Is Withholding Water from a Dog at Night a Sensible Choice?

As a dog mother to several dogs, I have seen dogs as cute potatoes right out of mother’s womb growing into old fellows with flappy skin. Over this time, a dog must have an ample supply of food and water. I mean why take away water access from someone? However, in certain situations restricting water to a dog at night is actually a sensible choice, What are those situations? Why is withholding water from dogs at night okay in some situations?

Let us have a look.

withholding water from dog at night

How much water do dogs need?

Water is a necessity. Believe me or not water plays part in a dog’s both physical and mental wellbeing.

In general, dogs need one ounce of water for every pound of body weight every single day. But water intake also depends on age, size, activity, weather and diet. How?

Size and age- Very young puppies need no water, the water content in milk is enough to fulfill their water needs. However, when they start weaning and consuming solid food, half-cup water should be given every two hours.

Older puppies who have now weaned, need one ounce of water per pound of their body weight. Example, a dog weighs twenty five pounds, he should take twenty five ounces of water.

On the other side, middle-aged dogs don’t consume much water. They can hold their bladder for 7-11 hours easily.

But by the time dogs need old age, they need water every few minutes. Many of them develop diseases that increase the water intake and excretion rate, for example Diabetes Mellitus.

Activity level- If you take your dog for exercise he’ll return home thirsty and greedily lick every bit of moisture from the water bowl.Growing puppies that are full of energy consume extra water, they require it for their growing needs and increased activity levels.

WeatherOn a hot day, a dog needs more water to regulate his body temperature. Remember dogs practice panting to cool down themselves. Thus, they’ll be needing extra water for rehydrating themselves.

Diet– Any dog who is on some dry food diet will lack moisture in his meals. It’s very important to keep such canine friends fully hydrated through ample water supply with meals and without meals.

Generally, dogs consume twice as much water as the food. For example, if a doggo takes three bowls of food per say he is most likely to take six cups of water.

Why do owners withhold water from dogs at night?

Some dog-moms tend to control the water intake of dogs and puppies. During the day they let the fluffy boy enjoy as much water as he wants, but a few hours before bedtime you’d see them put a ban on water supply to the dog. Why do they withhold water from the dog at night?


As you bring a puppy home, the first rule is to teach him housetraining. Do you want him peeing around the house and spoiling your expensive furniture? Never!

Owners withhold water from dogs at night for their potty training. Since the growing puppies are not trained, if they have water around they’ll drink and urinate frequently. Thus, owners give puppies water throughout the day and take them out but hide it at night. This is to be followed for under-trained puppies normally before 12 weeks.

It’s best to take away the water bowl two to three hours before bedtime at a fixed time. For example, if you turn off the light by 12, make sure your dog is done eating and drinking by 9-10 pm. After this, you can take him one last time to defecate.

In this process, the owner needs to be consistent.

Now you may lock the door and sleep in peace.

Besides, most puppies can stay without urinating for 7 hours. Take them out in the morning and then offer fresh water for intake. This way you’ll make up a routine without dehydrating them. In short, establish good toilet habits and a healthy body for your growing doggo.

To avoid Mid-night Toilet breaks

Dogs would bark and wake you up at 2 am just to go pee outside. You wake up from deep sleep to fulfill their toilet needs, which can be controlled without any harm.

Another problem is that most dogs sleep in crates, to move them out to pee at night is a real struggle.

What to do now? To avoid such inconvenience, many dog owners restrict the water to dogs at night, mostly an hour before sleeping. Nobody wants to get disturbed at night, right?

As soon as the sun rises the owner places the water supplies and opens the gate for the dog to walk out.

Besides, If your dog wakes you up because he is thirsty, give him ice cubes.


Yes, unfortunately, some dogs over-hydrate themselves, this phenomenon is also known as water intoxication.

The dogs high on the water can sometimes show signs of lethargy, vomiting, dilated pupils with loss of coordination, and bloating. Immediately reach a doctor if you observe such signs.

Before a surgical procedure

Sometimes upon vet requests, owners start to limit the intake of water for dogs. This may be because the vet has to give some treatment or run a procedure for which the bladder must be empty.

Why do some people disagree with withholding water from dogs at night?

Many people believe everyone including a dog should have a right to clean water at any time of the day, to withhold water even at night is inhuman.

Adult dogs have good bladder control

Dogs are pretty good at self-hydrating themselves and usually don’t under-drink or overdrink.

Moreover, dogs can hold urine in the bladder for up to 11 hours so taking away water access is not a great idea for any dog.


Sometimes we don’t realize but less water intake can lead to dehydration. Dehydration clearly shows behavioral changes in most dogs. They’ll go crazy at the sight of water and practice resource guarding according to Dr. Johnson. They may also try drinking water from toilets, puddles, or unhealthy sites which causes worm infestation in the gut.

Moreover, the dogs become lethargic, stop eating, get dry-looking eyes, nose and gums and this is a medical emergency!

Urinary Tract Infections

Have you felt a burning sensation while urinating? Did the doctor tell you to increase your intake of water? Just like men UTI is common in dogs.

According to research, more than half the dogs with water restriction develop UTI symptoms that would later lead to kidney stones and even sepsis.

Systemic Diseases

Some older dogs particularly those above 10 years of age develop the generic disease with time. Diseases such as Diabetes Mellitus, Cushing’s Syndrome, Kidney Disease, Hepatic insufficiency, and Diabetes Insipidus increase the thirst and urination of any affected dog. It’s quite insensitive to say but Dogs turn into pee factories.

Thus, these dogs need to drink and excrete very often. Withholding water from dogs only makes the symptoms worse.


Dog Food Advisor says, never to leave the dog without a water supply as it could be a risk of dehydration.

If you want to withhold water from a dog at night, add enough moisture in the meal so he doesn’t feel dehydrated or thirsty. Also, make sure to give uninterrupted supply throughout the day.

In a nutshell, it can be concluded that withholding water from a healthy dog or sick dog isn’t right. However, if your puppy is under training, you may restrict the water supply but follow a couple of hydrating advice.

I hope we have all your water-related queries resolved by now!

2 thoughts on “Is Withholding Water from a Dog at Night a Sensible Choice?”

  1. My dog has never had water overnight and the first thing he does when he goes downstairs is go out to the toilet. He’s a 2 year old Cavachon. He also isn’t in a hurry for a drink after going outside for a pee. The first thing he does is lay in his downstairs bed right next to his fresh water bowl that’s filled up when empty. Why do owners feel the need to mollycoddle animals when they simply don’t need that. I love my dog and he is absolutely perfectly healthy. He goes on long walks everyday and drinks plenty throughout the day. I don’t feel the need to provide water overnight when he sleeps during the night, and he’s very happy. However I know him very well and if I saw him showing signs of needing water I would give him some. During the warm weather however it’s a different matter.


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