It's hard to imagine that a puppy may need encouragement to drink water, because most dogs seem to lap it up. Whether they're too busy playing, or don't like the water temperature, there are a few tricks you can use to make sure your puppy stays hydrated.
Refresh your puppy's water regularly and make sure that the water is cool. It seems obvious, but some puppies won't drink water that has been sitting in the bowl for a few hours. Dogs are easily put off drinking if the water is too warm. This is more likely to happen in warm weather and if the water bowl is left outside. The water is also more likely to get dirty pretty quickly if the bowl is outdoors. Clean and cool water is more likely to entice your puppy.
Exercise your puppy with a long walk. When he returns he is more likely to feel the need for a drink. Playing ball or Frisbee with him in your yard or the park will also leave him wanting some refreshment. When you get home with him, run fresh water for him immediately and put it in front of him. If he still seems reluctant to drink, splash a few drops on his nose and make a game of it. This should encourage him to drink on his own. It's worth remembering that the typical puppy is excitable and gets so caught up in playing and racing around that he just doesn't have time to stop for water. This is when you need to stop him and show him his bowl.
Add warm water to his dry puppy food to make a soupy mixture. This trick makes sure that your puppy does get some fluids, while he learns to drink enough for himself. Since puppies usually feed four times a day, adding water each time will keep him nicely hydrated. Since puppies can be a bit shy at first, it's a good idea to put his food and water bowls in a quiet place where he won't be disturbed by other household activities and loud noises that could put him off either drinking or eating.
Take a look at the weather if your puppy suddenly drinks less. In cooler weather he won't want so much to drink, even if he is getting the same amount of exercise. Similarly, he should want more in hot weather. If the puppy is not drinking because of the temperature, there is no need to take action, according to The Dog Channel. Stress or sudden change could also affect his desire to drink, but this usually goes back to normal quite quickly.
- A stainless steel water bowl may help to keep the puppy's water cooler.
- If your puppy refuses to drink and has signs of illness, such as lethargy, diarrhea or vomiting, take him to your vet immediately.
Based in London, Eleanor McKenzie has been writing lifestyle-related books and articles since 1998. Her articles have appeared in the "Palm Beach Times" and she is the author of numerous books published by Hamlyn U.K., including "Healing Reiki" and "Pilates System." She holds a Master of Arts in informational studies from London University.