Dogs sometimes refuse to drink water

For any of a number of reasons, your dog may refuse to drink water on occasion. Now that’s a worry. A fit and healthy dog could theoretically go without food for several weeks. But a dog can only go without water for up to three days. Water is essential for virtually every bodily function. Without it, dehydration would set in much sooner than that. Especially in hot weather, if your dog has been vomiting a lot, is suffering from diarrhoea, or if he or she is not a well dog in the first place. Dog hydration is important on so many levels!

Why your dog might refuse to drink

There are a number of reasons why a dog may on occasion refuse to drink water. They might be unhappy. Such as if they’re feeling anxious or find themselves in strange surroundings. An older dog will drink less because he or she is less active. Dogs also tend to drink less in cold weather than when it’s warm because there’s less need to use water to regulate their body temperature when it’s cold. And then there’s the obvious, most concerning reason. The fact that your dog may be unwell.

I have experienced all of these over the years. My younger dog, Ava, is of a nervous disposition and tends not to drink water when we’re out. She prefers to wait until we get home where she feels comfortable and safe. I’ve also known sick and aging dogs who drank less for those very reasons. And it goes without saying that both my dogs drink less during the winter when they’re less in need of cooling themselves down than they are in the summer.

They also drink less than most because I make homemade food for them and I consider water an ingredient.

What happens if a dog refuses to drink

And then there’s Oscar. Four-year-old Oscar is the much-loved, re-homed Grand Basset Griffon Vendéen of a friend. Heaven only knows what kind of life Oscar had before, but the friend in question approached me about a year ago, concerned because the young dog simply refused to drink. Because he wasn’t drinking he was lethargic, his coat was in poor condition, his eyes were sunken, he had lost his appetite and his gums and nose were continually dry. His skin had also lost its elasticity. It’s a sure sign that a dog is dehydrated if, when you pinch the skin, the skin does not immediately return to its original shape.

It’s hardly surprising that poor Oscar simply moped around the house all day as if he was carrying the weight of the entire world on his broad young shoulders. Dog dehydration is a serious problem!

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The remedy when a dog won’t drink water

Naturally my friend was worried. Her first inclination was to take Oscar to the vet. But I’d seen this before, and, as luck would have it, had only that morning made a fresh batch of Chicken Bone Broth with added dried liver powder for my dogs. Bone broth is just perfect for dog hydration.

So I sent her home with a pot of broth suggesting she added a little each day to Oscar’s water bowl. She telephoned within the hour. The instant she added some broth to his water bowl, Oscar started drinking and didn’t stop until he’d finished the lot.

To cut a long story short, every week without fail since, the lady has popped in for a cup of coffee and two tubs of what she calls “Oscar’s medicine”. We met up in town over the weekend. Oscar looks wonderful. His eyes are bright, his coat is glossy, he’s eating well and he has a real youthful spring in his step just the way a happy young dog should have.

Suffice to say, Oscar hasn’t been near the vet from that day to this!

Gerald Pepin

Gerald Pepin

Canine Nutritionist

Gerald Pepin is a qualified canine nutritionist, writer, speaker and homemade dog food advocate. Gerald believes that good nutrition can improve or cure most canine health problems and that the natural way is always the best way when it comes to healing man's best friend. A life-long lover of German Shepherds, Gerald and his wife The Dog Chef have two GSDs and live in rural Somerset.


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