How to Get A Dog to Drink Water

icon October 18, 2023

Keeping your dog hydrated is essential for their overall health and well-being. Just like humans, dogs need an adequate supply of water to maintain proper bodily functions, regulate body temperature, and support digestion. However, getting some dogs to drink enough water can be a challenge. Whether it's due to picky eating habits, medical conditions, or simply a lack of interest, ensuring your furry friend stays hydrated is crucial. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore the reasons why some dogs might be reluctant to drink water and offer practical tips and tricks to encourage your canine companion to drink more. 

The Importance of Hydration for Dogs

Before we dive into the strategies to encourage your dog to drink water, let's understand why it's so crucial to keep them well-hydrated. Water plays several vital roles in a dog's body, including:

1. Temperature Regulation: Dogs can't sweat like humans, and instead, they rely on panting to release excess heat. Adequate hydration helps them regulate their body temperature, especially during hot weather or after physical activity.

2. Digestion: Water is essential for the digestion of food, as it helps break down nutrients and supports proper absorption. Without enough water, your dog may experience digestive issues.

3. Circulation: Proper hydration ensures that blood flows effectively throughout the body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to cells and removing waste products.

4. Joint Health: Adequate hydration is essential for the lubrication of joints. Dehydration can lead to joint pain and discomfort, particularly in older dogs.

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5. Detoxification: Water helps flush toxins from the body, ensuring that your dog's organs can function optimally.

How to Get A Dog to Drink Water

1. Provide Fresh Water: Dogs are more likely to drink fresh, clean water. Change their water bowl at least once a day and scrub it to remove any residue or film. Stainless steel or ceramic bowls are preferable, as they're less likely to retain odors or flavors.

2. Filtered Water: If your tap water has an unusual taste or odor, consider using a water filter to improve its quality. Some dogs are sensitive to the chlorine or minerals in tap water, and a filter can make it more appealing.

3. Proper Water Temperature: Dogs may have preferences for the temperature of their water. Some dogs prefer cold water, while others like it at room temperature. You can experiment to see what your dog prefers. 

4. Use a Water Fountain: Many dogs are drawn to moving water. A pet water fountain with a flowing stream can pique their interest and encourage them to drink more.

5. Scheduled Feeding: Feeding your dog on a regular schedule can help regulate their water intake. Provide water about 30 minutes before or after meals rather than leaving it out all day.

6. Add Water to Food: Mixing water with your dog's dry or wet food can increase their overall water intake. It also helps if you're trying to hide medication in their food.

7. Ice Cubes and Ice Chips: Some dogs enjoy crunching on ice cubes or chips, which can also help keep them hydrated, especially during hot weather.

8. Flavored Water: In moderation, you can add a small amount of low-sodium broth to your dog's water to enhance the flavor. Be cautious with this, as excessive salt intake can be harmful.

9. Interactive Toys: There are toys and treat dispensers that can be filled with water. These can keep your dog engaged while encouraging them to drink.

10. Regular Exercise: Physical activity can make your dog thirsty. Regular walks and playtime can lead to increased water consumption.

11. Behavior Training: You can train your dog to associate certain cues with drinking. For example, using a specific command like "drink" when offering water can help create a habit.

12. Use a Different Bowl: Some dogs have specific preferences for the material or shape of their water bowl. Experiment with different types to see what your dog prefers.

13. Routine and Consistency: Dogs thrive on routine. Establish a regular schedule for feeding and watering, and try to keep it consistent.

14. Check for Health Issues: If you've tried multiple strategies and your dog still refuses to drink, consult your veterinarian. They can rule out underlying medical issues or provide guidance on how to address specific health concerns.

How Much Water Should A Dog Drink A Day

The amount of water a dog should intake in a day can vary depending on several factors, including their size, age, activity level, and environmental conditions. On average, dogs should drink about 1 ounce (30 milliliters) of water per pound of body weight per day. Here's a rough guideline for daily water intake for dogs based on their size:

1. Small Dogs (up to 20 pounds): Approximately 20-40 ounces (600-1200 milliliters) per day.

2. Medium Dogs (20 to 50 pounds): Around 40-60 ounces (1200-1800 milliliters) per day.

3. Large Dogs (50 to 80 pounds): Approximately 60-100 ounces (1800-3000 milliliters) per day.

4. Giant Dogs (80 pounds and above): Over 100 ounces (3000+ milliliters) per day.

Keep in mind that these are general guidelines, and individual dogs may have different water requirements.

It's crucial to monitor your dog's individual needs and adjust their water supply accordingly. Ensure that fresh, clean water is always available to your dog. Regularly clean and refill their water bowl to encourage them to drink. If you suspect your dog is not drinking enough water or is exhibiting signs of dehydration, consult your veterinarian. Dehydration can have serious health consequences, so it's essential to address it promptly.

What Are The Signs Of Dehydration In A Dog

  1. Excessive Thirst: One of the most common signs of dehydration is increased thirst. If your dog is drinking significantly more water than usual, it may indicate dehydration.

  2. Dry Gums and Mucous Membranes: Lift your dog's lip and check their gums. In a well-hydrated dog, the gums should be moist and pink. Dehydrated dogs may have dry, pale, or sticky gums.

  3. Lethargy: Dehydration can lead to reduced energy levels and overall lethargy. If your dog seems unusually tired or lacks enthusiasm for activities, it could be a sign of dehydration.

  4. Loss of Appetite: Dehydrated dogs often lose their appetite. If your dog is not interested in food or treats, it may be due to reduced water intake.

  5. Sunken Eyes: Dehydration can cause a dog's eyes to appear sunken or dull. The eye sockets may look more prominent than usual.

  6. Decreased Skin Elasticity: Gently lift a fold of skin on your dog's neck or back. In a hydrated dog, the skin will snap back into place. Dehydrated dogs will have slower skin elasticity, and the skin fold may stay raised.

  7. Dark Yellow Urine: Dehydration can lead to concentrated urine, which may appear dark yellow. In a well-hydrated dog, urine is typically pale yellow to almost clear.

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  8. Dry Nose: While a dry nose alone is not a reliable indicator of dehydration, a consistently dry and warm nose can be a sign when combined with other symptoms.

  9. Panting and Rapid Heartbeat: Dehydrated dogs may pant excessively, and their heart rate may increase as the body tries to cool itself down.

  10. Weakness and Collapse: In severe cases of dehydration, dogs may experience weakness, collapse, or even seizures.

Reasons Why Your Dog Not Drinking Water

Understanding why your dog may be reluctant to drink water is the first step in addressing the issue. Several factors can contribute to this problem:

1. Picky Eaters: Some dogs are picky about the water they drink. They may not like the taste of tap water or may be particular about the temperature.

2. Illness or Pain: Dogs in pain or discomfort due to illness or injury may not feel like drinking. It's crucial to rule out underlying health issues if you notice a significant decrease in your dog's water intake.

3. Stress or Anxiety: Dogs can be sensitive to changes in their environment or routine. Stress or anxiety can cause a decrease in appetite and water consumption.

4. Medications: Certain medications may cause increased thirst, while others may have the opposite effect, making your dog less interested in water.

5. Inadequate Access: Sometimes, dogs might not drink enough simply because they don't have easy access to water throughout the day.

6. Age: Puppies and senior dogs may have different hydration needs. Puppies may not have developed the habit of drinking enough, while older dogs may have medical conditions that affect their water intake.

Related Questions:

Can Dogs Drink Cold Water

Yes, dogs can safely drink cold water. While dogs may prefer water at room temperature, cold water is generally fine and can be refreshing, especially in hot weather. Just avoid extreme temperatures that might cause discomfort.

Will A Dog With Bloat Drink Water

No, a dog with bloat typically won't drink water. Bloat is a serious and life-threatening condition in which a dog's stomach fills with gas, and it can twist, cutting off blood supply. Dogs with bloat are often unable to vomit or drink water due to the stomach's position and the severity of the condition. Immediate veterinary intervention is essential in cases of bloat.


Keeping your dog properly hydrated is vital for their health and well-being. While some dogs may naturally drink enough water, others may need a little encouragement. By understanding the reasons behind your dog's reluctance to drink and implementing the tips and tricks discussed in this article, you can help ensure that your furry friend stays adequately hydrated. Remember that every dog is unique, so it may take some trial and error to find the strategies that work best for your pet. Patience, consistency, and regular vet check-ups are key to maintaining your dog's optimal hydration levels and overall health.

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