Withholding Water From Dog at Night? [Sip, Snooze, or Both?]

Zack Keithy, our author, is a certified veterinarian technician (UC Blue Ash) for over 6 years (contact him here). The articles written here are based on his expertise and experience, combined with a review by our expert vet reviewers including Dr M. Tarantino. Learn more about us here.

Once upon a thirst-quenching night, I pondered a question that boggled my mind as much as my dog’s inspregnanatiable thirst for water: Withholding water from dog at night?

It wasn’t something that I actively thought about for sure, but having heard more than a few dog owners talk about it, I knew I needed to address the question.

So, fellow dog lovers, grab your favorite beverage and buckle up, as we dive into the swirling depths of canine hydration.

It’s time to unravel this nighttime mystery like a dog with a ball of yarn.

Let’s dive right in!

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Why Do Some Owners Withhold Water From Their Dogs at Night?

Why Do Some Owners Withhold Water From Their Dogs at Night

I know what goes on inside your head right now.

You thought staying hydrated is good for dogs, but why do some owners withhold water from their dogs at night?

If water is so good for dogs, why limit access to it, right?

Well, dog owners have some reasonable explanations for why they don’t let their fur-babies drink water at night.

And I assure you, after reading through this blog, you’ll get to know why.

1. Preventing accidents

To prevent accidents, some owners withhold water from their dogs at night.

I think these owners thought that if their dogs don’t drink water at night, they won’t have to pee until the morning.

If you wanna save yourself from messy and smelly urine accidents, you’ll probably wanna resort to withholding water from your dog at night.

The conventional wisdom here is that by withholding his water intake, it will keep the house clean overnight, and free from the foul smell that urine brings.

Doggy says, you might wanna read this too: How to help a dog with broken leg poop?

2. Preventing health issues

Water is great for dogs, but too much of it can already be harmful. 

So if some dog owners withhold water from their dogs at night, it could be an attempt in preventing health issues.

At night, your dog won’t have the chance to be physically active anymore since it’s already sleeping time.

The water your dog will drink at night will most likely just stay in his tummy, which can cause bloating if he drank too much.

If your dog constantly drinks too much water at night, there is a possibility of suffering from water intoxication.

This condition is pretty serious and can cause vomiting, bloating, lethargy, and loss of coordination.

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3. Preventing destructive behavior

Water gives your dog a boost of energy, hence he becomes active whenever he drinks some. 

Withholding water from your dog at night may prevent destructive behavior such as barking, running, and other hyperactive behaviors.

Having access to water makes your dog hydrated and full of energy to the point that he’ll be more than happy to play around the house instead of sleeping.

Some dog owners don’t like that since it causes sleep disruption to humans, thus they withhold water from their dogs.

Doggy says, you might be interested to read this too: My dog ate a whole bag of Greenies!

Is Withholding Water From Your Dog at Night a Good Idea?

I personally think that withholding water from your dog at night is not a good idea as it may pose harmful effects on your dog’s health.

Quite frankly, the answer is not really that straightforward, and there’s no best way to do this.

You really need to exercise your own discretion here, but there are a few pointers you should be aware of before deciding on the best course of action:

  • Not having enough water can lead to urinary tract infections (bladder stones too), which are caused by dehydration.
  • Too much water will lead to accidents in the house, which is not good if you are still house-training your dog.
  • Puppies and older dogs will find it harder to hold their bladder, in which case withholding is better for them.
  • Withhold your puppy’s access to water 3 hours before his bedtime. This way, your pup can still go potty before settling in for the whole night.
  • Is your dog on medication such as Predinisone which can lead to increased thirst? Even in such cases, they should be given ready access to water.
  • Potty trained dogs will not need to have water restricted from them.

When Should You Limit Your Dog’s Water Intake?

Generally speaking, you shouldn’t be limiting your dog’s water intake.

Dogs can be very active animals and they easily burn energy. Hence, they need a lot of access to water.

But there are some cases when you gotta limit your dog’s water intake.

If you are gonna travel and your dog doesn’t like wearing nappies, then it’s best to limit your dog’s water intake to 3 hours before you leave the house.

This will prevent any smelly and messy accidents in the car.

If your dog has a health condition like kidney or heart failure, his water intake should be closely monitored too.

What is the Normal Water Intake for a Dog?

What is the Normal Water Intake for a Dog?

As a very general rule of thumb, the normal water intake for a dog is 1 ounce per pound weight every day.

For example, if your dog weighs 50 pounds, it’ll need 50 ounces of water throughout the day.

However, when it comes to pregnant dogs or dogs who just gave birth, you need to double the amount.

You should provide more water to your dog if it’s been very active or especially on hot days.

Doggy says, consider reading this too: Do dogs fart more during pregnancy?

Why is Water Restriction Dangerous?

Water restriction is dangerous among dogs because it can cause dehydration.

When dogs don’t receive their normal water intake, it’s most likely that they’ll suffer dehydration.

Unfortunately, dehydration is the door to more health complications like bladder stones and urinary tract infections.

How to Identify Dehydration in Dogs?

Dehydration in dogs is a real serious condition.

It happens when a dog doesn’t get enough access to water to replenish the fluid his body uses throughout the day.

Identifying dehydration in dogs is quite easy and the easiest way to do so is by determining whether it had lost any skin elasticity.

You can do this by gently pulling your dog’s skin by his shoulder blades.

If the skin springs back instantly to its place, your dog is well hydrated.

However, if the skin took a longer time before coming back to place, then your dog is very likely to be dehydrated.

Panting and lethargy are also some of the most common symptoms of dehydration in dogs.

Can a Dog Be Overhydrated?

Yes, dogs can be overhydrated. Vets usually call this condition “water intoxication.”

Your dog can be overhydrated when he drinks too much water, especially at night when he spends most of his time lying down.

Being overhydrated may cause bloating and vomiting, which is just as uncomfortable as being dehydrated.

Thus, it’s really important to watch your dog’s water intake to avoid any of these water-related incidents.

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How to Prevent Your Dog From Having Accidents at Night?

Establish a regular watering schedule

From the time your dog is still a puppy, you already need to establish a regular watering schedule.

For example, your dog can only have water for 3 hours before going to bed.

This way, your dog will still have a chance to go potty before you turn the lights off.

Take your dog outside just before bed

When the sun is down, and the air breeze is cooler, a perfect stroll with your dog is ideal.

Take your dog outside for a walk just before bed so he can do his business first before going to bed.

The walk or stroll can give your dog the chance to pee or poop before you gotta close the doors for the night.

Crate train your dog and keep them inside at night

Crate train your dog and keep them inside at night to prevent from having accidents.

When you leave your dog freely at night to roam around the house, he might have access to water or food.

This might give him the urge or need to go potty.

However, if your dog stays in his crate through the night, he’ll have no choice but to sleep and behave until morning comes.

Use pee pads

Using pee pads is a wise and convenient way to prevent your dogs from having accidents.

Pee pads are disposable, and if your dog is properly trained, he’ll just have to use them at night so all his pee or stools stay in one place.

Use a belly band

The belly band is a nappy or diaper for dogs.

You can let your dog wear it at night, and it will absorb your dog’s pee without any problem.

It also stays in place even if your doggy constantly changes his position while sleeping.

Take your dog outside more often

Take your dog outside more often to prevent accidents at night.

Going out for a walk gives your dog more opportunities to do his business outside without having to make a mess inside your house.

The walks outside will also tire your dog out at night. It will make him fall asleep easily without having to ask for water which only makes him go potty.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it safe to give my dog ice cubes instead of water at night?

Yes, it is safe to give your dog ice cubes instead of water at night. It’s a good way to let your dog drink water without the threat of overhydration since it’ll take some time before the ice cubes melt completely into water.

Can withholding water from my dog cause constipation?

Yes, it is possible that withholding water from your dog can cause constipation. The stool of your dog will be too hard to pass through his large intestine without sufficient water intake, causing constipation.

How often should I change my dog’s water bowl?

You should change your dog’s water bowl at least once a day. This is enough to make sure that your dog has clean access to water. Wash the water bowl thoroughly every time you change it.

Should I let my dog drink water at night?

If your dog is potty trained, you can let him drink water anytime at night. If he isn’t potty trained, letting him drink 3 hours before bedtime is a better option at preventing accidents.

Can dogs survive the night without water?

Yes, dogs can easily survive the night without water, but this doesn’t mean they have to. Actually, your dog can go for 48 hours without drinking water at all, but this may lead to health problems.

In Conclusion: Withholding Water From Dog at Night

As I’ve pointed out earlier, deciding whether to withhold water from your dog at night really depends on their individual needs and circumstances.

While it may help prevent accidents and midnight potty breaks, always prioritize your dog’s health and hydration.

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Zack Keithy
Zack Keithy

Hey, I'm Zack, the Chief Editor here. I was formerly a Certified Veterinary Technician (CVT) for a good 6 years before moving on to greener pastures. Right now, I am still heavily involved in dog parenting duties, and it is my desire to share all our knowledge with fellow dog owners out there! Connect with me on LinkedIn, or read more about Daily Dog Drama!

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