
However, if relocating the bowl doesn’t work, you might have to do some enticing. For example, we suggest that you give your dog a treat every time it drinks from the bowl until it gets used to it. Other pet owners out there tend to use chicken broth or bone broth to sweeten the water in the bowl. Both the scent and the aroma of these liquids entice the pup to have a few big swigs.
Finally, you might consider giving your dog ice cubes. Yes, that might sound far-fetched, but some pups actually love chewing on frozen water cubelets. Not only does this give them a fun new activity, but it also provides additional water intake that they desperately need at that moment.
how much water should a puppy drink during potty training? Canine Overhydration
It goes without saying that your pup should drink enough water to avoid dehydration. However, lots of pet owners (including us, at first) don’t know that too much water can also be damaging to a canine’s health. This occurrence is called canine overhydration or water intoxication.
The most common reason for overhydration is heat. Dogs tend to drink too much during the summer months, especially after an outdoor activity like running. But there are other causes for overhydration. For example, your dog can increase its water intake if you start giving it different food.
In addition, a change in the atmosphere can cause a dog to take more liquids than usual. But overhydrating can also be caused by various metabolic changes in the dog’s body. The most common issues include kidney failure, Cushing’s disease, uterus infection, or diabetes.
How to Spot Overhydration
Dogs that over-drink tend to show specific symptoms (other than chugging down multiple ounces of water a day). If you spot any of these symptoms, contact the vet, and have them examine your little buddy:
- Excessive salivation
- Pale or white gums
- Staggering movements
- Dilated pupils
- Lack of coordination
What to Do With Overhydration
If your pup is drinking more than 8 ounces of water a day, it might be a sign of overhydration. The obvious first step is to take it to the vet. If they let you know that your doggo isn’t over-drinking because of a health problem, you’ll need to try a few methods to get it to drink less. These methods include the following:
- Instead of a bowl, have your puppy drink from a lick bottle like the ones horses use
- Place a rabbit water feeder next to your dog’s bed for nighttime drinking
- Ration the water by leaving the bowl half-full; refill it several times a day
- Place ice cubes in the water; the pup will lick them after intense physical activity and the cold sensation will cool it down, making it drink less water in the process.
how much water should a puppy drink during potty training? Estimating the Numbers
So, how much water should a puppy drink during potty training, then? Based on what I’ve provided, we can safely say that dehydration isn’t an option. On the other hand, drinking too much H2O can be just as damaging.
There is a good rule of thumb when it comes to dogs in general. Usually, a dog ought to drink an ounce of water per one pound of body weight. So, if your dog weighs 7 pounds, it needs to drink around 7 ounces.
Of course, this rule applies to low-activity days. Most of the time, however, our dogs will be active and move about. That’s especially true for puppies, which are a bit more unpredictable and have more energy. During a hot day and after our doggy has had its “workout”, we might consider doubling the regular amount of water.
There are several factors that also affect the water intake of your pet dog. They are:
- The food it eats on a daily basis
- How old the dog is
- The amount of exercise your dog gets during the day
- Weather conditions
- The medications your dog uses
Now, none of these really answer the “how much water should a puppy drink during potty training” question. After all, they’re just puppies, don’t different rules apply?
The answer is a bit more complicated. Generally speaking, puppies know how to self-regulate when drinking. But if you’re potty-training them, half a cup of water every two hours should be enough. Naturally, the rule about doubling the amount during hot days also applies. Unlike adult dogs, however, puppies are unpredictable so you have to keep watch. Monitoring them while they drink water is a good way to estimate whether they’ve had enough.
Restriction (and Should You Do It)
When researching this topic, you will no doubt find lots of articles talking about water restriction. Usually, there are two sides to this issue. The first is adamant that we don’t cut off access to water at any time. The second side argues that restricting water is a great way to get the puppy to master potty training quickly.
Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle. For instance, a pup should always have access to drinking water during the day. Since this is the most active period for any dog, it’s reasonable to keep them hydrated. And even if they overdrink, it’s not the reason to take away their water. Once again, we urge you to visit the vet if you suspect that your dog might be overhydrating.
However, there is one bit of water restriction that you can do during potty training. Roughly two hours before bedtime, put your pup’s water away somewhere. In addition, make sure that they potty immediately before bedtime. If you don’t do it, your pup can wake up several times during the night s and you’ll have to take them outside to do their business. Worse yet, they can potty inside the house and ruin your furniture and carpeting.
It’s important to remove the bowl around the same time every night. In fact, if you can, try to remove both the food and water bowls at the same time and don’t feed your pup until the following morning. That way, you create a sense of routine that your pup can follow. More importantly, you reduce the risk of nighttime pottying.
Important Restriction Guidelines
- Maintain a set routine for nighttime restrictions
- Don’t go overboard; puppies are more prone to dehydration than adult dogs
- Don’t be aggressive when restricting; yanking the bowl from your pup can lead to different obsessive behaviors like resource guarding
- Never restrict during the day, especially hot and humid summer days
Puppies are like any other baby animal. They require constant care and monitoring, even when it comes to everyday activities like drinking water and relieving themselves. With enough care and devotion, you can potty-train your pup in a matter of weeks.
But potty training doesn’t end with solving this issue. In fact, there are plenty of other factors you need to consider if you want your best friend to go #1 or #2 properly. For example, we recommend always avoiding cheap, low-quality dog food, as it can mess with the dog’s digestive system. In addition, you might want to reward your pets with treats whenever they do a good job pottying.
This method helps them associate proper pottying with positive feelings and they’ll start doing it. Finally, make sure to keep everything nice and tidy in the pups’ corner of the room. A good environment will benefit a dog in all aspects, including pottying.
How much water should a puppy drink during potty training, at the end of the day? Peruse the information above to find out and apply it to your own little pup.