Sometimes your dog will refuse to drink water. Whether he's recovering from surgery or just not feeling well, you need to know how to make a dog drink water when he doesn't want to. It sounds simple, but as the old saying goes, you can lead a horse (or dog, in this case) to water, but you can't make him drink.
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Typically, it's a health issue that will cause a dog to refrain from drinking water. This is a major problem, because not drinking will quickly lead to dehydration. In turn, a doing being dehydrated for only a couple of days can lead to more serious health problems.
If you've noticed a sudden change in your dog's water intake (whether he's drinking more or less) that lasts for more than 24 hours, it's best to seek the advice of your veterinarian. This could be an indication of a more serious underlying health issue that requires medical attention.
If you already know the reason for the aversion to drinking water, you just need to find ways to entice your dog to drink water. In such situations, it is best to only offer small amounts of water at one time. You can increase the quantity as your dog begins to feel better. Drinking too much too quickly could cause your dog to vomit, which will make him even more dehydrated.
How to Make a Dog Drink Water
If you notice that your dog isn't drinking as much water as he normally does, you need to check your dog for dehydration immediately. There are a couple of ways to do that.
(A) Skin pinching. As I demonstrate in my video above, the first thing to do is pinch the skin on the back of your dog's neck, then let it go. If the skin doesn't return to normal immediately, this could be a sign that the dog is dehydrated.
(B) Check gums. You can also check your dog's gums to see if your pet is dehydrated. I also demonstrate this procedure in my video above. To do this, gently press your finger on the dog's gums until the pink color fades. If the gum doesn't pink up immediately, it could be a sign that your dog is dehydrated.
- loss of appetite
- decrease in urine output
- darker color urine
- urine with a noticeably strong odor
If your dog is showing signs of dehydration, seek veterinary care immediately. Do NOT wait. If your dog is dehydrated, waiting just a few hours could be the difference between a quick treatment with IV fluids and a much more serious health problem, and sometimes even death.
There's a popular drink for humans suffering from dehydration called Pedialyte. Did you know that this drink can also help prevent your dog from becoming dehydrated?
Pedialyte is specifically formulated to help replenish fluids and electrolytes more effectively than other drinks, and it's completely safe for dogs. When learning how to make a dog drink water to prevent dehydration, Pedialyte liquid is a the best and most effective tool to have in your arsenal.
How: Simply mix a combination of 50/50 of Pedialyte and water. Give your dog 1 cup of this liquid mixture every 30-60 minutes. Just pour it into your pet's bowl.
However, some dogs will refuse to drink this. So if your dog won't drink the Pedialyte mixture, you can administer it in small doses via syringe. You may need to somewhat force your dog to drink it, which is uncomfortable but won't be painful for the dog.
3. Other Ways to Make Dogs Drink More Water
Ensuring that your dog is drinking enough water could be an everyday battle with some pets. Healthy dogs should be drinking about an ounce of water for every pound of the dog's body weight every day.
If you're not worried about dehydration in your dog but just want to increase the dog's water intake after surgery or an illness, there are a number of other ways to do so. Below are some proven options that always work in our household.
Broth. You can add low-sodium chicken broth, beef broth or other bone broth to your pet's water bowl. A couple of tablespoons of broth should be enough to entice most dogs to drink because it smells good to them and tastes better than water.
Syringe. As mentioned above, as one of the last resorts, you could also use a syringe to squirt water in your dog's mouth. Your dog will typically just swallow it.
Wet food. Switching to a wet canned dog food instead of dry kibble is another good way to add additional liquid to your pup's diet because this food is higher in moisture content.
Water fountains. Switch the dog's water bowl to a dog drinking fountain. These fountains aerate the water to keep it fresh. Your dog may not want to drink older, stagnant, warm water and these fountains prevent it. Also, the fact that water moves instead of being still entices some dogs to drink it.
Ice cubes. If you're using a traditional dog bowl, make sure the water is always fresh, clean and cold. Add ice cubes to his water to keep it cooler, which often works.
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