If you’ve got a dog and a cat, you might be wondering if they need separate water bowls or if they can share the same bowl.
A dog and cat can share a water bowl if they are happy to do so. Pets that are territorial or aggressive might not like sharing their water bowl with other animals, and they should not be forced to. If a dog and cat are introduced at a young age and are friends or they simply drink water out of each other’s bowls, there’s no reason to stop them.
With two cats and two dogs under my roof, I can tell you that my animals have been sharing a water bowl for many years and nothing bad has ever happened because of it. They are all friends and share their water, but I’m lucky they don’t share each other’s food too.
I make sure to give my pets more than enough fresh water every day and keep the bowl free from mold (here’s an easy step-by-step guide on how to keep mold out of the water bowl).
But what if one animal gets sick? Can they pass this on to the other animal through the water bowl?
Can dogs and cats catch anything from sharing a water bowl?
Cats and dogs that live together probably won’t catch anything from each other by sharing a water bowl. Most diseases affect only one type of animal, so they aren’t usually spread from one species to another.
It is possible but quite rare for a cat or dog to make the other one sick, but it probably won’t be through the water bowl because most animal diseases are not spread through the mouth.
If one of your pets has something that can be passed between species, this will more likely be passed in other ways, such as your dog getting worms from eating the cat’s poop, or one animal with ‘kennel cough’ coughing and sneezing on the healthy animal.
Sharing a water bowl does not increase the risk of spreading disease between a cat and dog.
If your dog and your cat have healthy immune systems, the risk of catching something from the water bowl is almost zero. If one animal does get sick, you can give each animal a separate water bowl until the sick animal makes a full recovery as an extra precaution.
Do dogs or cats drink more water?
Dogs tend to need a little more water than cats based on their body weight. A dog needs to take in 1 ounce of water per day for every pound of dog weight. A cat needs 0.7 – 0.9 ounces of water per day for each pound of cat weight.
The following table gives you a guide on how much water your dog should be consuming each day.
Find your dog’s weight range in pounds or kilograms, then check to see how much liquid your dog needs every day for that weight range:
|Weight in lb||How much water a dog should consume per day in oz||Weight in kg||How much water a dog should consume per day in ml|
|1 – 10 lbs||1 – 10 oz||1 – 4.5 kg||30 – 300 ml|
|11 – 20 lbs||11 – 20 oz||4.6 – 9 kg||300 – 600 ml|
|21 – 30 lbs||21 – 30 oz||19.1 – 13.5 kg||600 – 900 ml|
|31 – 40 lbs||31 – 40 oz||13.6 – 18 kg||900 – 1,200 ml|
|41 – 50 lbs||41 – 50 oz||18.1 – 22.5 kg||1,200 – 1,500 ml|
|51 – 60 lbs||51 – 60 oz||22.6 – 27 kg||1,500 – 1,800 ml|
|61 – 70 lbs||61 – 70 oz||27.1 – 32 kg||1,800 – 2,100 ml|
|71+ lbs||71+ oz (1 oz for each lb of body weight)||33+ kg||2,100+ ml (30 ml for each 0.5 kg body weight)|
The following table gives you a guide on how much water your cat should be consuming each day, based on the upper limit of 0.9 ounces of water per pound of cat weight.
Find your cat’s weight range in pounds or kilograms, then check to see how much liquid your cat needs every day for that weight range:
|Weight in lb||How much water a cat should consume per day in oz||Weight in kg||How much water a cat should consume per day in ml|
|1 – 10 lbs||0.9 – 9 oz||1 – 4.5 kg||27 – 266 ml|
|11 – 20 lbs||10 – 18 oz||4.6 – 9 kg||296 – 530 ml|
|21 – 30 lbs||19 – 27 oz||19.1 – 13.5 kg||560 – 798 ml|
|31 – 40 lbs||28 – 36 oz||13.6 – 18 kg||828 – 1,065 ml|
|41 – 50 lbs||37 – 45 oz||18.1 – 22.5 kg||1,094 – 1,330 ml|
|51 – 60 lbs||46 – 54 oz||22.6 – 27 kg||1,360 – 1,597 ml|
*The above tables are just guidelines – if you are unsure about how much water to give your pets or you have any questions, please ask your veterinarian for professional advice.
There are many factors that affect how much water a dog or cat will drink to be healthy, such as their weight, size, age, activity level, and whether your pet eats dry or wet food.
For example, wet food has more moisture in it. If this is part of your pet’s diet, they will naturally drink less water from their water bowl as they are getting some liquid from their food every day.
How much water to put out for a dog and cat sharing a water bowl
If your cat and dog are sharing a water bowl, you might be wondering how much water to put out for them.
If a dog and cat are sharing a water bowl, work out how much water your dog needs per day and how much water your cat needs per day. Add these numbers together, then increase the total by 10 to 20 ounces. This is how much water to give your dog and cat each day.
It’s always better to put out far too much water than too little, as too little water can lead to dehydration and health issues, such as urinary and kidney problems.
Steps to determine how much water your dog and cat need per day:
STEP 1: Determine how much water your dog needs per day
Find your dog’s weight range in the table below and write down how much water your dog needs per day. These recommended amounts are on the top end of the required amount of drinking water because we always want to give too much water rather than too little.
For example, say I have a Schnoodle that weighs 10 lbs. Based on the table below, my Schnoodle needs 10 oz of water per day. So I write down 10 oz.
|Dog’s weight range in lb||How much water your dog should consume per day in oz||Dog’s weight range in kg||How much water your dog should consume per day in ml|
|1 – 10 lbs||10 oz||1 – 4.5 kg||300 ml|
|11 – 20 lbs||20 oz||4.6 – 9 kg||600 ml|
|21 – 30 lbs||30 oz||19.1 – 13.5 kg||900 ml|
|31 – 40 lbs||40 oz||13.6 – 18 kg||1,200 ml|
|41 – 50 lbs||50 oz||18.1 – 22.5 kg||1,500 ml|
|51 – 60 lbs||60 oz||22.6 – 27 kg||1,800 ml|
|61 – 70 lbs||70 oz||27.1 – 32 kg||2,100 ml|
|71+ lbs||71+ oz (1 oz per lb of body weight)||33+ kg||2,100+ ml (30 ml for each 0.5 kg body weight)|
STEP 2: Determine how much water your cat needs per day
Find your cat’s weight range below and write down how much water your cat should consume each day. Again, these amounts are on the top end of the amount of water needed for this weight range.
Carrying on with my example, my cat is a male Maine Coon that tips the scales at 15 lbs. I find the correct weight range in the table below and see that he needs 18 oz of water per day. So I write down 18 oz.
|Cat’s weight range in lb||How much water your cat should consume per day in oz||Cat’s weight range in kg||How much water your cat should consume per day in ml|
|1 – 10 lbs||9 oz||1 – 4.5 kg||266 ml|
|11 – 20 lbs||18 oz||4.6 – 9 kg||530 ml|
|21 – 30 lbs||27 oz||19.1 – 13.5 kg||798 ml|
|31 – 40 lbs||36 oz||13.6 – 18 kg||1,065 ml|
|41 – 50 lbs||45 oz||18.1 – 22.5 kg||1,330 ml|
|51 – 60 lbs||54 oz||22.6 – 27 kg||1,597 ml|
STEP 3: Add how much water your dog and cat need
Take your dog’s drinking water total and add it to your cat’s drinking water total. This is the minimum amount of water you need to give your cat and dog each day. But to be safe move on to step 4…
Now I add together the two numbers I’ve written down: 10 + 18 = 28 oz.
STEP 4: Bump up the total daily water requirement
Now add at least 10 – 20 ounces (600 ml – 1 l) to this total to bump it up a bit.
To bump up this number and make sure I’m giving my dog and cat more than enough water to drink, I add another 10 ounces because it’s winter here and still cold weather: 28 + 10 = 30 oz. Now I know I need to give my dog and cat 30 oz of fresh drinking water each day.
The total you get is how much water you should give your dog and cat to drink each day. You can provide your pets with more than one shared water bowl, especially if they are big breeds and need quite a bit of water to drink that won’t fit in the average water bowl.
You’ll soon see if the water you are giving your pets is enough. If there’s a lot of water left at the end of the day then you can give them a little less. If there’s no water left at the end of the day, you need to give them much more water.
If the water bowl is outside, it’s a warm season, or your pet is very active, give even more water each day.
Where to put a shared water bowl
A shared water bowl is a popular spot for your pets, so it’s good to put some thought into where you keep this bowl.
Put a shared water bowl out of the way of foot traffic in your home. Mudrooms, laundry rooms, and side areas in kitchens are all popular places to keep a water bowl. Dogs and cats prefer to drink without being disturbed, so the quieter the space the better. Most pet owners keep the water bowl close to food bowls.
Dogs can make a mess when they drink water – here are 18 ways to stop your dog from tipping over the water bowl. Consider putting the water bowl on a plastic mat to catch any spills, especially if it is on a carpet or wooden floors.
You will also want to make sure that the water bowl is not in an area where a family member could unknowingly close a door and/or block the pets’ access to water somehow.
To encourage your pets to drink more water, put a water bowl near an area they spend a lot of time in, such as close to their beds.