Why You Should Watch Your Dog’s Water Intake Habits

Water plays a critical
role in your pup’s overall health and wellbeing. It helps them regulate their
body temperature, aids in their digestion, helps their body absorb nutrients,
and moves waste and toxins through their body. In short, water keeps their body
functioning normally.

Your dog’s water intake throughout the day can be a good indicator of their overall health, so it’s important that you keep an eye on how much they drink. Freshpet vet, Dr. Aziza, shares some of the top reasons why you should watch your dog’s water intake and what to do if you notice it seems off.

What does it mean if my dog is drinking more water than

A dog that is drinking
more water than usual can mean many things, not all of which are reasons for
concern. Your dog’s level of thirst can change due to activity, diet, or more
seriously, medical issues like diabetes or urinary tract infection. If you
suddenly notice a big increase in the amount of water your dog is drinking,
bring your dog to your veterinarian for further evaluation to determine the
cause of this increased drinking.

Why would a dog not drink water?

Dogs who have a high moisture content diet tend to not drink as much water as dogs that eat dry kibble. Canned or fresh diets, like the Freshpet Select Chunky Beef recipe, can have a moisture content as high as 70% or more. This elevated moisture helps to meet a dog’s daily moisture requirements, decreasing the need to drink a lot of water.

A second reason could be
that the water is not appetizing. Some dogs prefer fresh water, so if water is
not replaced regularly you may see them seem interested or even sniff the water
and then walk away. If you notice this happening, try replacing the water with
fresh water throughout the day or get a water dispenser that does it for you.
You can even add something like chicken broth to flavor the water to encourage
them to drink.

A third and more serious
reason is that the dog could be in pain or discomfort and drinking water makes
them feel worse.

How much should my dog be drinking per day based on its

When veterinarians
determine a dog’s daily water intake we calculate the maintenance level. This
is the minimum amount of water needed to healthily support the body and not
become dehydrated. This per-day maintenance level is calculated by multiplying
60mL by the number of kilograms of body weight. In other words, for every 10
pounds of body weight, a dog should be receiving a little more than 1 cup of
water or 9 ounces. Remember this is the minimum amount – it’s fine if your dog
drinks more than the maintenance level.

What does it mean when my dog is panting?

If a dog is panting it
can mean several things. After intense physical activity, like running, a dog
will pant to help cool off. Similarly, if the temperature is high, then dogs
will pant to lower their body temperature. Panting can also be your dog’s way
of displaying their feelings of stress or anxiety. If you notice your dog
panting for an extended length of time for no apparent environmental reason,
this could mean they are in pain and need to be examined by a vet.

When are times when my dog should be drinking more water?

Your dog should
naturally drink more water when they are in areas with a higher temperature or
in warmer seasons. They should also drink more water after times of robust
activity like going for a walk or playtime. If your dog is eating dry kibble,
you should also expect them to drink more water every day.

Is there ever a time when I should limit the amount of
water my dog is drinking?

Some dogs simply love water and have a hard time restraining themselves when they drink. These dogs tend to drink water too fast, which can lead to vomiting – similar to dogs who eat too much too quickly. If this is the case for your dog, it’s recommended to limit the amount of water that is available at a time or use a different type of water dispenser that prevents them from engulfing water too quickly.

What foods or ingredients should I feed my dog if they
are not drinking enough water during the day?

A great way to increase your dog’s water intake is by feeding them fresh foods that already contain high amounts of moisture. Fruits, vegetables, and boiled chicken are great sources of moisture and can be used as a healthy treat or supplement to their regular meals. If you’re looking for a complete recipe that will help increase your dog’s daily water intake, try Freshpet Vital Fresh Cuts Shredded Chicken or Fresh From the Kitchen Chicken Recipes. They both have high levels of moisture, which decreases the need to find ways to convince them to physically drink more water throughout the day.

How do I know if my dog is drinking too much water?

If it seems as though
your dog lives at the water bowl or it feels like you’re refilling their bowl
several times throughout the day, then your dog may be drinking too much water.
If this is new behavior and nothing in your dog’s schedule or lifestyle has
changed, then the constant thirst could indicate there is a medical problem. In
this case, it’s recommended that you contact your veterinarian for further

How often should I replace and refill the water in my
dog’s water bowl?

I notice that by the end
of the day there are often bits of food or dirt floating around in water bowls,
which doesn’t look very appetizing. Knowing this, I recommend replacing a dog’s
water bowl with fresh water at least once a day. You may have to refill the
bowl even more if your dog has the tendency to spill a lot of water or knock
their bowl around quite a bit.

We hope that Dr. Aziza
was able to answer some of your most pressing questions about your dog’s water
intake. Have a question that wasn’t answered? Schedule an appointment with your
vet – they’ll be happy to discuss how you can help your dog improve their daily
water intake.


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