It can sometimes get worrying when our fur babies get sick.
They might go to their vet appointments and take their meds, but…
They refuse to drink water.
“How will you feel better if you don’t take your fluids, baby?”
You’re left asking if there’s anything you can do.
Luckily, there are a few tips I can share with you.
Read on to learn:
- How long dogs can go without fluids.
- 13 effective tips to get a sick dog to drink water.
- The reasons why your pooch doesn’t like to take their fluids.
- And much much more…
Table of contents
- How to get a sick dog to drink water?
- 13 tips to get a sick dog to drink water
- #1: Give them canned food
- #2: Feed them water through a syringe
- #3: Let them drink from your hands
- #4: Put pieces of food in their bowl
- #5: Give them ice cubes
- #6: Give them fruit that is high in water content
- #7: Use water flavorings
- #8: Mix bone broth into their water bowl
- #9: Change their water bowl
- #10: Move their water bowl somewhere less crowded
- #11: Use a water fountain
- #12: Put water bowls everywhere
- #13: Keep their water near their food
- Bonus: Check if they’re scared of the current location of their water bowl
- What happens if your dog doesn’t drink water?
How to get a sick dog to drink water?
You can get a sick dog to drink water by making it attractive to them with the use of flavoring for dogs. Using a water fountain can work, too. You may also trick them into drinking by adding more wet food to their meals. Another suggestion by vets is to give crushed ice or cubes to your pooch.
13 tips to get a sick dog to drink water
#1: Give them canned food
These types of meals are also known as wet food.
It’s aptly named because it contains a lot of fluids.
And when your pooch is fed canned food, they incidentally take some water with it.
Unlike kibble which is dry and can sometimes be hard to chew on.
To make your pooch’s life easier, you can give them something soft.
Being sick can also make them lose their appetite.
They could feel lethargic and nauseous.
When this happens, eating something as appealing as canned food will be helpful.
To help dogs be more healthy, some wet food brands also put essential nutrients to their products.
Purina Beneful Small Breed Wet Dog Food. Click on the link to see a good product from Amazon.
It also has the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin E.
- Vitamin A.
- Vitamin B3.
- Vitamin B1.
- Vitamin B5.
- Vitamin D3.
- Zinc Sulfate.
- Copper Sulfate.
- Ferrous Sulfate.
- Potassium Chloride.
- Riboflavin Supplement.
All these will help keep your dog healthy.
It might even make their recovery faster.
#2: Feed them water through a syringe
Your pooch might be too tired to get up and drink their fluids when they’re sick.
Nausea, headaches, and other bodily pains can hinder them from moving.
When this happens, it’d be best to bring the water to their mouths.
One efficient way to make them drink is through a syringe.
You can buy the Four Paws Healthy Promise Easy Feeder Pet Feeding Syringe from Amazon.
Dr. Weir suggests using this technique when medicating their sick dogs.
And this can be applied to when your dog isn’t drinking water.
Here are a few simple steps in using a syringe to feed your dog their liquids:
- Bring your pooch to a place that they’re comfortable with. It’s best to choose one that will ease your effort in handling them. If you can, get a partner to do this.
- Insert the tip of the syringe in your dog’s mouth. Do this in between their fangs and premolars. Adjust the angle so the water drips on their tongue.
- Gently squeeze the syringe. Doing it abruptly will cause your pooch to breathe hard and possibly choke.
You should also avoid giving them too much water so you won’t make them vomit.
#3: Let them drink from your hands
This is another tip to make water appealing to your pooch.
Being able to physically connect with you is an awesome moment for your dog.
And this can happen when they drink from your hands.
It’s like a reward they’re getting for sipping water.
I mean, have you seen how your pooch craves to be with you?
They might even follow you anywhere – and just you.
It’s like you’re Peter Pan and you have a furry shadow following you.
So why not use this to you and your pooch’s advantage?
You can simply make a cup-like shape with your hands and let them sip from it.
Your pooch might see this as a bonding time with you, too.
Training your pooch to listen to vocal cues such as “Drink” would also be helpful.
Another trick you can do to make them sip is to take one yourself.
Dogs have the ability to copy their hoomans and other dogs, according to a study.
When they see you do this, it might encourage them to drink, too.
#4: Put pieces of food in their bowl
This is another clever trick to get your dog to drink more water.
But for this to work, you need to know their favorite food.
It could be fruit, meat, or other treats that smell appealing to them.
However, an excellent go-to for this technique would be high-value treats.
These are ones that smell and taste amazing to dogs.
Kinda like a freshly baked croissant.
Oooh… I’d love one now.
Examples of these treats would be:
- Beef Tripe.
- Chicken Pieces.
- Boiled Turkey Slices.
Before you put it in the bowl, let them try out a few bites.
This way, they’ll crave for it more.
Have you pooch smell it and kinda like tease them with the treat.
Once you see them wanting more, try dunking it in their bowl.
They’ll most likely grab the food.
In the process of eating the treat, your pooch will also ingest water.
#5: Give them ice cubes
This tip would also be beneficial if you live somewhere hot.
Getting your pooch chewing on ice cubes could be enjoyable to them.
Just look at these fur babies enjoying an ice-cold treat:
The cold sensation of these cubes might make them want more.
However, if your pooch can’t chew, crushed ice would be better.
This way, they wouldn’t exert that much effort.
Especially when they’re feeling sick.
Or when they are experiencing pain in their mouths.
Crushed ice is easier to consume.
In some cases, most veterinarians would even suggest giving ice to dogs when they’re sick.
Warning: Giving too much water to your pooch will cause them to have bloat. Not because of the water itself, but the air that they’d ingest when they drink.
This is another reason why giving ice to your pooch can be healthy for them.
They wouldn’t be able to drink huge amounts of water quickly – saving them from having bloat.
#6: Give them fruit that is high in water content
One of the healthiest ways to fill your dog’s tummy can also help hydrate them.
Fruits are nature’s yummy natural desert.
They have differing flavors.
And you’ll surely find one that your pooch likes.
You’ve got an array of fruits you can choose from.
Examples of those that have high water content are:
- Peaches. (Remove its pit which is poisonous to dogs.)
- Oranges. (Don’t feed them too much as it can cause an upset tummy.)
- Mangoes. (Remove skin and pit.)
These fruits can also be healthy to your pooch aside from keeping them hydrated.
And may even quicken their recovery from their sickness.
This is because this food contains the following vitamins and minerals:
- Vitamin A.
- Vitamin C.
- Vitamin B6.
If you have a smaller dog, make sure you cut the fruits up into tiny pieces.
This can help avoid choking on your fur baby.
Warning: Your dogs cannot eat the following fruits:
- Grapes and raisins.
#7: Use water flavorings
Your pooch might be sick but they still got their taste.
And when it comes to food, they can sometimes be picky, according to research.
Preferences like taste, smell, and texture are all things that your pooch watches out for.
So when they’re not drinking enough water, it’s best to address these first.
With regards to smell and taste, water flavorings would be your best friend.
These are easy to use and quick to find in pet stores.
You can also find several flavors depending on your pooch’s preferences.
The Nulo Hydrate for Dogs Water Flavoring is one of the top-rated products on Amazon.
It has a roasted lamb taste and is filled with essential nutrients to help your pooch.
- Amino Acids.
You can choose different flavors when giving these to your pooch.
Note: Don’t force your sick dog to drink if they don’t want to. It can be detrimental to their health and can strain your relationship with them.
#8: Mix bone broth into their water bowl
We can’t magically make water taste good to dogs.
However, we can use their favorite flavors to get them to drink more.
This is also helpful if you don’t have access to water flavorings as discussed in #7.
Creating a bone broth for your pooch is an excellent technique to make your sick dog get a few sips.
Not only is it tasty, it’s also natural and healthy.
Here are a few simple steps in making the best bone broth for your pooch:
Step 1: Get some bones of your dog’s favorite meats.
Step 2: These could be either:
Step 3: Put all the collected bones into a large pot and boil for about 2 hours.
Step 4: Using a strainer, remove all solid parts. Make sure there are no small sharp bones left. These can hurt your pooch.
Step 5: Once it cools down, place it in your fur baby’s water bowl.
This mix can also help improve your dog’s bone health and density.
It can prevent joint pains and injuries, too.
#9: Change their water bowl
Your dog may be sick, but at times, their sense of smell is still as strong as before.
A research references a dog’s abilities to smell diseases.
I mean, if they can do that, then they are capable of sniffing out bad odor in their bowls.
With that being said, they can get picky when it comes to their feeding tools.
And this includes their water bowl.
When your pooch sees and smells something off with their container, they might walk away.
Just like humans, dogs have preferences, too.
You can purchase other containers according to the following:
- Material used.
What their water bowl is made of can affect its smell.
It can also change the way your pooch sees it.
Generally speaking, these are the primary materials water bowls are made from:
- Stainless Steel.
For example, a black ceramic bowl might look very different to a stainless steel one.
Plastic containers might also have smells that your pooch wouldn’t like.
The sound bowls make could also affect your dog’s drinking habits.
If your pooch can travel short distances, it would be helpful if you let them pick their bowl.
Bring them to the pet shop and show them different containers.
Let them sniff around, feel, and if the store allows, use it for a while.
#10: Move their water bowl somewhere less crowded
One reason why your pooch won’t drink is because they keep getting disturbed.
Check where their bowl is located.
If it is along a busy part of your home, consider moving it.
Examples of these places would be:
- Living room.
- Nearby exits and entrances.
These are parts where most people walk past and sit.
When your pooch keeps getting disturbed, it is natural for them to move away.
Especially during times when they’re sick.
They probably didn’t want to interact with people.
And would love to be in a quiet environment so they can rest well.
It would also be good if you keep other dogs away from them if they are contagious.
However, if their disease is something that can be fatal, it’s best to have them quarantined.
Examples of this would be:
- Tick-borne diseases.
#11: Use a water fountain
Water fountains look refreshing.
Some people might even be amused when they see one.
Dogs can feel the same fascination with fountains, too.
I mean, gushing water within your living room?
That might look like magic to your pooch.
And because of this, it could attract them to drink more.
Aside from making water appealing to them, water fountains also have added benefits.
If your pooch’s water is set in their water bowl without getting touched, dust might sit on it.
Due to this, their water might cause them to feel worse than they already do.
This can happen if you currently are:
- Living near an unpaved road.
- Doing general household cleaning.
- Having home renovations that require carpentry.
Water fountains can prevent foreign objects from settling on your pooch’s water.
The consistent flow of water can remove dust particles.
Some fountains have filtration systems that can help in this.
You also wouldn’t have to worry about refilling their water.
Most fountains have the capacity to carry large amounts of liquid.
You can also opt to find one that has self-cleaning abilities.
Having one that’s also designed to operate quietly is a plus, too.
I mean, you wouldn’t want to be awakened by a vibrating fountain, right?
DOG CARE Dog Water Fountain from Amazon is an excellent choice for this.
#12: Put water bowls everywhere
One water bowl might not be enough to get your pooch to drink.
As the saying goes, “There is strength in numbers”
This applies to your dog’s health, too.
By this, I mean if your pooch sees more water bowls, there is a higher chance of them drinking.
Through this, they also won’t be moving around if they do get thirsty.
If they chill in one spot and want to drink water, they’ll have it immediately.
Ideally, you should put the extra bowls in strategic places in your home.
Choose locations that you’ll find them often.
Since these are the places your dog might go to rest.
The idea is simple: make water easily accessible to your pooch.
However, you still need to watch their bowls.
Make sure that their water containers are always kept clean.
You should also watch out for animals that might endanger your pooch’s health.
Examples of these would be:
- Large centipedes.
#13: Keep their water near their food
Do you drink water while eating?
Or maybe after having your meal?
Well, your pooch does this, too.
After getting their fill of delicious food, it’s pretty normal for them to want a drink.
And if they do, get their bowl ready beside them.
They might feel thirsty after they eat.
Especially if their meal is something dry or sticky.
Take advantage of this and get them drinking by keeping their bowl nearby.
You can also opt to purchase a 2-in-1 feeder.
Check out the Messy Mutts Double Silicone Feeder with Stainless Bowls on Amazon.
Food and water containers like this will make your job easier.
This tip indeed is simple and quite obvious, but it’s easy to forget it when one is busy.
Bonus: Check if they’re scared of the current location of their water bowl
Another reason why your pooch doesn’t like drinking is because they have had bad experiences in the past.
Specifically in the place where their container is placed.
Anxiety can cause your pooch to avoid eating and drinking.
And if they feel this way towards their drinking place, they’ll walk away from it.
The major cause of this is fear.
“Why would my dog be afraid?”
Well, when you’re not home there might be things your dog experiences.
One thing that can traumatize your pooch are very loud sounds, according to the AKC.
And when they hear it in a specific area, they might be afraid to go back to it.
This can happen in several parts of your home.
But will most likely occur in places where huge objects can drop.
Examples of these would be:
- Framed photos.
- Pans from the kitchen.
- Decoration such as vases.
- Heavy tools in the garage or work shed.
- Television and other appliances in the living area.
When these things accidentally fall, it might startle your pooch.
Or worse, it can injure them if they don’t see it coming.
Attacks from other animals
When your pooch eats, there might be times when other animals would dip in their bowl.
As your fur baby defends their meal, they could engage in a fight.
These are some of the creatures that might disturb or even injure your pooch:
You should also be on the lookout if they get bites from these animals.
They might get diseases and viruses such as rabies.
Wounds and bruises can also get infected and be worse than they originally were.
Sadly, we can’t control how other people will react to our pooch’s actions.
It’s maddening to think, but there are those who would hurt fur babies.
If you live in a home where everyone loves your pooch, lucky you.
But there are some who might be living with abusers.
If they experienced getting hurt in a certain area in your home, there’s a chance they won’t go back there.
Note: You can call PETA to report any animal abuse happening around you at 757-622-7382.
What happens if your dog doesn’t drink water?
Dehydration is a major issue that would arise if your pooch continues to avoid their liquids.
Since water is an essential part of a dog’s internal processes, they shouldn’t skip it.
Well, just let them take the appropriate amount.
According to PetMD, dogs should drink around 1 oz. (29.5 ml.) per 1 lb. (.45 kg.) of their weight.
As an example, a 20 lb. dog should drink around 20 oz. of water every day.
This is to avoid them having dehydration which could lead to more problems like:
- Dry mouth.
- Poor appetite.
- Loss of energy.
Losing water is normal for dogs. However, excessive loss of it can lead to more unfavorable conditions.
Pooches who are old, too young, and are sick will be most vulnerable to dehydration.
Since your dog is currently feeling under the weather, they will need extra care.
This means closely monitoring their water intake.
You might have to measure their drinking habits regularly.
This is to check if they have reached the approximate amount of water needed for the day.
However, it can be expected that they’d have a lower intake since they are sick.