How to Get Your Dog to Drink Water: Tips and Tricks for a Hydrated Pup

Greeting fellow dog owners and enthusiasts! As pet owners, we all know how important it is to ensure that our furry friends are properly hydrated. But what do you do when your dog refuses to drink water? This can be a serious issue that can lead to dehydration, which can cause health problems and even be life-threatening in extreme cases. In this article, we will share some tips and tricks on how to get your dog to drink water and ensure that they stay hydrated.

The Importance of Hydration for Dogs

Before we dive into how to make your dog drink water, let’s discuss why it is so important. Water is essential for many vital bodily functions, including regulating body temperature, maintaining organ function, and transporting nutrients throughout the body. Dogs need water to survive and maintain their overall health, just like humans do.

Dehydration can cause a range of health problems in dogs, including lethargy, weakness, decreased appetite, dry mouth, and sunken eyes. In severe cases, it can even lead to organ failure and death. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that your dog is drinking enough water to keep their body functioning properly.

Why Some Dogs Refuse to Drink Water

Now that we know the importance of hydration let’s discuss why some dogs may refuse to drink water. There are a variety of reasons why a dog may be reluctant to drink water, including:

1. Illness or Pain

If your dog is feeling sick or in pain, they may avoid drinking water. Any underlying health condition that affects their appetite or thirst can cause them to avoid drinking.

2. Anxiety or Fear

Dogs can be sensitive to their surroundings, and if they are in an unfamiliar or stressful environment, they may refuse to drink water. Separation anxiety can also lead to a lack of appetite and water intake.

3. Bowl or Water Source Issues

The type or location of the water bowl can impact your dog’s willingness to drink. Some dogs prefer ceramic or stainless steel bowls over plastic ones. Others may avoid drinking water from a bowl that is placed too close to their food.

4. Dirty or Unappealing Water

If the water is dirty or unappetizing, your dog will avoid drinking it. Standing water, stale water, and water that has been sitting in the sun for long periods of time may also be unappetizing to your dog.

5. Medications

Some medications can cause your dog to drink less water than usual. Antihistamines and some pain medications can cause your dog to feel drowsy or decrease their thirst.

How to Get Your Dog to Drink Water: Tips and Tricks

Now that we have identified some reasons why dogs may avoid drinking water, let’s discuss some tips and tricks on how to get your dog to drink water.

1. Keep the Water Clean and Fresh

Make sure to change your dog’s water frequently. Keep their bowl clean and free of debris, and refill it with fresh water frequently. Try to avoid leaving water out for too long, as it can become dirty or stagnant.

2. Offer Different Sources of Water

Some dogs may prefer running water, such as from a faucet or fountain. You can also try adding ice cubes or a small amount of low-sodium chicken broth to their water to make it more appealing.

3. Make Water Easily Accessible

Keep several bowls of water around your home, so your dog has access to it wherever they go. Make sure to place the water bowl away from their food bowl to prevent any contamination and make it easier for them to access.

4. Add Water to Their Food

You can add a small amount of water to your dog’s food to help increase their water intake. This can also be helpful for dogs that are hesitant to drink water.

5. Make Water a Fun Experience

Some dogs may enjoy playing with water or drinking from a water source outdoors. You can try offering your dog a small pool or water fountain to drink from.

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Different Methods

While there are many methods to get your dog to drink water, each one has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are some pros and cons to consider:

Bowl Replacement Methods

Method Advantages Disadvantages
Ceramic bowls Easy to clean, durable, and can help keep water cool May break if dropped, can be heavy, and may not be suitable for dogs that like to chew on things
Stainless steel bowls Durable and easy to clean, can help keep water cool and not as heavy as ceramic bowls Can become scratched and potentially harbor bacteria
Plastic bowls Lightweight and inexpensive Can develop cracks and scratches, which can harbor bacteria and may not be as durable as other options
Automatic waterers Provide a continuous supply of water throughout the day and are self-refilling May malfunction, require electricity, and may be difficult to clean

Water Additive Methods

Method Advantages Disadvantages
Low-sodium chicken broth Can make water more appealing to dogs and can help them stay hydrated May contain additives that can be harmful to dogs with certain health conditions, such as heart disease or kidney disease
Ice cubes Can make water more appealing and provide a cooling effect in hot weather May cause dental problems if given in excess, and can be a choking hazard if too large

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How much water should my dog drink each day?

The amount of water your dog needs to drink each day depends on several factors, including their size, activity level, and the temperature and humidity of their environment. As a general rule, dogs should drink about one ounce of water per pound of body weight each day.

2. What should I do if my dog refuses to drink water?

If your dog refuses to drink water, it’s essential to find out why. Try changing their water bowl or location, adding water to their food, or offering different sources of water. If they still refuse to drink, it’s crucial to take them to the vet to rule out any underlying health issues.

3. Can I give my dog sports drinks or flavored water?

No, it is not recommended to give your dog sports drinks or flavored water. These types of beverages contain additives and sugars that can be harmful to your dog’s health.

4. Can dehydration be fatal in dogs?

Yes, dehydration can be life-threatening in severe cases. It’s essential to monitor your dog’s water intake and ensure they are drinking enough to stay hydrated.

5. Can I add electrolytes to my dog’s water?

Yes, you can add electrolytes to your dog’s water, but it’s crucial to consult with your vet first. Adding too many electrolytes can be harmful to your dog’s health.

6. Should I add water to my dog’s dry food?

Adding water to your dog’s dry food can help increase their water intake and prevent dehydration. It can also be helpful for dogs that have dental problems or are hesitant to drink water.

7. Can I leave water out for my dog all day?

It is generally safe to leave water out for your dog all day, as long as you change it frequently and keep it clean. However, if your dog has a tendency to drink too much water and then vomit, it may be necessary to restrict their access to water.

8. Can I give my dog ice cubes to chew on?

It’s generally safe to give your dog ice cubes to chew on, as long as they are not too large. However, if your dog has dental problems or is prone to choking, it may be best to avoid this method.

9. Can I train my dog to drink more water?

Yes, you can train your dog to drink more water. Try offering water after exercise or playtime, or making water a reward for good behavior.

10. Can I use a water fountain for my dog?

Yes, a water fountain can be a great source of hydration for your dog. It can also be a fun and engaging way to encourage them to drink more water.

11. How can I tell if my dog is dehydrated?

Signs of dehydration in dogs can include dry mouth, sunken eyes, lethargy, decreased appetite, and panting. If you suspect your dog is dehydrated, it’s essential to take them to the vet as soon as possible.

12. Can dehydration be caused by a lack of food?

No, dehydration is not typically caused by a lack of food. However, if your dog is not eating, they may also be less likely to drink water, which can lead to dehydration.

13. What should I do if my dog is severely dehydrated?

If your dog is severely dehydrated, it’s crucial to seek immediate veterinary attention. Your vet may need to administer intravenous fluids to rehydrate your dog quickly.


In conclusion, ensuring that your dog stays properly hydrated is essential for their overall health and wellbeing. By identifying the reasons why your dog may be avoiding water and trying different methods to encourage them to drink, you can help keep them healthy and hydrated. Remember, if your dog consistently refuses to drink water or shows signs of dehydration, it’s crucial to seek veterinary attention as soon as possible.

Closing Disclaimer

The information provided in this article is intended for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always consult with your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet or hydration routine.

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