A brown dog drinking water from a metal bowl outside.

Hydration Is Key for Performance Dogs

Of all the nutrients your dog needs to stay healthy and perform at their best, water is the most important. Whether it’s a rest day or a work day, planning how you’re going to keep your performance dog hydrated throughout the day should be a priority.

An interior infographic detailing why water is so important for dogs.

Maintaining Water Balance

How much water your dog needs to consume each day is determined by what their body needs to maintain its water balance. Dogs lose water daily, mostly through urine plus some from respiration (breathing) and stools. To avoid dehydration, these losses must be replaced, mostly through drinking water.

The amount of water your dog needs depends on their size, diet, activity level and the weather conditions. Small dogs need less water than large dogs, and dogs fed canned food, which contains 70 to 80 percent moisture, tend to drink less than dogs fed dry food.

Rest-Day Water Requirements

For a low-activity or rest day, there is a rule of thumb to use for how much water your dog should be consuming. A healthy dog will drink 0.5 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. Most of this will come through drinking but some could also be provided via their food.

More Exercise, More Water

Performance dogs need more water if they are working or training. Exercise produces heat and dogs cool by panting, so they lose fluid during exercise and need to replace it. Dehydration can reduce performance and lead to injury or illness, so it’s important that your dog always has access to fresh, clean water before, during and after exercise.


Keeping your dog hydrated is essential for keeping them healthy and performing to their peak potential. If you have concerns about the amount of water your dog is drinking — either too much or too little — talk with your veterinarian.


RELATED POST: Refuel and Rebuild: Nutrition’s Role in Performance Dog Recovery

The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.


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