Dog, don’t take your water for granted

When it comes to water efficiency, cats may not rule, but dogs definitely drool.

May 8, 2017 | By: Jimmy Luthye

Each year, the American Water Works Association reminds us to take time to appreciate our drinking water during Drinking Water Week. It goes without saying, but we are incredibly fortunate to have access to clean, safe water and we should never, ever take it for granted.

But do you know who does take it for granted?


Indeed, those fuzzy freeloaders have no idea how great they’ve got it. And while I’m fairly sure they won’t read this, I still thought it apropos to look into the water habits of various pets, including how they drink it and how much of it they drink.

If you’re all about water efficiency, purr-haps (sorry) it will even help inform your next pet purchase.



They have weird tongues that act as some sort of inverted spoon to ladle just the right amount of water into their mouths before it falls back down into the bowl. So dainty.

Daily water requirement: 60-120 milliliters (about 4-8 tablespoons).



They do the same thing cats do, with zero grace whatsoever. They plunge their lovable, oversized tongues carelessly into the water with no regard for common decency.

You right now: “But they’re so cute!”


Daily water requirement: 250-500 milliliters (about a pint) per 10 pounds of dog.

Also, you should watch BBC Earth’s awesome video of cats and dogs drinking in slow-motion.



These intelligent creatures (yes, sheep are smart, too) consume water in a slurping, suction-esque manner, similar to humans and with varying degrees of success.

Daily water requirements:

  • Sheep: 3-12 liters
  • Pigs: 10-35 liters
  • Horses: 35-70 liters



Regrettably, I looked into how snakes consume water. People seem to find it cute, and I don’t want to talk about it. Apparently they use some sort of sponge action? I don’t know.

Daily water requirement: Not a lot, but you should change the water in their bowls at least once a week.



When it comes to drinking water, as Bruce would say, “Fish are friends.” That being said, don’t be fooled.

Daily water requirement: While freshwater fish don’t drink water, they aren’t exactly a low-water-use pet since they dwell in it and you have to change the water frequently or they’ll die. Just ask my roommate.



They don’t need much water and drink out of adorable bottles. Adorably.

Daily water requirement: 10 milliliters (about 2 teaspoons) per 100 grams of hamster. (They typically don’t weigh more than 200 grams.)

You can also go extreme with the ol’ family-friendly standby — a Dorcas gazelle. They don’t actually have to drink water. Then again, they have sharp horns and are not suitable pets.

Dorcas gazelle
A Dorcas gazelle can go its entire life without drinking any water at all. Photo credit to Cloudtail the Snow Leopard, Flickr Creative Commons.


For more water-drinking weirdness from the animal world, including seals munching snow and elephants being amazing, check out This Is How Dogs, Cats, And Other Animals Drink…And It’s All Super Weird.

But whether or not you select your pets based on how efficient they are with water, please do take a moment to reflect on what you love most about the most precious resource in the universe. Cheers to a happy and hydrated Drinking Water Week!

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