Dogs are messy, hit-and-miss drinkers, so it can sometimes be hard to know just how much water they get in a day.
Most need about an ounce of fluids per pound of body weight per day, so a 10-pound dog needs a bit over a cup of clean water daily. Really active or lactating dogs may need more and puppies generally drink more than adult dogs. If your dog drinks a lot more than that, it may signal a health problem. Read on to learn more.
Why Is Your Dog Thirsty ?
Many things can affect how much your dog drinks, from weather to activity level to diet.
Common sense should be your guide when it comes to your dog’s thirst. If your canine companion is drinking so excessively you’re noticing the change, it’s probably time to talk to your vet who, with a few tests, can get at the root cause of your dog’s increased thirst.
In the meantime, a few reasons why your dog might be unusually thirsty include :
Hot summer days, play, exercise, illness, infection — all of these can lead to dehydration in dogs and trigger them to seek water. Along with increased thirst, signs that your pet may be dehydrated include: lethargy; dry gums and tongue; and thick rope-like saliva.
Dehydration can turn life-threatening fast, so if you suspect your dog is very dehydrated, seek veterinary care right away. If your dog seems mildly dehydrated but is not vomiting, give your pet small amounts of water — one teaspoon for a little dog, 1-2 tablespoons for larger dogs — every ten minutes for a few hours.
Don’t let your dog have free access to a lot of liquids when he is dehydrated, as drinking too much too fast could cause vomiting.
Many conditions can lead to excessive thirst or dehydration in your dog, including diabetes, Cushing’s disease, cancer, diarrhea, fever, infection, kidney disease, and liver disease,
Sometimes, however, it may not be the condition itself causing your dog’s excessive thirst, but the medication used to treat it. Talk to a vet about your dog’s medication and its side effects; if drugs are behind your dog’s thirst, the vet may be able to lower the dosage.
Just as with people, some drugs can lead to excessive thirst in your dog, including :
– Anti-inflammatory drugs like prednisone, which may be used to treat many conditions in dogs, including asthma, allergies, and inflammatory bowel disease.
– Heart failure drugs, such as furosemide, lead to increased urine production and a compensatory increase in thirst.
– Seizure medications like phenobarbital may have side effects that include excessive thirst and urination, as well as excessive appetite.
A dry food diet — which may be as little as 5%-10% water — can also lead to noticeable thirst in your dog. High sodium foods will also cause your dog to drink more.
Large amounts of salt can be poisonous to your pet, so avoid sharing highly salty “people” food with your dog. Signs your dog may have eaten too many sodium-rich treats include tremors, diarrhea, depression, and vomiting.
Why Does My Dog Drink a Lot of Water ?
A balanced diet is not the only necessary part of keeping your dog healthy. Water for drinking is also a very important part of your dog’s daily requirements and overall nutrition. Water is the main component of healthy, living cells of the body. Without water, your dog’s body will not be able to function properly. More specifically, your dog will dehydrate. In order for your dog to get enough water daily, you need to provide water along with a healthy, balanced diet (which also provides some moisture).
What Does Water Do for Dogs ?
The purpose of water is to carry and move important nutrients into and out of the cells of the body. It aids in the digestion of food and helps the body to absorb the nutrients. Water also serves to cool the body down and works to maintain a normal body temperature.
Water lubricates and cushions joints and makes movement easier. The spinal cord and other internal tissues are also cushioned by moisture and wastes are removed from the body through urination and bowel movements.
Basically every important body function requires water and without adequate supply, your dog can become ill quickly and become dehydrated. Organs will eventually become damaged with sustained water deficiency. If the deficiency lasts long enough, organs (such as kidneys, liver, etc.) will begin to shut down. Death will follow shortly after.
Signs of Dehydration in Dogs
In general, a healthy dog will drink enough water daily to stay well hydrated, but there are a few instances where dehydration can occur. Dogs suffering from illnesses like kidney disease, metabolic disorders (such as diabetes), cancer and pregnant/nursing animals are at risk of becoming dehydrated more readily.
To check your dog for dehydration, pick up a fold of loose skin over the top of the shoulder blades, pull it up gently and release it. Watch for the skin to fall back into place. Under normal circumstances, the skin should quickly return to place without any hesitation. If dehydration is present, the skin will slowly return or may even stay up for a time before falling back into place.
Another place to look for dehydration is in an dog’s mouth. If the gums appear dry, sticky or pale, this is a sign of illness and dehydration. Dehydrated pets will also have dry, sunken eye balls and a dry nose and mouth.
If you are concerned that your dog is not getting enough water to maintain health, talk to your veterinarian for advice. Maintaining proper hydration is too important to your dog’s health to ignore.
My dog won’t drink water !
Dogs, like humans, need to drink water every day as they are at risk from dehydration if they don’t do. They are actually at greater risk than humans because they release heat from their bodies much more slowly. Dogs do have some sweat glands in the foot-pads, but not enough to cool their body. The body temperature of a dog is mostly controlled through panting. Water is, therefore, very important for a dog and we, as dog owners, need to provide our pups with enough water every day. However, sometimes it may happen that our dear pets refuses to drink water due to the following reasons:
1. Less Exercise
When the weather is cooler or your dog is doing less exercise, your dog just isn’t that thirsty. If this is the reason, there is no need to worry! A slight decrease in his water consumption is no cause for alarm. However, consult a vet if your dog persistently refuses to drink.
Dogs should never go for more than a day without water.
2 .Unfamiliar Places
Unfamiliar places and smells can be the reason why your dog doesn’t drink. Thanks to their acute sense of smell, dogs know how to distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar sources of water. When the smell of the water is not recognised as familiar, your dog may simply refuse to drink it. Planning a trip somewhere new? Here is what you should take care of:
– Bring a bottle of water from home
– Check on your dog’s drinking behavior
– Keep an eye on your dog
Stay on top of your dog’s wanderings with Tractive GPS or you may end up missing out on your dog’s drinking behavior.
3. Disease and Illness
Certain health issues can cause a dog’s thirst to vary. In some cases, diseases, such as diabetes and kidney disease, may cause a dog’s appetite for water to diminish completely. Bladder infection or urinary tract infection can also cause a decrease in thirst. So if you think your dog won’t drink water because of a disease, you should contact your vet immediately. It’s a good idea to write your dog’s drinking behavior down to help the vet figure out the problem.
An older dog may also avoid drinking water. It could simply be that getting to the water requires too much effort, or that the sense of thirst may be diminishing along with its appetite. Older dogs are doing less exerciser and might not be as thirsty as younger dogs. However, older dogs need to maintain adequate hydration levels, so if drinking seems to be an issue, switching to a moist food might help. But, always consult a vet before changing dog foods.
5. Fear & bad experiences
Dogs learn by association. If they get a fright or experience pain, they typically associate those negative feelings with the circumstances in which they first experienced them. If your dog have had a bad experience while drinking from the water bowl, for example someone accidentally stepped on his tail or paw, he may associated those negative accidents with the action of drinking. To remove the fear of drinking, you can try to use a new water bowl or you can try to put his water bowl in a different place.
Persuading your dog to drink water
In any circumstances, a dog should drink regularly. If this isn’t working, there’s a few things you can do to persuade your dog to drink water. Simply changing the position of the water bowl may sometimes work. Another solution is mixing wet dog food with water. Even though your dog won’t drink from the bowl, he may happily drink water when it’s mixed with food. It is also worth making sure that the water bowl is clean. It’s a simple thing to do, but it might work. If your dog still won’t drink water, or if he/she is suffering from an illness, you should contact a veterinarian as soon as possible. In case of illness proper hydration is important to the recovery process and it’s, therefore, very important that you pet gets professional help.