How To Get a Dog to Drink More Water – 10 Tricks to Try

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Does your dog struggle to meet their daily water intake needs due to an illness, behavioral quirk, water bowl phobia, or aversion? If so, this post is for you as we’ll be discussing how to get a dog to drink more water (if they need it) with 10 easy tricks you can try at home.

How To Get a Dog to Drink More Water - 10 Tricks to Try

Photo by Capusky from Getty Images via Canva

How much should your dog be drinking each day?

Fortunately for us, most dogs do a great job of self-regulating when it comes to drinking water, however, there are some instances when a dog may struggle and subsequently risk dehydration.

According to the AKC, adult dogs need about one ounce of water, per pound of body weight, per day, while puppies require between a one-half ounce and one ounce of water per pound of body weight per day.

How to Get a Dog to Drink More Water

First off, if your dog has stopped drinking out of the blue (or is refusing water) and/or is showing signs of dehydration, it’s best to contact your vet in the first instance as there may be a bigger problem at play. 

If you’ve already consulted with a vet and understand the reasons why your dog may not be drinking enough, check out how to get a dog to drink more water (if they need it) with the 10 tricks below.

1. Add water to your dog’s food

Dry dog foods like kibble have a very low moisture content (only around 10%). To boost moisture content and increase your dog’s daily water intake, try adding water to their food at mealtimes. Most dogs won’t mind and it’s a super-easy way to get them to drink more. 

If your dog isn’t a fan of this method, consider adding a little wet food to their bowl, or switch to a semi-moist, raw, or fresh food diet for added hydration.

Offering dog-safe fruits and vegetables with high water contents is another easy option (i.e. cucumber, carrots, apples, and watermelon).

2. Try a pet fountain

Many dogs, like cats, actually prefer oxygenated free-flowing water. If this is the case for your pup you may like to consider investing in a pet water fountain to help boost their daily water intake. 

3. Add flavoring to your dog’s water

For dogs that need a little enticement, try adding some flavoring to their water. Either homemade bone/beef/chicken broth or sardine/tuna juice (from a can, packed in water) or a store-bought water enhancer for dogs like the ones pictured below from Nulo.

Top tip: When offering flavored water to your dog, always be sure to keep a separate bowl of fresh water available too.

4. Offer multiple, easily accessible watering options

For a dog that isn’t overly motivated to seek out water, be sure to place multiple water bowls around the house in easy-access locations so there is always an option close by if they decide they would like a drink.

This is especially important for dogs with mobility issues and in multi-pet homes, as some dogs don’t like to drink from bowls that other animals have drunk from.

5. Try different types of bowls and waterers

For dogs with avoidance issues and water bowl phobias, it’s worth trialing a variety of different dog bowl types in an effort to encourage them to drink more.

For example, some dogs don’t like and/or are fearful of stainless steel bowls. This could be due to the reflection in the water or maybe even the sound of the metal on the ground or against their ID tags as they try to drink.

If this is the case, try another type of bowl i.e. plastic, ceramic, silicone, or glass. You could even try placing the bowl on a non-slip mat to dampen the sound and prevent it from sliding around (which might also be putting them off). 

For dogs with an aversion to plastic bowls, a plastic allergy could be to blame. Try another type of bowl. 

Bowl size and shape can also deter some dogs. Make sure your bowl is the right size for your dog (not too shallow or too deep), and keep switching them out until you find something that works.

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For dog water bowls that are kept outside, be mindful of water temperature, especially in summer – nobody likes warm water on a hot day, including your dog.

Always place water bowls in a shaded area and consider switching to an insulated dog bowl to keep your dog’s water cooler for longer. You could also add a couple of ice cubes too.

For dogs that just don’t like drinking from bowls, a pet fountain (like the ones pictured above in point #2), or dripper water bottle might encourage them to drink more instead.

6. Test different water bowl locations

Another possible reason for water bowl phobias and avoidance issues could be due to the water bowl’s location. For example, maybe the bowl is in a high-traffic or noisy area, or perhaps it’s too close to another pet or a draughty vent. Or maybe your dog associates the location with a negative or traumatic experience.

Try moving the bowl to a different location to see if it makes a difference to their water consumption.

7. Try a raised water bowl

Older dogs and dogs with arthritis may avoid their water bowl (and drink less) as a result of back or neck pain.

If this is the case for your dog, try a raised feeder or elevated water bowl instead. This could help minimize pain while drinking and thus, encourage them to drink more.

8. Test different types of water

Water from different sources tastes and smells different to dogs. While some dogs won’t mind and will happily drink from puddles and even the toilet bowl, others can be super sensitive, even to tap water. 

If your dog is picky about where their water comes from (or even the temperature), try refrigerated, filtered or bottled water instead, or invest in a doggy waterer like the ones pictured below which feature filtration systems built-in.

9. Clean your dog’s water bowl regularly

Bacteria and algae build-up in the water bowl can also affect the taste and smell of your dog’s water, making it unappetizing for some dogs – it can also be harmful.

Encourage your dog to drink more water by ensuring the bowl is always clean. 

Use unscented dish soap to clean your dog’s water bowl regularly and make sure all soap residue is rinsed off before refilling and returning to your dog (as some dogs can be sensitive to the smell of dish soap as well).

As far as bacteria is concerned, stainless steel bowls tend to harbor germs the least, while some dog bowls contain Microban to help minimize bacterial build-up between washes. 

Be vigilant about replacing damaged and dingy bowls too, as these can harbor germs the most, not to mention affect water quality and taste for your dog.

10. Change the water daily

Finally, keep your dog coming back for more by changing the water in their bowl daily to ensure freshness and cleanliness. 

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How To Get a Dog to Drink More Water - 10 Tricks to Try

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