The transition from mother’s milk to solid food is one of the biggest milestones in a puppy’s life. Staying hydrated is essential for good health, and many puppies are confused when presented with water. A little patience and training will teach your puppy to drink from a bowl.
Soak your puppy’s dry food with warm water. Add enough water to her food bowl to produce a soupy consistency, and give it to the puppy during her regular feeding time. The puppy will slurp up the water in the bottom of the bowl as she eats and will become familiar with the idea of drinking liquid from a bowl.
Fill a shallow pie pan with a little water. Many puppies refuse to drink water out of a deep bowl, and a shallow pan makes it easier for his small body to reach in for a drink. Leave the water down at all times so your puppy can drink when she is thirsty.
Add a few ice cubes to the water dish. Puppies are naturally curious and will lick the ice cubes in an attempt to remove them from the bowl. She will ingest water as she chases the cubes, hydrating her while she plays in the pan.
Pour a few teaspoons of an electrolyte drink into the water. Milk is much sweeter than water, and the electrolytes slightly sweeten the water and provide nutrients to help keep the puppy hydrated.
Add a little low-sodium chicken broth to the water pan. Some puppies refuse water because it has no taste, and chicken broth adds enough flavor to entice puppies to drink. Once the puppies are drinking regularly, add less and less broth until you’ve weaned them onto plain water.
- Take your puppy to the vet if she refuses to drink for more than 24 hours. Puppies become dehydrated quickly, and a lack of moisture can be a life-threatening problem.
Louise Lawson has been a published author and editor for more than 10 years. Lawson specializes in pet and food-related articles, utilizing her 15 years as a sous chef and as a dog breeder, handler and trainer to produce pieces for online and print publications.