How Can I Get My Dog To Drink More Water? An FAQ Guide

Is your dog not drinking enough water lately?

If so, there are several potential reasons why…

And a few useful tricks that’ll encourage them to drink more often.

In this guide, you’ll find the answers you need.

So, let’s begin.

How Can I Tell If My Dogs Dehydrated?

According to the American Kennel Club, the main symptoms of canine dehydration include:

  • Dry nose
  • Sticky gums
  • Panting
  • Thick saliva
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • Poor skin elasticity

The last symptom, a loss of skin elasticity, is one of the easiest to detect.

You can test this by gently holding the skin between your dog’s shoulder blades. If it takes longer than usual to go back in place, your dog may be dehydrated.

How Much Water Does a Dog Need?

The AKC says that each day, an adult dog needs around one ounce of water per pound of body weight.

Of course, this amount will be reduced for puppies. A rule of thumb is that a puppy needs half-cup of water every two hours.

Why Isn’t My Dog Drinking Enough?

According to PetMD, there are several reasons why your dog may not be drinking enough.

These reasons include:

  • Changed water source. (Switching from tap to bottle, for example.)
  • Water quality. (Some dogs are picky, and won’t drink from dirty bowls.)
  • Dental problems. (A broken tooth might be causing pain, for example.)
  • Nausea. (Especially if combined with vomiting, diarrhea, or reduced appetite.)

Additionally, your dog may have reduced water requirements due to inactivity.

Or they may have negative associations that are limiting their behavior. For example, they might be scared by their reflection in the water bowl.

Should You Leave Water Out for Dog All Day?


You should keep fresh, clean drinking water available for your dog at all times.

Most dogs can self-regulate their own water intake… so they won’t ‘over-hydrate’ in the same way as they might ‘over-eat’.

It’s important for your dog to stay well-hydrated, and without it, your dog could eventually suffer from additional health problems.

However, there may be times when a veterinarian recommends you limit your dog’s water intake (perhaps if they’re vomiting) but this should be done under veterinary guidance.

What Do I Do If My Dog Won’t Drink Water?

If you’re struggling to figure out why your dog won’t drink water, then it’s best to take them to a vet for a proper checkup.

Especially if you’ve ruled out any issues that might stop your dog from drinking, such as those referred to earlier in this guide.

What Can I Give My Dog To Drink Other Than Water?

Drinking fresh, clean water is the best option for most dogs.

And they certainly shouldn’t drink coffee, tea, or alcoholic drinks.

They also shouldn’t drink milk (due to lactose intolerance) or fruit juice (due to sweeteners, sugars, and artificial flavorings).

One possible alternative is to give your dog low-sodium chicken broth. The meaty flavor can be more appetizing and tempt your dog to drink more.

Why Won’t My Dog Drink From Their Water Bowl?

If your dog will drink from other sources… but won’t drink form their bowl specifically, then there could be something about the bowl that spooks them (perhaps seeing their reflection in a stainless steel bowl, for example.)

It’s also possible that the water in the bowl isn’t clean or fresh.

Or the bowl itself is too dirty for your dog.

If their bowl has changed in any way, this might cause an aversion to it. Perhaps if it’s been cleaning with a strong-smelling product that your dog can still detect. Or the bowl has been moved to a new location they’re not comfortable with.

Alternatively, it could be any of the other common reasons covered earlier in the guide.

How Do You Get a Dog To Drink Water When Sick?

If your dog is feeling sick or nauseous, they may drink less… or stop drinking completely.

One option is to try low-sodium chicken broth and see if this tempts them.

Some owners also try soaking kibble in water, which can be a useful way to hydrate your dog when they’ll eat but not drink.

Ice cubes may also work for some dogs.

(And remember to take your dog to the vet if your dog has decided to stop drinking.)

How Can You Get a Dog To Drink Water After Surgery?

It’s normal for dogs to feel weak and lethargic after surgery, so their appetite might not kick in straight away.

Your vet will give you guidelines to follow after your dog has had surgery, and their advice will the best thing to follow.

The tips already listed in this guide will still apply. But make sure your dog has easy access to their water bowl, especially if it’s painful or uncomfortable for them to move around.

Getting the right height for the bowl matters, so they don’t have to move their neck too much to drink.

Can I Flavor My Dogs Water?

One popular way to flavor your dog’s water is to add a little chicken broth.

But you’ll need to make sure there’s no excess salt of onions and garlics in there.

Another option is to blend some canned wet food into your dog’s food or sprinkle some tasty food toppers over the water, which may encourage some dogs to drink more.

Pet Water Fountains

Another way to encourage your dog to drink more is by using a water fountain.

The flowing water draws your dogs attention and makes it more tempting for them to drink.

Here’s a few of the best selling pet water fountains on the market:

Last update on 2023-03-23 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API