Water is key to a happy and healthy body so just like us, humans, dogs need water in order for their bodies to work exactly as they should. Whether you own a small or large dog, ensuring they drink the right amount of water will keep dehydration at bay.
Containing minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium, water assists in the maintenance of healthy cells and makes up 70% of your pet’s body meaning it is one of the most important things your dog can consume.
Hydrating your Dog
When it comes to deciding how much water is right for your dog, it is recommended that your furry friends drink between 50-100ml of water per kilo of body weight. This means:
- Toy dogs (those 2.5 kgs and lower) should drink between 200-250ml of water per day.
- Small dogs (those between 2.5 - 6kg) should aim to drink 250-600ml of water per day.
- Medium dogs (6-30kg) should aim to drink between 600 - 3 litres per day.
- Large dogs (30-60 kg) should drink between 3-6 litres per day.
Now, it isn’t a requirement for you to measure out each serving of water for your dog and the above guide is only a generalised recommendation of water serving per size of your dog and your dog may drink slightly more or less than this depending on how active they actually are.
Keeping Water around Your Home
It is vital to always keep a full and clean water bowl available for your dog each day. If your dog moves around your home, keep more than one water bowl available to them. Also, ensure the water in the bowl is replaced at least once a day so their water is clean and fresh for them to drink.
Why is my Dog not Drinking Water?
They are Less Active
One of the primary reasons your dog might not drink lots of water is because of how active they are. As in humans, dogs’ sweat secretes water from their bodies, losing important electrolytes gained from water and their food. When dogs drink water, these electrolytes are replaced, reducing the likelihood of developing dehydration.
If your dog is smaller, a less active breed or even in their later life, they will be less active, sweating less and thus less likely to need those electrolytes replaced.
They don’t like the Taste
Another reason your dog might not be drinking water is the taste. Yes, the taste! Even though the water appears tasteless to us mere mortals, dogs have special taste buds on the tip of their tongues that can distinguish the taste of water. Stagnant water or from an unclean bowl may have a peculiar taste for your dog and the reason why they may turn their nose up at it.
Notice your older dog drinking less than they used to? Well, both their hunger and thirst receptors begin to diminish when you get older reducing their cravings for both water and food. To encourage drinking in your older dog, adding water to specialist hydration toys or even making a little extra effort to make exercise fun can encourage your dog to want more water each day.
They Might Have Oral Issues
Tooth pain or infection might also be a reason your dog might not want to drink water. Cold sensations or even anything in their mouth might cause pain for your dog so if you notice them avoiding water or food and not wanting to chew or catch their favourite toy - a visit to the vet can help rule out any oral issues.
They May Be Anxious
Anxiety can have a massive impact on how your dog behaves. From separation anxiety to negative experiences in their youth, avoiding water could be a result of stress or anxiety. Dogs with noise phobias may not like metal water bowls because of the clink they make so plastic may be a preference.
Your dog might not also like the placement of its water bowl. Is it located in an area with lots of people? Moving their water bowl to a quiet and calm area of your house can allow your dog to feel safe and relaxed whilst they happily lap up that H20.
Why is my Dog Drinking So Much Water?
One of the primary reasons your dog might be drinking so much water is due to high levels of thirst. This can occur from anything from urinary issues to hot weather so keeping an eye out for other symptoms is important to keeping your dog safe and healthy. With a multitude of reasons for why your dog might be drinking extra, here are some reasons why they might be consuming more h20.
If your dog is urinating and drinking more, it could be a sign of diabetes. As the body is attempting to get rid of excess sugar, the body produces more urine to do so meaning your dog is losing more electrolytes than usual. Because of this, your dog's thirst level increases, making them want to drink more and more.
Producing more sweat in hotter temperatures, your dog is more likely to drink water when it is warmer. Being unable to regulate their own body temperatures, encouraging your dog to drink more can help keep them cool and thus avoid issues like dehydration.
Kidney & Liver Disease
Problems with their kidneys and liver are also a reason your dog might be drinking more. Kidney disease in dogs can create more concreted urine and increased urination meaning your dog needs to drink more to avoid being dehydrated. As symptoms of kidney disease are the same as other issues, any changes in your dog’s daily habits, including drinking more, should be discussed with your vet.
Your dog’s liver is one of the most important organs in its body. Fundamental for digestion and blood clotting, drinking excessively can be an indicator that something is wrong. If your dog is drinking more, avoiding food, and you find blood in their urine or poop then seek veterinary advice as soon as possible to rule out any issues with your dog’s liver.
Both Cushing’s syndrome and Addison's disease are problems relating to your dog’s adrenal glands. Both issues cause problems with your dog’s cortisol levels increasing their thirst levels. Addison's disease occurs when your dog’s glands don’t produce enough cortisol whereas Cushing’s syndrome occurs when tumours develop in the pituitary/adrenal glands. Both can be treated either by surgery or medication.
Affecting female dogs, Pyometra is an infection in your dog’s womb. This can occur when your dog is left unspayed and is a life-threatening condition so must be treated immediately if suspected. Pyometra causes toxins to be released into the bloodstream, making their way to the kidneys which stops your dog’s ability to retain fluid causing them to drink more. Symptoms of excessive drinking, vaginal discharge and a painful/enlarged abdomen in female dogs should be seen immediately by a vet.
High calcium levels
Finally, high calcium levels caused by some cancers can also be a reason why your dog may be drinking more than usual. High calcium levels are often caused by problems in the adrenal glands linked to issues with your dog’s kidneys and liver. Tumours present on these glands and in the kidneys are often the cause of high calcium levels and must be diagnosed and treated by a vet.
Any changes in your dog’s behaviour such as drinking more or drinking less should always be discussed with your vet if you can rule out simple issues such as changes in temperature or exercise. Sticking to the right amount of water and keeping it fresh and available to your dog 24 hours a day will ensure their bodies work exactly as they should and your dog is happy, wholesome and as healthy as they can be.