If it seems like the level of water in your dog’s water bowl stays the same from day to day, you might be concerned about whether or not your dog is drinking enough water.
Before you get too worried, remember that many dogs weigh much less than humans, depending on their breed. Therefore, if it seems like you drink way more water than your dog, it’s most likely because you do. Experts estimate that a dog drinks one ounce of water per pound of body weight each day.
The environment, the dog’s age, and temperament may also determine how much your dog drinks. Dogs that are especially active such as puppies or dogs that live in hot, dry climates, tend to drink more water.
Why Proper Hydration is Important For Your Dog
Dehydration can be dangerous to both humans as well as dogs. However, the risks associated with dehydration are much higher for dogs than for humans. That’s because humans’ bodies cool off more easily thanks to sweat glands. Dogs have sweat glands also, but only in their footpads. Instead, dogs pant to cool themselves down. Because of these differences in design, dogs can easily get overheated and experience complications caused by dehydration.
Reasons Your Dog May Not be Getting Enough Water
If you suspect that your dog isn’t drinking enough water, the first thing you need to evaluate is why they aren’t drinking. Some reasons may include:
- Not thirsty. If the weather is cooler and your dog isn’t getting much exercise, he might not need as much water as you think he does. If a dog is healthy, he will drink when he is thirsty. Dogs should at least drink a little water every day.
- New surroundings. Dogs can smell the difference in the water from home versus the water at a hotel or park.
- Illness. Diseases such as kidney disease and diabetes decrease a dog’s desire for water.
- Fear or anxiety. If your dog had a bad experience while drinking from his bowl, he might avoid it. For example, if someone stepped on his tail or another dog was protective over the water bowl, he may be hesitant to return.
- Aging. As dogs get older, their appetite both for water and food may diminish. It may also be too difficult for them to stand up to drink.
How You Can Encourage Your Dog to Drink More Water
Once you’ve determined why your dog has stopped drinking water, you can decide what actions to take to make sure he stays hydrated. These might include:
- Cleaning the water bowl regularly and refilling with fresh water
- Bringing a bottle of water from home during outings
- Replacing the bowl and putting it in a new location
- Mixing water into their food
- Switching to wet dog food if they are older
- Consulting your vet about possible underlying conditions causing your dog to forgo water
Dogs avoid water for various reasons. Thankfully, once you discover the cause behind their behavior, you are more equipped to make changes that will encourage them to drink more water. If you are ever unsure, express your concerns with the veterinarian.