Dogs, like humans, need to drink water every day as they are at risk from dehydration if they don’t. 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 their foot-pads, but not enough to cool their body. The body temperature of a dog is mostly controlled through panting.
Good to know: Water is, therefore, very important for a dog and we, as dog owners, need to provide our pups with enough water every day.
5 Reasons why your dog won’t drink water
- Inactivity & lack of exercise
- Unfamiliar surroundings
- Disease and illness
- Fear and negative experiences
1. Inactivity/lack of exercise
If the weather is cooler and your dog is getting less exercise than normal, then 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 due to reduced activity is no cause for alarm. However, consult a vet if your dog persistently refuses to drink.
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 recognized 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
3. Disease and illness
Certain health issues can cause a dog’s thirst to fluctuate. In some cases, illnesses 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 get less exercise and therefore may 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. As always, consult a vet before changing dog foods.
5. Fear & negative experiences
If they experience fright or pain, they typically associate those negative feelings with the circumstances in which they first experienced them. If your dog has 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.