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Should I leave water out for my dog at night?

You know that access to water is very important for your dog. Many dog owners wonder if they should leave water out for their pooch at night. Taking it away can seem cruel, but giving them access to water at night can lead to accidents. 

Should I leave water out for my dog at night?

Put simply, there’s rarely a reason to leave water out for your dog at night. If your pooch is healthy, they should be fine going all night without drinking. However, some owners aren’t comfortable leaving their dog without water overnight. 

Personally, I can’t stand the thought of any animal being hungry or thirsty on my watch. I often leave water down for my pooch for this reason. It can also be easy to forget to take their water up at the end of the day. 

Is it a bad idea to leave water out for your dog? Will it cause accidents? 

Dog Water Needs

First, it’s important to understand how much water your dog needs, and how often they need it. Generally speaking, an adult dog needs about  1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight. A 20 pound dog needs around 10-20 ounces of water a day. 

There are factors that influence your dog’s water needs. A very active dog will need more water than one who spends most of their day relaxing, just as an active person would. Another similarity is that dogs need more water when it’s hot. 

So, a 20 pound dog could need 25 or even 30 ounces of water on a hot day when they are also being active. 

Water: Take it Or Leave It? 

It’s generally recommended that you remove access to water at night. If you do so, you should remove it a few hours before bed. Give your pooch a potty break right before bed, and again when they get up in the morning. Then put down water for them, and give them access throughout the day. 

If your dog is potty trained, you may find that removing their water isn’t necessary. Adult dogs can hold their pee for up to 8 hours. As long as they potty before bed, a drink during the night shouldn’t cause an accident. 

This varies from dog to dog. Some dogs have accidents when water is left out. Others have no issue with it. 

When Not to Remove Water

There are some situations when it’s a bad idea to remove your dog’s water, even at night. If they are sick, particularly with fever, vomiting, or diarrhea, do not remove their water. These symptoms can lead to dehydration, which can be dangerous or even fatal for your dog. 

You should also be sure they have access to water after exposure to high temperatures or exercise. If you can’t adjust your schedule to allow for them to have time to drink and potty before bed, you’ll need to leave water out during the night.  

Lastly, if water is restricted during the day, you’ll need to leave water out at night. If they are in a crate without water while you are at work, which isn’t a great idea, btw, they will need access to water at night. 

Dog Dehydration 

Of course, if your dog is showing any signs of dehydration, you shouldn’t remove their water at night. Signs of dehydration include pale or tacky gums, loss of appetite, lethargy, and stomach upset. 

Another way to check for dehydration is to grab the scruff at your dog’s neck. Pull the scruff up, and then let go. It should go back into place immediately. If it doesn’t, they may be dehydrated. 

Should I leave water in my dog’s crate at night?

Generally, no. You shouldn’t leave water in your dog’s crate at night. They should associate the crate with sleep, not eating or drinking. This can also prevent crate accidents. There are some exceptions to this rule, however. 

When To Leave Water in Your Dog’s Crate

If your dog is sick, they need water in their crate. If they have fever, vomiting, and diarrhea, they need constant access to water to avoid dehydration. 

They also need water if they have certain chronic illnesses, including kidney disease, diabetes, and Cushings disease. These conditions make dogs very thirsty. Do not put a full bowl of water in their crate, but leave them some water. 

Should I leave water out for my puppy at night?

When it comes to water, puppies present an interesting paradox. They need more water per pound of body weight than their adult counterparts. They also need water more often than adult dogs. At the same time, they can’t hold their pee as long as an adult.

How Much Water Do Puppies Need? 

Puppies need at least one ounce of water per pound of body weight. Depending on the weather and their activity level, they may need a bit more. 

If your puppy eats wet dog food, this will also figure into the equation. Wet dog food is about 35% water. This counts towards your pup’s water intake, just like the water he drinks from a bowl. 

If your puppy eats wet food, don’t worry if they are consuming a little less water than recommended. If they only eat dry food, it’s essential that they meet their water requirements, however. 

Leaving Water Out Isn’t Usually Necessary

It’s true that your puppy needs  more water than an adult dog. This can make it seem as if you have to leave their water bowl out at night. However, this will almost certainly lead to accidents, and set back potty training. 

As long as your puppy is healthy and consuming enough water during the day, they will not need water at night. Like adult dogs, puppies are able to regulate their water intake. This means they know when they need to drink, and how much. 

Puppy Potty Breaks

To figure out how long your puppy can hold their pee, add their age in months plus one. If you have a 3-month-old puppy, they will only be able to hold their pee for 4 hours. 

Once they reach 7 months old and older, they should be able to hold it for 8 hours. It’s not a good idea to expect your dog to hold it for longer than 8 hours, even as an adult. This can lead to accidents and urinary problems. 

When to Remove Water? 

You should remove water 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. Immediately before bed, let your puppy out to potty. Let them out as soon as they wake up in the morning as well. After they have relieved themselves, give them access to water immediately. Leave fresh water available throughout the day. 

This schedule is recommended for adult dogs as well. However, it’s not as important for adult pooches with good potty habits. During potty training, it’s essential to follow this schedule, unless there’s an issue that prevents you from removing their water. 

How to stop my dog from having accidents at night?

Puppies, much like babies, often have the most difficulty potty training at night. The good news is you can work with your dog to avoid night time accidents. 

Crate Training

If your dog isn’t currently crate trained, this can stop night accidents. Most dogs will not pee or poop in their crate, because they view it as their den. You wouldn’t pee in your bedroom. Your dog likely won’t pee in theirs either. 

Of course, crate training alone isn’t enough. If your dog needs to go bad enough, they will go in the crate. If they get used to going in the crate, potty training can become more difficult. 

Do not use a crate that’s too large. This will give them an acceptable potty spot, because it’s not right by their sleeping area. They should have enough room to stand up and turn around, however. 

Set a Schedule

Setting a schedule is key to preventing nighttime accidents. As long as your dog gets plenty of water during the day, you can take their water up 2 to 3 hours before bed. 

If they are having accidents, it’s important to do this. Do it at the same time each night, so your pooch knows what to expect. 

Night Bathroom Breaks

Take your dog out right before bed each night. This should be part of your nightly bedtime routine. Doing things in the same way will help your dog know what to expect. The same time and the same potty place can be helpful. 

Night Waking

Some dogs will wake during the night. When they wake up, they will likely need to potty. It can be a pain to get up, but it’s better than allowing them to potty in the house. If your pooch whines or shows other signs of needing to go out during the night, allow them to go potty. 

If your dog commonly wakes during the night, consider a doggie door. This will allow them to go out when they need to. You can also allow them to use a puppy pad during the night, if they can’t wait till morning. 

 Clean Accidents 

If your dog has an accident, you’ll need to clean it well. Once the area smells like pee, the dog will consider it his bathroom. If it smells like pee, it must be an acceptable place to potty. 

Cleaning with regular cleaners will not remove all the pee residue. You won’t be able to smell it, but your dog can. To get rid of the smell, use an enzyme cleaner.