Should I Leave Water Out for My Puppy All Day?

Should I leave water out for my puppy all day

Puppies are manic and with all that running around they do, can be at risk of becoming dehydrated. Evidently, they will need water, but it begs the question whether there’s such a thing as too much, and whether you should keep water out for your puppy all day.

For example, it can be difficult to know if there are any risks associated with leaving water standing for long periods, or how regularly sources of water should be changed. Similarly, knowing how much water to leave out for your pup to avoid accidents in the house can be extremely useful, too.

Should I leave water out for my puppy all day? You should leave water out for your puppy all day, so they have access to it. However, the water should be changed twice a day for a clean supply, and the water bowl should be cleaned every 24 to 48 hours to avoid bacteria.

How to leave water out all day for your dog or puppy

That’s the very short answer above about leaving water out for your puppy or dog all day. But there’s a bit more you should also know which I’ve detailed below.

How often should I change the water in my puppy’s bowl?

Looking after a new puppy can often be stressful. Although most young dogs are able-bodied and sturdy, there are many factors to consider in keeping them happy and healthy.

Alongside providing them with regular exercise, we need to make sure our furry companions are receiving enough nutrition and water in their diets, as well as regular check-ups, grooming appointments, preventive measures for ticks and fleas, and the right amount of socialization.

Should I leave water out for my dog all day
We left out water all day for our puppy Claude. He was very active, and needed to sip regularly.

Therefore, it can be easy to forget smaller tasks such as changing the water in our puppy’s bowls, keeping it fresh throughout the day. In colder weather, it also means taking measures to stop the water freezing, if it’s an outdoor bowl.

Unfortunately, when you leave water out for your puppy all day, the bowls can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria without regular cleaning and the supply of new water.

Microorganisms present in your puppy’s saliva are often responsible for this change, being transferred to their water bowl each time they decide to take a drink and thereby causing bacteria to form.

Therefore, you should make sure to change the water in their bowls at least once a day to prevent this from happening. In addition, you should also make sure to thoroughly clean the bowl each time you do this.

Although some owners may think this is over the top, puppies can quickly become sick if they are exposed to bacteria-laden water.

Likewise, you should also make a habit of washing your pup’s bowl with hot soapy water (or stronger cleaning agents) once every 3 or 4 days, eliminating any chances of strong bacteria persisting after initial cleanings.

Furthermore, ensure that you sweep and mop any areas that your puppy’s bowls are located, together with washing any placemats the bowls are placed on. This is vitally important if you tend to feed your pup close to where it drinks from, as bacteria can quickly spread from food to water.

Doing so can also offer protection against other dogs in your household. Sometimes older dogs can urinate on or near water bowls when new puppies come into the home.

Typically, this happens when small pieces of food, sometimes lying undiscovered for days, are picked up by your puppy and transferred to their water bowls, leading to contamination.

For this reason, we recommend keeping standing water and food sources separate when possible.

Should I leave water out for my puppy during the night?

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with leaving your puppy without water overnight, it is perfectly safe to do so. In fact, this is sometimes essential to prevent your pup from having an accident in the middle of the night, especially if they are not house trained yet.

However, in particularly warm climates, puppies may occasionally wake up and search for water. If you reside in an area such as this, do not ignore your pup’s behavior as it could be dehydrated.

If this is a regular occurrence, you should leave water out for your puppy all day and night in a water bowl. Put it in a suitable area and try to create a spot where your puppy can pee safely in a spot of your choosing.

Similarly, always make sure that your pup has had a drink of water at least an hour or two before bedtime to prevent dehydration during the night. Unfortunately, most young puppies are unable to hold their urine for more than a few hours at a time.

Do I leave water out for my puppy all day
Now Claude is an older dog, we will keep water out for him all day.

Therefore, it is not unusual for puppies to need multiple potty breaks during the night even when they do not have access to water. For owners who crate their pups, waking up in the middle of the night is a regular occurrence.

Interestingly, there exists a semi-reliable way for owners to figure out how long their pups can hold their bladders. As a general rule of thumb, pups can hold their urine for the same number of hours as they are months old.

For example, a four-month-old puppy can normally hold its pee for 4 hours, and a 5-month-old pup around 5 hours. However, from time to time, and typically when they are exhausted, they may be able to hold their urine for longer periods.

How much water does a puppy need to drink per day?

Fresh cool water should always be made available for your puppy. As previously mentioned, puppies burn a lot of energy throughout the day and this activity plays a role in how much water they require to drink.

Puppies come in all different personalities, sizes, and breeds and this can sometimes affect how energetic or lazy they can be.

Therefore, less energetic pups will typically drink less water when compared to their high-energy siblings. This is entirely normal and should not cause you any concern.

Despite this, it is essential to take the current temperature and humidity levels of your area into consideration – make sure to put out plenty of extra water when the weather turns hot, especially if you own several dogs.

In general, puppies recently weaned off their mother’s milk require around 15 to 30ml water per pound of body weight per day to stay healthy.

Without access to this critical amount of fluid, puppies can be at risk of suffering from kidney damage and heart problems caused by dehydration, as well as heatstroke during the warmer months.

So long as fresh water is easily accessible, puppies will naturally drink when they are thirsty enough. However, in rare circumstances, some pups may refuse water entirely. If you notice this is the case with your pooch, take them to the vet as soon as possible. This could indicate that they are suffering from a serious medical condition.

Handy Hint: I don’t advise giving puppies freedom of the house until they are 12 to 18 months of age, as I learned from my mistakes!

Can puppies drink too much water if you leave it out?

Although it is very important to ensure that your puppy does not suffer from dehydration, sometimes drinking too much water can be a bad thing for them.

Worryingly, many dog owners are unaware that the presence of dangerous quantities of water in their pup’s bodies can lead to severe illness and even death. On the flipside, some dogs won’t drink enough water at all, but that’s different problem.

Water intoxication, also known as water poisoning, water toxemia, and hyperhydration is a relatively rare condition that is most commonly seen in water-loving canines (where they inadvertently swallow water whilst swimming).

However, puppies can easily develop water intoxication just from spending too much time at their water bowls.

When a young canine is overwhelmed by water, its sodium levels drop which in turn causes swelling to occur throughout its cells. Some areas of the body can cope with this abnormal activity, but others, particularly the brain will struggle to function.

At this stage, water intoxication can quickly turn fatal. It is vital to get your puppy to the vet if they show any symptoms of water intoxication, no matter how small, as this condition progresses rapidly.

Similarly, you should also take your puppy to the vet if you notice they are drinking excessive amounts of water, as quick action can stop the condition from occurring in the first place. In most cases, excessive drinking can be treated without canines suffering any negative health issues.

Some of the most common symptoms of water intoxication to look out for are – loss of coordination, bloating, vomiting, excessive salivation, seizures, glazed eyes, pale gums, and lethargy.

In worst-case scenarios, affected puppies can enter a comatose state, becoming unresponsive to touch and sound. Whilst at the vets, canines will be treated with a mix of IV delivery and administration of electrolytes, drugs, and diuretics to reduce brain swelling.


Ask any owner about their puppy’s strongest characteristics and they are likely to mention their seemingly never-ending amount of energy as one of the most defining.

Throughout the day, young pups keep themselves entertained by taking part in numerous vigorous activities like chasing their siblings around the home, playing with their toys, and running around the backyard.

Naturally, with this high level of activity comes an increased need for water. Without drinking regularly, puppies can quickly become dehydrated, leading to a whole host of health problems.

Thankfully, most dog owners are aware of this, and as such, they make sure to leave countless water bowls out for their furry companions to quench their thirst.

However, one question that puppy parents rarely ask themselves is whether leaving water bowls all day long is safe.

In my view, you can leave water out all day for your puppy, but closely monitor them.

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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