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My dog won't drink water

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.

10 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

  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.

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