Do Puppies Need Water At Night?


A while ago, I wrote an article about how long can a puppy go without water at night.

And in the article, I looked at some of the basics about puppies and how much water that they need to drink.

And, as a result of that article, lots of people are asking whether puppies need water any water at night- as in any water at all.

And so I have written an article that hopefully answers this more specific question and other closely related questions.

And in posting this article, I have realised that I have written a few other articles which focus on the drinking needs of puppies.

Links to the articles are scattered throughout this article.

Why do puppies not need water at night?

Simply put, puppies shouldn’t need water at night because they have had enough water during the day.

I mean, to my mind, there are a very few exceptions and I will talk about those a bit later…

So let me flesh that bold statement out a bit.

During the first three weeks of their lives, puppies are totally dependent on their moms. 

Everything they need is delivered via the milk which they get from Mom.

From week 4, as they are introduced to dry kibble, any water that they need is mixed in with the kibble. 

There is no separate water bowl. 

And this stays the same for the next few weeks- any water that they need is mixed in with the kibble.

And there is no harm in introducing a water bowl to young puppies but it will just be another thing that they will play with or jump in!

When should puppies drink water from a water bowl?

All of this begs the question of when a puppy will begin to drink water from a water bowl?

And the fact is that this will vary, depending on how thirsty the puppy is- which depends on how much water is mixed in with their dry food.

But a good target to aim for is around 7 weeks old.

At this point, most puppies are weaned completely from their Mum- the only food that they are getting is from their owner. 

They would have had a few weeks getting used to wet kibble and so once they are confident and happy eaters, slowly make the mix drier.

And have a water bowl to hand- make sure that it is shallow enough for them to easily drink from and so that if they do fall or step into the bowl that they won’t drown. 

Your puppy will not be a confident water drinker from the “get go”- it will take a week or so to figure out.

Don’t leave the water out for too long either.

Mainly this is because the longer it is left out the more likely it is to get soiled by old bits of food, wee or even poop. 

Later, I will explain why puppies need access to fresh clean water and just what a germ magnet a water bowl can be. 

When should a puppy have their final drink before bedtime?

If we are not going to be leaving our puppies with any water overnight, we need to plan with military precision when they should be having their last drink of the night.

I’m only joking about the “military precision”, but we do need to think about letting them have a drink, waiting for a bit and then taking them out for their last pee before bed time..

And according to this advice, the puppies last drink of water should be between 2- 3 hours before you go to bed. 

Then just before you go up to bed, take your puppy out for a wee, which will help them have a peaceful, undisturbed night.

How much water do puppies need to drink?

So the next logical question to ask is how much water do puppies need to drink?

Not all puppies are the same, different breeds are different sizes and as a puppy grows the amount of water that it needs to drink increases. 

The advice is that a puppy that has been weaned should have about 0.5- 1.0 oz. (15 ml to 30 ml) per pound of body weight per day.

So, as an example, when my Golden Retriever puppies were eight weeks old they would have weighed around 10 lbs. 

And so, according to the recommendations, they would need to drink between 5 oz and 10 oz (75ml to 300 ml) per day. 

Although weight is one of the most important factors in deciding how much water a puppy should be drinking, it is not the only factor.

Other important factors include how active your puppy is and how hot the temperature is.

Why is water so important to puppies?

Access to fresh water is more important to puppies than to adult dogs.

Puppies are much more at risk of dehydration than older dogs.

This is for a variety of reasons but mostly because puppies are still growing.

Another factor is that they just don’t stop moving.  

And water is critical for that growth process: because blood is overwhelmingly made up of water.

And blood is central in all of this as it carries oxygen, cleans toxins, aids digestion, muscle growth and even brain function.

After all, water is fundamental to all forms of life, not just puppies.

The human body is itself made up of 60% water and according to this vet, dogs are made up of 80% water. 

When might puppies need water at night?

At the start of this article I boldly stated that puppies don’t need water at night but I also said that there were exceptions to this.

The first exception to this is during heat waves or periods of excessive heat.

Although night times are always cooler than day times, some night temperatures will still be too hot for dogs of any age, particularly puppies.

As well as leaving water for your puppy overnight, other hacks to try and cool the temperature down include creating a “through draft” by opening up two windows or giving your dogs access to areas of the house with wooden or tiled floors.

Why is fresh water so important to any dog?

To finish up all of my chat about the importance of water for puppies, I want to really focus on the need for the water to be fresh.

Dog water bowls can be breeding grounds for germs and according to scientists, some of these germs are really quite nasty

The main offenders are E.coli, salmonella and MRSA- all of which can be transferred between dogs and their owners. 

According to a 2011 germ study, pet bowls are the fourth most contaminated items in our homes. 

And get this- the top three are kitchen sponges or dish clothes, kitchen sinks and toothbrush holders.

That is a bit of a surprise isn’t it.

Your dog’s water bowl should be washed (with dish soap and water) at least daily.

And the safest types of bowls are made from stainless steel as opposed to plastic or ceramic bowls. 

The four things that puppies do need at night

Even though puppies can do without water at night, there are other things that they can’t do without.

And I have narrowed my list down to four.

[1] Consistent routine

Everyone loves a routine and this includes dogs and puppies. 

The predictability of the same thing happening night after night will be crucial to your puppy’s well being because it will help them understand what is happening which they will take great comfort from.

And if you don’t believe in the power of routine, then try and go to bed without giving your dog their normal biscuit!

[2] Consistent location

Following on from a routine is that a puppy sleeps in the same place (as in the same part of the house) night after night.

A puppy will get thoroughly confused and upset if one night they are allowed to sleep in your bedroom only to be made to sleep in their crate in the kitchen on the next night.

[3] A simple, comfortable bed

Your puppy needs to have the option of sleeping on their own dog bed.

And we are not talking the equivalent of a four poster bed here. 

It just needs to be a thin strip of covered foam or something similar.

[4] Ideal sleeping environment

Last but by no means least, a puppy needs a space to sleep in which promotes good sleep. 

Like humans, puppies need lots of sleep and they need to be in an environment which promotes this.

Key qualities include somewhere that is safe, quiet, warm and dry.