How to Get a Sick Dog to Drink Water

How to Get a Sick Dog to Drink Water

When our furry friends become sick, it can be challenging to get them to drink water. However, hydration is crucial for their recovery and overall well-being. If you’re struggling to get your sick dog to drink water, here are some tips to encourage them:

1. Offer different water sources: Some dogs may be picky about the type of water they drink. Try offering tap water, bottled water, or even water from a natural spring. Experiment to see which source your dog prefers.

2. Add flavor to the water: Dogs are often enticed by flavored water. Try adding a small amount of low-sodium chicken or beef broth to make the water more appealing.

3. Use a pet water fountain: Dogs are naturally attracted to moving water. Invest in a pet water fountain to provide a continuous flow of fresh water, which may encourage your sick dog to drink more.

4. Try ice cubes: Some dogs find ice cubes fun to play with and will lick them, thereby consuming water in the process. Offer your dog some ice cubes to keep them hydrated.

5. Feed wet food: If your dog is not eating their regular kibble due to sickness, switch to wet food. Wet food contains a higher water content, helping to keep your dog hydrated.

6. Offer water in alternative ways: If your dog is reluctant to drink from a bowl, offer water through a syringe or a pet water bottle. This method allows you to control the amount of water your dog consumes.

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7. Monitor water intake: Keep track of your dog’s water intake to ensure they are adequately hydrated. If your dog continues to refuse water for an extended period, consult a veterinarian.


1. Why won’t my sick dog drink water?
Sickness can cause loss of appetite and reluctance to drink water. Additionally, medications or a sore throat can make swallowing difficult.

2. How long can a dog go without water?
A healthy dog can survive for up to three days without water. However, sick dogs should not go more than 24 hours without drinking water.

3. Can I force my dog to drink water?
Forcing your dog to drink can cause further distress. Instead, try the tips mentioned earlier to encourage them to drink voluntarily.

4. Should I offer my dog electrolyte solutions?
Electrolyte solutions can be beneficial for a sick dog, especially if they are experiencing vomiting or diarrhea. Consult your veterinarian for the appropriate dosage and type of solution.

5. Is it normal for a sick dog to drink less water?
Yes, it is common for sick dogs to drink less water due to loss of appetite and discomfort. However, it’s essential to monitor their water intake and take steps to encourage hydration.

6. Can dehydration be dangerous for dogs?
Dehydration can lead to serious health complications in dogs, such as organ failure. It’s crucial to ensure your sick dog stays hydrated to aid in their recovery.

7. When should I contact a veterinarian?
If your dog refuses to drink water for more than 24 hours or if their condition worsens, it’s advisable to seek veterinary assistance as soon as possible.

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By following these tips and monitoring your sick dog’s water intake, you can help keep them hydrated and on the road to recovery. Remember, if in doubt, always consult with a veterinarian for professional advice and guidance.