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If you want to know how to get a dog to drink water, read the information below. Just like all living creatures, dogs need water to survive. As a general rule, fully grown dogs need one ounce of water per pound of their body weight. The bigger the dog, the more water they need to stay hydrated. Active dogs require even more water.

Strangely, young puppies need to drink even more water than adult dogs. Water plays an essential role in powering the metabolic process. Digestion, cognitive function, blood flow, breathing, and organ health are all dependent on water intake.

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For the first stage of their lives, their nutrition and hydration needs are fulfilled from their mother’s milk. However, once they are transitioning away from their mother to solid food and external hydration sources, they need a frequent supply of freshwater. It’s very important to monitor your pup’s water intake when they are being weaned from their mother.

Just like with people, staying hydrated is very important for a dog’s health. Dehydration can lead to serious health issues for your pet. Water also regulates a dog’s body temperature, helps with digestions, and is important for managing their waste. Dogs are at greater risk of dehydration than humans because they release heat from their bodies in a very limited way. Although they have some sweat glands in their feet, they are not adequate for cooling the body. Most temperature releasing comes from panting.

More often than not, a dog is capable of regulating their water intake. In general, they won’t go thirsty if there is water readily available. However, in some cases, dogs don’t drink enough water and run the risk of dehydration related illnesses. These illnesses can range from something minor and short term to very serious kidney problems.

There are several reasons for a dog not wanting to drink.

Reasons your dog may not want to drink water

They are inactive

If your dog is inactive or less active than usual, perhaps they just aren’t thirsty. In cooler weather, the dog might be perfectly hydrated while drinking less. If this is the case, there is nothing to worry about. However, if there is a significant reduction in water consumption, you should consult your vet.

New or unfamiliar surroundings

Dogs have an incredible sense of smell. A new or unfamiliar area might smell significantly different, making a dog uncomfortable drinking from this different source.

Over time, the dog should become used to the new surroundings. If not, bring enough water from home to keep your dog hydrated for the trip.

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They could be sick

Lack of thirst or unwillingness to drink water is a symptom of some illnesses, such as diabetes or kidney disease. If you fear that your dog is sick, don’t hesitate to bring it to the vet.


Refusal to drink water by older dogs can be dangerous. In some cases, accessing the water takes too much energy and effort. Other times, their appetite and thirst for water is depleting with age. Often, their activity levels decrease significantly, meaning they aren’t thirsty.

In any case, it’s essential for older dogs to stay hydrated. Read the tips below for ideas on how to get them to drink. Moist food that contains high levels of water can also be useful for added hydration.

Fear and association

Dogs learn by association and experience. It’s quite common for dogs to have a painful or frightening experience while they are drinking, creating a negative association with the process. Someone may have accidentally stepped on their tail or loudly kicked their bowl, causing them pain or fear.

As an owner, you must try to disassociate the fear or pain from drinking water.

How do you know if your dog is dehydrated?

There are several telltale signs of dehydration in dogs.

Lethargy or low energy

If your dog goes from a ball of energy to a couch ridden slouch, something is up. Even a slight reduction in energy levels can indicate an issue. If you’ve noticed that your dog is more lethargic than usual, keep an eye on their drinking habits and try to find out if they’re dehydrated.

How to get a dog to drink water 2

Dryness in the eyes, nose, and mouth

We all know that a wet nose is a good indicator of a healthy dog. What you should also know is that the eyes and mouth should be quite moist too. If your dog has a dry nose, is dry around its eyes, and its mouth is dry and sticky, there is a strong chance that it’s dehydrated.

The skin loses elasticity

One of the best ways to detect dehydration in your dog is to test its skin elasticity. Being gentle, pinch some of its skin by the shoulder blades, pull it up lightly, then let it go. If the skin springs back quickly to its normal position, the dog is likely to be well hydrated. If the skin takes a while to return to its normal position, it may be dehydrated.

Sunken eyes

If a dog is severely dehydrated, their eyes may appear sunken in their heads.

Tips for getting your dog to drink water

If you are wondering how to get a dog to drink more water, read out tips below.

A clean bowl filled with fresh water

Your dog might be put off by a dirty or unfresh bowl. Being so sensitive to smells, they might not want to drink from a source that they perceive to be dirty. Don’t let the water stagnate and regularly top up the bowl with fresh water.

How to get a dog to drink water

Place the water bowl near food, the dog’s bed, or in a place your dog likes

The current location of your dog’s water bowl might make it uncomfortable or scared. By placing the water near the dog’s favorite places, they may feel less threatened and more comfortable drinking there. Consider placing multiple water bowls at various locations around your home.

Reward your dog with treats when they drink

If you’re consciously training your dog to drink, praise them, and give them treats when they drink and behave well. Praise and reward help the dog to recognize what it should do. When they see the delight in their owner after drinking water, they are likely to develop a positive association.

Flavour their water with bones or broth

Adding animal bones or broth to your dog’s water takes the flavor level up a notch. Although salty bone broth shouldn’t completely replace regular water, in the short term, it can help develop good drinking habits in your dog.

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