how to get my dog to drink water

How to Get My Dog to Drink Water

Just as it is very important for us to stay hydrated, our dogs need plenty of fresh water to remain healthy and happy. Dogs sweat less than humans, meaning they find it harder to keep cool. Factors such as age, inactivity, change of location, and others may cause your dog to consume less water.

If your dog develops the habit of sniffing away its bowl of water, then it’s time to have a look at what you can do to hydrate your dog. If your pet finds it hard to stay hydrated, then read on to find out what you can do.

How to Get My Dog to Drink Water

How to Get a Dog to Drink Water Temporarily
Image by 584652 from Pixabay

Dogs and dog owners need to drink a lot of fresh water daily to stay hydrated and healthy. But dogs release body heat much slower than humans and pant to regulate their body temperature.

On average, dogs require 100 milliliters of water per kilogram of body weight. However, temperature and activity level might have an impact on how much water your dog needs. In case you haven’t noticed, dogs find it hard to sweat because the only sweat glands they have are located on their paws.

These paws aren’t enough to keep your dogs cool, putting them at risk of dehydration. Due to their inability to keep cool, water becomes an essential factor in keeping your dogs cool and healthy. However, you should note that certain factors may require your dog to take in more fresh water. If your dog is a lactating female or engages in a lot of physical activity, pay more attention to its water needs. It’s also worth noting that puppies require more water than adult dogs.

You should also pay attention to the weather outside. When the weather is hot, make sure your dog’s bowl is never empty. Dogs quickly become dehydrated when the weather is hot.

Reasons Why Your Pet Isn’t Drinking Enough Water

dog lethargy is a reason why your pet isn’t drinking enough water
Photo by Yamon Figurs on Unsplash

If you suspect your dog isn’t getting enough water, some warning signs, like those laid out below, might help you figure it out

  • The nose, tongue, and gums will go dry
  • Lethargy
  • Ropey saliva 
  • Loss of skin elasticity 
  • Vomiting 

Once you notice any of these warning signs in your pet, seek medical help right away. This could spell potential life-threatening troubles. 

Here are six reasons why your pet isn’t drinking enough water:

∘ Boredom or lack of physical activity

If your dog is used to lazing or laying around all day, especially during cold weather, then it may not be interested in drinking much water. This factor is especially true for dogs such as huskies, who need a lot of exercises to stay happy, healthy, and active.

As a tip, you can take your dogs for a run, stroll, or even play a little hide and seek with them. However, if your dog’s behavior doesn’t change despite the new routine, it’s best to call in the vet right away.

∘ Change of environment

Your dog’s water-drinking habits may have changed since you moved to a new neighborhood or went on vacation. This is most likely because it is still adjusting to the unfamiliar setting. Furthermore, your dog may be unfamiliar with the smell of the water in the new home, which is a major turnoff.

You can easily solve this issue by bringing your dog’s water bowl or a water bottle filled with water from home, which he will recognize.

∘ The aging factor

Another reason your dog isn’t drinking enough water is that he’s getting older. As dogs age, they engage in less physical activities and consume less food. Therefore, they hardly become dehydrated and don’t require much water.

However, it’s still advisable to take your dog to a veterinarian to ensure they aren’t suffering from any health issues.

∘ Health issues

Health issues such as urinary tract infection, kidney diseases, or even a slight fever can cause your dog to stop eating and drinking water. 

Although you can use a few tricks to keep your dogs hydrated, it’s best to take them to a veterinarian for treatment right away. Additionally, look out for warning signs such as vomiting, coughing, sneezing, and labored breath. These signs indicate that your dogs require more than simply hydration; they also need immediate medical attention.

∘ Fear and negative past experiences

There are numerous reasons why your dog may be experiencing fright or pain. It could be he is just picky, got sick while drinking from a bowl, or someone stepped on its paws while drinking water. However, you can try out a new bowl or change the bowl’s location to see if that will trick him into drinking more water.

∘ Mouth injury and teeth damage

Check your dog’s bowl and make sure it isn’t causing any injuries to its mouth. Furthermore, check your dog’s mouth for rocks, plastics, and any object that might prevent it from drinking water.

Additionally, if your dog is suffering from damaged teeth, the cold and painful feeling of water against its teeth might be another factor to consider. If this is the case, it’s best to contact your veterinarian on the best course of action.

Easy Ways to Keep Your Dog Hydrated

Stafford mongrel dog drinking water from a basin
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

Knowing the various reasons why your best friend isn’t drinking enough water can help you easily determine the best course of action. However, here are some tips to get your dog to drink more water:

∘ Exercise with your dog

Exercising your dogs regularly is a great way to make them burn some calories and become thirsty. You can try out several activities such as running, brisk walking, hide and seek, or playing fetch. Additionally, make sure to take along a bowl or bottle of water and give your dog some water once in a while. However, if your dog is elderly or sick, then this may not be the best option.

∘ Place water bowls everywhere and change the water frequently

Making sure that fresh drinking water is available at every corner of the house will encourage your dog to stay hydrated. Interspacing the house with various drinking bowls will help ensure that your dog becomes accustomed to the idea that water is readily available.

Furthermore, make sure to check the bowls and change the water frequently. Ensure that the water is always clean and free of rocks, dirt, and other particles.

∘ Try out wet foods

If your dog still refuses to drink much water, then trying out wet pet food is your next best option. You can go for canned foods or add a little bit of water to your pet food.

Note that some dogs have trouble drinking water, so moistening their food a little will help them keep hydrated. If you don’t know how to do it, you can ask your friends for help or seek help online.

∘ Add flavor to water and try a water fountain

Another good trick to keep your dogs hydrated is to flavor their water. Dogs can be picky with food and water, and the pure taste of water might be a major turn-off for some dogs.

You can flavor your dog’s water with tuna juice, lactose-free milk, or a supplement with a pleasant aroma. However, if you decide to flavor your dog’s water, make sure you have an extra bowl of fresh water on hand.

Furthermore, most dogs prefer passing their tongue through running water rather than standing water. You can try out a water fountain to see if that will encourage your dog to drink more water.

∘ Test different bowls

Dogs can also be picky about water bowls. If you notice your dog is sniffing away its bowl, you can offer water in a different container instead. Furthermore, you can go for other bowl materials such as plastic, stainless, glass, and ceramic to see which option your dog will prefer.

Additionally, you should also consider the size of the bowl. Your dog may like the material, but the bowl size may not be the best fit. You can experiment with different water bowl sizes to see which ones your pets prefer.

Lastly, note that your dog needs time to adjust to these changes, so don’t be in a rush to switch things up too quickly.

∘ Consider contacting an expert

If you’ve exhausted all other options, it’s time to reach out to a canine rehabilitation specialist. These trained professionals can accurately diagnose your pet’s condition and propose an effective plan to solve your pet’s problem.


Dogs can be picky, both with food and water. Several factors may cause your dogs to stop drinking as much water as they need. If you notice this behavior, it’s most likely related to changes in the weather, location, exercise level, or even age.

Fortunately, a few tricks can help your pets stay hydrated. You can place several water bowls around the house, try wet pet food, add flavors to water, try out a new bowl, and several other options. If your dog still refuses to drink much water after trying out these options, then take your pet to a vet or contact an animal specialist right away.

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