chocolate labrador puppy

By Andrew Fischer

From when can a Labrador puppy drink water?

Water is key to your Lab’s physical and mental health and strong immunity.

Introducing water too soon or too late can be damaging to the health and well-being of your dog. 

The best time to introduce water to your Lab is around 3 or 4 weeks of age.

For the first 4 weeks, your pooch relies on a mother’s milk which is an essential source of antibodies and nutrients dogs needs to grow properly.

Don’t let your pup drink all the water in one gulp. If possible, spread his water intake over several times throughout the day.

How to introduce water to your Labrador

Separate your puppy from his mother for a few hours every day. During this time you should offer some water and soft wet food to your pup. Let the puppy explore the food and water. This will take some time but your smart dog should get the hang of drinking and eating from the bowl soon enough. After some time put your puppy back with his mother. Gradually increase the time your Labrador is away from his mother.

If your puppy refuses to drink water you can mix some milk (or small treats) and water and give it to your puppy.

Dogs are motivated by food, so you can reward your Lab for drinking. Place a bowl of water in front of your Lab and ask him to drink. If he obeys, pat him, and give him a treat. 

You can also put meat flavourings into the water bowl. They are safe for dogs and encourage them to drink more often.

Sometimes simply changing the position of the water bowl may also work. 

Unfamiliar places can be another reason why your pooch doesn’t want to drink. When he cannot recognize the smell of the water, your Lab may refuse to drink it. If you travel somewhere new you can bring a bottle of water from home. 

How much water should a Labrador puppy drink?

On average, a healthy Labrador should drink between 0.5 and 1 oz (0.015 – 0.03 l) of water per pound (0.45 Kg) of his body weight each day.

How much should your Labrador puppy drink (whether the lower or upper range in the table below) depends on his activity, age, weather, health and diet.

Labrador puppies fed on kibble need more water as kibble is dry. Dogs fed on moist food will drink less water. If your Labrador is quite active he should also drink much more water to replace fluids he lost. 

In the hot summer, pups need to drink more water compared to colder days. If the weather is cool and your Lab is getting less exercise than normal, then he just isn’t thirsty.

Older and larger Labradors need to drink more water compared to small pups. Don’t let your dog drink all the water in one gulp. Spread their water intake throughout the day.

If the water intake seems too excessive, and your Lab is constantly thirsty, I would visit a vet. 

Dog weight Normal water intake
2 lb (0.9 Kg)
1 - 2 oz (30 - 60 ml)
3 lb (1.4 Kg)
1.5 - 3 oz (44 - 89 ml)
4 lb (1.8 Kg)
2 - 4 oz (60 - 118 ml)
5 lb (2.3 Kg)
2.5 - 5 oz (74 - 148 ml)
6 lb (2.7 Kg)
3 - 6 oz (89 - 177 ml)
8 lb (3.6 Kg)
4 - 8 oz (118 - 237 ml)
10 lb (4.5 Kg)
5 - 10 oz (148 - 296 ml)
12 lb (5.4 Kg)
6 - 12 oz (177 - 355 ml)
14 lb (6.3 Kg)
7 - 14 oz (207 - 414 ml)
16 lb (7.2 Kg)
8 - 16 oz (237 - 473 ml)
18 lb (8.2 Kg)
9 - 18 oz (266 - 532 ml)
20 lb (9 Kg)
10 - 20 oz (295 - 591 ml)
24 lb (11 Kg)
12 - 24 oz (355 ml - 710 ml)
28 lb (13 Kg)
14 - 28 oz (414 - 828 ml)
32 lb (15 Kg)
16 - 32 oz (473 - 946 ml)
36 lb (16 Kg)
18 - 36 oz (532 - 1064 ml)
40 lb (18 Kg)
20 - 40 oz (591 - 1182 ml)
44 lb (20 Kg)
22 - 44 oz (651 - 1301 ml)

What to do if your Labrador puppy drinks too much?

If your puppy drinks too much then it’s quite likely that something could be wrong with his health. Excessive water intake may be a sign of kidney or liver disorder, diabetes etc. Bladder infection and other infections of the urinary tract can also cause a decrease in your dog’s thirst.

If your Lab drinks excessively also in colder weather and without being active, I would recommend you to visit your veterinarian. 

Why is water important for Labradors?

Labradors just like any other dog breed need water to keep them hydrated and to improve their digestion. Without water dogs wouldn’t be able to cool themselves down and to regulate their body temperature. 

Make sure you offer more water to your dog when he’s active and during hot summer days. (1)