11 Ways To Get A Dog To Drink Water And Rehydrate


Getting your dog to drink water, something that is so necessary to the life of all organisms, can sometimes be a chore. Some dogs do not have the practice to stay hydrated, and it leads to lethargy and dry skin and many other health problems. The greatest problem, however, is that it is something that dogs can live with and put up with, hence they stay in their dehydrated state at the expense of their health.

Dogs should be encouraged, or deceived, whichever way works, to intake more water. No hard feelings here. It is good for them after all. To them, they will just be following their owners’ instructions and accepting as a natural regiment in life. They probably would not lick you in gratitude for what you are doing for them though. Let’s learn how to get your dog to drink more water.

There are 8 main ways of getting a dog to drink water effectively that I can vouch for. I have used it all the time and has been working for me so far. Here they are:

Avoid Using A Water Dispenser

A water dispenser has a gate that stays shut by default. The dogs have to apply a constant force on it in order to keep the gate open and let the water flow. There are a number of problems here.

First, dogs will usually use their tongue to hold the gate of the dispenser, but they need their tongue to guide the water into their throats, to pant and sweat, as well as to constantly lick water dispenser (they are probably not smart enough to know that they can just hold their tongue in the same position to keep the water flowing.

Second, the water flow is low. In other words, the volume of water they consume each time the gates open is going to be low.

This makes drinking water a very difficult chore with low returns to the dog. For so much work done, the amount of water that they can get from it is low. Hence, this cultivates a habit in dogs to drink enough just to quench their thirst, and gradually, they become less active because they get tired easily from being dehydrated. And then they drink even less from the water dispensers, and the vicious cycle continues.

Get a dog bowl instead. I will recommend getting a spill proof water bowl like this one from PET WEIGHTER on Amazon as you can use it for your car travels too. This water bowl has a weight at the bottom to prevent the water bowl from toppling over easily when the car is in motion, thus keeping your dogs hydrated and your car dry.

Use Larger Water Bowls

You may also want to consider having a larger water bowl for your dog. The whole purpose of it is to make them feel comfortable and ease the task of drinking water. With a larger bowl, they would feel less restriction around their snout when they are drinking from the bowl, and make the whole procedure less obstructive.

Remove Obstacles

More pointers about removing hindrance to the task.

One example from a personal anecdote: stop hanging dog tags on your dog's collar. They may get in the way of it drinking water, or create collision noises upon contact with the dog water bowl that may grow into an irritation to your dogs. This subtly adds a negative outlook on the task of drinking water from the dog bowl and will work in the dark to discourage your dog to drink more water.

Use An Elevated Dog Bowl

Another example is to get an elevated dog bowl. It makes it easier to swallow the water as the dog will now have less work to do against gravity. An elevated dog bowl also promotes a smoother process to ingest the water as the water can now flow down the throat along gravity.

The PET WEIGHTER water bowl that I recommended previously already has this feature. Do consider it once again.

Put Food In Water Bowls

Put your dog’s food in the water bowl is one way to get them to drink more. Whenever the slightest of hunger pangs get triggered, my dogs will kickstart their food hunt, event though lunch was a mere distant 1 hour ago. The first place they look for food is of course their feeding area.

If you put their food in the water bowl, naturally they will visit the water bowls first right at the start of their treasure hunt. And when they realise that there is no food but only water, they may just take a sip or two, since they are already there and, if you took the advice above, it is not troublesome at all to do so.

Use More Water Bowls

Combine the above rationale with more water bowls. It will lead them to a wild goose chase for food among all the water bowls that they deem as highly likely culprits with the treasure. This not only increases their exercise done, but also makes them more thirsty, and thus drink more water. Soon enough, it may become a habit.

That being said, remember to put the food in the different bowls instead of always using one! Otherwise, it will defeat the purpose of having multiple bowls to promote hydration practices.

The AmazonBasics dog bowls are a good buy for this purpose. I particularly like their rubber base that will prevent too much movement and, thus, spilling when the dog are in their pirates mode out hunting for food.

Wash Water Bowls Regularly

Make sure your the water bowls are clean too. You do not want undesirable stains or smell to ruin what could potentially be an enjoyable tea time for your dogs.

Add Water To Your Dog’s Food

Add water to your dog food, especially wet food, is also one way to stealthily increase their water intake.

Put Treats In Ice

My dogs are slaves to treats. They will do anything for a treat. Taking advantage of this fact, one trick I frequently employ is to put the treat in an ice, and make them go through the chore of having to lick the ice to get the treat, drinking the water from the melted ice along the way.

This is a very effective method to get my dogs hydrated and ready for a hiking trip while we are heading to the hiking trails in our car. We cannot communicate and instruct them to drink more water now because we are going to do some cardio activities soon, so this is one of the best and most useful ways to entertain them in the car prior to a hiking trip.

Drink Water Before Treats

You can also train your dog to drink water before treats! Just like how dog owners train dogs to do certain actions, like shaking hands with their paws, or play possum when they hear “bang!”, before giving them treats to reward them for doing a correct action, you can train them to drink water before giving them their reward.

A bit of advice here. Start with a small amount of water with the training. This is so that it can finish the content easily before getting rewarded and register that it needs to finish the water and not just take a couple of sips to get the treats.

Drink Water Before Going For Walks

If your dog jumps with excitement when you prepare to take them for walks, you are gifted with yet another powerful weapon to get them to drink more water. Make them drink some water before you take them out. Simple!

Final Thoughts

I hope I have given you some inspirations on different ways you can get you dogs to drink more water. The formula is largely the same: make the task simple and comfortable, and capitalize on items or actions that are incentives to your dog and make them work for it by drinking water.


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