With the warmest months of the year ahead, it’s as important as ever to make sure your dog is drinking enough water. However, some pet owners may see signs that their dog isn’t drinking enough water or that they seem to lack an interest in it. This can be frustrating and frightening!
In this blog, we want to provide you all the information you need – from finding the cause of dehydration to ways to increase your pet’s water intake. We will look at how much water a dog should drink a day, signs of trouble and possible causes of dehydration or lack of interest. Once you have identified why your dog may not be drinking enough water, you can read our ideas on how to improve their moisture intake.
How Much Water Should a Dog Drink a Day?
For you to identify if there is a problem with your dog’s hydration, you’ll first need to know what a healthy water routine looks like. While various factors like age and health conditions will contribute to how much water your dog should drink a day, as a rule, they should have at least an ounce of water per pound of body weight every day. This would mean a 10-pound dog should be having 10 fluid ounces (or 1 ¼ cup) of water each day.
As mentioned, some conditions affect that daily average. Young and very active dogs require quite a bit more water than the average. You should also take the weather into consideration, if it’s a hot day out and you’re spending time outside your dog will require more hydration as well.
Why is My Dog Not Drinking Enough Water?
Dehydration - If you feel your dog is not drinking enough water, you should also check for signs of dehydration and consult with a vet before moving forward. Dehydration can be the result of warm weather, illness, or infection so it is important to catch it.
The signs of dehydration in a dog include dry and white gums/tongue, unusually thick saliva, vomiting, and a dry nose. You can check for dehydration with skin pinching (pinch the skin on the neck and see if it returns immediately as it should) and gum checks (pressing down to see if the gum pinks back up immediately. If you suspect dehydration, you will want to get your pet to a vet as quickly as possible.
Low Physical Activity Levels- If the weather has turned too cold to exercise or your dog is healing from a surgery/injury, they may not be as thirsty as they normally are. As long as this is just a slight decrease in water consumption and not a complete stop then it should be no cause for alarm!
Changes- Dogs are far more prone to anxiety from changes than we often realize. They depend and thrive on routine and familiarity. If you have recently moved, gone on vacation, or had major changes to your routine your dog could be affected. If you suspect your dog is not drinking water because of a change try to keep their bowls and placements the same, making water time a reliable routine for them.
Aging – As your dog ages, their body slows down with them. They will likely not have the same exercise level and therefore won’t require as much water. However, an adequate amount of water is necessary for senior pets healthy so be sure they are getting enough even if it is less than their younger years!
How to Get Your Dog to Drink More Water?
Once you have identified why your dog may not be drinking as much water as they need, you can find solutions to help their water intake. Be sure to choose solutions that fit your dog’s needs and work for your household!
Add Wet Food
Often, if you are feeding kibble to your pup, they won’t get much of their water intake from it. One quick solution to this is to add water right to their kibble! Start small at first and add more over time. Most pets enjoy this most with warm water.
Another option, especially for food motivated dogs, is to add in fun treats to add extra water to their diet! You can sneak in this extra moisture by introducing wet food or moisture-heavy treats. Wet food, as opposed to dry dog kibble, has a much higher water content.
You can also give them treats with a high moisture content or create your own frozen treats for extra hydration! You can freeze yogurt, watermelon, or flavored water for a yummy and hydrating treat option.
Many pets prefer the motion and sound of running water to still water so a water fountain is a great way to encourage them to drink! Pet water fountains can be found at most pet stores and make an enticing addition to your pet’s water sources. Plus, you get a new sound/water feature in your home!
This tip works on all pets, but cats especially love water fountains!
More Water Locations
One way to encourage greater hydration is by placing multiple water bowls throughout the house. The availability of water in each room of the house makes it much easier for your pet to access and will remind them to drink water more often!
Change the Water Often
Pets notice when their water isn’t fresh and can be deterred from drinking it if it isn’t! Watch out, especially for the red/pink ring that often shows up on water bowls as this can be a sign of bacteria. Be sure to keep your pet’s water bowl clean and filled with cool, fresh water always.
Using a Larger Bowl
This trick is so simple that often dog owners don’t believe it until they try it out! For some reason, using a water bowl that is larger than your dog’s food bowl seems to give them the message to drink!
Our dogs are such social animals and they often are showing us signs of trust all the time! Because of this, you can cup your hands and get them to drink from them when you really want to make sure they are taking in some water. This display of trust should motivate your dog to take a drink!
What Can You Add to Water to Make Dog Drink More?
If you have tried some of the other options to get your dog to drink more water without luck, adding enticing flavors can do the trick!
One idea is to add in ice cubes to their water dish. Many pets will be interested in this addition and may even snack on them!
You can also try to add some flavor by using pet-safe ingredients. Our favorites are frozen watermelon, goat milk powder, and low-sodium chicken broth!
Monitor their Use and Talk to Your Vet
It will be easiest for you and your pet if you keep a water routine. This will allow you to recognize how much they are drinking on a normal day and if there have been changes to their water intake. To create a routine, refill your dog’s water bowl at the same time every day and to the same level.
If you are noticing other changes in your dog’s behavior or health and these tips don’t work, be sure to visit your veterinarian to rule out any illness that could be an underlying issue.
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