How to Get Your Dog to Drink More Water

Water: It 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.

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How to get your dog to drink more water

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 10th 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.

How to get your dog to drink more water

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.

Fact: In a report for ABC News, Dr. Tina Wismer, medical director at the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, reports this is totally false.

“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 we used:

(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.

Here are 4 of our favorite ways to transport water on the go:

S’ip by S’well Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, Double Wall, 15 oz, Top Dog

H2O4K9, Dog Water Bottle and Travel Bowl, 25-Ounce, Pure Stainless

 

Gulpy Jr. Water Dispenser for Pet, 10-Ounce(Colors may vary)

Dexas Popware for Pets Collapsible Travel Cup, Large, Gray/Green

(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).

Learn more about how to prevent a urinary tract infection in dogs

Get your dog outside for potty breaks

(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.

Here are some of our favorite dog water bowls for inside:

PetRageous 3.5-Cup Water Vintage Pet Bowl, 6-Inch, Black/Natural

Food Grade Stainless Steel Pet Food & Water Bowl with Non-Skid Silicone Bottom, Beautiful Modern Design, Dishwasher-Safe

Internet’s Best Bone Dog Bowl Set | Double Stainless Steel Pet Food Water Bowls | No Spill Silicone Stand | Toy Breed | Pink

 

FluffyPal Bronze Non-Skid Pet Food Bowl – Capacity 17 oz – Bowl For Cats, Dogs & More – Effective And Stylish Ways To Keep Your Pets Fed And Happy – Stainless Steel Non Rust Dishwasher Safe Feeder

(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. Here are a few of our favorites, and we always say BPA-free, please.  These can be found on Etsy:

Slurp Dog Water Bowl

Cute dog water bowl

Stoneware Electric Bones Bowl

Dog Bowl Stoneware Electric Bones Smal

 Large Single Bowl, 2 Qt heart diner, elevated dog 

Dog water bowl heart

 

Paw Print Bowl w/ Lip in Chocolate Brown & Tan 

dog water bowl

 

(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.

Now that you know how to entice your dog to drink more water, be sure you check out Dog Water Dangers No One Talks About.

Question: Is your dog a good water drinker or could he or she use improvement? Do tell in the comments below.

Note: This post contains affiliate links from Etsy and Amazon, meaning if you click on a link above and then make a purchase, Fidose of Reality will receive a small commission with no extra cost to you. You help us keep the site up and running and in exchange, you get to shop for items you love. Wags!

Comments

  1. Great tips here Carol!

    Delilah is a mad drinker. She would literally drink the entire bowl if we let her (we don’t.)

    Sampson, not so much. I have a supplement I’m giving him, and I mix that into a cup of water, so I know he’s getting some liquid. They are both also fed raw, so I know they get liquid in that as well.

    • Fantastic on the raw and knowing they get the water there. I am one of those panic over water dog moms, too – so it’s good to hear others who keep on eye on it, too!

  2. This is a good post cause mom said I hardly drink water. She sneaks it in my food
    Lily (& Edward)

    • Thanks and so good to see you here, Claire. I know the kitties love their water and can be difficult to drink. Happy this helps!

    • Yes, one never knows how much a dog is consuming water wise until you start to monitor. Thanks for coming by!

  3. these are all great tips to keeping a dog hydrated! I never really knew about ‘how much’ water a dog should drink, thanks for that info, I’ll keep that in mind when I get a dog… And I love how easy products make it to take with when you’re on the go with pets!

  4. This post is so important. I noticed when I go to the park with my dogs, 90% of people don’t bring water for their dogs. You can see the dogs panting and wanting a drink. I’m so glad you also mentioned changing your dog’s water frequently. That’s another thing I see when I visit friends. They seldom change the water and figure if there is water left in the bowl, that’s efficient. Great tips, Carol.

    • That is sad that people do not bring water for their dogs. I am glad that you are on top of it, Jacqui.

  5. I guess saying it is to say to drink but to them would be positive reinforcement. That’s a good idea.

  6. Toby does drink his water well thankfully! When he was trying a new food, I had to add water to it too, so he was getting some extra that way! These are such cute dog bowls 🙂

  7. These are great tips! I have a 4 pound Yorkie and she absolutely loves water. I still found this helpful, because now I think she may need a couple of more bowls throughout the house.

    • I am so happy this helped. I am a bit of a water snob and so I give my pooch filtered water and have 2 bowls out for him.

  8. Wow, I don’t have a dog so I never gave this much thought. I know my cat always looks for clean water and when he is anxious or not feeling well he drinks alot!

  9. These are great ways to get your dog to drink more. It is so important in the heat that they stay hydrated.

  10. I have no idea how much my dog is supposed to drink, so thank you!!!! I think he isn’t getting enough now!

  11. Our Lyla is a good drinker but I do make sure she is not drinking so much as to raise a worry for her health. She once was drinking far too much water and she was actually ill. We had that taken care of for her of course.
    Having a clean bowl is so important they do get slimy and gross! I don’t want my baby drinking out of a dirty bowl.
    A great article and made me feel better about Lyla’s water consumption and peeing 🙂

  12. These are great tips. My sister in law just got a new puppy so I can’t wait to share this with her!

  13. I don’t have a problem with getting gym dog to drink more water. My problem is that when she thinks the bowl is empty she drags it all over the house and gets whatever water is left in the bowl everywhere! LOL!!

  14. Great ways. I will forward this post to my sister for she has a puppy named Pochi that doesn’t really eat and drink much. I hope this could help her get Pochi drink more.

  15. Most of a dog’s body is comprised of water. Adequate water ingestion and hydration is important for them to maintain proper circulation, as well as the health of organs and tissues, including the heart, brain, liver, kidneys, lung, intestines and pancreas.

  16. We always carry a dog bowl with water whenever we go on long walks or car rides just so our sweet pup is taken care of. Other than that, my vet told me not to worry about how much water she drinks.

  17. Aww, your pooch is too cute! I always find my son drinks more water if I refill his glass every half an hour or so. He really hates water that’s gone warm and I think dogs will be the same 🙂

    Louise x

  18. A lot of people believe that dog’s drink what they need but in fact they drink what they are given and sometimes they’re aren’t big fans of what we give them!

  19. This is awesome information for any dog owner. I love the doggy bowls show here I will have to check these out. The ice cube thing is something that I always feared with my dog so I would make a slush for him in the summer months. Thanks for sharing the information.

  20. These are all some great tips. I don’t have any dogs though. I just have three cats. It’s very important to make sure they always get enough water.

  21. I lol’d at let the dogs pee more. Yeah I am sure thats important look as a human I feel better when I urinate and get rid of waste I know dogs will too they shouldnt hold it in all day.

  22. I liked your note about keeping the bowl clean and changing water often. This is so true and an absolute must for your pet’s health. Bacteria starts to grow after their first lap of water!

  23. Thanks for this informative post. Dog owners should pay attention to how much water their dog drinks. If their dog drinks unusually more or less than its normal volume of water, it can be signs of being unwell.

  24. Drinking a lot of water is really important for dog as well as for human and all living beings. Especially this question is vital in summer when there is a danger of a heat stroke. To avoid it we and out dogs should drink a lot of water. Thank you for the useful post.

  25. Thanks for the great suggestions. I have a middle-aged Cavalier who just won’t drink much water. Now that I have started increasing the water she gets with her food mix, she really doesn’t drink. I’m going to try flavoring the water first and see how that goes. The puppy and the kitties drink the water like crazy!

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