The amount of water a puppy should drink during potty training depends on the puppy’s size and breed. The general rule of thumb is half a cup of water every two hours. If your puppy shows any signs of dehydration, increase water intake by half a cup every two hours.
It’s hard to know how much a puppy needs to drink, especially during potty training. These tips will give you an idea of whether or not your puppy’s drinking enough water.
How Much Water Should a Puppy Drink?
Puppies need different amounts of water based on what stage of the weaning process they’re in. Puppies aren’t potty trained until the post-weaned stage.
Pre-weaned puppies that are still entirely dependent on their mothers’ milk (or milk supplement, if they’re orphaned) don’t need water. They get all their hydration needs from the milk.
While Being Weaned
Weaning begins at 3-4 weeks and takes about 4 weeks to complete. During this time, you’ll be gradually introducing food into their diet as the puppies learn to be less dependent on milk.
Puppies in the process of being weaned should have about half a cup of fresh water every two hours. This water, combined with moistened food and milk, will get them all the fluids they need during this time.
Once the weaning process has been complete, puppies should drink between half an ounce to an ounce of water per body weight in pounds every day. For example, if the puppy weighs 6 pounds, he should drink between 3 and 6 ounces of water per day.
During Potty Training
Usually, your puppy should have access to fresh water at all times. However, this changes during potty training, when his water should be removed about 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
It might be tempting to lower his water consumption during the day to reduce the number of times he needs to go to the bathroom, but doing so can lead to dehydration.
Puppies need a lot of water while their bodies are growing, and they’re more prone to dehydration than adult dogs.
The lack of water when he needs it can also lead to something called resource guarding, in which the dog becomes aggressive and protective of food, toys, and water. It can be a hard habit to break once it sets in.
Is Your Puppy Drinking Enough Water?
Here’s how to tell if your puppy is drinking enough water, or in rare cases, too much.
Some dogs have to be coaxed into drinking enough water, and dogs who only eat dry food aren’t getting any additional fluid from their food.
To make sure your dog’s not dehydrated, gently grab the scruff of his neck and pull it up. If you let go and it snaps back into place right away, he’s fine. If it goes back slowly, he might need more water.
A dog’s gums can also give you signs of whether or not he’s hydrated. If a dog is dehydrated, his gums will have the following symptoms:
- Don’t return from white to pink within 2 seconds of pressing on them
While much less common than dehydration, it’s possible for a dog to drink too much water.
If your dog seems to drink an unhealthy amount of water, it may be due to a condition such as diabetes or Cushing’s disease, so be sure to schedule a checkup with your vet.
Signs of overhydration in dogs are:
- Loss of coordination
- Dilated Pupils
- Excessive salivation
- Pale gums
If your dog drinks a lot or has been playing in water and has any of these signs, see a vet right away. This is especially true if he’s lethargic and bloated as well.
Overhydration can be fatal, so it’s best not to take any chances.
What About Food During Puppy Potty Training?
Water plays an important part in puppy development, and his water intake needs to be adjusted at night. But what about food, and how does it play into potty training?
Puppies have complex nutritional needs that can be reached by feeding with high-quality puppy food.
This will ensure that they have all the micro and macronutrients they need to grow strong and healthy.
It’s never a good idea to change a dog’s food suddenly, as it can cause stomach upset. This is especially true of puppies, whose stomachs are more sensitive.
With puppies who are in the middle of potty training, an upset stomach and diarrhea can really throw a wrench in the potty training schedule.
If you need to change the brand of food you’re using, slowly start mixing it into the food your puppy already eats, gradually replacing the old food with the new over a couple weeks.
Puppyhood is also a great time to establish rules around food as far as whether the dog is allowed to sit with you while you’re eating and whether he’ll be allowed people food on occasion.
Habits are hard to break, so if you want to instill good manners around food, now is the time to do it.
This can be simply no begging, or it can be a little more strict, where the dog isn’t allowed in the dining area at all if food’s present.
Free feeding is fine for adult dogs with good appetite control, but puppies should be fed on a schedule while they’re learning to go to the bathroom outside.
Puppies should be fed 3 or 4 times a day and taken outside between 15 minutes and half an hour later. This will help make it more likely that they’ll already be outside when the urge to eliminate comes and will increase the chances of success in potty training.
Feeding and relieving on a schedule helps a dog learn what to expect from you, which will help him understand what you expect from him.
The more consistent you are, the more quickly he’ll adapt to the potty schedule.
Other Helpful Potty Training Tips
Relieving your dog on a schedule that’s in line with his eating schedule and restricting access to water at bedtime is going to have a significant impact on your puppy’s potty training success.
Here are a few more tips to get him trained as quickly as possible.
As discussed earlier, one of the biggest factors in successful potty training is going to be setting a feeding and potty schedule for your dog.
Taking your puppy out after eating is important, but there are a few other times when he will likely need to relieve himself:
- first thing in the morning
- upon waking from a nap
- after playtime
Taking him out for a quick potty break during these times can help reduce the chances of accidents inside.
Giving your dog a specific area to go potty in will help him understand that he’s not allowed to go just anywhere.
Of course, this might not be possible if you don’t have a yard, but taking him outside will still work just fine.
Use the command “go potty” and praise him when he does so that he learns the phrase.
Watch for Signs
Signs that your puppy needs to go to the bathroom include:
- sniffing the carpet
- wandering into areas in the home far from you
- circling and crying
Although it’s annoying to stop what you’re doing to take a puppy out all the time, remember that it’s a temporary learning process, and the more often you catch it before it happens and prevent accidents, the more successful the process will be.
Don’t Punish Mistakes
Never punish your puppy for having an accident inside. Just clean up the mess and ignore the dog for the time being.
Punishment doesn’t speed the process up and will usually just scare and confuse the dog.
With patience and consistency, you’ll be able to potty train your puppy in no time at all. Just remember to be proactive and patient while he’s learning.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.