The water is the basic foundation of life and dogs need it. If you want to get your dog to drink more water, this blog post is the equivalent of a gushing waterfall: Full of energy and something to come back to time and again for water drinking tips.
Note: If your dog has increased thirst or is generally not drinking or drinking very little on a continuous basis, seek veterinary care immediately. Do not wait. This article is designed to get your dog to drink more water and how to ensure they are well hydrated, both at home and on the go.
How Much Water Does a Dog Need?
There are statistics and studies galore, but the bottom line is this: Because water is the most important nutrient to a dog, clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
Trusted resource, The Merck Veterinary Manual 10 th Edition, cites, “Dry pet foods contain 3 to 11% water and semi-moist foods contain 25 to 35% water. As a result, dogs (and cats) consuming predominantly canned food generally drink less water than those consuming predominantly dry diets.”
The folks at petMD say that as a rule of thumb, dogs should drink approximately one ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. So a 35 pound dog should consume about 35 ounces That’s a little over a quart of water.
Our dog consumes a rehydrated food diet mixed with vegetables and organic meat. As such, his food is mixed with water. He is still a good drinker. You want your dog to consume fresh, clean water because water is needed but also because it helps to flush the kidneys and overall digestion. Consider that 80 percent of a dog’s body is made up of water , so you can understand why access to the clean, cool liquid is mandatory to live.
Teach Your Dog the Word “Drink”
No matter how old your dog is or even if he is deaf, teach your dog a word associated with water. For us, this means “drink.” Every time your dog takes a drink of water, say “drink” a few times in a super happy, pleasant voice the way you would if rewarding your dog for a good behavior. Whenever your dog comes into contact with the clean bowl of water, say “drink” and maybe even lightly clap. It’s a mini party that your dog knows “drink.”
In the same way you taught your dog other words, like sit, stay, food, play, etc., you will teach drink. It’s all about the association of the act with the verbal word. He drinks, you say drink. Now, when I say to my dog, “Dexter, take a drink,” the majority of the time he will (unless he is not thirsty and then I get stink eye). If your dog is deaf, you would associate a hand signal with water/drinking water.
How to Get Your Dog to Drink More Water
So how can you get Fido to frequently flush with fluids? Here are 8 ways to get your dog to drink more water and some products to make the journey so much easier (we know because we’ve used them successfully for years):
(1) Change the Water Frequently
You know that first refreshing drink of water when you are parched? It feels so good going down at just the right temperature, right? It’s not too cold and it’s nice and clean. Your dog feels the same way. Make sure the water is clean, cool, and toss that nasty Internet ice cube rumor down the drain with the old water.
“This is not true,” said Dr. Wismer. “Dogs do not bloat from drinking ice water on hot days… They can be given as treats or put in the water bowl. Some behaviorists even recommend freezing toys or treats in ice for dogs to chew on.”
Why the rumors about dogs and ice cubes then? Everything you read online is not true: Surprise surprise! There are dangers with ice cubes and dogs that include:
- Allowing dogs to chew ice cubes and the possibility of the cube(s) getting lodged in the dog’s throat;
- Dental damage to teeth due to chomping on ice;
(2) Consider Purchasing a Dog Water Fountain
Pet fountains constantly circulate and filter the water, so it stays cleaner and tastes fresher to give cats the water they seek. Also, running water is often more enticing to a dog, so consider an in-home dog water fountain. We had one for a number of years and then gifted it to a friend whose dog had water consumption issues. The fountain really worked for her dog! Here’s the PetSafe Drinkwell Fountain.
(3) Take Water With You On the Go
Whether it’s a walk around the block, a jaunt in the neighborhood, a trek to the dog park, or a trip in the car, please on a stack of dog biscuits, please take water with you on the go. Your dog will thank you for it. I’ve been taking water with me for my dog for my entire adult life. I wish I had a dollar for every time a stranger’s dog stopped by and wanted a drink from our dog’s water bowl. I’d be rich!
Since dogs need daily exercise, get your dog used to moving around. If the dog isn’t panting, he isn’t losing moisture and his body may not crave water as much as a more active dog.
Carry the water supply with you and every 10 or 15 minutes, offer the dog the water. Say “drink, Fido” very nicely and happily when offering the drink. If your dog drinks on the go, he will be more inclined to drink at home.
(4) Let the Dog Pee More
If there is one thing I have learned in being a lifelong dog parent it is this: Dogs are happier if they can pee more. Their bodies are even healthier if they can pee more. I kid you not.
Knowing the amount of water your dog should drink helps you determine if your dog is drinking too little or too much. Flushing the kidneys and urinary tract is one way to keep crystals from forming and to keep dogs healthy. Take your dog out. Let him pee. Let him sniff. I do this every 2 to 3 hours at the most every day with my dog (except during the overnight).
(5) Feed a Quality Diet
Want your dog to drink more? Feed a food that suits him. There is something to be said for feeding a dog a natural, high quality pet food, free of by-products and fillers, and appropriate to their nutritional requirements. We feed a moist pet food (semi-raw rehydrated) and ensure our dog drinks an adequate amount of water daily.
(6) Consider Multiple Water Bowls
I am a single dog household, but if you have a dog who roams the house all day and/or have a multiple dog household, consider spacing out multiple water bowls throughout the house (a few different rooms, floors) for easy access. Dogs may spill the water, one dog may drink more, and you want to ensure access to water is there, especially if you aren’t. Toss old bowls out as they wear and replace with new ones.
(7) Entice Mode
When all else fails, consider making the water more palatable and pleasing for the dog. When my first Cocker Spaniel fell ill with irritable bowel disease, we tried everything including adding low sodium chicken broth to her water. It worked for a while until her body eventually failed.
For your dog, consider different textures of water bowls. Do you like a certain cup or mug? I do and dogs do, too. They are smart and have preferences just like us! There are so many available options in dog bowls.
(8) Rinse, Repeat, Use Antibacterial Dish Liquid
Yes, dogs don’t dig dirty dishes any more than you do. That slimy substance that forms around the perimeter of a dog bowl is no fun from which to drink. A clean bowl with clean water makes for an enticing tastebud dance for your dog. Just do it. And make sure the bowl is thoroughly rinsed afterwards.