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Sufficiently clean drinking water is also essential for the survival of our dogs. Because our furry friends, like us humans, are made up of 70% water. Every cell in the body must be supplied with sufficient water so that the organs, immune system, circulatory system and the whole body, in general, can function. Does your dog not drink or not enough? Read this article to find out what causes and health consequences this can have and what you can do if your dog does not drink.

How much should dogs drink?

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Dogs need enough fresh water every day so that the organs, the circulatory system, the metabolism, and the immune system can function properly and the nutrients can be distributed throughout the body by the blood. In addition, water also regulates the body temperature in dogs, since dogs cannot sweat.

In order to be able to assess whether your dog is drinking too little or the right amount, you can set up a calculation. As a rule, a dog should drink an average of 60 to 100 ml of water per kilogram of body weight per day. This means that a dog that weighs 10 kg should drink at least 600 ml of water a day to provide its body with the vital fluid it needs. A dog that weighs 20 kg should drink at least 1200 ml – more than a liter of water a day. However, this calculation should only be understood as an average value. Of course, a dog needs more fresh and clean water on hot days or during increased physical exertion. Overweight dogs also tend to drink more water.

Diet also has a decisive influence on drinking behavior and the amount of water. A dog that is fed dry food requires a lot more water than a dog that is barfed or fed wet food.

Occasionally it happens with young dogs that when they are excited, for example because something new is to be learned or because visitors are coming into the house, they drink more water. But this is no reason to worry, it is usually a so-called skip action and settles down again in the course of a dog’s life.

Tip: Always take a bottle of tap water and a foldable drinking bowl for your dog with you on days with an outside temperature of 20 degrees or more. If you don’t have a collapsible bowl, you can also convert a clean doggie bag into a drinking vessel on the go.

What happens when a dog drinks too little?

The dog becomes dehydrated and is then in mortal danger because its circulatory system and organs are damaged.

Causes – Why isn’t my dog drinking?

When a dog drinks too little or no water at all, it becomes dehydrated, which can quickly lead to a life-threatening situation. There can be many reasons why a dog drinks too little. We have summarized the most common triggers here:


Unfortunately, one of the most common reasons a dog doesn’t want to drink can be stress. Stress in dogs can have many individual triggers. Not being utilized in a way that is appropriate to the species, being overused, environmental influences such as noise, uneducated children, arguing people. All of this and much more can be distressing and stressful for a dog, which can have a negative impact on their drinking behavior.


In fact, dogs can also be afraid of the drinking bowl. For example, if it is made of bare metal and you are reflected in the bottom of the bowl the moment you bend over it. Or the metal bowl slips or rattles when drinking. A ceramic drinking bowl, for example, could help. Plastic bowls should be avoided because of the microparticles and softeners that come loose. The place where the water bowl was placed can also be uncomfortable for the dog. For example, when he’s standing by the buzzing fridge or in a place where there’s constant hustle and bustle or where it’s drafty like pike soup.


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Perhaps you have rearranged your apartment and moved the feeding place to another location? Or are there new bowls? This can also be a reason why your loved one suddenly stops drinking. Our dogs are creatures of habit, too, and changes can irritate them. So it’s better to undo everything again.

How do I know if my dog is drinking enough?

Grasp the crease of your dog’s neck between your index finger and thumb and pull it up. If it doesn’t collapse immediately when you let go, this is a sign that the dog already has far too little water in its body – there is a risk of death.

A new roommate in the house

It is also possible that the pack structure has changed due to a new animal flatmate. A dominant gaze from the new as the older dog approaches the water bowl may be enough to make the older avoid the vital elixir. Here man must intervene decisively. Two widely separated feeding and drinking places often help.

Feed change

When a dog is fed dry food, it needs a lot of extra water to keep its body hydrated. If a dry food dog is switched to wet food or to the BARF method, it now receives significantly more water with the food intake. So he doesn’t need to take in as much water anymore. Of course, a full water bowl is also mandatory in the dog household.

Love mad

And the hormones can also keep an unneutered male dog away from the drinking and feeding bowl if a lady in heat lives nearby.

How much water does a dog need per day?

The rule of thumb says 60 to 100 ml per kilogram. A 10 kg dog needs at least 600 ml to a liter of water a day.

Surgery, dental care, and anesthesia

For medical reasons, a dog sometimes has to be put under anesthesia. During operations or when removing tartar, the dog receives an infusion so that the circulatory system does not collapse. This extra hydration can show up a day or two later and the dog will be drinking less than normal.

Nausea, gastrointestinal and other diseases

Diseases in the dog can also lead to it drinking too little. It gets dramatic when the dog becomes dehydrated, which can happen very quickly with nausea, diarrhea and gastrointestinal problems, especially in puppies. Don’t wait too long here. The vet then has to put on an IV to prevent the circulatory system from collapsing and/or organs from being life-threateningly damaged.

Checking dehydration in dogs – the test with the fold

There is a small test that you can also do at home to check whether your dog already has too little water in its body.

  • Put the dog on its side
  • Take the skin between your neck and shoulder and pull it up
  • Once released, the crease should recede immediately
  • If the wrinkle does not recede, the dog must be taken to the vet immediately, as there is a risk of death
  • If the wrinkle only slowly recedes, the dog must also be taken to the vet immediately.

How can I encourage a dog to drink?

Try pimping up the water in the bowl with some sausage water. Or put fruit in the water that he likes.

Encourage your dog to drink – tips & tricks

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It is part of the routine and hygiene of every dog ​​owner to clean the bowls daily and to always fill the drinking bowl sufficiently and easily accessible with fresh, cool water. Even if you think your dog drinks too much, the drinking bowl is always full and the intake of water should not be limited. Then introduce the dog to the veterinarian.

If your dog does not drink enough water, you can first try to compensate for the deficit by eating. Add water to the food to create a goulash soup-like consistency.

You can also pimp up the taste of the drinking water in the bowl, for example by adding water from Vienna sausages from the glass or some tuna water (without oil) from the can. Or if your dog likes fruit like blueberries, raspberries, or mango, put some in his water bowl. When he fishes out the pieces, he automatically absorbs water as well. You can also set up several differently pimped water bowls in different places, so the dog can choose one according to his or her taste. But don’t forget to set out a bowl with just plain drinking water, too. On warm summer days, many dogs like to eat a piece of watermelon. But make sure that there are no more seeds in the pulp. They can cause stomach pains.

What should a dog not drink?

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After a rain, puddles form, which for many dogs represent a kind of wellness pool. Dogs that are particularly water-loving, such as retrievers, never miss an opportunity to roll around in it and have fun. However, you have to be careful if your darling wants to drink from it. Especially puddles that have been there for a while are usually full of larvae, parasites, bacteria and viruses that can cause serious or fatal diseases in dogs. The bacterium Leptospira interrogans even usually leads to the death of the dog if it has not been vaccinated against leptospirosis.

Sea water, snow and non-flowing water can also lead to severe gastrointestinal disorders and vomiting in dogs. In areas where pesticides are applied to fields, drinking from puddles, streams or lakes should be avoided under all circumstances. There is a risk of poisoning!

Tip: It is best to take your dog’s water bottle with you on every trip you take with your four-legged friend. Your dog can also drink from your mineral water if necessary. But it should be non-carbonated.