Water is essential for dogs in many ways. It travels around their bloodstream, pumps up their cells, is discharged by the kidneys, and is replaced when they drink or eat food with moisture. This cycle is vital in keeping dogs healthy. Yes, like how water is important for us humans, it is for dogs too.

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  1. Importance of Water in Dogs
  2. Daily Norm of Water Consumption for Dogs
  3. Reasons Why Dogs Won't Drink Water
  4. Signs of Dehydration in Dogs
  5. How To Encourage Your Dog To Drink More
  6. Emergency Fund
  7. FAQ

Importance of Water in Dogs

Hydration is fundamental to every dog’s health. The fact is that a dog’s body is made up of 70% water, and it is needed in every chemical process in their body.

According to research, water has the ability to provide the lungs with moisture, enable oxygen and nutrients in the bloodstream to travel to the cells, help maintain normal blood pressure, provide protection and lubrication for the joints and internal organs, help in discharging waste, and support the nervous system.

Water sure has a lot of functions and benefits in a dog’s body, doesn’t it? Because of this, it is necessary for dogs to drink the appropriate amount of water to keep them healthy.

Read more: How Much Water Does Your Pet Need?

Daily Norm of Water Consumption for Dogs

As a general guide, dogs should drink 1 ounce of water for every pound of their body’s weight. So if your dog is 9 pounds (around 4 kg), for instance, they should drink 9 ounces (around 266 ml) of fluid daily. However, some dogs may need more water depending on how old they are, their activity level, as well as the conditions they’re in.

For example, dogs who are very active as well as those who live in warm tropical climates would need more fluids since they expel more fluid as well. Usually, puppies also consume more fluids than adult dogs. Meanwhile, a dog that is being fed wet food may drink less than dogs that eat dry kibble. This is because the moisture content of wet food is a lot higher than kibble.

Reasons Why Dogs Won't Drink Water

If your dog is not drinking water, you might have asked yourself: “Why won’t my dog drink water?” There are a variety of possible reasons why. Below are some of the common ones.

Being in a new or unfamiliar environment

When they’re in a new place, dogs may generally behave quite differently. They may not be as active or they may not eat or drink the way that they normally do. Having sensitive noses, if they smell a water source that they aren’t familiar with, they may think that it isn’t safe to drink. If you’re going to a new place that your dog, isn’t familiar with, you can bring their water bottle or bowl.

Also, if a dog refuses water but doesn’t seem stressed whatsoever, it’s best to check the water if it may be tainted in any way (ex. It may be dirty or may contain iron). If so, provide them with pure and clean drinking water.

They may be associating it with a negative experience.

For example, there may be cases when you adopt a dog from a shelter and they may refuse to drink water from a bowl similar to the one at the shelter. This is because they associate it with a negative experience they had at the shelter.

There are a variety of reasons why a dog may have negative feelings. It could also be that they are just picky and are not comfortable with the particular bowl or where it is located. If you feel that this is the case, try to get a new bowl that is different from the previous one. You may also try to put it in a different location.

A change in weather

It could be that your dog’s water intake slows down because of the lower temperature brought about by a change in weather. If this is the case, it’s just normal unless your dog completely refuses to drink water.

Old age

Dogs may also start drinking less water as they grow older. It may take more effort for them to stand up to go to where their water bowl is located or it may be that their hunger and thirst receptors are beginning to decline.

As older dogs usually don’t get the same amount of exercise and don’t exert that much effort anymore compared to younger dogs, it’s normal for them not to drink as much water as before. Due to their age, it might be worth considering the switch to wet food to make sure that they get enough moisture apart from drinking from their water bowls.

Health issues

Other health-related factors may also affect a dog’s water intake. Among the major ones are urinary tract infections and bladder infections. Kidney disease and diabetes may also cause water intake problems.

If you see other symptoms along with reduced water intake such as a lack of appetite and lethargy, or if they are behaving differently, it is essential to consult with your vet as soon as possible to determine what could be going wrong.

An oral issue / damaged teeth

Another possible reason why your dog isn’t drinking water is that they may have an injury inside their mouth. Check your dog if there are foreign objects that may be stuck or if there may be a wound. In some cases, you may be able to remove it right away, but in other cases might need the help of a vet.

They may also happen to have teeth damage, causing their teeth to be sensitive. Some examples of oral issues include: periodontal disease, tooth root abscess, its loss, or fracture.


Changes in their environment such as when a close member of the family goes away for several days, when there is a death in the family, or when a couple has separated may also take a toll on our canine companions. When they become affected, they may experience separation anxiety, which may affect their desire to drink or eat.

Signs of Dehydration in Dogs

When dogs lose more water than their intake, it results in them becoming dehydrated. Note that there are some dogs that have a higher risk than others such as: a dog with diabetes since they produce more urine and a dog who is vomiting and unable to retain the fluids in their body. Their condition makes them lose more water and if they do not drink, they have a greater risk of experiencing severe dehydration.

On the other hand, dogs usually try to cool themselves on a hot day by panting as their saliva evaporates. Because of the water loss, they need to drink more to replace the water that they lose.

Among the signs that your dog may be dehydrated are:

Dry mouth

If your dog is dehydrated, they would have tacky or dry gums when you press your finger on it.

Skin tenting

Gently pinch the skin at the back of their shoulders or neck.


This shows that your dog may not be feeling well.

Sunken eyes

This may be a sign of severe dehydration so immediate care should be sought.


This is urgent so you need to bring your dog to the vet immediately.

Read more: 7 Critical Signs Your Pet Needs Immediate Veterinary Attention

How To Encourage Your Dog To Drink More

You can pull some tricks to help your dog consume the appropriate amount of water that they need. When it comes to how to get a dog to drink water, you can try the following:

  • Add water to their food for added moisture.
  • Make sure that their water is fresh and safe.
  • Try giving them ice to play and snack on.
  • Try using a new bowl or placing it in a different location that your dog might prefer better.
  • You can offer Pedialyte, the juice from canned tuna or chicken, or soup broth that’s low in sodium.

Read more: Pedialyte For Dogs: Is It A Safe Treatment?

If the tricks above don’t work on your dog within 24 hours, bring your dog to the vet for advice and treatment. It is important not to let your dog go severely dehydrated as this may lead to complications.

Having a pet camera such as the Petcube Cam may help you monitor your dog’s water intake or any symptoms that they may be exhibiting during the day. By being able to monitor your dog well, you may be able to detect problems early on.

Emergency Fund

In cases of severe dehydration or prolonged refusal to drink water, your dog will need to get immediate treatment at their vet. Depending on the severity of the symptoms and how it has affected your dog, unexpected veterinary expenses may be expensive.

Not to mention, it may cause you to worry about not knowing what to do while thinking of the bills that have to be paid at the same time. Luckily, there are pet and pet-owner-friendly services such as the Pet Emergency Fund by Petcube.

The best alternative you can get to pet insurance, Pet Emergency Fund provides coverage for up to 6 pets in one plan at $3000 per year. Dogs and cats are also covered regardless of age, breed, and medical history.

The service also provides fast coverage payment (same day as the emergency). Isn’t that a breath of fresh air? In addition to this, you also get access to the Online Vet service where you can ask questions 24/7, helping you ease your worries while your pet is given the appropriate treatment needed.


My dog is not drinking water but is eating. Is that okay?

It’s possible that the issue is just minor, but it depends on the case. It’s important to make sure that their water source is clean and fresh. You may also add water to their food to increase their fluid intake. However, if they still don’t drink within 24 hours despite providing clean and fresh water, do seek the advice of your vet.

My dog is not drinking water but is peeing. What could it mean?

This may be a sign of health conditions such as urinary tract infections or diabetes. Do consult with your vet to determine what is causing them not to drink water even if they are peeing.

If an old dog is not drinking but eating, is it a cause for concern?

When it comes to senior dogs, it is more important to address changes in their routine as soon as you notice them since they are more vulnerable to sicknesses. There may be a variety of reasons why your old dog is not drinking but eating, ranging from minor to serious causes. Speak with your vet as soon as possible to determine what is causing it and to address any health issues early on.

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