Dog Not Drinking Water, What Should I Do?


Hydration plays an important role in your pet’s overall health. It regulates his temperature and it facilitates his metabolic process. It’s your obligation as the dog’s human parent to make sure your pet has access to fresh and clean water 24/7.

But what if you’re doing everything you can to get him to drink, but he keeps on turning you down? Is it something that you should discuss with your vet? Read on to find out the possible reasons why dogs refuse to drink water.

Reason #1: He’s Not Getting Sufficient Exercise

A dog without enough physical activity will eventually not feel thirsty for hours. This normally happens when dogs have reduced levels of exercise.

A healthy dog needs daily physical activity to strengthen his joints. So, if you have not been walking your dog lately, this could be a sign that you need to go out and give those joints some moving.

Some dog breeds need more physical activity than others. Retrievers, Australian Shepherds, and Rhodesian Ridgebacks are just among the breeds that require lots of exercise.

This has something to do with their origin. The Ridgebacks, for instance, have been originally bred to hunt lions. They are suitable for summer hikes, although you can also think of other activities such as running and playing Frisbee.

On the other hand, there are dog breeds that don’t really need lots of exercise. Shih Tzus, Chow Chows, and English Bulldogs are examples of dog breeds that require the least amount of exercise.

Still, you have to make sure they get to walk a few minutes daily so they can have healthy joints. One walk per day, either in the morning or in the evening, will be enough to give them a good workout.

Do note that our furry little friends also become bored at times. You don’t always have to walk outside especially when it’s too hot or the weather’s not good. You can be a little more creative and come up with fun activities to encourage Fido to exercise.

One of the things you can do with your dog is play hide and seek. Or, if your pet has a penchant for treats (as most dogs do!), let him find that treat. He can use his excellent sense of smell to win the game.

Meanwhile, you can’t expect a dog to drink water shortly after exercise. You should never give water right after exercising because it could leave your pet bloated.

Wait for the dog to cool down completely before offering water. If he still continues to refuse water even after several hours since the exercise, there might be something with your dog that you need to address.

Reason #2: A Sign of An Underlying Disease

Decreased thirst can be a symptom of a bigger health problem. For some dogs, this is because of a serious kidney failure. The kidneys can also be infected when your dog has urinary tract infections.

In most cases, dogs with problematic kidneys drink more than the usual. But in advanced stages, a dog will have a decline in his water intake.

It’s better to be safe than sorry. Bring your pet to his vet in case you notice anything unusual with him. If he’s usually active but suddenly becomes a lazy dog, it’s possible that he is suffering from something.

Dogs with an infected bladder may also have a decreased water intake. Bladder infection causes a dog to urinate more often. Therefore, they might resist water because it makes them urinate more.

When you noticed that your pet often squats or strains but does not pee or poop, it could be an indication that his bladder is infected. An infected bladder also causes the urine to become cloudy or have a slightly tinted color.

An infected bladder can be treated with antibiotics. In advanced stages or if there are bladder stones, your vet will require surgery. The vet will also suggest a special diet to alter the chemical composition of the urine.

More often than not, dogs refuse their water when they are enduring an oral problem. This happens when the dog has periodontal disease or an infection of the mouth due to bacteria.

Even a simple tooth fracture can be painful for a dog. If you notice that he will not eat or drink, bring your pet to a vet to have him checked. This should be treated right away before it gets worse and leads to mouth cancer.

Older dogs usually experience health problems more often than the younger ones. It helps if you see a vet at least twice a year to have him checked for any signs of illness. It will be much better if he undergoes a thorough check-up.

Reason #3: He Does Not Like the Taste of Water

You might be asking, “Why won’t my dog drink water when it’s not filtered?” It’s simply because not all water tastes the same. Tap, filtered, and distilled water each have a distinct taste.

Tap water may have a moldy taste when there is algal bloom in its source. It often has a bitter taste, which is because of the copper in it. This may even have an impact on your dog’s health because it can cause diarrhea.

Tap water may contain sulfates that can make it taste like rotten eggs. Your dog will not likely drink it if it has a strong rotting flavor.

To be on the safe side and to make sure your petlikes the taste, opt for filtered water. You can still retain most of its minerals depending on the type of filter you use.

The temperature of the water also has an impact on dogs. Room temperature water is suitable for them but when it’s too hot, dogs would appreciate slightly cold water. Just don’t give your pet ice cold water because it’s not good for him.

Reason #4: He’s Not Comfortable Drinking From His Bowl

Odd as it sounds, there are dogs that refuse to drink water if it’s from a water bowl. You will notice this when your pet starts to lick water off the ground rather than from his bowl.

Another strange thing with dogs is that some of them would not drink from a bowl if another dog already drank from it. If you have lots of dogs in the house, consider getting a separate bowl for each of them.

Another obvious reason issomething unpleasant getting into the water. This usually happens when the bowl is not clean enough.

Did you know that your pet’s bowl is the fourth germiest thing in your house? Make sure that your pet’s bowl is always free from dirt. It’s recommended to wash it after every meal.

It’s not enough to just rinse the bowls with water. You need to use hot and soapy water when washing them. Allow them to dry first before putting water in them.

The material of the bowl also affects its chances of catching some bacteria. A bowl with cracks and crevices attracts E.coli, salmonella, and even parasites. Experts recommend a stainless steel bowl for pets.

Stainless steel bowls are easier to sanitize than those made from plastic. Their non-porous built also makes them less prone to leach, rust, and bacteria. Unlike plastic bowls, they are not easily scratched or cracked.

When you want something that you can bring anywhere, go for silicone bowls. They are not as durable as the stainless steel types but they are collapsible. This makes them ideal when you are traveling with your pet.

If your pet wears collar tags and it clinks on the bowl, your dog will not find it comfortable to drink. They may find the constant jiggling very distracting. Remove the collar, especially when you are at home.

Things to Do When Fido Does Not Want to Drink Water

Some dogs refuse to drink water but will eat as they normally do. If this is the case with your pet, the solution is to add a bit of water in his dry food. Some dog owners soak a sponge cake in water before giving it to the fussy dog.

Another thing you can do is give your pet an ice cube. Many dogs take pleasure in licking it. Some dogs can be aggressive chewers, though so you have to keep an eye when giving ice cubes to your pet for the first time. Your dog’s teeth could break after chewing it.

The Bottom Line

Decreased thirst should be treated immediately because it could lead to dehydration. If your pet has not been drinking water for 24 hours, you should give your vet a call immediately. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so consult your veterinarian before anything worse could happen.


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