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Measuring Drinking in Cats & Dogs

Animals have an instinctual drive to consume enough water to meet their daily requirements. Young puppies and kittens require more due to their higher metabolism and growth rate, and pets with certain illnesses (or those that are very active) may also require more water each day.


Animals meet their daily water requirement in many ways, most commonly by drinking water. A less obvious means of consuming water is through food. Canned food has higher moisture content than dry food. If you start out feeding dry food but begin feeding your pet a canned diet, the amount of water she drinks will often decrease.

Why should I measure how much

my pet is drinking?

Dogs and cats that don’t consume enough water can become dehydrated. Pets with normal hydration typically have adequate saliva in their mouths, so your finger should slide easily over their gums. In severely dehydrated pets, the gums can feel dry or “tacky” to the touch.

If it seems like your pet is drinking more than normal, it’s important that you don’t restrict her access to water without consulting your veterinarian first. Some pets may drink more because of underlying diseases and restricting water could worsen their condition.

How do I measure how much my pet is drinking?

Start the morning by measuring in a jug how much water you place in your pet’s water dish.

Allow free access to the water all day, and if the pet empties the bowl, refill it (but measure how much extra water you added).

At the end of the day, measure the amount remaining in the dish.

Do this over several days or a week to obtain an average of how much water your pet drinks.

If there are several pets in your household, you may need to isolate this pet from the others for a few days, so that he/she is the only one drinking from the bowl.

And don't forget to restrict access to "other" water sources your pet may find, like the toilet or the fish pond.

Once you know how much your pet is drinking, your vet can determine whether the amount is sufficient or excessive or if additional supplementation is required.

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