When Can a Puppy Start Drinking Water?

By John Martin - March 13, 2023

Puppy drinking water from bowl in grass

Puppies, just like infants, require a bit more care than usual to ensure that their initial growing stages all pass by smoothly. This also applies to something as simple as figuring out when to start giving them water.

There are some crucial details you should be aware of in this matter, some of which are highlighted below.

When to Start Giving Water to Your Puppy

You should wait until the puppy is 3-4 weeks old. This is also enough time for the puppies to be done with drinking their mother’s milk, signaling that you must now gradually reduce their dependence on this and begin the process of weaning.

This is also when you will need to start providing them with small amounts of food.

Once your puppies get used to drinking and eating on their own, you can gradually increase the quantity you provide so that they can completely stop drinking their mother’s milk.

Necessity of Water

Just as water tends to be extremely important for the survival of humans, it also tends to hold equal importance for puppies and dogs. What exactly does this water do for the puppies?

  • Water can help keep your puppies hydrated, making it easier for their digestive systems to break down the food properly so that the cells can then absorb essential nutrients.
  • Water can provide vital sustenance and nourishment by ensuring that all processes in the body are functioning properly.
  • Water can help maintain the temperature levels in the body.
  • It can help avoid some diseases and conditions in the puppy’s body.
  • It can help expel toxins from the body.

How Much Water Should You Provide?

How much water you provide to your puppies can depend on their size and age. Puppies are likely to be much smaller, although many breeds have much larger puppies in comparison to some other breeds.

Generally speaking, your puppies should drink at least an ounce of water per every pound of their body weight.

However, if your puppies are quite active and tend to play and run around a lot, they might require a bit more water. Since they are actively growing at this point, you might need to make adjustments based on their needs.

Also Read: How Often Do Puppies Poop?

How to Get Your Puppy to Drink Water

Once the first 3-4 weeks are up, you will need to start preparing your puppy to drink water. Go through the following steps to carry this process out as smoothly as possible.

Find a Warm Spot

Firstly, you should find a warm and same spot in some corner of your house where you can set the water bowl up. Make sure this spot is also free from any germs, insects or even too much humidity, as these can otherwise make your puppies sick.

Place a carpet, rug, old cloth or towel here so that any spills can fall on them and not on the floor or the objects nearby. This can also be a good way to warm up the area.

Start Out Slow

It is best for you to go slow in this process so that everything goes well. Rushing it too much might end up making matters worse and might also carry the risk of making your puppy become fearful and anxious.

You should also remain patient through this process and go in with the expectation of the process taking a long time to get through. It might take some weeks until your puppy is fully comfortable drinking water and eating food.

Make Them Comfortable

You should do what it takes to make your puppies comfortable. Make sure the spot that you prepare is soft and clean and that your puppy feels safe around you.

In case your puppies did not have their mothers around for the first month, you might need to work harder on creating a bond with them and making them feel safe. Use formula initially and then move on to water.

In case they bark, squeal or howl to express discomfort, reunite them with their mother or try again later.

Also Read: How Long Should I Play With My Puppy Each Day?

Provide Water and Food

Provide cool water and food to your puppies at the same time instead of starting out with just water. This can help ensure that your puppies remain well-nourished.

Of course, if your puppies are unable to eat food in the beginning, you can simply try again the next day. Make sure you also provide enough water in the bowl and moisten up the food a bit so they can eat and swallow it conveniently.

Let Them Explore

The best way to go about the process is to keep your puppies relatively free and independent around the water bowl. Let them sniff around, touch things with their paws and get a lick of the water.

This can help them feel safe enough to try the water and food. Even if they end up making a mess and spilling things, let them!

Clean Them Up

Given that the first few attempts are likely to be a bit chaotic, you will need to ensure that you clean your puppy up well enough after each session so that no germs and bacteria end up forming. Each time, you should also clean their mouths.

Make sure you also praise and reward them and place them back with their mothers or in another part of the house.


Of course, after the first time, you will need to repeat the process every time while also gradually increasing how long you keep your puppy near the water bowl. Increase the amount of water too.

Eventually, once your puppy gets used to the water (and the wet food), you can establish a feeding routine.

Also Read: How Long Should a Puppy Wear a Cone After Being Neutered?

Parting Thoughts

To sum up, puppies can start drinking water once they are around 3-4 weeks old. You should make them feel safe and comfortable and leave them away from their mothers for a gradually increasing period of time.

Keep water and wet foods around them so they can explore and consume them on their own. Be patient throughout the process and give your puppies some time to get used to the change.