do german shepherds drink a lot of water

Do German Shepherds Drink A Lot Of Water? How Much Water Do They Actually Need?

Do German Shepherds drink a lot of water?

Yes, German Shepherds do drink a lot of water, especially when compared to smaller or sedentary breeds. On average, they drink around 62 to 88 ounces or 1.8 to 2.6 liters of water daily to stay hydrated.

Why Do German Shepherds Drink A Lot Of Water?

A German Shepherd drinking water in slow-motion

Water plays an important role with temperature regulation and a German Shepherd’s overall ability to function. And so as large and active dogs, German Shepherds tend to lose a lot of water from their bodies throughout the day. This then causes them to get thirsty and rehydrate.

Simply put, German Shepherds drink a lot of water simply because they need to.

How Much Water Do German Shepherds Need?

In general, dogs need to drink at least an ounce or about 0.3 liters of water per pound of body weight daily.

Meaning, a German Shepherd male that weighs an average of 71 to 88 pounds will generally drink 71 to 88 ounces or 2 to 2.6 liters of water per day.

While a female German Shepherd that weighs an average of 62 to 70 pounds will drink 62 to 70 ounces or 1.8 to 2 liters.

That said, these numbers may increase as water intake isn’t based on weight alone.

Factors That Affect Water Intake

Water intake may increase based on the following factors:

Temperature And Exercise

Apart from their paw pads, German Shepherds don’t sweat like us humans. And so they can’t regulate their temperature by having sweat evaporate from their skin. Instead, they cool themselves by panting to evaporate water from their tongues and mouths. In doing so, their bodies lose a lot of water that needs to be replaced.

With that, German Shepherds that are exposed to extreme heat or physical activities need much more water than usual. 

Diet

The type of food a German Shepherd eats also factors into water consumption. Those who eat wet canned food will tend to need less water than those fed exclusively with dry food. A combination of both may either increase or decrease water intake.

Age

German Shepherd puppies have their own set of rules when it comes to water intake and actually need more water than adults at one point.

Younger puppies that are just transitioning from mother’s milk to solid food need ½ cup of water every two hours. They then eventually transition to needing ⅕ to 1 ounce per pound of body weight day after they have been weaned.

Illness

Certain medical conditions like hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, diabetes mellitus, and kidney disease may cause increased thirst and water intake in German Shepherds.

Medication

Some medications may also increase thirst due to increased urine production and other side-effects. Examples of these are as follows:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Heart failure drugs
  • Seizure-medications

Behavioral Issues

It’s also possible for a German Shepherd to drink water excessively due to behavioral issues. For instance, psychogenic polydipsia is a condition characterized by increased water intake for seemingly no cause or reason. 

Meaning, a German Shepherd that has this condition will drink water excessively even if it’s not sick or dehydrated. Instead, this condition is often associated with boredom, stress, and attention-seeking behavior.

While serious implications are rare, it’s worth noting that the symptoms of psychogenic polydipsia are quite similar to diabetes and other illnesses and may thus warrant a visit to the vet nonetheless.

Should You Worry About Your German Shepherd’s Increased Water Consumption?

As you know by now, your German Shepherd’s water intake can vary depending on its needs or underlying health conditions. So increased thirst and water intake can most definitely be a cause of concern. But the real question is, when should you worry?

Well, a sudden change in your German Shepherd’s drinking habits may actually already warrant a consultation with the vet. But to be certain, you can try to look for other unusual symptoms apart from excessive drinking.

For instance, if you notice your German Shepherd excessively panting, has dry gums, and being lethargic, then it is most likely dehydrated and needs veterinary care immediately.

Do also check for excessive urination as that may indicate a number of major diseases including kidney disease or diabetes.

Final Thoughts

To recap, German Shepherds drink a lot of water, but mostly because they need to. As large and active dogs they need to drink plenty of water daily to stay hydrated and function properly.

So provide your German Shepherd free access to fresh and clean water all the time. That way, it can keep cool and won’t get sick from dehydration.

That said, do try your best to also keep track of your German Shepherd’s water consumption. Again, excessive drinking may indicate underlying medical conditions and warrant a visit to the vet.

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