A puppy should have access to a small bowl of water at night, as they often wake up thirsty from all their daily activities. Having a small drink available will keep your pup content and stop them from crying out.
Puppies need a nighttime drink of water because:
- They are prone to dehydration after their daily activities, especially if they have been very active.
- They have a greater need for water than adult dogs because of their growth rate.
- Water regulates their body temperature.
- Restricting water can lead to resource guarding behavior.
Puppies without access to water don’t understand why they can’t find any, and will cry pitifully to let their displeasure be known, waking family and neighbours alike.
Some people believe in training the puppy to have a drink about one hour before bed, then nothing till the morning.
The theory is that your puppy will not need to go to the toilet during the night. But that is a long time for a puppy to go without water, and they will still want to go to the toilet because they can’t hold on that long yet.
As they get older, their bladder control will improve, so why would you withhold the water when they don’t yet have the skills to cope with, just to please you?
Another problem that can rear its ugly head is if you take away your puppy’s water bowl, even if it’s just for the nighttime, is that they may start resource guarding.
In other words, they won’t like sharing their food, water, or toys with any other animal or child. This happens when your puppy is afraid of losing what they consider to be theirs … such as their water bowl.
This can lead to disharmony among your family and can be a hard habit to overcome if your puppy starts guarding all ‘their’ possessions.
You don’t have to leave them a huge pail of water, just a small bowl for a refreshing slurp on their way back to bed after toileting through the night will do.
The Amount of Water Puppies Need
A very young pup has their fluid requirements met by their mom, but as they are being weaned, they will require a fresh source of water. They need about one-half cup of water every two hours.
An older pup that has been weaned will need between a one-half ounce and one ounce of water per pound of body weight. For example, if your pup weighs 20 pounds, they will require between 10-20 ounces per day or even more if they are very active.
Try to ensure they get plenty of water during the daytime and keep the nighttime drink smaller, so they are not waking you up every hour to go to the toilet.
As long as you offer them the option to have a drink if they want it, your life will be a lot smoother. A young puppy doesn’t understand changes, so anything different such as no water at night, will upset them.
Put a small bowl close to their bed but away from their main walkway. By tucking the water away from where they walk, you won’t have to fish them out and dry them off in the small hours of the night.
The Importance of Water for A Puppy
The reason water is so important for puppies is that water facilitates the metabolic process of their bodies.
- Everything from digestion to brain activity, breathing, and blood flow requires water to enable it all to work. Without water, vital organs are at risk.
- Water flushes out toxins keeping the body clean.
- The water also regulates your puppy’s body temperature, cooling them during the night allowing them to sleep easier.
- Panting is their way of releasing water through evaporation which cools them.
- Water helps keep their nose moist and helps them to pick up a scent.
- Most young pups are naturally able to self regulate when it comes to drinking water.
They should have a bowl of water available if they want a drink at night.
Most young puppies wake up to go to the toilet during the night, and they will want a couple of gulps of water before they head back to bed.
You can save yourself a lot of angst by making sure they have everything they need for a good nights sleep, both for your puppy and your family.
It is very hard to sleep when your puppy is crying because they want a drink. They are often content with a short drink, and then they can be tucked back into bed and will happily go to sleep.
Puppys Can Get Dehydrated Very Quickly
Dehydration can quickly set in if your puppy is not getting enough water. Symptoms such as excessive urination, diarrhea or vomiting and lethargy are signs of dehydration.
A puppy can play till they drop. If they are not topping up on water, you need to know.
You can do a quick check for dehydration before they go to bed.
- Take a hold on the scruff of your puppy’s neck.
- Gently stretch it out and then let it go.
- The skin should snap right back into place.
- If it’s slow to get back to normal, your puppy is dehydrated.
- Feel around their gums- if they are dry or sticky, they need a drink of water.
- Gently press the gums, which will make the gums white. When you release the pressure on the gums, the area should return to a healthy pink within 2 seconds.
Sometimes a puppy is so caught up in all the new things to play with that they forget to drink.
Make sure you stop your puppy during the day so that they take the time to drink and relax, and ensure they have a drink about an hour or so before they go to bed, so their body is hydrated.
Training the Busy Puppy To Stop and Drink Before Bed
As mentioned above, a young puppy is easily distracted away from the daily basics such as drinking water. They’re never distracted from food, but water… well, that’s a different ball game.
In the evening, encourage your puppy to drink an hour or so before they head to bed. The last hour or two before bed should be calm playtime or cuddles to allow your puppy to slowly ease into their bedtime routine.
Here are a few tips to encourage water intake.
- Keep their water bowl clean and fill it with fresh cool water.
- Reward them with a small teat when they take a drink.
- Add some flavor, such as bone broth or chicken broth as a treat.
- Dogs love ice cubes, so occasionally give them an ice cube to suck – it’s a sneaky way to get water into them.
- Put your puppy’s bowl near their bed for a drink during the night.
- Ensure the water container is flat bottomed and is not easy to tip over by a sleepy, clumsy puppy.
Water is an amazing fluid. It keeps the body moving and healthy while regulating body temperature and makes the eyes and nose moist.
It may stop your puppy from snoring at night as well!
Final Thoughts About Hydrating Your Puppy
Water nourishes, cleanses, and hydrates all living things on earth. Dogs, like humans, consist of nearly 80 per cent water, so fresh clean water is essential for good health and longevity.
Your puppy will understandably need water during the day, but they also need a drink for the night. The night is the time when a puppy’s need for water finally catches up with them after their hectic day.
So much is new to a puppy. They want to explore, investigate everyone who visits your home, and if they are not sleeping, they are into everything.
Don’t expect your little puppy to make it through the night without a drink. They need the water to top up their reservoir for the next day.
Leave them a small bowl of fresh water where they can find it if they wake during the night.
A puppy that is hydrated properly is easier to train, they have the energy to burn, and are fun to be with.
Water makes us all feel better. So splash out on some freshwater before your puppy goes to their bed, and the water might even make them sleep longer.
Writer: Jean Brewer