Why Won’t My Dog Drink Water?

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Water and proper hydration are essential for the health of both humans and dogs. After a good play session or walk, both you and your dog are probably used to gulping down a good amount of water as soon as you get the chance.

But perhaps one day you notice that your canine companion is not joining in with you on your usual water breaks, and you think, why? What has happened? Should I be concerned? Why won’t my dog drink water?

While it is entirely possible that your dog just drank a lot of water earlier in the day and is simply not thirsty, there could be other reasons, with some being more serious than others. Let us look at some of the most common reasons dogs will not drink water and offer some solutions to help keep your four-legged friend well-hydrated.

Why Won’t My Dog Drink Water?

Any of the following reasons may contribute to why your dog is not drinking water.

Type of Food

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Have you recently switched your dog from dry dog food to wet dog food or canned food? Dogs who primarily eat dry kibble have to drink more water to meet their hydration needs than dogs who eat wet or canned food.

Wet dog food already contains a lot of water, so if you have recently made the switch to wet and find that your dog is drinking less, then you likely do not need to worry. They are probably still well-hydrated; they just do not need to drink as much water because they are getting what they need from their food.

Change in Water

If the water you are providing your dog with is not what they are used to, then they may refuse to have a drink. Have you made any changes to their usual drinking water? If they usually just drink water from the tap, do you know if there has been a change in that water?

If your dog is specifically not drinking water when you are out or on a trip or something, then it could be a good idea for you to bring some of their water from home. Some dogs are just pickier about things than others, so bringing along water that you know they like could be an easy solution to this problem.

Stress

If you are traveling with your dog, have moved recently, or have had a major change in your household and routine, then it is possible that your dog is not drinking or eating due to stress. After things have settled down and your dog has had some time to get used to their new situation, they will likely resume their normal eating and drinking schedule.

However, some dogs are a little more sensitive and will likely require some extra care from you during this time to get them back on track.

Old Age

If your dog is getting up there in age, they may be living a more sedentary lifestyle than they used to and simply do not need as much water. It could also be that it requires too much effort for your older dog to get up and get to the water bowl if they have a hard time getting around.

Oral Issues

A common reason dogs will not drink water is that something is going on in the dog’s mouth that makes it painful or difficult. Maybe they cracked a tooth or cut their gums when chewing on a stick or toy, or there could potentially even be a tumor in there.

If your dog will let you, try and get a good look inside their mouth to see if you notice any damage or injury. If you notice anything that looks serious in there, then get your dog checked out by a vet as soon as possible.

Disease and Illness

Another reason your dog may not drink water is due to a disease or illness. Illnesses like diabetes and kidney disease can cause a dog’s appetite for water to go away completely.

It can also be due to a urinary tract infection, which has also been shown to decrease a dog’s appetite for water. If you suspect disease or illness, be sure to consult with your veterinarian right away.

How Can I Tell if My Dog is Getting Enough Water?

How Can I Tell if My Dog is Getting Enough Water

There are two clear signs to look for in a well-hydrated dog: bright eyes and moist gums. On the other hand, if your dog is experiencing dehydration, they will typically have the opposite signs: sunken eyes and dry or sticky gums.

You can also do a simple calculation to determine if your dog is drinking enough water. Typically, for every kilogram of your dog’s body weight, they require 50-60 milliliters of water. Keep in mind that this is just a general guideline, and a dog’s water consumption may greatly vary throughout a week.

However, if you do the math and find that your dog is drinking significantly less water than this recommended amount, then something may be wrong, and you may have a dehydrated dog.

How Can I Encourage My Dog to Drink More Water?

There are several things you can try to increase your dog’s water consumption:

  • Mix some water into their food. If you leave dry food to soak in the water, it will absorb it and make it softer to chew.
  • Change them over to wet food or start mixing some wet food in with the dry kibble.
  • Add some flavor to the dog’s water. You can add a little bit of low-sodium chicken broth, beef broth, or bone broth. You can even make ice cubes with something like tuna juice to throw in the dog’s water bowl. Keep another bowl of fresh water available, though, just in case.
  • Keep the water fresh and the water bowl clean. Your dog may not want to drink if there is any dirt in the water or if it is left out for a long time.
  • Put water bowls all over your house. If your dog is especially old or even just lazy, they may be encouraged to drink more if it is easily accessible.
  • Bring the water directly to your dog. Give them lots of positive reinforcement if they take a drink.
  • You can also give your dog Pedialyte to help them recover from dehydration. They can drink the Pedialyte the same way humans do. A sick dog can experience the same benefits that a human can when it comes to dehydration and replenishing electrolytes.

What Should I Do If My Dog is Still Not Drinking?

If none of the above methods work, contact your vet if you are still worried about your dog’s water consumption. There may be an undiagnosed illness that is contributing to the problem.

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