A disturbance in standard drinking patterns can indicate a wide variety of problems in your pet. There are several factors that influence how much water your dog needs, including its size and current diet. If the weather is cooler and your dog is getting less exercise than usual, it may be that your pet is not as thirsty and, therefore, no reason to worry. However, if you notice your dog is just not drinking water, there may be some hidden causes. Generally, dogs require about 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight, so a 10-pound dog should drink roughly ten fluid ounces per day. Dogs living in a hot climate, dogs that are very active, and lactating dogs will invariably require more than this and will drink water more often. Incidentally, puppies will regularly consume more water than adult dogs. A dog that eats wet food may also drink less water than a dog who eats kibble.
In most cases, the refusal to drink can be linked to an injury inside or near the dog's mouth, but there may also be other factors to consider. If your dog refuses to drink and you are convinced they are not getting enough water, you need to work with a licensed veterinarian to discover the cause and get some expert advice.
Nerves and anxiety can cause a loss of thirst and appetite in dogs. If you have recently moved or taken your dog to an unfamiliar place, this can be the reason they are unwilling to drink water. If your dog refuses to drink water because they are in a different setting, this may resolve over time as they become more comfortable. It may be just a matter of bringing their water bowl from home to give them a familiar scent to help prompt your pet to drink water. Dehydration can also be caused by an inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), which may result from a high-fat diet. Older female dogs may be subject to urinary tract infections. This results in more frequent urination, which can often be quite painful, and this can cause your dog to refuse to drink water.
It is not an exact science, and there is no easy way to measure if your pet is getting sufficient water for their size and lifestyle. Hence, the best way of establishing an adequate water intake is to check for potential dehydration in your pet. There are some interpretive signs of dehydration to look for.
What Are The Symptoms Of Dehydration In A Dog?
Dehydration is a dangerous condition because water is a critical component of several core body processes. Eighty percent of your dog's body is made up of water. Water helps to regulate bodily processes such as circulation, digestion, and waste removal. While dogs do have sweat glands in their footpads, this is not sufficient to adequately cool their body if they begin to become overheated, which is why dogs rely on panting to regulate their body temperature. When a dog's body gets to the point where normal fluid intake fails to make up for water loss, the blood flow and the volume of fluids is reduced, which reduces the delivery of oxygen to organs and tissue.
The more obvious symptoms of dehydration include sunken eyes, lethargy, dry mouth, and depression. If your dog is panting or drooling more than usual or has skin that does not retain its average elasticity, your dog may be suffering from dehydration.
Diagnosis And Treatment For Dehydration
A blood sample is a quick and easy way to clarify the severity of your pet's dehydration and help identify a cause and decide what treatment is needed. The most effective way of treating dehydration is to place the pet on a drip. This will replace any fluids already lost and also prevent further dehydration.
How To Prevent Dehydration In Dogs
Providing your pet with a constant supply of clean, clear water is the best way to protect your dog from dehydration. Some dogs drink more than others: so you may need to take extra care to make sure that picky drinkers get enough water. Depending on the weather and temperature and the level of activity of your dog, your pet will probably need more water on some days than others. Some medications may favor an increase in the water intake of your pet.
Persuading Your Dog To Drink
To make sure your dog drinks water regularly, always have fresh, pure water easily accessible to the dog. Changing the water bowl's position or changing the actual bowl of water are possible solutions to helping your dog take more interest in water. Remember that your pet's nose is more sensitive than yours, and bacteria or dirt can build up in water bowls within a few hours. If your dog is aging or showing signs of generally not wanting to get up to their water bowl, you may have to be more proactive about ensuring he is drinking water. A geriatric dog should have water kept closer, with ample opportunities given to drink and closer supervision. Keeping multiple water bowls in strategic positions near their bed or near their food bowl may also be helpful.
Sometimes a little more creativity is required. Fortunately, there are several techniques you can use to keep your dog hydrated when it doesn't want to drink from its dish. One idea is to get him to munch or lick ice cubes. Some vets will suggest electrolytes replacements for a dog that is experiencing a lack of interest in drinking. It is often a good idea to mix dog food with water. Although your dog may not like drinking water from the bowl, he may happily drink water mixed with food. Another option is to try feeding your pet some watery treats. Believe it or not, many dogs love ice cubes, and during summer, it is good to keep topping up the water bowl with ice cubes. Fruits like watermelon, apples, and blueberries contain a substantial amount of water and attract your dog. Making broth with bits of fresh chicken or beef is an excellent way to tempt your dog into hydrating itself.
Some Final Advice
Once you have ruled out the possibility of illness in your pet, you may need to get creative to get your dog to drink water. Provide more water bowls or even have a bubbling fountain or kiddies pool for the dog to paddle in. Add water to any type of dog food, including kibble, canned, or even homemade stew and vegetables. You could also soak kibble in water. It will keep in the fridge for up to three days. Some dogs love licking ice blocks, and you can make treats by freezing blocks of water or freezing little blocks of leftover fruit smoothies or low-sodium broth. Wash your pet's water bowl daily and make sure the bowl is big enough for your dog. It may come as a surprise, but you should teach your dog the word "drink." Every time your dog takes a drink of water from its water bowl, say "drink" in a super happy, pleasant voice. Whenever your dog comes in contact with the clean bowl of water, say "drink" and create a little mini party.
In the same way, you taught your dog other words, like sit, stay, food, play, you can teach "drink." It's all about the association of the act with the verbal word. The key to teaching a dog to drink water by using a verbal cue is consistency.