Can Puppies Drink Water?

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Newborn puppies need nothing beyond milk from their mothers for the initial four weeks of their lives. That milk satisfies their nutritional requirement during that early stage. Once puppies are a few weeks old, however, they typically begin drinking water.

The Nutritional Needs of Newborn Puppies

Nursing fulfills newborn puppies' hydration needs. If puppies lack a lactating mother or foster female cat, commercial canine milk replacer can accommodate all of their nutritional needs. This formula is specifically made to fulfill growing puppies highly specific nutritional demands. If you're caring for a litter of orphaned puppies and need advice on bottle feeding, speak to a veterinarian before you proceed.

Young Puppies and Drinking Water

Puppies generally begin drinking water when they're roughly 3 weeks old. They learn how to drink water by mimicking the actions of their mother. When they're around that age, make sure they have fresh and clean drinking water available 100 percent of the time. Put the water in shallow and heavy dishes that they can't knock over. Ceramic and stainless steel dishes typically work well.

Puppies are still extremely clumsy at this young age. They may get their water soiled frequently by putting their food-smeared faces into it. They may even occasionally attempt to walk or play in their water dishes. Change their water two times a day regardless of how clean it appears. Rinse and wash their water dishes daily.

Puppies need constant access to fresh drinking water during the weaning stage and need to start drinking water around the same time they begin eating solid foods. Mother dogs often initiate the weaning process when puppies are 3 to 4 weeks old, and they're typically fully weaned when they're between 7 and 8 weeks old.

Water, a Key Nutrient

Once puppies begin drinking water, they need it for the rest of their lives. Water is key to many bodily operations in canines. It has a vital role in digestion, elimination and circulation, for example.

Tip

    • Although newborn puppies don't require drinking water in dishes yet,
      they do require hydration courtesy of their mother dogs or a suitableformula. Puppies can get dehydrated rapidly if they don't nurse.
    • Dehydration is also a risk for puppies who are kept in an environment
      that's excessively dry and hot. Common signs of dehydration to watch out
      for in puppies include dryness of the tongue and gums and reduced saliva levels. 
    • Notify your veterinarian immediately if you suspect dehydration in any
      of your puppies.

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