Hydration is important for your dog’s health. Getting enough water aids digestion and waste elimination while regulating your dog’s body temperature. This means that making sure your dog is getting enough water is important for their health.
In most cases, a healthy dog will drink when they’re thirsty, and you won’t need to prompt them. However, dogs can become dehydrated. If that happens, you need to encourage your dog to drink water. Here are some easy tips that will get your dog drinking water.
- To encourage your dog to drink water, have multiple water bowls placed around your house, focusing on areas where your dog likes to be. This will let your dog access water easily whenever they have the urge to drink.
- For example, have a water bowl in the yard if your dog spends time outside, and have one in the house as well. This lets the dog access water easily and encourages it to drink water regularly.
- Always keep water bowls in the same place so that your dog knows where to go when they feel thirsty.
- Encourage your dog to drink water by only providing food at specific times of the day. Leaving food bowls lying around all day might cause your dog to confuse thirst with hunger. Water bowls should be accessible at all times but food bowls should only be out at mealtimes.
- Make the water seem more exciting by using a dog fountain. Even changing the water bowl may encourage a reluctant dog to drink.
- Put some ice cubes in the dog’s water, especially on hot days, to make the water more refreshing.
- Try flavoring the water using broth or your dog’s favorite fruit to make drinking more appealing.
- Make sure that water bowls are kept clean and that you regularly change the water. Dogs may not want to drink dirty, stale water.
- Mixing food with water might help your dog drink more. Wet foods can be mixed with water, especially if your dog doesn’t want to drink plain water. This way, they’ll consume water with their food and be better hydrated.
- When a dog eats a moisture-rich diet, some of their water needs will be met at mealtimes. A dry dog food diet will cause your dog’s water needs to increase, so incorporate moist foods in your dog’s diet to increase their hydration.
- Sometimes changing the position of the water bowl can make a difference in how much water your dog drinks. Offering your dog water from your hands before prompting him to drink from the bowl might also work.
Dehydration is a serious health concern for dogs and if your dog refuses to drink water, you should visit a vet to check for underlying health conditions.
How Much Water Does Your Dog Really Need?
A healthy dog should drink just over a cup of water per pound. This is equivalent to an ounce of water per pound of body weight. Very active dogs may drink more than that since they are likely to need more hydration.
Puppies will need to drink more water than adult dogs and should be given small amounts of water on a regular basis.
What are the Symptoms of Dehydration in Your Dog?
Since most dogs can self-regulate when it comes to drinking enough water, it may be hard to know if your dog is dehydrated. Checking for the following signs and symptoms will help you see whether your dog is dehydrated.
- Pale, dry and sticky gums are a sign of dehydration
- A dry snout and mouth may also point to dehydration.
- If you notice that your dog’s eyes are sunken, this could also indicate dehydration.
- A simple skin test as illustrated below can also determine whether or not your dog is well-hydrated.
The Dehydration Skin Test
Gently pinch a fold of the loose skin over the dog’s neck, then release. If it falls back into place quickly, then the dog is well-hydrated. However, if it takes some time for the pinched skin to fall back into place, your dog may be dehydrated. When a dog is dehydrated the skin will slowly return to its place or may stay up for some time before falling back into place.
Can your Dog Drink too Much Water?
Overhydration may not be common in dogs but it can certainly happen. Some symptoms of overhydration include lack of energy, vomiting, excessive salivation, bloating and dilated pupils. Dogs who play in ponds or pools for extended periods of time may end up drinking more water than they should.
It is important to monitor how much water your dog drinks to avoid overhydration. A dog that has just had a brisk period of activity may lap up an entire bowl of water in one go. If this happens, keep the water bowl dry for a while so that they don’t overdrink.
For puppies, too much water intake may be caused by underlying health conditions such as kidney disease, diabetes, Cushing’s disease or other ailments. If you notice abnormal water intake, check with your vet to rule out underlying illnesses. Polydipsia may also affect adult dogs and will similarly need a check-up to identify underlying causes.
Just like in humans, adequate hydration is essential for the health and wellbeing of your dog. Getting your dog to drink water, especially if they are dehydrated, will help you avoid health complications down the line.
When it comes to the health of your dog, a healthy and balanced diet needs to be combined with enough water. Without enough water, your dog may become dehydrated, which interferes with normal body function.