How to Get a Sick Dog to Drink?

Make a Dog Drink Water when Sick

As you already know, water is something that’s essential to all living beings, and that includes dogs. The process of taking water is called hydration, and it’s necessary for all sorts of actions that take place in the dog’s body. These actions include kidney function, digestion, the activity of the brain, the production of saliva, and many other things.

Just like we do, the pups also drink water on their own, but you still have to provide them with a bowl of clean water. But what happens if Fido is sick, and can’t drink this precious fluid on his own?

Well, in that case, the owner has to take action and help the pooch stay hydrated – otherwise, things can easily take a wrong turn.

In this article, we’ll try to help you overcome the challenge of making your sick pet to drink, and we’ll also talk about the amount of H20 he’ll need during his illness. Read on!

How to Make Sick Dog Drink Water?

There are a number of reasons because of which your pup could refuse to drink water – like the unfamiliar smells and places, fear and bad experiences, as well as aging. However, we’ll focus on the sick dogs in this article, and how to persuade them to hydrate their ill bodies. Take a look at the following steps:

  • Step #1

Unlike their more arrogant cousins called the cats, the pups drink plenty of water whenever they’re feeling thirsty. You’ve probably seen this scene thousands of times – you pour some precious H2O into the bowl, and your pet starts to happily transport the fluid into his mouth by using the tongue. But what if the pooch loses the desire to visit the bowl? In most cases, that’s quite a sure sign that the pup is sick.

If your beloved pooch has some sort of a condition or a disease and thus loses the will to drink, that will lead to dehydration and worsen the whole situation. And yes, it can ultimately lead to death. One of the first things to do here is checking if the pup is dehydrated.

The way to do that is to pinch the dog’s skin – if it doesn’t return back to the normal position, the dehydration is already taking place, and the animal is in a serious need of water. Another symptom would be the dry gums.

chihuahua is drinking water
  • Step #2

Once you notice that your pet is not drinking anymore, go and check their bowl. If the water inside it isn’t clean or fresh enough, replace it immediately. There’s a good chance that Fido doesn’t want to drink because the fluid just doesn’t taste good – and, luckily, there’s an easy way to check that. One crucial thing here is to purchase a stainless steel bowl, as these containers are the best and also the most practical ones.

  • Step #3

If you own a large house, there’s a good strategy you can implement. Purchase several water containers and place them at all those points your pup usually visits during the day, and also at those places where he often likes to rest. In this way, Fido will find hydration much more accessible and more manageable, especially if he has difficulties with moving around.

keep your dog hydrated
  • Step #4

In some cases, the owner will have to persuade the dog to drink more water because of the pup’s specific condition, whether that’s fever, constant vomiting, diarrhea, or some other condition that affects hydration. If that’s the case with your own pup, there are some tricks you could try to get his attention and get him to rehydrate his body:

  • You can give your pooch some ice cubes – after all, the cubes contain the precious fluid that his sick body needs.
  • Try adding some sugar (a teaspoon) into the bowl with water. The sweet smell will attract the pet and make drinking more desirable.
  • Another way would be to soak a cotton ball in water and squeeze it over the pup’s mouth – he will lick the tiny droplets. Try this method if the above mentioned ones don’t work.
  • Step #5

If the pooch suddenly stops to drink and looks sad and apathetic, it’s essential to take him to the nearest veterinarian as soon as you can. There are diseases like parvovirus and distemper that have an adverse effect on the pet’s desire for hydration, and they can have a very serious impact on the dog’s health.

How Much Water Should a Sick Dog Drink?

This depends on the dog’s current condition and the disease he has. This is why it’s essential to identify the illness on time, since some conditions cause the dog’s body to dehydrate, which means that the pooch will require much more H2O than he usually does. On the other end of the spectrum are the so-called “over-drinkers”, or the pups that drink too much of this precious fluid.

You can’t really go wrong by going for the general rule of the thumb – a healthy dog will drink some 30 to 40ml of H2O for every pound of his weight. It would be a good idea to get your sick dog’s daily intake as close to this number as possible, and you can achieve this by giving a try to some of the methods we listed above.

A thing that’s much more important than pup drinking a specific amount is for the owner to notice the changes in the pet’s drinking habits. If you notice them on time, the possibly lethal condition will be easier to identify and treat. Remember to always stay in contact with your veterinarian.


If all of this sounds pretty scary to you, there are also some good news – the change in your pet’s drinking habits may not require an immediate trip to the local vet. If your dog looks and sounds happy, it’s not really a big concern; but if you notice some other signs of disease, don’t hesitate to take the pooch to the veterinarian – it just might save his life.