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Aiuto! Il mio cane non beve l'acqua

Help! My dog won’t drink water!

How can it be that my dog won’t drink water? What can be wrong?

Have you also asked yourself those questions? Don’t worry, you are not alone!  Under most circumstances, dogs will drink sufficiently and they will remain well hydrated with no encouragement, but sometimes our dogs just aren’t thirsty. This article may help you understand why your dog won’t drink water.

My dog won’t drink water!

Dogs, like humans, need to drink water every day as they are at risk from dehydration if they don’t do. They are actually at greater risk than humans because they release heat from their bodies much more slowly. Dogs do have some sweat glands in the foot-pads, but not enough to cool their body. The body temperature of a dog is mostly controlled through panting. Water is, therefore, very important for a dog and we, as dog owners, need to provide our pups with enough water every day. However, sometimes it may happen that our dear pets refuses to drink water due to the following reasons:

#1 Less exercise

When the weather is cooler or your dog is doing less exercise, your dog just isn’t that thirsty. If this is the reason, there is no need to worry! A slight decrease in his water consumption is no cause for alarm. However, consult a vet if your dog persistently refuses to drink. Dogs should never go for more than a day without water.

#2 Disease and illness

Certain health issues can cause a dog’s thirst to vary. In some cases, diseases, such as diabetes and kidney disease, may cause a dog’s appetite for water to diminish completely. Bladder infection or urinary tract infection can also cause a decrease in thirst. So if you think your dog won’t drink water because of a disease, you should contact your vet immediately. It’s a good idea to write your dog’s drinking behavior down to help the vet figure out the problem.

 

dog water

#3 Unfamiliar places and smells

Many dogs will avoid drinking water in strange places because the water smells different from what they are used to at home. These animals have an extremely acute sense of smell, and just a small difference in the water may be very noticeable to them. Although dogs may seem like they don’t care about water quality — they will often drink out of ponds and puddles — they may be very suspicious of anything that smells unfamiliar. If you go somewhere, it might be a good idea to bring a bottle of water from home. Just to make sure your pup gets something to drink.

#4 Aging

An older dog may also avoid drinking water. It could simply be that getting to the water requires too much effort, or that the sense of thirst may be diminishing along with its appetite. Older dogs are doing less exerciser and might not be as thirsty as younger dogs. However, older dogs need to maintain adequate hydration levels, so if drinking seems to be an issue, switching to a moist food might help. But, always consult a vet before changing dog foods.

#5 Fear & bad experiences

Dogs learn by association. If they get a fright or experience pain, they typically associate those negative feelings with the circumstances in which they first experienced them. If your dog have had a bad experience while drinking from the water bowl, for example someone accidentally stepped on his tail or paw, he may associated those negative accidents with the action of drinking. To remove the fear of drinking, you can try to use a new water bowl or you can try to put his water bowl in a different place.

Persuading your dog to drink water

In any circumstances, a dog should drink regularly.  If this isn’t working, there’s a few things you can do to persuade your dog to drink water. Simply changing the position of the water bowl may sometimes work. Another solution is mixing wet dog food with water. Even though your dog won’t drink from the bowl, he may happily drink water when it’s mixed with food. It is also worth making sure that the water bowl is clean. It’s a simple thing to do, but it might work. If your dog still won’t drink water, or if he/she is suffering from an illness, you should contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. In case of illness proper hydration is important to the recovery process and it’s, therefore, very important that your pet gets professional help.


Do you have any tips and tricks on how to get a dog to drink water? Or maybe just a story to share? Please leave a comment below 🙂

Sarah

Sarah

Sarah is a Certified Fitness Trainer, pet lover and the happy owner of a 2-year-old Japanese Spitz named Bailey. Sarah spends a lot of time outdoors, running, hiking and biking. She loves inspiring Tractives all over the world with weekly pet tricks and tips.

49 thoughts on “Help! My dog won’t drink water!

  1. My dog is very hard to persuade to drink water. I’m doing what you mentioned on the latter part of your blog, kibble with water. She actually love it when her kibble is wet and she like treating the water like soup and drink it mercilessly after finishing the kibble. I think it’s the most effective way in providing your dog water while not having trouble to persuade her to drink.

  2. I have put my pup’s favorite treat/s in the bottom of her water bowl which forces her to drink the water in order to get to the treat . Of course I don’t fill the bowl up to the top just 1/2 to 1 inch above the treat. This worked well

  3. A mixture of warmed 50/50 homemade bone broth/water really worked well for my pup when he stopped drinking plain water for 2 weeks following his knee surgery over a year ago. He’s recovering from acute colitis now after a course of antibiotics (he swallowed a toy) and is again not drinking plain water. I fill his bowl with the broth/water combo several times a day and at night. I also add warmed broth and water to his meals to make sure he stays hydrated.

  4. I have a small terrier mix I got her from an individual she’s about a year old and I can’t get her to drink water , I don’t really know to much about her history but in order to get water into her body is to add some water to her food and she does drink it . she has no problem using the bathroom I’m just worried that she isn’t getting enough , I do feed her 2x a day . any feed back would be highly appreciated. thanks 😀

    1. Hi Marie,

      That sounds good that she is drinking now when adding some water to her food. It would be good to have additionally a bowl of water next to the food, in case she would like to drink more.

      All the best for your dog!

      Best,
      Simone

    2. I have the same problem. i have to give her the water with a syringe,Its the only wait she likes it

      1. 2 yrs ago my dog stopped drinking water for 3-4 wks.
        Broth/watered milk, only w/me, vet/puzzled. Later found lighting hit tree about 20′ from steel bowl. She was always terrified of lighting.
        After getting over this, never had problem again. No more close calls w/lighting.

      2. My 15 yr old pug got over heated. Stop drinking few days later. I use syringe & add 1/4 c. Water to her chicken & rice per vet.
        She can not eat anything else now.
        Still refuses to drink from water bowl. Any suggestions plz.

        1. Hi Leslie,

          I highly suggest getting more information from your vet. They will be the best source for diagnosing the cause.

          Best wishes,
          Christina

        2. You are doing the greatest thing, I am going to try it with my little shorkey Chris (she loves Christmas music, that’s how she got her name) She also likes to pray with mama, especially now that she is sick. I’ll explain below.

          The syringe thing, OMG, I thought that I was being strange doeing it. I wish that she would suck it out but I have to make sure that I don’t squirt to much in at a time or she choaks on it. Your favorite Walgreens store will give you 2 or 3 free. And if they won’t eat their soft food no matter what you do, buy a pill syringe, put the soft food in it and put it in her mouth a little a time, tilt head back some so that they will swallow it, lift from below the chin. I don’t remember if that was in animal isle or baby isle. And when they are sick and you can’t get them to eat, try baby food, helps tremendously with a sensative tummy or intestines or pancreas.

      3. You are doing the greatest thing, I am going to try it with my little shorkey Chris (she loves Christmas music, that’s how she got her name) She also likes to pray with mama, especially now that she is sick. I’ll explain below.

        The syringe thing, OMG, I thought that I was being strange doeing it. I wish that she would suck it out but I have to make sure that I don’t squirt to much in at a time or she choaks on it. Your favorite Walgreens store will give you 2 or 3 free. And if they won’t eat their soft food no matter what you do, buy a pill syringe, put the soft food in it and put it in her mouth a little a time, tilt head back some so that they will swallow it, lift from below the chin. I don’t remember if that was in animal isle or baby isle. And when they are sick and you can’t get them to eat, try baby food, helps tremendously with a sensative tummy or intestines or pancreas.

    3. I am going through the exact same thing
      She quit drinking water about 2wks ago.
      She will drink a little from one of my neighbors but that’s it. So I also have had to add water to her meals, it’s the only way to get it in her. I have had people suggest Popsicles but that’s a lot of sugar.

  5. My dog eating food but hasn’t ability to drink water. Been to vets who gave her antibiotics and injection. She now eats but can’t drink, I’ve been using a turkey blaster to get fluid into her which she drinks. My dod is 14 year old female shar-pei.

    1. Our 10 month old pup just got out of the vet hospital 4 days of iv because she stopped drinking and then stopped eating! They have done many tests and cant find anything wrong. What I have been doing is small salad plate water in bottom flavored with small amount of milk or peanut butter or bone broth, cream etc alternating at least once a day every hour or so. Also i switch dishes often so she thinks it is something different. it is helping some. I have been giving her anything she wants to eat burger chicken turkey rice with butter etc.. But I have noticed that if i give her more then a 1/3 cup of anything she wont touch it. WAS almost 50 pounds Now skin & bones so that is a lot of tiny meals and small plates of flavored water. I also got some grass fed shank calf bones and scrape out the bone marrow (she likes that) and use the bone for the broth.

  6. A vet suggested that I use baby food (turkey, chicken, ham, etc.) to make a broth for my dog who wouldn’t drink water. The baby food is soft and creamy and works well. My dog loves it.

    1. My dog quit drinking water from her bowl a few months ago. We don’t have a clue why but we have been watering down the baby food meats to make a broth since she was eating baby food meats anyway. Poppi is a 14 yea old Lhasa and has always been a difficult dog. She never ate people food of any kind. We offered her the baby food meats when she lost so much weight to add to her Wellness. We are so grateful she eats it because there is nothing else we have found she will eat. We have always had to feed her Wellness Puppy Core since she has lost half her body weight in the past few years! Three vets have yet to figure any of this out except that she was the runt of the litter and being a Lhasa. her dearly but there is no way at her age she is getting enough water this way. Thanks for all the tips here ! I do place her in the sink every evening and use the sink sprayer around her mouth so that she gets some water this way. She doesn’t seem to mind this and it helps to get the baby food broth off her little face and beard …:) Thanks everyone!!

  7. This has been very helpful, thanks! My 2 year old vizsla is a very fussy rescue. Doesn’t drink much at all. I’m willing to try anything.

    1. Hi Allean,

      I am happy to hear that this was helpful for you and I hope you can get your pup to drink.

      Best,
      Sarah

  8. I got my dobe as a rescue on Dec 2 2016. She came from a dubious background just stated as a ‘puppy mill’ in Pa. and used exclusively for breeding. Anyhow it’s 3 1/2 months later and she has NEVER, not once taken a lap of water. In fact she has upset the water bowl intentionally. Have tried the crate water bottles, different bowls, materials, etc. She refuses to drink. We had her at the vet’s early on treated for dehydration and decided to feed her multiple times during the day with can food mixed with water, which she will drink. THis is not really satisfactory though. Based on her getting dehydrated without going the extra length of adding water to canned food, we are fairly certain she will allow herself to die even with water always available in a bowl for her. She does have other mental issues too though as she is about 4 years old and apparently never taken out of a crate for walks, socialization or anything as she didn’t even know how to run. She will panic even now over a blowing leaf or a bird noise and we have tried to introduce the world to her.

    But without drinking water there will certainly be problems during the warm summer months.

    1. Hello Jim,
      My name is Nat and I too rescued a dog 4-1/2 yrs. from a Puppy Mill (for breeding) 2 months ago. Like your baby, she will not drink water from any bowl. The only way I am able to get water into her is by adding water to her wet food too. I see your post was from March 2017 but it appears that you adopted your Dobe in Dec. 2016. Would you please email me to let me know if you ever found a solution? I am desparate because I keep taking mine in for fluids. She also has a very sensitive tummy and will vomit and/or diarrhea if she is not on meds. I have her on I/D but drinking water would sure help me with her health issues. She was so afraid of outside (and everything). After two months she is coming around. She is getting more brave all the time. I would really appreciate it if you would please share any tips or tricks you may have used. Thank you and I hope and Pray your baby is doing well! Sincerely, Nat nbauer@cleo.com

  9. Glad to have read all these posts. My dog and I walk a mile every day & upon our return, he runs to his water bowl. Recently he drank sprinkler water from the side of the road and it had sand plus he licks bird poop. So after his bout of diareah I give him his antibiotic and soft GI FOOD recommended for a few days by vet but he’s now not drinking at all. Got some chicken broth, mix the 50/50 ratio more or less and he chows it down so fast it’s amazing. I also add some plain water to soft food and he drinks it too. I’d hate this to be an issue and wind up at vet again with a bigger bill and injections, so thank you thank you for this blog. 🐾

  10. I have rescued an 8 year old shitzu a week ago. Eats, pees and poops ok. BUT… she will not drink in the house. Eats snow as soon as we go out for our walk. Changed the bowls, mixed it with kibble. Been to the vet when I first got her: clean bill of health. Help!

    1. Hi linda, that’s my problem too. I got my dog from a friend, didn’t know his health history but he undergone surgery a month ago. He’s eating, pooping and peeing normally but it’s really hard to persuade him to drink water. I tried mixing chicken broth to his water, it worked once but on the other day he doesn’t want it. 😖😖😖

  11. I have a 6 week old pikenise… she eats but doesn’t drink water.. she eats dog food which I soak in water and then add plain yogert.. but no water… Help please??

    1. Try raw goats milk it’s high in fat and full of probiotics. This is one of the best things you can do to help with good gut health waeight gain and it’s complete and balanced… bone broth is also good in between goat milk.

      Good luck!

    2. Raw goats milk has tons of probiotics and a great way to get moisture in the diet….generally lack of interest in water is a sign of kidney issues, diabetes, or a UTI… is it possible he/she ate something toxic? Try distilled water as well it is pure with no chemicals or funny smells. Watch to see if urine is discolored (dark) or any funny odor. Also keep in mind puppies have small bladders and may not drink as much as you expect. Check to see if the gums are sticky that’s a good sign of dehydration concerns if they are sticky or tacky. Also low sodium broth may help… either way if two or more days go without water see a vet ASAP!
      Best of luck!!

  12. My 3 yr old Irish terrier was such ayes in February this year and since then she drinks very little and was having very dry hard poops so I’ve tried everything- adding water to food as well as soaking her dry food, adding wet food, vegetables, sardines, coconut oil and it seems to be better but getting her to drink from the water bowl is so difficult and worrying as it’s now summer. She seems happy enough but think it’s odd this happened after her operation.

    1. Hi Laura,
      We are very sorry to hear that.
      Hope that your Irish terrier girl will be able to drink more and more after some time. Let us know how it is going!

      Best,
      Sarah

  13. My dog’s drinking habits vary and during a recent spell of very hot weather I was concerned for her health.
    In the end, the solution was simple. She eats a mixture of wet and dry food, and I usually fill her wet-food can about one third full of water, swish it around and pour it on her dinner, mixing it well in. During the hot weather, I simply increased the amount of water.
    We’re back to slightly cooler weather now with the water suitably reduced to it’s usual level.
    Doing it this way makes it possible for you to keep a track on at least the minimum amount the dog is drinking. If she drinks more from her bowl then I view that as a bonus.

    1. Hi Brian,
      Thanks a lot for your very helpful tips and for sharing your story with us.
      Hope you are doing well.

      Best,
      Sarah

  14. My bitch is 50 days pregnant and she is not drinking at all.I have tried everything possible,nothing really works.She is on wet puppy food at the moment but hardly eats as well so that will not give her enough water.I changed the bowls,changed the place changed the water,tried tap,filter,bottle but nothing works.I even made broth and froze it when the weather was hot but she gave it 2 licks and run away from that.My vet saw her and sad if she is on wet food she should be fine,I didnt agree as she doesnt eat much. She has dry gums and she is pregnant,t… She is like this only since she is pregnant,dont know how to make it better,vet is useless.I’m running out of ideas

  15. My wife and i recently adopted a abused 5 year old pitbull. She is sweet but very frightful of her water dish. We are able to get her to drink water by putting a little kibble on her bowl. Each day we have reduced the amount and tonight she drank with no problems and no kibble. This took us about a month. Key is to stay patient and let your pet go at their pace. If you try and force them it will cause more harm than good.

    1. Hi Eric,
      Thanks for sharing your experience with us and congratulations on the improvements that your dog has made. Being patient and caring for the development of your dog’s peace of mind is admirable.
      Keep up the good work!
      Best Regards,
      Laura

  16. All of these tips sound really great and I’m going to try them all. I also put a lot of water on Chris’s front paws as they don’t like it and will lick the water off. My little Chris is really really sick with actue pancreatitis, liver diabetes and cushings disease. I researched the web sites to find homeopathic meds, I use a syringe for the water, mixed it with her canned food. Took her back to the new vet and she was shocked at how well Chris was doing and kept doing for over 2 weeks. Last night she was lathargice and not drinking water, so I’m useing the faithful syringe trick & wetting her paws.. Besides the disease, she is 13 1/2 and a little shorkey. I know that she has made it longer than they usually do. She had been drinking water well, when I water my potted plants, I also spray the patio and she usually drinks that water, not last night, the paw water worked and used syringe, she ate 2 tablespoons of wet dog food yesterday. And of course she wanted to sleep all day and night in our bed. But I am going to try all of the ideas. To the person who said that she is feeding her dog somethings that have fat in them. DON’T, it causes pancreatitist. I found this site by accident, thank you all for your questions and all of the ideas, please never stop. The pancreatitis does cause her bad pain, benadryl is the normal thing with the vets, not Chris, it causes the pancreas to hurt more. Petwellbeing is the holistic company that I am ordering from, I use “Comfort Gold” for the pain, it’s not enough. I will be calling the vet to see if they have anything for pain. I am useing “Milk Thistle”, “Blood Sugar Gold” & “Adrenal Gold”. The AG is for the Cushings, regular med from vet is worse than the disease, the MT & BSG both help with the liver, diabetes & pancreatitis. I know that it’s going to take a long time to get her over this huge hump, but I’m willing to put the time in. Even before starting them, she was jumping off of the sofa, wanting to go outside and running, but sometimes, she has really bad days. I would appreciate anything that anyone can give me. Going into kitchen right now to add water to her 2 different foods. God Bless you all for loveing your little children as much as I love mine. I will be setting up an appt with her vet just to find out if there is anything that I’m not doing that might help, but in all honesty, people such as yourselfs have helped me more than anything else.
    Please, I’m open to all ideas. God Bless you all and your oh so loveing children and best friends.

    1. Hi Sharon,

      It’s very wonderful to see, that you would do everything for your little baby Chris. You mentioned that she is already over 13 years old – that’s an amazing age and inidicates that your baby has an amazing time together with you.
      With such an age, of course, little problems can come over such as Chris won’t drink water. You already tried out lots of different things as well as the syringe trick – maybe it sounds weird, but it is helpful at all! Keep up your positive energy Sharon and let us know, if you have any news about Chris for us.

      All the best,
      Simone

  17. These tips sound great, but it seems the veterinarian diagnosed my seven year old miniature Dachshund mixture with a stomach virus. So far, she has refused to anything resembling dog and, thankfully, has drank at least two small bowls of water. At the moment, I am using the last piece of advice in hopes of her getting drink properly. She been given medicine for the illness itself and another for pain.

    The first one is to be given at least for a five day period; the other every six to eight hours. Still, it worries me to see her acting out of character. To make it worse, this no way to convince her take either.

  18. When my mom and I traveled with her little toy poodle at some point I gave her water from my water bottle. She drank several laps and thereafter begged for water from my bottle only. She wouldn’t drink from mom’s bottle.She drank very little at home also. Mom lived in town and her water was chlorinated. I had well water and it ,of course, was natural and untreated.
    Thereafter my mom left her water sit on the counter for 24 hrs to disapate the chlorine, and Missy began to like her water as well as mine. She always sniffed it before drinking.
    Also she came to my mom wearing a collar with metal tags. She had a 6 inch neck, her tags were banging against and I think it was “jarring” to have that clanging right under her chin! We took collar away and when she needed it mom walked her with a sweet little harness. She was a little love and lived happily with mom for 15 happy years.

  19. Our little shih-tzu Muffin has never been a fan of water. She has had problems with crystals in her urine in the past, so it is very important to make sure she drinks enough. I always put lots of fresh water in her kibble and she loves it. I tell her it is broth. Another trick I use is to pour water into my glass and drink a little. Then I pour the rest in her bowl. She thinks she is getting what mommy has. The best trick is with crushed ice. She loves it and thinks she is really getting a special treat. Nobody can get crushed ice without getting her some.

  20. Hi,
    I took my lab (about 4, male) down to our dam and let him play around for around 1/2 hour or so in the afternoon. I was throwing sticks for him, and he was running around a lot so it was vigorous exercise! I hosed him off, and dried him and took him inside and noticed he didn’t have a drink. Normally he goes straight for water. He was also a bit listless. He needs water as it is in the middle of an Aussie summer! The temperature at our place has been really high, in the 37-38°c mark. I’m worried as he is never like this! I can’t get him to drink! I’m wondering if he ate some mud or something..? Help me!

    1. Hi Kenzie,

      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experience with Tractive.
      I would suggest that in cases as such you should give your dog some time to calm down. It seems that playtime this time had an exhausting effect on him. Allow him some time, follow the blog article’s tips and if this keeps happening, you should contact your vet.

      Thanks for your comment,

      Best,

      Laura

  21. My dog has suddenly stopped drinking water from his bowl and I’m starting to get worried. I wanted to know if there might be other causes before I take him to the vet for a checkup. I’d try these tips for a day and see if things will improve. Thanks!

    1. Hi Theodore,

      Thanks for your comment.
      I would say that yours is the best strategy. If none of these tips help, go and visit a specialist for a correct diagnosis.

      Thanks for reading the Tractive Blog,
      Best,

      Laura

  22. I got my beagle to drink water by puttin just a couple pieces of his favorite food at the bottom of one of those dishes that make them slow down their eating. He drank all the water to get to that piece of food.

    1. Dear Mike,

      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experience with Tractive. I am glad to hear that your beagle is now fine!

      Best,
      Christina

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