Are you worried your dog isn’t drinking enough water? If you are searching on how to get your dog to drink more water, then you are in the right place.

We all need fresh, clean water to stay healthy and to survive, include your dog. Without water, we will become dehydrated and sick.

A dog that has been vomiting or has had diarrhea can also quickly become dehydrated. This is challenging because when a dog isn’t feeling well, he may not want to drink… even though he needs to.

If at any time you feel your dog is ill, call your vet immediately. Do not wait, time is of the essence.

Let’s start with why your dog isn’t drinking…

dog drinking more water

Why your dog isn’t drinking enough water

When you first bring home a newly adopted rescue dog, he may not eat or drink for a day or two… totally normal.

Three main reasons why your dog may not be drinking water.

  1. Your dog is less active.
  2. Your dog is stressed. (for example, recently being adopted, moving, new baby, new dog…)
  3. Your dog is sick.

If your dog is not drinking water but eating, try some of the tips below. It could just be that is hasn’t had much exercise today, or he is feeling stressed about being somewhere new or something else happening in his life right now.

If your dog is not drinking water or eating and otherwise seams okay, give him 24 hours and if you do not see any improvement call your vet right away.

If he is showing any other signs of being ill, vomiting, diarrhea, lethargic, call your vet ASAP, do not wait!

How much water should your dog be drinking daily?

How much water is enough? Hot days make it hard to stay hydrated for you and your dog. Making sure he has enough to drink is imperative.

Your dog can get dehydrated on cold days too. If he’s running and playing he needs more water.

How Much Water Should Your Dog Be Drinking Infographic

Your dog needs about 1 oz. of water per 1 lb. of body weight each day. So if you have an 80 lb dog, he should be drinking 80 oz. of water per day. If you have a 12 lb dog, he should drink about 12 oz. of water.

As long as your dog is healthy, then there is no need measure your dogs water intake. But if you suspect something is going on, then start watching what he’s drinking. Fill a pitcher of water with the ounces he is suppose to drink that day, this will help you see how much he is really drinking.

11 Easy steps: How to get your dog to drink water

1. Add Water to Your Dogs Food

If your dog eats dry kibble, he needs even more water than a dog that is fed a raw diet. Add water, bone broth or chicken stock (no salt, that would be counterintuitive) to his food bowl.

My dogs go crazy over this… they think it’s an added treat to have a little “gravy aka water” in their food.

2. Change Your Dogs Water Often

I know it seems like some dogs will eat and drink just about anything. But really, many dogs like fresh clean water.

This may be the reason your dog likes to drink out of the toilet! The water is “fresh” and cold. So close the toilet lid and fill his bowl with fresh cold water.

I’ve noticed that if our dogs’ water bowl is sitting for more than a few hours, they won’t touch it. Maybe they’re spoiled… but I make sure I refresh their water several times a day.

3. Clean Your Dogs Water Bowl

This kinda goes with the notion of keeping the water clean. If the water bowl is slimy then the water is going to be contaminated before you even set it down for your dog to drink.

You should be washing your dog’s food and water bowls daily. Now I admit, I rinse the water bowl each time I change the water, but I only clean it weekly.

4. Flavor Your Dogs Water

Entice your dog’s senses by adding some bone broth (super healthy for your dog) or chicken stock to his water bowl.

Do not add sugary juices or other items that may cause your dog to become sick.

frozen dog treats blueberry coconut oil

5. Frozen Treats

In the summer I stock up on healthy frozen treats. I make our own treats by blending fruit, water, and coconut oil, popping them in cute paw or heart molds and freeze.

I also will just cut up fruit that is getting too ripe and freeze them whole. You can also freeze bone broth or chicken stock.

Our dogs LOVE their frozen treats after playing outside on a hot summer day. Click here to get my frozen dog treat recipes!

Want an even easier option? Just give your dog an ice cube!

6. Change Bowls: Stainless Steel, Ceramic, Plastic?

Maybe your dog is particular in what he likes his water served in. I’ve heard stranger things, LOL. Maybe his dog tags clinking on metal bowl bother him. Or she doesn’t like the texture of the plastic. Who knows, but it’s worth switching your dog bowls up and see if it helps. Maybe he’d prefer a raised water bowl like this one.

If you are desperate, try letting your dog drink from one of your cups. Drink from it first, then give it to him. The excitement of allowing him something of yours may trigger your dog to want to drink more.

7. Moving Your Dogs Water Bowl to a New Location

Maybe your dog doesn’t like the water bowl in the mudroom. Try moving it to a location he spends more time in.  Oh, the things we will do for our dogs, right?!

8. Offer Multiple Water Bowls

If you have multiple dogs, consider having more than one water bowl.

But if your dogs are anything like mine, they will still drink out of one bowl. I have no idea what makes the one more special, but they both want to drink out of the same bowl, period.

Maybe your dog spends a lot of time outside, or you have an extra-large home and he’s too lazy to go into the kitchen to get a drink.

Try keeping multiple bowls of water out for your dog will help him drink more.

9. Consider the Water Source

It may sound strange at first but consider the tap water you are giving your dog. He may smell or taste impurities that you can’t; which could cause him to not want to drink it.

Are you on city water or well water? Maybe you want to test your water to find out if there are high levels of lead, fluoride or other contaminants. Try bottled or filtered water and see if that makes a difference.

10. Purchase a Dog Water Fountain

If you don’t want to be filling your dog’s water bowl up several times a day, or just want to pamper your dog with running water 24/7, buy him a water fountain.

I don’t know about your dog, but my dogs LOVE to drink from the hose. There’s something about the fresh, running, cold water that makes it taste better. So why not try a dog water fountain!

11. Take Water With You When Traveling

Always be prepared when traveling, even if it’s a short drive. Bring a water bowl your dog is familiar with. A new bowl may trigger him to not want to drink from it. Something is comforting about having stuff from home when away from home.

If you want to invest in a doggy travel bowl, use it at home first. Make sure he will drink from it in the comfort of his home before traveling.

What’s Next?

Water is a vital part of our and our dogs lives. Make sure you both are drinking enough water and stay healthy!

About the Author

Debi McKee

Debi McKee is the expert behind Rescue Dogs 101 where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She is a mom of 3 human kids and 4 dogs and volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society. Click here for more about Debi and her passion for helping you and your dog.

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  1. you can also fill up the bowl with food and water. This variant is probably the easiest way to get a dog to take in more liquid.

  2. My four year old Havanese well I only drink water if I put it in a cup on the end of the table in the living room with an ice cube I have talk to the vet about her not drinking and she said because she has wet food twice a day she’s also getting a liquid in that not to worry!

  3. My most recent rescue is terrified of water. Even putting a small bowl full next to her causes her to push back and almost out of her doggy bed. Eventually my wife found that if we mix just a little wet food into a full serving of water, and serve it to her in her food bowl, will “trick” her into drinking the water. She must think of it as food!

  4. My dog has severe dry skin and skin allergies and is also 20 lbs overweight. I put coconut oil on her and rub it in plus I feed her 1T every other day.I also mix science diet weight mngt,and diet dog food,and sensitive skin dry foods together to feed her.She only gets 1 1/2 a day.Sometimes she doesn’t eat it all I change her water 3-5 daily with a cube in it.It doesn’t seem like she drinks enough tho,and she sleeps alot she is only 7.

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