How Long Can a Chihuahua Go Without Water?

Photo by sally 9258 on Flickr

Every dog needs water, and your Chihuahua is not an exception. You need to keep it hydrated so that it remains the healthy, energetic dog that you know and love. 

But what happens when your Chihuahua goes without water for too long? That may be a question you may be asking yourself right now. 

Maybe you forgot to refill a water bowl before you rushed out to the office, or maybe it was one of your kids who forgot to do it when you were out of town for a few days.

Regardless of the reasons why, it is a mistake that can easily happen.

If you are looking at a “hot dog” who is acting a bit strangely then stick with me as I dig a bit deeper into how much water Chihuahuas need to drink.  

Four signs of dehydration in a Chihuahua

The signs of dehydration in a Chihuahua ranges from mild cases, which can be resolved by providing water to them, to severe cases that may need a quick trip to your local vet. 

Below are some of the telltale signs of a dehydrated Chihuahua.

  1. Is your dog’s nose moist? 

Your Chihuahua’s nose is naturally moist; therefore, if you notice that your dog’s nose is dry, especially if it starts to crack, then your dog may be suffering from dehydration.

  1. Are the gums wet?

As your dog’s mouth should naturally be wet, noticing a dry gum in your dog could be an indication of dehydration in your dog. You can check for dry gum by opening its mouth and pressing your hands on its gum. At the time you press it, it should be white, but immediately you take your hands from its gum, it should change back to its pink colour immediately.

However, note that a sleeping dog, especially if it sleeps with its mouth open, may show signs of dry gum. This may not be a sign of dehydration, and the dry gum is just due to your dog’s sleeping habit.

  1. What colour is your Chihuahua’s urine?

A well-hydrated Chihuahua should typically have light yellow or pale urine. Anything darker could be a telltale sign of dehydration or maybe some other more severe disease.

If, however, your dog’s urine doesn’t change after giving it water, you may want to take it to a vet immediately to figure out the underlying illness.

  1. Is your Chihuahua’s skin elastic?

Your Chihuahua’s skin is naturally elastic, but the opposite is the case when your Chihuahua is dehydrated.

To test for dehydration in your dog, pull a handful of the skin of your dog; if it falls back into its place immediately, then your dog is well hydrated. If the skin takes way longer to go back to its original site, then your Chihuahua is suffering from dehydration.

It is essential to note that your dog’s skin elasticity may vary; therefore, checking your dog’s skin elasticity when it is well hydrated would make dehydration easy to recognize.

Four causes of dehydration in Chihuahuas

  • Firstly, every mammal- humans and dogs included- dehydrate by the simple process of living. For a Chihuahua this means panting, peeing and pooping. And even sweating. Yes, despite what you may have heard, dogs do sweat through their paws.  
  • Secondly- exercise. An obvious and “big”reason for dehydration. Think panting and paw sweating. But particularly panting as that is a massive way that dogs try to cool down. 
  • Thirdly- heat. Another “duh” moment? Higher temperatures will result in your Chihuahua having to pant more in order to keep their body at an ideal temperature. Why does panting lead to dehydration? The breath of all mammals is a mixture of air and water. The extreme that comes to mind are dogs that get stuck in cars on hot days…
  • Fourthly- illness. Dehydration can lead to a whole range of side effects or illnesses but sometimes the opposite can happen. An illness can lead to dehydration. Obvious ones include vomiting and diarrhea. 

How much water does an adult Chihuahua need to drink per day?

So, this might lead us to ask how much water does a Chihuahua need to drink per day?

Now, although I have included a couple of simple charts that include specific amounts of water it is important to note that each dog is slightly different.

And differences in age, weight and activity level will all change these values slightly.  

Firstly, let us take a look at adult male and female Chihuahuas….

Adult male ChihuahuaAdult female Chihuahua
Height and weight 9 inches, 6 pounds7 inches, 5 pounds
Amount of drinking water2. – 5 ounces2 – 4 ounces

A Dog needs between half to one ounce of water per pound of body weight, which means that an adult male Chihuahua that weighs 6 pounds of body weight will need about 3 to 6 ounces of water.

In contrast, an adult female Chihuahua that weighs 5 pounds of body weight will need 2.5 to 5 ounces of water a day depending on the temperature and your Chihuahua’s level of activity.

Note that this level of water needed spans through the whole day, and your dog may get some level of water from other sources, especially if he is fed wet foods.

It is also important to note that the chart above uses the average weight and height of an adult male or female Chihuahua, so to calculate your dog’s average amount of water needed per day, get your dog’s weight and make your calculation from there. 

Next up, we will look at puppies. 

And because puppies change so rapidly, I have included quite a few different ages in the chart below..

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

2 months3 months4 months5 months
Weight 1.5 pounds2.06 pounds2.75 pounds3.25 pounds
Amount of water0.75 – 1.51.03-2.061.37-2.751.63 – 3.25

Young Chihuahua puppies that haven’t been weaned generally need about a half cup every two hours.

Older puppies, however, need between a half to one ounce of water per pound daily. But they may need more on very active days as they use up more water.

Noting your Chihuahua’s activity level will help you know just how much water is needed, so it isn’t dehydrated.

Can adult Chihuahuas survive without water for longer than Chihuahua puppies?

As Chihuahua puppies are still growing, they tend to use up more water than adult Chihuahuas.  They also charge all around the place as puppies typically do; that is, they use up more water than the adult ones, meaning the adult Chihuahua can retain moisture longer than the puppies.

What are the reasons your Chihuahua isn’t drinking water?

To persuade your Chihuahua to drink more, you must understand why it isn’t drinking in the first place. 

Dogs typically drink when thirsty; therefore, if the weather is cool or they don’t get much exercise, less water is lost. Consequently, they are not inclined to drink water. A reduced level of water consumption due to reduced activity is no reason to panic. 

Unfamiliar places or unfamiliar smells may also discourage your Chihuahua from drinking as a change in environment, different bowl, or even a different small of water may discourage your dog from drinking.

A recent trauma, like a trip t9 the vet, can also be the reason your Chihuahua refuses to drink water. The same applies if your dog has suffered a recent trauma while drinking from its bowl of water like a step from its tail. Your Chihuahua may attribute this trauma to the event that happens and may not want to drink from that bowl later. 

Adult or old Chihuahuas also tend to drink less as they exercise less, therefore, get thirsty less. This doesn’t mean they do not need water. The adult dog also gets to be more tired than the young dogs. This may be due to their lack of exercise or simply old age,  so it becomes more stressful for them to walk to the bowl of water available.

Illnesses and diseases like kidney disease, diabetes and a few others may also make your dog lose appetite for water completely.

Now the question arises, how can you make a reluctant Chihuahua drink water?

How can you make a reluctant Chihuahua drink water?

  1.  Bring a bottle of water and bowl from home – making your Chihuahua as comfortable as can be is the highest priority, so if your dog refuses to drink water because of the unfamiliar environment, bringing as much familiarity as possible will urge it to drink more.  A bottle of water from home is also a plus. It may be the unfamiliar taste of the water you’re giving it that discourages your dog. 
  1.  providing clean bowl- if your Chihuahua’s drinking bowl is dirty,  it may not drink from it
  1.  Change its drinking bowl – if you’re Chihuahua is not drinking as a result of trauma, simply changing its bowl may do the trick.  You may also want to avoid metal bowls as the noise tend to scare them off. 
  1. Provide water in a place that is easy for your Chihuahua to get to. Changing the position of the water bowl or buying one or two more water bowls to place in strategic places so that your dog can get to one easier whenever it is thirsty can promote your Chihuahua’s drinking habit. this will help with old and sick dogs as they don’t have to go through much stress to drink enough water
  1. Mixing food with water may also help your Chihuahua. Even though your Chihuahua may not want to drink water, he may be inclined to drink water when mixed. Note that this is not to be taken as a replacement for drinking water. So you should provide its water just beside its food to encourage it more.

If, however after doing the following and your dog is still unresponsive, contact your local vet.

Can Chihuahuas survive without water for longer than other breeds?

No study proves that a Chihuahua can survive without water than other breeds of dogs. But it is important to note that your Chihuahua is a very active dog,  which means it uses up water much more than larger breeds of dogs, making it need more water more often than the larger breeds. So it would be best if you made sure that water is always available for your dog whenever it is thirsty, especially on a hot day.

How long can a Chihuahua go without water?

As a high energy and overly active dog, your Chihuahua needs to drink water frequently to keep them from dehydration. Generally, dogs can survive for up to 3 days without water, but not without health risks. Anything more than a day without hydrating your dog may be you spelling the beginning of health complications in your dog.

However, the Chihuahua may need to drink water more than other dogs, significantly more than the large breed dogs, as they are high energy dogs that get excited easily. As exercising means burning energy and losing the water contents of their bodies, it’s essential to ensure that your Chihuahua gets hydrated as often as possible.

Your Chihuahua’s health is your happiness; treat them with care.