Dog Drinking Water: What’s Too Much & What’s Too Little?
July 04, 2022 | 3 min read
Updated July 04, 2022
By Sarah Milton
Published: January 25, 2021
Updated: July 4, 2022
Summary: If you've ever wondered "how much water should a dog drink?" then find your answer in this blog. Learn what's too much and what's too little when it comes to dog drinking water below...
Like humans, dogs need to drink water every day. If they don't, your dog could suffer dehydration!
Dogs don’t sweat as much as humans (only from their nose and paw pads) and release body heat at a much lower rate when compared to us. They control their body heat through panting. Their water levels are then replenished when needed via drinking, which is why it’s important to have a freshwater bowl accessible and available to them at all times.
If you’re reading this blog because you’re concerned your dog is drinking too much or too little H2O, you’ve come to the right place. Below we’ve gathered together all the reasons why a dog won’t drink water, why your dog may be drinking a lot of water, and how much water is ideal for your dog to be consuming per day…
My Dog Is Drinking A Lot Of Water
So, your dog is drinking a lot of water. The obvious conclusion would be that your dog is thirsty and is simply replenishing their hydration levels. However, if it seems like a lot more water than their normal intake to you, then this could be a sign of disease. If they’re also urinating more frequently, this is another indicator that there is a health problem at hand, because excessive drinking is often a repose to too much fluid being lost via urination.
A number of health issues could be at play here, but the most common diseases and illnesses that excessive drinking is a symptom of are Cushing’s disease, kidney infection/failure, urinary tract infections, hypercalcemia (high calcium levels in the blood), or dog diabetes (diabetes mellitus). Some medications, like cortical steroids, can also increase a dog’s thirst, as can a bout of diarrhea or vomiting.
However, if you have a puppy that’s drinking excessively, this could be a sign of boredom (primary polydipsia): they simply need more stimulation from you, toys, and possibly exercise (dependent on their age).
If your dog is noticeably drinking a lot of water, you should get them assessed by their vet as soon as possible no matter what your suspicions are around the reason behind it. Do not restrict their access to water in an attempt to prevent them from drinking as this can actually make whatever condition they're dealing with worse. Your vet’s professional diagnosis and condition management advice is the best thing you can do for your excessively drinking pup.
Dog Won’t Drink Water?
If your dog is refusing to drink water or is consuming, in your view, very little, there could be a number of reasons at play…
They’re Getting Older
Senior dogs typically exercise less and this can result in diminished appetite and thirst. They may also just feel that getting up to access the water bowl is too much effort. Try bringing their water bowl to them if you’re concerned, and if there is a consistent reluctance to drink in your maturing dog, try switching their food to moist from dry, as this may help keep their hydration levels up. Learn how to safely switch your dog’s food here, as a sudden change can cause stomach upsets!
Inactivity/Lack of Exercise
If you have a pooch that refuses to walk in the rain, or it’s been too hot/cold to take Fido out for their daily stroll(s), then they simply may not be that thirsty. A slight reduction in water intake in these circumstances isn’t anything to worry about. If it’s persistent and a constant reluctance to drink – that’s when they need a professional veterinary assessment!
They Are Somewhere Unfamiliar
If your pup is somewhere new, and doesn’t recognize the scent around them, they simply may not trust the safety of the water they are being offered. If this sounds like behavior your dog exhibits, try bringing a bottle of water from home for them when you’re out and about so they can recognize it as a safe source of hydration!
They Are Fearful
Dogs learn behaviors through positive/negative associations. If they’ve had a bad experience whilst drinking or accessing their water bowl, they may have associated drinking as a negative thing. Try providing a new water bowl and moving it to an alternate but still accessible location.
Certain illnesses can cause a dog’s interest in drinking water to alter. As well as causing excessive water drinking, conditions like diabetes and kidney issues can also cause a dog to stop drinking completely. If you think this could be the case, get them looked over by a vet pronto!
How Much Water Should A Dog Drink?
This all depends on the size of your dog, how much exercise they do, what their food type is, and what their current body temperature is. We’ve put together this handy visual guide for our PetLab Co. pet parents to help you get a sense of how much water your dog needs – remember though, all dogs are different, so no graph should be taken as absolute gospel.
How To Get Dog To Drink Water
A dog should drink regularly, or they’re at risk of becoming dehydrated, just like us! There a few things you can do to encourage them to drink more, if you’re concerned about their disinterest…
- Use a glass or ceramic water bowl – Some dogs fear the noise a metal one makes
- Mix their wet dog food with a little water – this might keep them hydrated whilst they’re refusing the water-specific bowl
- Change the position of their water bowl – It might simply be a dislike of the environment the bowl is currently in!
- Clean the water bowl – you should clean your dog’s food and water bowl every day! No pup will be happy to drink out of a dirty bowl
- Try adding a splash of lactose-free milk to their water – This may help with your dog’s interest in their water bowl. Make sure the milk is lactose-free as many dogs don’t carry the lactase enzyme that helps them metabolize the lactose (sugar) found in milk, after they transition from puppy to dog.
Proper hydration is paramount to your dog’s health, so if they’re continuously refusing to drink always seek out the opinion and professional guidance of their vet.
Author Paul, Mike DVM "My Dog is Drinking a Lot of Water (Polydipsia)" Pet Health Network, Jun 26. 2015 https://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-diseases-conditions-a-z/my-dog-drinking-a-lot-water-polydipsia
"Your Dog Won’t Drink Water? Top 5 Reasons Why & What You Can Do" Tractive, Jan 24. 2022 https://tractive.com/blog/en/good-to-know/my-dog-wont-drink-water#:~:text=In%20some%20cases,%20illnesses%20such,should%20contact%20your%20vet%20immediately.
"Cushing's Disease In Dogs" Blue Cross, Sep 11. 2019 https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/cushings-disease-in-dogs?gclid=Cj0KCQiA0fr_BRDaARIsAABw4EuzaXDZDsrg3oXjL47qrDQXe5j-sbJ-UsldKn4AXNV47UwVkGduAk4aAlk7EALw_wcB
Comes from a family of animal lovers and got to grow up with a menagerie of pets! I believe owning a pet is a privilege and I love researching and creating informative, fun content for fellow pet owners to help their furry friends have the happiest and healthiest lives. When I’m not writing blogs, you can find me sharing a walk with my pet dachshund or at a yoga class!