Water is essential to our bodies.
The same goes for our furry friends.
And not getting enough of it poses many health risks.
So, if you’ve got a ‘picky drinker’ at home…
What are the things you should do?
Read on to discover:
- 27 easy ways to make your dog drink water.
- How much water a dog should drink every day.
- Things you should consider in choosing their bowls.
- What the other safe sources of water for canines are.
- And many more…
Table of contents
- How do you trick a dog into drinking water?
- 27 ways to trick your dog into drinking water
- #1: Give them cool water instead
- #2: Entice them with small ice cubes or shavings
- #3: Soak their kibble in water
- #4: Offer them wet food
- #5: Serve them some veggies
- #6: Prepare juicy treats
- #7: Put fruit chunks in their water bowl
- #8: Chill some sliced fruits
- #9: Make fruit smoothies
- #10: Add homemade broth to their meals
- #11: Create ‘broth-sicles’
- #12: Give them the broth as it is
- #13: Try offering a different kind of water
- #14: Drop a bit of canned food to their water
- #15: Put some of their favorite treats in their water bowl
- #16: Add some xylitol-free peanut butter on their water
- #17: Always keep their water bowl clean
- #18: Replace their water at least once a day
- #19: Change their bowl’s location
- #20: Provide more water-filled bowls
- #21: Give them a different water bowl
- #22: Pick up their food bowl once they finish eating
- #23: Reward them for drinking
- #24: Offer water using your hands
- #25: Use pet oral syringe
- #26: Invest in good water fountain
- #27: Exercise them
How do you trick a dog into drinking water?
You can trick a dog into drinking water by giving them a cooler one, some ice cubes, or wet food. Adding water or broth to their food may also help. As well as offering them some veggies and fruits with high moisture content. But also, always keep their bowl clean. And replace their water every day.
How much water should dogs drink in a day?
According to experts, the ideal amount is 1 oz (30 ml) per lb of their body weight.
So, if your dog weighs 60 lb (27 kg), they need to drink 60 oz (1,800 ml) every day. Which is around 7 to 8 cups.
What are the dangers of not drinking enough water daily?
If a dog isn’t drinking enough water every day, they’ll likely suffer from dehydration. Same with us humans.
This is a serious condition which needs to be treated immediately. As it could make dogs more prone to illnesses.
For example, lack of water in their body will slowly affect their organs. Then it’ll lead to damage and failure. Or worse, death.
Common signs of dehydration in dogs are:
- Sunken eyeballs.
- Pale, sticky gums.
- Dry nose and mouth.
- Loss of elasticity in their skin.
You can find out the latter by pinching a part of their skin.
Once you’ve grabbed it, release it. Then see if it comes back quickly to its original state.
If it doesn’t, it’s a sign that they’re not well-hydrated.
But if you have a new puppy, there are also reasons why they’re not eating or drinking much. Like anxiety or underlying illnesses.
Now that you know these dangers. How can you make your dog sip some water?
Well, let’s dive right in.
27 ways to trick your dog into drinking water
#1: Give them cool water instead
Okay. Let’s start with the easiest thing first.
If your dog isn’t into drinking, try offering them cool water instead.
You may or may not notice this. But just like for us, chilled water is also more refreshing to our furry friends.
One study found that canines prefer cool water more. Specifically at 59°F (15°C) temperature.
Researchers also point out that the weather didn’t influence their liking of it. Neither did the room temperature.
Interesting fact: Do you wonder why most drinks are better cold? This is because the nerves in our mouth and throat are stimulated by the low temperature. And this makes drinking a lot more thirst-quenching.
#2: Entice them with small ice cubes or shavings
Ice ice baby…
Next, it’s already known that dogs like their water cold.
So, you can also allure them to drink by putting a few ice cubes in their water bowl.
But wait, before you grab an ice tray, here are some reminders first:
Make sure that your dog is watching as you place them. Do this so that they’ll be curious and check the ice cubes out.
Avoid giving large ice cubes to dogs. PetMD says that these can break their teeth. So, offer them ice shavings or smaller cubes instead.
Chewing ice might be hard for some canines. This may be the case for dogs with dental issues and teeth loss. As well as upper airway diseases.
“Can ice cubes cause bloat to dogs?”
Nope. PetMD also explains that ice cubes or cold water don’t result in bloat.
But, drinking too much water at once can.
#3: Soak their kibble in water
Another easy trick is to simply add water to your Fido’s dry food.
Kibbles have little moisture content. Which is only around 10% to 12% (based on Pet Food Institute).
So, to make sure that your dog’s getting enough fluids:
- Pour some warm water on their meals. (Just the right amount. Don’t fill the whole bowl.)
- Let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Avoid the kibble from getting too mushy.
- See if it’s cool enough for your dog to eat.
- Then, serve.
Note: This is perfect for dogs with dental problems. As well as for young puppies who were just weaned off their mother’s milk. Because the water softens their food which makes it easier for them to eat.
#4: Offer them wet food
You can also ensure that your dog’s well-hydrated by giving them food that’s high in moisture.
One example of this is canned food.
This is because they have about 75% to 78% water. Which is a lot higher than kibble.
Plus, AKC shares that wet food also has more protein than dry dog food.
“How much of this should I give to my Fido?”
Wet food (alone): Prepare 10 oz (28 g) per 10½ to 12½ lb (4.7 to 5.7 kg) of their body weight every day. Then divide what you’ll get into 2 or 3 meals.
Mixed with dry food: Use this rule, in every 10 oz (28 g) of wet food, ¾ to 1 cup of dog food is replaced.
#5: Serve them some veggies
Eating canned food isn’t the only way for your dog to get the water they need.
There are also other foods that are high in moisture content. Plus, they’re all natural too.
We’re talking about vegetables here. And your pooch might love these.
“So, what veggies are safe for dogs?”
First, it’s important to know that some of it should only be given in little amounts – like broccoli.
And they should only be offered as treats. Which makes up 10% of their daily food intake.
This is because too much can cause gas or stomach problems for dogs.
Also, there are vegetables that need to be steamed or boiled first before serving. While others could be offered raw.
To help you with this, here are the info that I gathered:
|Vegetable||Raw or cooked (without seasonings)?||How much of this?||Water content|
|Cucumber.||Both.||Only given as treats or an addition to meals.||95%|
|Celery.||Both.||Only given as treats or an addition to meals.||95%|
|Zucchini.||Both.||Only given as treats or an addition to meals.||94%|
|Carrots.||Both.||Only given as treats or an addition to meals.||86% to 95%|
|Cauliflower.||Cooked.||Occasionally and in small amounts.||92%|
|Green cabbage.||Cooked.||An addition to meals but only in small amounts.||92%|
|Broccoli.||Both.||Occasionally and in small amounts.||90%|
Warning: Vegetables pose a choking hazard for dogs. Especially for puppies or small breeds. So, make sure to cut them into bite-size pieces before serving.
#6: Prepare juicy treats
Besides veggies, you could also give your dog some fruits as healthy and hydrating snacks.
These should be offered in moderation as well.
This is because fruits are high in fructose – a type of sugar. And eating an excess amount of it can upset a dog’s tummy. Or lead to weight gain in the long run.
Note: While preparing fruits, remove their rind and seeds. This is because the latter contains cyanide. And they might cause choking to some dogs too. Also, like vegetables, only serve these in small cubes.
#7: Put fruit chunks in their water bowl
Does your pooch love fruits?
If so, allure them to drink water by dropping some of these in their bowl.
Most canines enjoy eating fruits.
So your Fido might be intrigued when they see you put some of these in their water. And they’ll have the urge to dig out the soaked treats.
#8: Chill some sliced fruits
In addition to serving fruits as they are, you may level it up as well by freezing.
You can chill some blueberries in the fridge. As well as bite-sized slices of fruits.
Then serve them as cool snacks for your doggo during summer.
#9: Make fruit smoothies
Guess what, dogs might also enjoy drinking fruit juices.
But again, due to its natural sugar, give this to your Fido once in a while. And only in small amounts.
And to be safe, only offer them freshly made ones. This is because commercial drinks have added sugars and additives.
So, you’ll have to make smoothies by yourself.
However, don’t worry because this is also easy to do.
What to do?
- Pick any of the dog-safe fruits listed above.
- Wash it thoroughly.
- Slice it into small pieces. (Prepare 1 to 2 cups).
- Put them in a blender.
- Pour some water.
- Add a cup of ice cubes.
- Blend until it has the consistency of a juice.
- Pour the smoothie in their bowl. Or freeze some in their kong toys.
And that’s it! 🙂
#10: Add homemade broth to their meals
For dogs who are ‘picky drinkers,’ you could also add a twist to their food aside from adding water.
By putting some broth.
It’s tasty. So it may entice dogs who don’t enjoy drinking plain water.
Plus, it’s nutritious as well. Because bone broths are packed with vitamins and calcium. As well as amino acids.
What to do?
There are commercial broths available in the market. However, those aren’t recommended since they might be high in sodium.
And also, they may contain seasonings that aren’t safe for our Fidos. Such as garlic and onion.
Research reveals that these 2 ingredients are toxic to dogs. Especially when ingested in lethal doses.
So, it’s best to create your own broth at home.
This could be made of chicken or beef marrow bones. You can mix some veggies too, like carrots and celery.
Then skip any seasonings as broths will have a natural flavor.
Here’s a sample recipe of bone broth for dogs:
Note: If your Fido will be consuming broth for the first time, consult your vet first. This is because some canines might have an upset stomach due to new food. And it may not be good for dogs with pancreatitis due to its fats.
For this, start with a little amount. Say, 1 oz (30 ml) of broth once a day. Then, monitor your dog.
If they’re fine and weigh around 20 to 40 lb (9 to 18 kg), you can add 1 oz (30 ml) more. Or 3 oz (90 ml) more if they’re between 50 to 80 lb (23 to 36 kg).
But if they vomit or have loose stools, stop serving this right away.
#11: Create ‘broth-sicles’
Next, your dog might not also resist a treat that’s both yummy and refreshing.
This is also easy to do once you already have a homemade broth.
Just freeze some of it in a popsicle mold or ice tray.
You can also put the broth in your dog’s kong and freeze it.
By doing this, you’ll not only help your Fido cool down during hot days. Because the toy will also stimulate their mind.
Plus, it’ll keep them entertained too.
#12: Give them the broth as it is
If your pooch likes the broth and their tummy isn’t reacting to it…
Pouring some in their bowl is also a good idea.
Offer them the unseasoned broth instead of fresh clean water once a day.
#13: Try offering a different kind of water
There are various types of water available.
And although water is bland, you can still distinguish its kinds. Which is due to the subtle differences in their taste.
So, it’s also possible that your dog is sensitive to this as well. And they may prefer another kind of water.
Not all kinds are safe for canines.
For this, use the table below as a reference before giving some to your pooch.
|Type of water||Is this safe for dogs?||Note|
|Tap water||Yes. (Only if your area has safe tap water.)||But if you know that your place has unsafe tap water, don’t give some to your dog.|
You can check this by visiting the EPA or Environmental Protection Agency website.
|Bottled water||Yes.||But look for seals (e.g., WQA, National Sanitation Foundation).|
|Alkaline water||No.||This might affect their body’s pH (acidity) levels as per experts.|
|Distilled water||No.||Vets say that this shouldn’t be given a primary source of water.|
|Sparkling water||No.||Small amounts aren’t harmful. But, it should be given as a last resort. And not as a daily drink.|
|Well water||No.||The water has to be filtered and safe for humans to drink. Before you can offer some to your dog.|
Warning: A sudden change in the source of water may cause tummy troubles for some dogs. Most especially to young puppies. So, mix this with some of their old water for a smoother transition.
You may also wonder: Why do dogs like drinking rainwater?
#14: Drop a bit of canned food to their water
Does your Fido have a favorite wet food?
Well, they probably have. So you can also add a bit of it to their water to make it more enticing.
#15: Put some of their favorite treats in their water bowl
One more easy trick is to use treats as decoys.
But, this will be more effective if they’re your dog’s favorite snacks. Or if they’re some high-value treats.
Which are foods that they don’t usually get every day. Say, bits of steak or cottage cheese.
However, cheese is high in fat. So it isn’t recommended for dogs with pancreatitis.
Also, some dogs might not take cheese well. And this is because most of them are lactose intolerant.
So, only drop a tiny bitty amount. And watch out for vomiting and diarrhea.
#16: Add some xylitol-free peanut butter on their water
But if your pooch still doesn’t drink their water…
You can consider this another item that’ll add more flavor to plain water.
What is it?
It’s peanut butter!
Almost all dogs are crazy about it. And it’s also the same for most of us (thinking of PBJ sandwiches?).
But remember, xylitol or artificial sugar is toxic for canines. And most peanut butter products may contain this.
Based on a study, more than 0.004 oz (0.1 g) of xylitol per kg of a dog’s body weight can cause hypoglycemia. Or low blood sugar.
While ingesting greater than 0.018 oz (0.5 g) could lead to liver failure.
So, make sure to read the labels. And buy ones that are xylitol-free.
#17: Always keep their water bowl clean
Did you know that the dog water bowl is the 3rd most contaminated household item?
Yup. Research also found that the longer dogs use it, the more bacteria it’ll have.
Plus, canines might be picky too when they see that their bowl becomes slimy. And this could be the reason why your Fido avoids drinking their water.
So, a simple way to prevent this is by cleaning their bowl at least once a day.
Some cleaning reminders
Manually wash their bowl if it’s not dishwasher-safe. By doing this, you’ll also make sure that there are no residues left.
You may use natural or unscented dish soap for this.
Have a different sponge dedicated to cleaning your dog’s bowls. Because using the same one for your dishes is unsafe for both of you. As germs can easily thrive and spread in sponges.
Rinse the dish thoroughly and let it dry.
#18: Replace their water at least once a day
Same with your dog’s bowl, it’s also important to keep their water clean.
Think about it.
If their water has been sitting for so long, it could have a different smell or taste to it. And this can make your dog reluctant to drink.
Dogs have better senses than us. So, it isn’t impossible for them to detect these subtle changes.
You can’t control the amount of dirt that’ll get into their dish as it’s exposed.
But, you can manage it.
Just replace their water at least once daily. And might as well, wash their bowl while you’re at it.
#19: Change their bowl’s location
Sometimes, the answer to our problem is only simple.
And also, a small change can have a big effect.
“What do you mean?”
What I’m trying to say is that your dog might be more motivated to drink if their bowl is placed in a different place.
For example, some Fidos can be fearful or sensitive. So they may find it hard to eat or drink if they’re near hallways or busy areas.
It could also be the opposite. And they’d like you to move their bowl to a place where they can see you. Or around a spot where they usually stay.
Note: For bowls that are outdoors, ensure that they’re located in shaded areas. This is to prevent their water from getting hot. And also to minimize their exposure to dirt.
#20: Provide more water-filled bowls
They say, “the more, the merrier.”
And this might also be the case for your doggo.
So, if you can, try placing a bowl on every level of your house. Or put one in each room or spot where they usually hang out.
Seeing those bowls laid out may encourage them to drink. But see to it that they’re always placed in the same spot. So that your dog will be familiar with their locations.
#21: Give them a different water bowl
In other cases, cleaning their dishes isn’t enough to entice dogs to drink.
Because it might also be an issue with comfort.
Like us, dogs can have their own preferences as well.
It could be a simple matter of taste. Or it has something to do with their age, body size, or condition.
“What’s the right bowl for my dog?”
Dog bowls come in different sizes, heights, and materials. So, it may take a lot of trial and error before you find the perfect one for your pooch.
But, let me help you narrow down your choices.
When it comes to…
Of course, small puppies will find it difficult to drink from deep large bowls. So provide them a shallow pan instead. Or a cupcake baking pan if you have an extra at home.
Elevated bowls can help old dogs who have arthritis. As well as canines with neck or back issues.
This is because it’ll be hard for them to bend down and reach their bowl if it’s on ground level. So dogs with these conditions may prefer to lay down while eating or drinking.
“How will I know the right height for my dog?”
To determine this:
- Grab a measuring tape.
- Put your dog in a standing position.
- Start measuring from their front toes up to the topmost part of their shoulders.
- Then from the total height, subtract 6 in (15.24 cm).
Warning: Raised bowls aren’t recommended for large dogs. This is because they might cause bloat to such breeds. Which could be fatal if it’s not treated immediately.
A study suggests that 20% to 50% of bloat cases are linked to elevated bowls. And this was observed in large and giant dogs.
Switching to a different material can also change your dog’s drinking habit.
However, there are also things you need to consider.
In the study I mentioned earlier about dog water bowls, researchers also found that:
Plastic bowls: Had the highest concentration of bacteria after 14 days.
Ceramic bowls: Had more harmful bacteria. Like E.coli, salmonella, and MRSA.
Stainless bowls: Had better results. This is because they’re non-porous. Meaning, there are no cracks or cavities for bacteria or fungi to dwell in.
But this being said, stainless bowls aren’t immune to germs. And they still need regular cleaning.
#22: Pick up their food bowl once they finish eating
It could also be that your dog’s distracted with the food that’s still in their other bowl.
So even if they feel thirsty, they’ll have the urge to eat instead.
For this, try picking up their food bowl after mealtime. And do this around 30 minutes after they stopped eating. (This will also prevent adult dogs from overeating.)
Warning: This might not be advised if you have a puppy or a small breed. This is because they need access to food at all times. As they’re at risk of getting low blood sugar.
#23: Reward them for drinking
It’s a well-known fact that dogs love treats.
But, have you read that dogs might also prefer praise more than food?
Research shows that some canines were motivated more after hearing praises.
So, to encourage your pooch to drink…
Why not combine these 2 effective weapons?
What to do?
- Show your dog a treat.
- Once they’re focused on it, move it close to their water bowl.
- Dip or drop the treat.
- If they drink some, say some praises using your sweetest voice. Like “good boy/girl!”
- Then reward them more with a small piece of treat.
- Repeat the steps again. But this time, pretend that you’ve put some treats on their water.
Note: If your dog’s doing great, slowly cut down the amount of treats. As giving them too much dry food will defeat the purpose. Do this until they learn that drinking water is good. And that they’ll receive praises for it.
#24: Offer water using your hands
Now, this may not be sanitary. (Just make sure that your hands are clean before doing this!)
But, trying this method won’t also hurt.
This is because some dogs might be more willing to drink water if it’s cupped in their parents’ hands.
#25: Use pet oral syringe
If your dog still refuses to drink, the final resort would be feeding them with a syringe.
Fill it with enough water. Then squirt inside your Fido’s mouth.
Warning: Dogs who aren’t drinking any water at all might need medical attention. This could be due to:
- A dental disease.
- Bladder infections.
- UTI or urinary tract infection.
Also, dogs who went through surgery may have this side effect as well.
For further reading: 11 Essential Tips To Get A Dog To Drink Water After Surgery
#26: Invest in good water fountain
Running water may also be more enticing for dogs. This is compared to stagnant water in bowls.
Well, the reason is obvious.
The water tastes ‘fresher’ in fountains because it’s filtered. Plus, it’s cooler as it doesn’t sit long in the basin.
A bubbling fountain can also draw more attention. So pups could be more attracted to drinking from it.
Some of the best buys online are:
- Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountains.
- Veken Pet Water Fountain with LED Lights.
- NPET Drinking Fountain Dispenser with Quadruple-Action Filter.
Don’t forget to check out: 17 Tips To Stop Your Dog From Turning Over The Water Bowl
#27: Exercise them
Lastly, to make dogs drink water, you might also need to get them moving.
Just like when we feel so thirsty after running or strolling. Or even by exposing yourself to heat.
Well, I’m not asking you to lay your dog under the sun. (Although sunbathing is good for them – as long as it’s done properly.)
You can simply take your dog out for a walk. Throw a ball and make them fetch it. Play with them for a bit outside. Or anything you could do to exercise their body.
This will not only make their water bowl more inviting. As this is also good for their health and in keeping an ideal weight.
Note: Again, if nothing seems to work and if your dog also shows other signs (e.g., lethargy, reduced appetite), consult a vet at once.