How to Make a Dog Drink Water (When He Doesn't Want to)

Why choose wikiHow?
When you see the green expert checkmark on a wikiHow article, you know that the article has received careful review by a qualified expert. If you are on a medical article, that means that an actual doctor, nurse or other medical professional from our medical review board reviewed and approved it. Similarly, veterinarians review our pet articles, lawyers review our legal articles, and other experts review articles based on their specific areas of expertise.

How to Make Your Dog Drink Water

Three Parts:

Healthy dogs are usually good at managing their own water intake, although this is less true of young puppies and elderly dogs. Unless there are signs of serious health issues, your dog will most likely get enough water after a few minor changes to water bowl placement and diet.


Addressing Serious Dehydration

  1. Look for signs of dehydration.Most healthy dogs are pretty good at managing their own water consumption. Check for the following signs of ill health or dehydration before you get too concerned:
    • Gently pinch a fold of the dog's skin at the back of the dog's neck or between the shoulder blades, and let go. If the skin doesn't immediately return to the original position, your dog may be dehydrated.
    • Gently press your finger against your dog's gums until the color lightens, then lift your finger. If the gums don't immediately return to the original color, your dog may be dehydrated.
    • Other possible signs of dehydration include lethargy, loss of appetite, or a change in the amount or color of your dog's urine. By themselves, these are not cause for urgent concern unless they are severe or last more than a day.
  2. Know the risk factors.Life stages and medical issues can increase the frequency and severity of dehydration. Err on the side of caution if any of the following apply to your dog:
    • Just as hot weather can dehydrate a person, it can also dehydrate your dog. If it's hot, make sure that your dog is drinking enough.
    • Vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive panting or drooling can all cause dehydration if the dog does not drink more water to compensate.
    • Similarly, kidney disease and other chronic illnesses can cause dehydration.
    • If your dog is diabetic, pregnant, nursing, very young, or very old, take the dog to a veterinarian at the first suspicion of dehydration.
  3. Visit the veterinarian.If your dog demonstrates one of the above symptoms, and refuses to drink water, visit a veterinarian as soon as possible. The veterinarian may give the dog a saline IV or a subcutaneous fluid injection to rapidly restore fluids to the dog.
    • A veterinarian will also be able to test for medical problems that could be causing dehydration, such as kidney disease. After diagnosis, the vet may prescribe medication or a special diet.
  4. Give the dog rehydration fluid.If your dog shows symptoms of dehydration and you can't get to a veterinarian immediately, dilute Pedialyte rehydration fluid with an equal amount of water and give about 1 cup (240 mL) of the mixture to your dog once an hour.Pedialyte is available at drug stores.
    • Do not mix this with any other ingredients, or you could cause further damage to the dog.
    • While other rehydration fluids are available, consulting a veterinarian before using them is recommended whenever possible.
    • Inhabitants of the US can use the to locate the nearest store that carries it.
  5. Add flavor and electrolytes to the water.If you can't find any Pedialyte, pour in a little low-sodium chicken broth or diluted carrot juice to the water. This can help replenish electrolytes lost to dehydration, and may make the water more enticing to your sick dog.
  6. Use a syringe if necessary.If your sick dog completely refuses to drink, fill a plastic, needle-less syringe with water and squirt it into your dog's mouth. Squirt in the dog's cheek, not directly down the throat, to prevent choking.

Part 1 Quiz

If your dog is seriously dehydrated but you don’t have Pedialyte, you should give it:

Daily Tactics

  1. Exercise the dog.Dogs need daily exercise, such as a brisk walk or playing in a park or backyard. If your dog doesn't get enough exercise, it may not be losing much moisture to panting, and so won't be as thirsty as a healthily active dog.
    • On long walks, bring along water and give the dog a swallow every ten minutes or so. This can help get the dog in the habit of drinking regularly at home.
    • You should only exercise a previously healthy dog. If your dog is elderly or ill, ask your vet about better options.
  2. Feed the dog wet food.Wet food contains a great deal of water already, usually marked on the can as "% moisture content." Replace some or all of the dog's dry food with wet, checking the label or a vet's recommendation to determine how much food the dog needs.
    • Alternatively, soak dry food in a bowl of water for 30–60 minutes before giving it to your dog.
  3. Make food only available at mealtimes.Feed your dog once or twice a day, according to your vet's recommendation or the label of your dog food. If food is constantly available, some dogs will mistake thirst for hunger.
  4. Let the dog out to pee whenever necessary.If your dog is stuck indoors for eight hours at a time, it could be avoiding water because it's learned that causes an uncomfortably full bladder. Let your dog out to pee every few hours or train it to use a puppy pad.

Part 2 Quiz

How does exercising your dog daily make it thirstier?

Arranging the Water Dish

  1. Give the dog constant access to water.In a multistory home, put a bowl of water on each floor the dog has access to. If the dog spends part of the day outdoors or shut in a room, put an additional bowl of water in these locations.
    • Try to keep these "water stations" in the same place so your dog knows where to look for water.
    • A dog tied outside may get its chain or rope tangled, preventing it from accessing the water dish.If there is no alternative to tying it up, keep the area free from obstructions and place the water dish next to the stake. The water bowl may also get knocked over by the rope or chain, so check it often, replenishing the water as necessary.
  2. Change the water frequently.Empty the water bowl daily and rinse out any debris before refilling it, then wipe the sides with a paper towel. Change the water again whenever you notice hair or dirt floating in it, or whenever the water level is getting low. During hot weather, you may need to check the bowl every couple hours.
    • Thoroughly wash and dry the water bowl at least once a week. If the bowl gets dirty, wash it more often.
  3. Consider a pet fountain.These bowl-sized fountains may be more attractive to dogs that prefer running water, or young puppies who aren't used to drinking from a bowl. These are also easier to find for dogs with vision problems.
  4. Add ice cubes on hot days.Many dogs prefer drinking cold water. Toss in a couple ice cubes. Do this while the dog is watching, and it may come over to investigate.
  5. Make the water more exciting.If you don't want to buy a fountain, try shaking the bowl of water instead, or waving a toy over it. Dropping blueberries or other small treats in the water can also convince a dog to drink as it fishes them out.
    • If the dog still isn't interested, try again after replacing the doggie bowl with an ordinary cup or bowl with a different shape or color.

Part 3 Quiz

Why should you consider a pet fountain?

Community Q&A

  • Question
    Can we feed milk to dogs and cats?

    Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
    Dr. Nelson is a Veterinarian who specializes in Companion and Large Animal Medicine in Minnesota. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 1998.
    Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
    Expert Answer
    No, you should not feed milk to dogs and cats. They cannot properly digest cow's milk and may get diarrhea.
  • Question
    If your dog drinks any milk will it kill them or make them very sick?

    Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
    Dr. Nelson is a Veterinarian who specializes in Companion and Large Animal Medicine in Minnesota. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 1998.
    Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
    Expert Answer
    If the dog consumes a lot of milk, it may get diarrhea. However, the dog will otherwise be okay. You shouldn't feed milk to your dog.
  • Question
    Can I give my pug juice?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No, some juices are toxic to dogs, such as grape and cherry. Even juices that are made of ingredients nontoxic to dogs are not healthy, as the sugar content is too high. Some juices can also give a dog an upset stomach due to high acidity.
  • Question
    Why does my dog drink more water from a trug in my garden than the bowl in my house?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    It may be that the water in your garden is rainwater, while the water in your house is tap water. If your tap water has high amounts of chlorine, your dog will choose non-chlorinated water every time. Consider filtering the indoor water and see whether that makes any difference; it can also help to let the tap water stand for 24 hours after filling a container, to allow some of the chlorine flavor to dissipate.
  • Question
    My dog or cat won't drink out of an automatic water system. What can I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If your dog likes fruit such as blueberries then add a few to the water, or a few ice cubes or even small apple cubes (not the core) and see if that'll help. Remember to always provide a clean bowl or fountain to eliminate debris, dirt, or bacteria. Use filtered water opposed to tap.
  • Question
    Is it okay for my dog to drink unsweetened tea?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No! Tea contains caffeine, which is very, very bad for dogs. Similarly, dogs cannot drink coffee as well.
  • Question
    Can I mix milk with water for my puppy?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Do not give your dog cow milk. If you have a puppy that was taken too soon from its mother, or needs additional nutrition, get a supplement (puppy formula) from your vet.
  • Question
    What should I do if my dog won't drink on his own for days?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If your dog won't drink for even one day, you need to take him to the vet. Dehydration can become a serious issue in pets.
  • Question
    Can I add a very small amount of milk into the water instead?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    No, this would not be a good idea. Dogs are lactose intolerant, and even the smallest amount of milk can give them digestive issues. Try adding a little bit of low-sodium chicken broth instead.
  • Question
    Is it true that the drinking water may go to the dog's lungs if improperly given? Our dog is currently undergoing medication, so I am occasionally giving her water via syringe.
    Top Answerer
    Yes, it can make your dog choke when the water gets through to its windpipe. To correctly apply the water, you should aim for the cheek instead of spraying it directly down your dog's through/tongue. If you follow the procedure correctly, you will not be at risk.
Unanswered Questions
  • What can I or is there something I could do to make my dog drink more water.
Ask a Question
200 characters left
Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.

Quick Summary

To get your dog to drink water, make sure it has constant access by placing a bowl on all floors of your home. Change the water whenever you see it getting dirty, and add ice cubs on a hot day to make it more enticing. If your dog is showing signs of dehydration, like lethargy or low urine levels, take it to the vet right away and help it rehydrate by giving it diluted Pedialyte or water with a bit of chicken broth or carrot juice.

Did this summary help you?
  • Don't leave your dog's bowl in the sun. Most dogs find warm water less pleasant to drink.


  • If your dog finally starts drinking after much convincing, let it drink in peace instead of praising it. Too much attention can distract the dog from the water bowl.
  • Don't let the dog drink from the toilet; this can be a source of illness-causing bacteria.

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

Made Recently

Did you try these steps?
Upload a picture for other readers to see.
Upload error
Awesome picture! Tell us more about it?

Article Info


In other languages:

Français: , Nederlands: , Deutsch: , Bahasa Indonesia: , Español: , Português: , Italiano: , Русский: , Čeština: , 日本語: , العربية: , 中文: , ไทย: , Tiếng Việt: 

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 441,578 times.
Did this article help you?
Expert Review By:
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

of How to Make Your Dog Drink Water was reviewed by on April 27, 2019.

How helpful is this?
Views: 441,578

Tracy McFarland

Aug 24, 2019

"I took my dog to the vet. He has been sick but this really helped me because I wanted to make sure the things I wastrying were going to be safe to give him. I did not know what was safe, thank you, this helped me and gave me safe ideas to try. "
Rated this article:

Riley Lyndon

Apr 23

"My Cocker Spaniel is 8 years old. He recently was doing good with water, but he has a flare up of pancreitis an istaking Carafate and Metrodotzle. Changed his food to I/D special digest. I have giving Pedialyte in a syringe, but not on his jaw. Thanks."

Mark Robinson

Apr 18, 2019

"Heart worm pills made our basset hound sickly and she refused water. The syringe idea seemed good but we didn'thave one. We cleaned out and used a rubber bulb (the kind you use to administer ear drops). We gently squirted into the side of the mouth and got about 4 oz of water into her. It may have saved her life. Thank you! "

Dawn Neely

Jul 10, 2019

"My dogs are recovering from sickness after ingesting rodenticide. Now that their bodies are pretty stable and theIV is out, they both are not excited about drinking. Some of the suggestions made in the article are things I'm already trying, but now after reading I feel encouraged to keep it up. "
Rated this article:

Shannon Bachman

Oct 14, 2019

"My dog has had a bout with kennel cough a year ago. She recently has had a "cold" and has been coughingnot kennel cough. I was looking for suggestions to bump up her immune system and fiber for her. Thanks for all the posts here and the answers are great help."

Jim Monroe

Jun 6, 2019

"Just a wonderful article for people who are scared. I hate to be simple-minded but the photos actually help meunderstand and I was pleased to find out that my dog is not likely dehydrated but is drinking water in private, apparently. Thanks so much."

Lauren Heath

Jan 7, 2019

"Adding chicken broth to my dog's water is helpful! I was considering buying a flavored spray for my dog's water,but the bottles are expensive and don't look like they would last particularly long."

Sandra Regan

Nov 4, 2019

"My 13-year-old Pom won't drink water unless I add it to her wet food. I also sometimes add green bean juice to herfood and then add some of the beans when she gets constipated. That works! "

B. Cooney

Jun 5, 2019

"We tried the water with a little beef broth, but she wouldn't drink it. Then we put quite a bit of water in her dryfood with canned food. This worked immediately. Thank you so much!"

Keira Bredesen

Jun 7, 2019

"This article helped me because my dog is refusing to drink and it is scaring me because she might be sick, so thisarticle told me what to do. Thanks so much!! Love Keira. "

Tanya Zawislak

Jul 15, 2019

"Just added a couple of blueberries to my dog's water dish, and he is having a great time trying to get them. Andit the process, he is drinking. Thank you."

Susan Valvick

Dec 20, 2019

"We are trying to help strays. Tools for determining conditions are great. Of course, a vet is the best answer, butwe're just doing the best we can. "

Hafsa Shamsie

Aug 26, 2019

"I definitely learned a lot from this article and how to treat my dog. I would definitely recommend looking at itif your dog has a problem like this."

Anne D.

Mar 16, 2019

"The article helped give me ideas to increase fluids for my dog. She is older and not as eager to drink as before.This will help keep her hydrated."

Tiba Grindey

Aug 19, 2019

"My dog was vomiting and very dehydrated. A trip to the vet sorted him out, but after reading this I can try to helpmy dog sooner in the future."

Sally Huston

Aug 9, 2019

"I didn't know that dogs shouldn't drink milk, that they like ice cubes in water or that some dogs don't likechlorinated tap water."

Christian Morrison

Oct 26, 2019

"This piece about getting your dog to drink water was helpful for us, as we're nursing a 9-year-old Wire Fox Terrierback to health."
Rated this article:

Nikko Mere

May 18, 2019

"The tip of giving them Pedialyte using a syringe is my next course of action. Thank you."

Scott Martin

Jul 28, 2019

"Great article, made me feel much less worried about my dog."
Rated this article:

David Whitlow

Aug 3, 2019

"This information is useful because I can try these things."


Jan 2, 2019

"Gave me 3 - 4 ways to keep dog hydrated. Easy and cheap."

Bernadette Schilz

May 30, 2019

"It was the best information I found on the internet."

Krista Dubys

Jul 19, 2019

"This is helpful to get my dog to drink more water. "
Rated this article:

Joseph Dowse

Jan 31

"Dropping treats into the water helped.

Video: How to get your dog to drink water

How to Make Your Dog Drink Water
How to Make Your Dog Drink Water images

2019 year
2019 year - How to Make Your Dog Drink Water pictures

How to Make Your Dog Drink Water forecasting
How to Make Your Dog Drink Water recommend photo

How to Make Your Dog Drink Water pics
How to Make Your Dog Drink Water foto

How to Make Your Dog Drink Water How to Make Your Dog Drink Water new foto
How to Make Your Dog Drink Water new images

foto How to Write a Family Cookbook
images How to Burn More Calories When Running

How to Purchase a Guitar for Your Career
How to Gain Experience in Human ResourcesHow to Choose a Bank Thats Right for YouHow to Eat Ramen with Chopsticks

How to get rid of acne in menboys
How to Survive Traumatic Brain Injury

How to Protect Your Computer from Your Parents
The Real Met Gala Party Was in the BathroomHow to Downgrade Minecraft

Watch How to Make Your Dog Drink Water video
Watch How to Make Your Dog Drink Water video

Communication on this topic: How to Make Your Dog Drink Water, how-to-make-your-dog-drink-water/
Discussion on this topic: How to Make Your Dog Drink Water, how-to-make-your-dog-drink-water/ , how-to-make-your-dog-drink-water/

Related News

Are There Any Real Benefits to Using a SaltLamp
4 Signs You Need a New Bookkeeper Right Now
Study says wait a year between giving birth and getting pregnant again
How to Get Bouncy Beach Curls
Chrissy Teigen Opens Up To Tyra About Fertility
How to Cook Green Bananas
How to Obtain a Prenuptial Agreement
A Woman Shot in the Head During Vegas Attack Emerges From Coma, Takes First Steps
How to Pack for a Festival
Fairness with baking soda Skin glow tips with baking soda
Baccarat 250
Is casual dining dying
6 Reasons Men Fake Climaxes

Date: 06.01.2019, 03:49 / Views: 73593