How Much Should a Labrador Drink – Lab Water Guide


Water is vital to life, so naturally, it’s one of the most important parts of your Labrador’s diet.

The amount of water your Lab is drinking can be an early indication that something might be wrong with them.

Luckily, keeping track of how much water our Labradors drink is relatively easy, so the really important question is how much should a Labrador be drinking.

If we can start to understand how much water our Labrador should have, we can easily lookout for any warning signs of under or overconsumption.

Adult Labradors should drink around 0.75 oz of water for every pound of body weight or 40 ml per kilogram. An average Labrador weighing around 70 pounds should drink around 0.4 gallons per day or a 32 kilogram Labrador at 1.3 liters per day.

That’s just a general estimate and the true amount will vary depending on the Labrador’s activity and age.

The range will be somewhere between 0.5 – 1 oz for every pound or 25 – 50 ml for every kilogram.

Let’s look deeper into different factors that affect how much our Labradors need to drink and then we can start to look into warning signs later in the article.

Labrador water guide chart

This chart should help to give an indication of how much your Labrador should be drinking. All Labradors will drink slightly different amounts based on their activity level and diet, but this chart should help you to understand whether your Labrador is about in line with the average water intake or way off.

Labrador weight (lb)Labrador weight (kg)Water (gallons)Water (liters)
50230.30.9
60270.351
70320.41.3
80360.451.4
100450.61.8

How much water should my Labrador puppy drink

Labrador puppies do need a lot of water, but they should still be in order around the above guidelines. Obviously they don’t weigh very much and they are likely to need to consume something near the upper end of the 0.5 – 1 oz for every pound of weight guide.

At about 12 weeks you Labrador will probably weigh around 15 pounds, so they’ll need about 15 oz of water per day or two cups.

Here is another handy guide I’ve done specifically for Labrador puppies showing the average weight by age (in weeks) and how much water they’ll probably need. I’ve shown the amount in cups and liters rather than gallons and liters as above.

Puppy age in weeksAverage weight (lb)Average weight (kg)Water (cups)Water (liters)
1015720.4
15251130.5
2040184.50.9
2545205.51
30502361.2

An important part of ensuring puppies get the right amount of water is to not give them all of it in one go. With an adult Labrador, you can usually just leave a nice full bowl of water on the floor and they’ll just drink as and when they need to.

Puppies aren’t always this sensible and they may have all their daily amount of water in one go!

Therefore it’s important to pace their water intake throughout the day, serving them a top-up every couple of hours.

Don’t worry too much if your puppy drinks slightly more or less than the amount I’ve described. As long as they are in that general ballpark then they’ll be getting enough water.

How much water should an adult Labrador drink

How much an adult Labrador needs to drink will be more in line with the fist Labrador water guide chart I showed above.

The amount of water a Labrador will need will depend on their activity level and environment.

If your Labrador is within the 0.5 – 1 oz per pound of weight range then you can be happy with the amount they are drinking and they have probably just found a comfortable balance for them.

If you find that they are constantly drinking more or less than this may be due to other issues which I will go into later in this article.

If you suddenly find that they are drinking far less than this amount, or no water at all, there may be a serious problem which requires medical assistance and you should consult with your vet. I have written a section at the bottom of this article for guidance if your Labrador is drinking no water at all.

How much water should an old Labrador drink

Older Labradors generally drink a little more water than younger ones.

This may be counteracted somewhat due to inactivity. But if you have an older Labrador who is still quite active you should find they will drink lots of water.

You’ll probably be well used to how much water your Labrador drinks on a daily basis by the time they are a senior, but if you’ve recently taken an older Labrador into care or are looking after one for someone else here is a general guide to how much they will need to drink per day.

Labrador weight (lb)Labrador weight (kg)Water (gallons)Water (liters)
50230.41.2
60270.451.4
70320.51.6
80360.61.8
100450.82

Don’t be too worried if you find them drinking less than this, as long as they are within the 0.5 – 1 oz per pound range then they will be getting enough water.

The above chat shows the upper limit of what a Labrador will need to drink, so what if they are drinking significantly more than that. Let’s look into why your Labrador might be drinking lots of water.

Why is my Labrador drinking so much water

There are good reasons why Labradors might be drinking more water than usual that shouldn’t raise any concern. Just like humans, there are certain conditions where your pooch will become particularly thirsty. Let’s look at these first and then discuss some reasons which may be more concerning.

Temperature/Weather

Your Labrador will need more water during hot days, if you’re due for a hot summer then your Lab may very well exceed the daily water guidelines. If the excess drinking is just a reaction to a hot day then there’s no need for concern.

Labradors regulate their temperature using water. Whilst they don’t sweat from the vast majority of their body (Labradors won’t sweat from any part of their body covered in fur), they do pant heavily when they are hot.

This panting releases water and cools the Labrador down, as a result, your Labrador needs to drink more water than they usually might.

Activity

The amount of activity your Labrador has will have a similar effect on them as high temperatures. They will need to pant more in order to cool down and as a result, water will be released as they respire.

This means they need more water than usual to re-hydrate.

Diet

What your Labrador eats will also have an effect on how much they need to drink. Dry meals such as plain kibble won’t contain much moisture and so a Labrador will need to drink more than if they were on a more naturally hydrated food such as a raw food diet.

That doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with feeding your Labrador dry food, just make sure they have plenty of water to go with it.

The above reasons for an increased thirst are generally nothing to worry about, it’s perfectly normal for a Labrador to need more water as a result of those conditions. Now let’s look at some reasons which might cause a little more concern.

Medication side effects

It’s not uncommon for certain medications to have side effects which change your Labradors water requirements.

Certain medications can lead to increased thirst and urination. This may not cause any issues for yourself or the Labrador but if the side effects seem particularly strong then you may want to consult with your vet who may be able to recommend an alternative medication.

Health issues

It’s common for certain health issues to cause an increased thirst for a Labrador. This can often be helpful to the Labrador’s health, if for example, they were suffering from diarrhea then you would expect them to drink more in order to rebalance their fluid levels.

However, these short term conditions should fade after a few days. If your Labrador continues to drink excessive amounts of water and it isn’t obviously connected with one of the situations shown above then it could be a sign of more serious health issues.

Excessive water intake can be a sign of bladder infection, diabetes, or Cushing’s disease.

If you notice your Labrador has been drinking excessive water over a prolonged period for no obvious reason then you should consult with your vet.

Is my Labrador drinking too much water

This is a difficult question to give an exact answer for. All Labradors will need a different amount of water-based on their age, size, diet, health and activity level.

Generally, Labradors should be drinking in accordance with the 0.5 – 1 oz per pound of weight rule which was set out at the start of the article.

A little above this and you shouldn’t worry too much as long as your Labrador seems to be healthy otherwise. If they are bounding around and drinking just above the expected daily amount they are probably perfectly fine.

If they appear quite lethargic and not active or have little motivation to do any activity and are still drinking above the normal amount of water then there may be something wrong.

This could be related to some of the health issues I point out earlier in the article, such as a bladder infection, diabetes, or Cushing’s disease.

If you have concerns you should contact your vet immediately.

If your Labrador is drinking way above the normal level of water then this can also lead to overhydration.

Signs of overhydration include loss of coordination and staggers, lethargy and nausea, vomiting, dilated pupils and pale gums, and excessive drooling. Extreme cases left untreated can result in breathing difficulties and fainting.

If you begin to see any of these symptoms then you should contact your vet immediately.

Is my Labrador drinking enough water

If you Labrador is only consuming amounts of water on the lower end of what would be expected then that’s probably fine, as long as they are somewhere within the 0.5 – 1 oz per pound of weight then they have probably found their correct balance.

If they are drinking under that amount then it might be because they have found an alternative water source, is there a river or pond on their walk? Or do they tend to drink from puddles?

It’s not always possible to tell exactly how much water our Labrador has drunk as they can easily have a sneaky slurp when we’re not looking.

But if their water bowl does seem to stay unusually full and you want to make sure they are hydrated there are some physical checks you can do.

When Labradors become dehydrated their skin becomes stiffer and less elastic. If you pull up the loose part of the skin between their shoulder blades to an arch and then let go, a healthy Labrador’s skin will quickly bounce back into shape. If they are dehydrated the skin will hold the arched position slightly for a little while.

You should also check their nose. A Labrador’s nose should be wet to the touch. If it’s dry then that’s a clear sign of dehydration. The same check can also be done on the gums which will feel sticky rather than wet to the touch.

If your Labrador is showing these signs of dehydration and doesn’t appear to be drinking much either then you should consult with your vet as it may be a result of underlying health conditions

If you want to try and rehydrate your Labrador immediately but they don’t seem to be interested in drinking water then you can consider mixing in wet food with their meal to add some moisture.

My Labrador isn’t drinking any water

If a Labrador stops drinking any water at all it can be a large indicator that something is wrong with their health.

Whilst Labradors can often be put off their food by stress or illness, they will rarely stop drinking for extended periods as dehydration can set in very quickly.

Whilst a Labrador could easily last three days without eating and have no health effects, three days without drinking water could be life-threatening for a Labrador so it’s important that you monitor them closely if you suspect they have stopped drinking. Perhaps consider adding a pen mark to the water level on their water bowl if it doesn’t already have a measurement on it. 

Labradors don’t usually go more than a few hours without having some water if you think your Labrador has gone a whole day without drinking and still doesn’t seem to be interested in any water you put in front of them you should consider taking them to a vet.

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