When Should Puppies Start Drinking Water?

When you bring a new puppy home, it is important to know everything required to keep your new best friend happy and healthy. Water is essential to puppies, just as it is to all animals, to help with things like blood flow, breathing, and organ function. A hydrated puppy is a healthy puppy. So when should puppies start drinking water?

How Old Do Puppies Have To Be To Drink Water?

The earliest age that a puppy should be given water to drink is 3 to 4 weeks old. However, the puppy should still be getting liquid nourishment and hydration from its mother’s milk.

when to give puppies water

Given that your puppy will not be coming into your home until it is 8 to 12 weeks of age, he or she will be fully weaned by this stage and will be drinking only water.

Therefore one of several items you will need for your puppy’s arrival into their forever home is a water dish.

What Type Of Water Dish Is Best For Puppies?

Choose an open, flat dish that is low on the ground and therefore easy for a puppy to reach its tongue down into. The dish should hold enough water so that the puppy can get a decent drink, but not so deep that it could potentially come to harm.

The water dish should be placed next to their food dish so that they can drink water after their meal to aid digestion. 

There are several dog water bowl options on the market, which are a good idea as puppies can be clumsy. 

A dish made of stainless steel is ideal, as it is non-porous, cannot break, and be washed easily.

One word of advice, if you do wash your puppy’s water and food bowls, only use a small amount of mild dishwashing detergent and ensure you rinse away any residue thoroughly.

how old do puppies have to be to drink water

Read more about: Is Baby Shampoo Safe for Dogs?

When To Give Puppies Water

All pets, including puppies, need to have a continual supply of fresh, clean water available to them to quench their thirst. This is especially important if you live in a hot climate and during the summer months. Unlike us, your puppy does not have the luxury of getting a glass of water the moment it feels thirsty. So this will be one of your big responsibilities as a pet owner.

Be patient with your little buddy, all puppies and even some adult dogs are ‘messy’ drinkers, who leave a big slobbery mess on the floor after they have taken a drink out of their water dish.

Having an old towel on hand is a good idea, to wipe away any spills that may create a slipping hazard for the occupants of your home.

How Much Water To Give A Puppy

Puppies and dogs need around 30 milliliters of water per half a kilogram of body weight (one once for each pound). 

Dogs do not sweat through their skin as humans do, when they are hot they pant. Puppies who have been very active and/or who live somewhere hot will need more water to help keep them cool and hydrated. If your puppy seems reluctant to drink, you can try some ice chips, which they may enjoy chewing on.

If your puppy is drinking lots of water, make sure he or she has access to the toilet too!

Checking Your Puppy For Dehydration

Signs of dehydration to look out for in puppies include:

  • The skin test: if you gently pinch the skin behind your puppy’s neck, it should snap back quickly. If it does not, this is a sign that your puppy is dehydrated
  • The gum test 1: dry and sticky gums mean your puppy needs more water
  • The gum test 2: if you press your finger to your puppy’s gum, it will turn white. If the gum does not turn pink again two seconds after you take your finger away and remains white for three seconds or more, this is a bad sign. Your dog needs water.

Checking Your Puppy For Overhydration

Just as some puppies do not drink enough, some can take in too much water, via drinking and or water play. This can lead to problems.

Signs of ingesting too much water in puppies can include:

  • Bloating
  • Lethargy
  • Staggering
  • Vomiting
  • Pale gums
  • Nausea
  • Lack of coordination

Contact your vet immediately if your puppy is exhibiting these signs.

In Summary:

When can puppies start drinking water? Water is an essential part of life for all animals, puppies included.

How old do puppies have to be to drink water? Puppies can start drinking water when they are between 3 and 4 weeks old. Before this, the only liquid they need is their mother’s milk. Once the weaning process has begun, your puppy will be on a mixture of milk and water. By the time your puppy comes to live with you at the age of 8 to 12 weeks, he or she will be fully weaned and will only require water for hydration. 

How much water to give a puppy – puppies should drink 30 milliliters of water per half a kilo of body weight (one ounce of water per pound of body weight), and possibly more if you live in a hot climate, it is summer, or your puppy has been very active. 

When to give puppies water – your puppy should have access to continual fresh and clean water. Choose a non-slip, non-porous flat, open water dish for your puppy. Place their water dish next to their food dish, to aid with digestion at mealtimes.

Puppies can become dehydrated or overhydrated. Be aware of the signs of this, and contact your vet immediately if you are concerned.

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