You may have noticed that your puppy doesn’t drink the water you put out for them. Maybe they’ve stopped abruptly, perhaps they never really drank that much, to begin with. Either way, you’ll naturally be concerned. Besides, we all know the importance of water for keeping hydrated. But why may a puppy forgo this fundamental substance and what can you do to help ensure they get enough? Here is all you need to know, and exactly what you should do.
So, why won’t your puppy drink water? A puppy might not drink water because they are just not sufficiently thirsty. Other times, it’s out of choice; they may not like the water temperature or the taste. Sometimes, puppies are too busy playing to think about hydration. There are some cases, though, where this could be the result of a medical condition.
A lot has to do with the context here.
Is this a new aversion?
How long has this been going on for?
Does your puppy only do this at certain times?
What is the temperature outside and how active have they been?
You see, it is going to require a little investigation.
Nevertheless, before you can start to work on finding a solution, it’s important we delve into the potential reasons In further detail.
Why A Puppy May Not Drink Water
Here’s why a puppy may not drink water.
He’s Too Busy Playing
Puppies, like small children, can get so caught up in playing that they forget to drink.
Puppies are easily excited, so they’re often too busy exploring the world around them to think about water.
Play is essential for your puppy’s well-being, so he’s just doing what comes naturally.
He Doesn’t Like The Water Temperature
Some puppies prefer their water cool, while others like water at room temperature.
If your puppy’s water bowl has been sitting out for some time, he may not want to drink it, particularly in warm weather.
Water that’s left outside can get dirty quickly, too, in which case your puppy won’t be tempted to drink.
He’s Sensitive To Noise
Some puppies are more sensitive to noise than others. A puppy might not want to drink when other animals or people are around.
The home environment might be too noisy for him to relax and drink.
Sometimes puppies can become stressed because of sudden changes in the environment.
An additional family member, moving to a new home, or other changes can cause puppies to stop drinking.
Most of the time, though, they’ll go back to drinking on their own once they’ve relaxed and have accepted the change.
If, however, your puppy continues to show signs of stress, consult your vet to see how you can help him relax.
Changes In The Weather
Sudden changes in the weather can cause puppies to stop drinking.
If it’s been fairly warm and suddenly temperatures drop, your puppy might not need as much hydration.
Disease Or Illness
Medical conditions like kidney disease or diabetes can affect a puppy’s desire for water.
Bladder or urinary tract infections can cause your puppy not to be as thirsty.
If you suspect your puppy might be ill, contact your vet immediately.
How Much Water Does a Puppy Need To Drink?
As a general rule of thumb, young puppies will need the equivalent of a half cup of water every two hours. Older puppies who have already been weaned will need between one-half to one ounce of water per pound of their body weight each day. So, a 10-pound puppy who has been weaned will need from five to ten ounces of water daily.
That being said, different puppies need varying amounts of water depending on a few factors:
- Their age
- Their weight
- Their activity levels
- The weather conditions
- The type of food they’re eating
How Long Can A Puppy Not Drink Water?
Normally, puppies can go from six to ten hours without water and not suffer as a result. So, if your puppy knocks over his water bowl and hasn’t had a drink for a while, there’s no cause for concern.
If you are using a puppy crate, it’s best to not leave a bowl of water inside at night.
Your puppy will be fine for eight hours or so without water by his bed.
Young puppies can hold their bladders for up to four hours, so you can leave your puppy for eight hours without water at nighttime.
Leaving water in the crate with your puppy will only mean he’ll need to pee even more than once every four hours.
Once your puppy is 10 weeks old, he may be able to go for six hours without needing the toilet if you’ve offered him a last drink about one and a half hours before going to bed.
When your puppy is a bit older – say 16 weeks old – and is fully housetrained, he can sleep through the night without water and you shouldn’t have to get up to let him out.
While an eight-hour stretch without water is fine at night, any longer than that isn’t suitable for puppies. Just because puppies can go for up to ten hours without water doesn’t mean they should.
Dehydration in puppies can have life-threatening consequences such as organ failure and death.
Here are the signs that your puppy has gone for too long without water and is dehydrated:
- A loss of appetite
- Skin is less elastic (especially around the scruff of the neck)
- Sunken or dry eyes
- Gums that are sticky or dry
- Excessive panting
- Dry nose
If you suspect your puppy is dehydrated, get him to the vet immediately.
How To Get Your Puppy To Drink More Water
Here are some ideas to get your puppy to drink more water.
Try Different Water Temperatures
Perhaps your puppy is one of those dogs who prefers water that’s nice and cool.
You could try refreshing his water bowl regularly with cool water.
Some people find that their dogs appreciate ice cubes in their water.
A thirsty puppy – or a teething puppy – may enjoy crunching down on the ice cubes. Ice cubes can soothe his swollen gums, and he’ll be getting hydration as a bonus.
Use Exercise As An Incentive
You can first take your puppy out for a long walk (bearing in mind what he’s able to do at his age). He’ll be more likely to want a drink after exercise.
If you don’t want to take him for a long walk, you could also try playing games with him in your yard or your local park.
Chasing around a ball or other toy can offer your puppy plenty of excitement and burn off lots of his puppy energy.
Immediately after he’s had his exercise, pour some cool water into his bowl and offer it to him.
Put His Bowls In A Quiet Place
Some puppies are shy about eating and drinking in front of others or if there’s noise around.
Try putting your puppy’s food and water bowls in a quiet place where he won’t be disturbed or distracted.
Try Different Bowls
Pets can be fussy about the bowls that they eat and drink from. Try these tricks:
- Offer water in a plate or saucer
- Try different materials like stainless steel, ceramic, plastic, or glass
- Try various sizes of water bowls with different widths and depths
- Switch things around to offer variety to your puppy if he enjoys trying new things
Remember, your puppy will need time to test each option, so don’t make changes or give up too quickly.
Try Different Types Of Water
Some puppies don’t like the taste of plain water, or the water just doesn’t taste right to them. Test different types of water such as filtered, bottled, or straight from the tap.
You can also try making broth ice cubes to put in your puppy’s water bowl. The flavor from a broth ice cube will gradually release itself into the water, so your puppy won’t get a sudden surprise.
Some people simply add a teaspoon of broth to their puppy’s water bowl.
Test these out and see what your puppy prefers.
Note: Even if you choose to flavor your puppy’s water, always have an additional bowl of plain water available.
How Do You Hydrate A Puppy That Won’t Drink?
There are several things you can do to hydrate a puppy who is reluctant to drink.
Provide Several Water Bowls
You can put out water bowls in different places around your house so that your puppy doesn’t have to go too far to drink.
Freshen His Water Regularly
Puppies are usually more likely to drink water that’s just come out of the tap, so change his water regularly. If he sees you changing his water, even better!
Splash His Nose
If your puppy is reluctant to drink even after exercise or on a warm day, you can try splashing his nose with a few drops of water.
He will enjoy this game and will naturally lick off the water.
Once he’s used to licking water off of his nose, he will usually start drinking on his own.
If he doesn’t, keep at the game, and he will do so eventually.
Play Water Games
Puppies love to play, so make a game of splashing your puppy with a hose. Or take him to a source of fresh water for him to play in, such as a creek or a clean pond.
Some puppies are a bit hesitant to engage with water, so by showing him that getting wet can be fun, he may be more likely to see water as enjoyable.
Hydrate His Food
Another way to increase your puppy’s hydration is to add moisture to his dry food. By adding warm water to his dry kibble, you’re making sure that your puppy gets some fluids.
You can make a tempting soup mixture of his food so that he can stay hydrated while he learns to drink for himself.
Most puppies eat four times per day, so by using soupy mixtures you are ensuring your pup stays hydrated throughout the day.
If your puppy is not drinking their water, try not to worry.
This is something that often resolves itself fairly quickly.
And as you can see, there are some things you can try to get them drinking again.
That being said, this is not something that you should or can allow, to go on for long.
So if you notice your puppy avoiding water having tried some of the strategies above, or more than a few hours have passed, it’s best to contact a vet.
Besides, there may be nothing you can do. They may need medication or medical intervention.
It’s usually not the case.
But it’s better to be safe, than sorry. And catching dehydration early on in such instances is vital.
Have other questions related to your puppy’s water intake? Then give my other guides a read:
- Should I Leave Water Out For My Puppy All Day?
- Should I Leave Water Out For My Puppy At Night?
- How Long Can A Puppy Hold Its Pee?
I am a practiced pet owner with decades of experience owning a number of different pets. I am also the main writer and chief editor here at Pet Educate; a site I created to share everything I’ve learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.