Do you feel that your Labrador drinks too much? Water is vital for dogs. But how much water should a dog drink, and when is it too much? This article clarifies how much a Labrador should drink and why he may drink too much.
To keep a Labrador healthy, it is essential that he drinks enough and always has access to fresh water. Factors such as activity level, temperature, and feeding will affect how much water a Labrador should drink. A dog needs about 1 oz per pound of body weight (60 ml per kilogram of body weight) of water per day when fed dry food. With wet food, it is with approx. 1/4 oz (10 – 50 ml) per kilogram body weight less since wet food has a higher liquid portion.
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How much water should a Labrador drink?
Before you start looking for reasons why your Labrador drinks so much, you first need to know how much he should drink in the first place. A Labrador is a big dog that needs enough water to be healthy.
As a rule of thumb, you can assume that a Labrador needs at least 50 ml of water per kilogram of body weight if you feed dry food.
With wet food, it is less with 10-20 ml water per kilogram body weight because wet food or barf already has a high liquid content.
However, the values are only rough guidelines since each Labrador has a different need due to the activity level, outside temperature, and age.
The following table should give you a rough overview of how much water your Labrador needs per day. These are only average values that naturally increase with higher activity and/or warm weather.
The more active your Labrador is, the more water he needs and should drink.
|Weight||Dry food||Wet food|
|55 lbs (25 kg)||55 oz (1600 ml)||18 oz (532 ml)|
|66 lbs (30 kg)||66 oz (2000 ml)||22 oz (650 ml)|
|77 lbs (35 kg)||77 oz (2300 ml)||25 oz (740 ml)|
|88 lbs (40 kg)||88 oz (2,600 ml)||29 oz (860 ml)|
How to determine whether Labrador drinks too little or too much
Before you start worrying about why your Labrador is drinking too much or too little, you should check how much he is drinking in the first place.
Sometimes you overestimate or underestimate the amount a dog drinks. I wouldn’t know how much water fits in the water bowl and how often I fill it up during the day.
The easiest way is to fill a certain amount of water in the morning and give it to the dog throughout the day in his water bowl. That way, you can see exactly how much he is drinking.
A good indication would be for a 66 lbs (30 kilograms) Labrador 1.5 liters of water in the morning to fill a measuring cup and check whether he manages this amount or needs significantly more.
Why does my Labrador drink so much?
If you have now noticed that your Labrador drinks significantly more than, for example, 1.5 liters, which would be relatively normal, the following reasons could be the cause:
As already mentioned, the type of feeding is decisive for how much liquid a Labrador needs. An excellent food is dry food from Orijen*. Your Labrador needs more water with dry food than with wet food or a raw diet.
Labrador drinks a lot because he is active.
A Labrador needs a lot of exercises. So you can’t compare a 30 kg dog that doesn’t need much exercise with a Labrador on the move for 2 to 3 hours a day. Maybe even does agility or runs on the bike every day.
Of course, the active Labrador drinks more than the average or less active dog.
When it is hot, a dog drinks more.
Dogs cannot sweat to regulate their body temperature. Drinking regularly is one way your Labrador can protect itself from heat. In the summer, when it is warm, dogs’ need for fluids also increases, and they drink significantly more.
Stress causes a Labrador to drink more
Stress due to a long car ride or because your Labrador has to stay alone for a long time can be why he drinks more.
Stress causes dogs to pant more. The panting makes their mouth dry, and they need to drink more.
Our Cane Corso is calm and hardly drinks. It is similar to our Broholm dog. She is relatively stressed when driving in the car and drinks a lot of water during every break.
Labrador drinks a lot because he has diarrhea.
For example, when your Labrador has diarrhea because he ate something wrong, the body loses water. To compensate for the loss of fluids, your Labrador must drink a lot.
Diseases / Medications
Various diseases, such as diabetes, can be why your Labrador drinks a lot of water. But also medications can be the cause for more thirst in your dog.
Be careful if your dog drinks significantly too much
If your Labrador, or any dog, drinks way too much, there is a risk of water intoxication or hyperhydration.
Usually, there is a balance of water and electrolytes. However, if your dog drinks too much, an imbalance can occur. The electrolyte level (sodium) drops, and the cells store more water.
Due to the lack of sodium, the kidneys no longer work properly and reduce urine production so that more electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium) are not excreted.
So your dog lets no or very little water with increasing thirst simultaneously.
The result is neurological disorders and alveoli filling with water. So, if your dog drinks a lot but passes very little urine, you should see your vet as soon as possible. Otherwise, water intoxication will be fatal.
The first symptoms are:
- distended abdomen
- coordination problems
- difficulty breathing
If you suspect water intoxication or hyperhydration, prevent your dog from drinking and, no matter how late it is, drive to your veterinarian or an emergency clinic.
However, water intoxication is not that common. The danger is if your dog frequently retrieves a ball or something similar from the water.
Water gets into the mouth every time which your Labrador then inevitably swallows. You don’t have to give up playing in and around water. But do not overdo it completely.
Why does my Labrador drink too little
Besides the fact that your Labrador drinks too much, there are, unfortunately, also dogs that drink too little. This can have the following reasons.
If you have changed your food from dry to wet food or barf, your Labrador has a much lower fluid requirement.
Illnesses can be the reason why your Labrador suddenly drinks less. A visit to your veterinarian can quickly provide clarity.
Stress can be why your dog drinks a lot, and your Labrador drinks little.
You should avoid stress if possible – or slowly introduce your Labrador to stressful situations. From one day to the next, a Labrador should not stay alone for 3 hours or drive 12 hours in the car on the summer vacation if he has never had to do it before.
Make your Labrador drink more.
If your Labrador is not drinking enough, you will have to use little tricks to get him the liquid he needs. There are dogs, just like people, who don’t drink enough, which harms their health in the long run.
The easiest trick to get your Labrador to drink is to add water to his food. You can ensure that he is drinking enough water by simply adding a large sip of water to the dry food.
Getting a dog to drink more
For example, our Broholm puppy gets her food 3x a day with about 7 oz (200 ml) of water. She currently weighs 30 lbs (14 kilos), so she has an approximate fluid requirement of (14 kg x 50 ml / 30 lbs x 1 oz) 30 oz (700 ml) of water.
So when feeding alone, she gets about 21 oz (600) ml of water. In addition, she still drinks something.
You can also try to give him some frozen fruits like blueberries in the water. Some dogs lack a little taste in the water.
Consequences if Labrador drinks too little
Dogs are primarily made up of water. They need to drink enough for all the processes in the body to work correctly and have good overall health.
Too little liquid can lead to the following symptoms:
- Labrador becomes sluggish and weak
- Labrador sleeps more when he does not drink enough fluids
- Urine is passed much less frequently
Conclusion: Why does my Labrador drink so much?
A 66 lbs (30-kilogram) Labrador needs about 1.5 liters of daily water. If he now drinks significantly more, it may be because he has been more active or because it is summer and the outside temperature is correspondingly higher.
*Affiliate-Werbelink / © Chalabala-stock.adobe.com (featured image)