Just like you need to drink enough water every day, so does your dog. Generally, dogs should drink 1 ounce or ⅛ of a cup of water per pound of body weight daily. If your dog isn’t drinking water or drinking too little, what could be wrong? And how can you make your pooch hydrate more?
To get your dog to drink more water, place more water bowls around your house and yard, add flavor to the water, increase your pup’s activity level, feed them wet food, test different water bowls or change to a pet fountain, add ice cubes to their water, and praise them when they drink water.
Let’s look at why your pup doesn’t drink water and what you can do to increase their water intake.
Reasons Why Dog Won’t Drink Water
There are quite a few reasons why your pooch isn’t drinking water at all or not enough:
Type of Food
There is about 65-80% moisture in wet food or canned food. So it stands to reason that if your pup is eating wet or canned food, they’ll drink less water during the day since they are getting hydration from the food they eat.
Should your dog eat dry food, like kibble, they’ll drink more water (unless something else is wrong).
Pain or Illness
If your pup is unwell, they’ll feel too sick to drink water.
A broken or infected tooth can also result in your paw-friend drinking less water. A dislocated or fractured jaw will also have your dog not consuming enough water.
Other health issues that can result in a decrease in water intake are rabies, bladder infections or urinary tract infections, kidney disease, gastroenteritis, pancreatitis, and more.
It is best to chat with your vet to find out the cause and how to treat what is wrong.
As your pup gets older, they may drink less water. Since mature dogs don’t always get as much exercise as when they were younger and they don’t move around a lot, they’ll be drinking less.
No Access to Water
If your pooch doesn’t have easy access to freshwater every day, then they won’t be able to drink enough water.
This could be because of where you place the water or the water may be dirty. Another reason your dog isn’t drinking enough is if another pet in your household is hogging all the water for itself.
Different Water Source
Your pup may be drinking less if their source of water has changed. For example, if your dog is used to drinking well water and you changed it to tap water, they may refuse to drink the new water because it tastes different.
Lack of Exercise & Cooler Weather
Your dog may be less thirsty if the weather is cooler and if their activity level has dropped due to getting less exercise. It is normal if there is a slight decrease in water consumption if your pup doesn’t move around as much.
If there’s been a big change in your home situation like you’ve moved to a new house or one of your kids has gone off to college (and they were close to Rufus), then general or separation anxiety may cause your dog to ignore his water bowl.
What Do I Do If My Dog Won’t Drink Water?
To get your dog to stay hydrated and drink more water, you can try these tricks:
Add Flavor to Water
Since dogs are sensitive to how water tastes from different sources, it is ideal to mix both sources of water – e.g. tap water with well water – so they can slowly get used to their new drinking source.
Alternatively, you can flavor their water. Dog owners like to add a teaspoon of beef or chicken broth to their pooch’s water bowl. You can also make ice cubes from tuna juice or broth and add a few to the water bowl.
Even if you flavor your dog’s water, it is recommended to provide another bowl with plain drinking water too.
Another way to “flavor” the water is to add blueberries or other treats to it. Your dog will want to fish out the blueberries and eat them, so they’ll be encouraged to drink some water too.
Place Water Bowls at Every Corner
Adding more water bowls in different rooms and outside may encourage your dog to drink more water as they don’t need to walk too far to a water source.
Check the water bowl during the day to ensure there is plenty of fresh water and that no debris, dirt, or leaves have fallen in and gotten mixed with the water.
Feed Wet Food
There is only about 10% moisture in dry food while there is 6-8 times more in wet food. Even canned food has more moisture than dry food. Thus, feeding your dog wet food or soaking kibble in water will help hydrate your pooch.
Test Water Bowls
Dogs have preferences, just like us humans do. Your pup may have a favorite water bowl, so continue using this so your dog can drink water.
If they don’t yet have a favorite bowl, then try out different water bowls (in terms of the material it is made from and the size) to see what Rufus likes.
Use a Water Fountain
Instead of water bowls, you can get a water fountain for your dog. A fountain ensures the water stays fresh because the water gets aerated.
Some dogs also like that the water “moves” and this encourages them to drink.
Add Ice Cubes
Adding ice cubes to your dog’s water bowl ensures the water stays cooler for longer, and this can be a godsend on hot, summery days. Cooler drinking water can entice your pup to hydrate.
Use a Syringe
You can fill a syringe with water and squirt this into your dog’s mouth. They will naturally swallow. This won’t increase their intake of water a lot, but it can help.
Clean the Water Bowl
Dogs don’t like drinking dirty water so ensure the water bowl is clean before you add water to it.
Keep a Water Bottle With You
If your dog travels with you to work or around town, then keep a travel water bottle with you so your pup has access to water while on the go.
Training and Praise
Another way to get your dog to drink more water is through positive reinforcement training and praising your dog every time they visit their water bowl for a drink.
Your dog will want to please you, so they’ll end up visiting their water bowl more often.
How Much Water Do Dogs Need?
There are many factors that affect how much water a dog drinks in a day. The amount of water depends on their body weight, how active they are, what the weather is like, what kind of food they eat, their life stage, and so much more.
In general, however, a dog that weighs 10 pounds should be drinking 10 ounces of water every day. This translates to ⅔ of a 16-ounce water bottle. But that doesn’t mean you should cap their water at this amount.
Rather have water freely available for your pooch and use the recommended amount of water to make sure your dog is staying hydrated by drinking enough water.
How Do I Know If My Dog Is Dehydrated?
Check whether or not your dog is dehydrated if they aren’t consuming enough water. Here are the dehydration signs to look for:
Sign 1: Skin Stays Pinched
One thing you can do to see if your pup is dehydrated is to pinch the skin on the back of their neck. Let the skin go, and if it stays in that pinched position, then you know your dog is dehydrated.
Sign 2: No Pink Gums
Another sign of dehydration in dogs is when their gums don’t pink up after you gently press against the area.
Sign 3: Loss of Appetite
If your dog is not drinking enough water, then its appetite may suffer too.
Sign 4: Lethargy
A dehydrated dog will be tired and won’t want to get up and move around.
Sign 5: Less Urination or Urine That Smells and Is Darker
If your pup is urinating less, then it may be a sign they aren’t drinking enough. And when they do visit the bathroom, their urine will smell noticeably stronger and have a darker color due to the lack of water intake.
When to See a Vet?
If your dog has been without water for a day and you’ve tried all of these tricks and they still refuse to drink water, then it is time to see your vet. Having your dog checked out to make sure everything is okay will bring you peace of mind.
You should also take your dog to the vet immediately if you have checked for signs of dehydration and found them.
Dogs need to drink enough water to ensure they stay hydrated and healthy. There are various reasons your dog may not be drinking enough water, and these range from less physical activity and cooler weather to more serious health concerns.
Ensure your pup drinks enough water, and if you are worried, call your vet and schedule a check-up.