Dog Not Drinking But Peeing – 8 Things To Try Before The Vet

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Usually, it doesn’t take any extra effort to make your dog drink water. After all, drinking water is an instinct. But in some instances, dogs can abruptly stop drinking while still peeing and engaging in other normal behaviors.

Unfortunately, this is often a sign of a severe underlying issue or disease, and if the dog can’t be encouraged to drink, they need to be taken to the vet as soon as possible.

Some of the best methods that you can use to encourage your dog to drink water include: 

  • Adding broth or fruit to their water, 
  • Swapping the water bowl or adjusting where it’s placed, 
  • Giving your dog wet food to improve their water intake, 
  • Using positive reinforcement to encourage your dog to drink water, and 
  • Even directly offering your dog water from a bottle or your hands. 

How Much Water Should My Dog Drink Per Day?

While variable factors can affect how much your dog should drink in a day, a puppy and an adult dog should follow this rule of thumb – one ounce of water for each pound of body weight daily. Therefore, a 10 lb puppy should drink a little more than one cup of water daily. 

While it’s not necessary to monitor your dogs water intake down to the ounce, it’s essential to instead watch for any signs of dehydration in your dog or puppy. This may include reduced energy levels, panting, vomiting, a dry nose, and dry, sticky gums.

Why Is My Dog Not Drinking But Peeing?

There are many reasons why a dog might abruptly stop drinking water but keep producing urine. Unfortunately, most causes are serious health issues like urinary tract infections, kidney failure, pancreatitis, bladder stones, and diabetes.

Unrelated problems, such as aging or dietary issues, can sometimes cause a reduced water intake and increased urination. You should investigate the cause of your dog’s abrupt disinterest in drinking as soon as possible while encouraging them to start drinking again.

The 8 Best Tips To Make Your Dog Drink Water

tips to make your dog drink water

1. Incentivize Your Dog To Drink Water

One of the simplest methods to help your dog drink water is providing positive reinforcement when they drink. If you plan to incentivize your dog to drink, you should wait until they’re done before offering a treat and praise.

Your dog may inadvertently learn to only take a sip or two before expecting a treat, so you should plan to repeat a command like “drink” until your dog has had a reasonable amount of water before offering any rewards.

2. Offer Your Dog a Water Fountain or Alternative Bowl

Depending on your dog’s preferences, there are plenty of different water bowls and fountains on the market you can use to incentivize them to drink.

Some dogs like drinking from the running water in fountains, while others prefer deep or wide dishes made from glass, metal, or ceramic. You can experiment by offering different bowls and fountains to determine your dog’s preference.

3. Give Your Dog Multiple Water Bowls To Choose From

Aside from offering different types of water bowls for your dog, you should place multiple bowls around other areas of the house so that your dog has complete freedom of choice.

For example, you could put a bowl in a busy and quiet area of the house and even place a bowl outside! This step is beneficial if you have a senior dog or one with chronic pain since they may feel hesitant to go to water bowls that are too far away. 

4. Add Ice Cubes to Your Dog’s Water

thirsty dog

There’s no doubt that dogs love variety. One of the best ways you can incentivize your dog to drink extra water is to add ice cubes to their bowl since they love the cold temperature of the cubes. If your dog is particularly dehydrated, the cool water will also help them regulate their internal temperatures — just ensure the water isn’t excessively cold. 

5. Flavor Your Dog’s Water With Broth or Fruit

If you want to encourage your dog to drink water, one of the best ways to make it enjoyable is to add delicious treats like broth, dog electrolyte solutions, lactose-free milk, and fruit like watermelon.

These treats will quickly get your dog’s attention, and it won’t be long before they form a habit of checking their water bowl to see if you’ve left anything yummy out (and once they’re there, they tend to drink water anyways). 

6. Give Your Dog Wet Food

While it doesn’t get your dog to drink water directly, one of the best things you can do to help hydrate your dog is to give them wet food. Dry dog food can dehydrate a dog since they need water to digest the food — and since it tends to be high in sodium and fats, it often draws even more water out of their system than necessary. You should consider changing your dog to wet food or hydrating their dry food with hot water if you intend to rehydrate them through food.

7. Sanitize Your Dog’s Water Bowl

Dogs have powerful senses of taste and smell, so if they notice anything foul in their water bowl, they may feel repulsed by drinking. If you notice that your dog seems hesitant to drink from a specific bowl, you should thoroughly soak and clean the bowl before offering it again to see if the cleanliness of the bowl is the underlying issue. 

8. Directly Offer Your Dog Water

If all other solutions have failed, you can turn drinking water into a bonding exercise to encourage your dog to drink. By offering fresh water from fun and unique sources like your cupped hands, bottled water, or even the garden hose, you may be able to pique your dog’s interest and encourage them to drink.

Should I Take My Dog to the Vet When They’re Not Drinking but Peeing?

Unfortunately, unless you can get your dog back to drinking regularly, you will need to take them to the vet when they’re drinking but not peeing. If they’re not taken to the vet quickly and put on IV fluids, they may develop severe dehydration in as little as 2 to 3 days. 

If they’re suffering from an underlying disease like diabetes or pancreatitis, the added dehydration due to the decreased water intake and increased urine output might be too much stress for them to survive.

You should watch closely for critical signs of dehydration, including sunken eyes, lethargy, and excessive licking of lips. If your dog is not drinking but still producing urine and refuses to drink within the next 24 hours, you should take them to the vet as soon as possible.

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Sara is an experienced veterinarian with a history of working in Veterinary Medicine, Client Education, Dogs, Pet Care, and Surgery. She is a strong healthcare services professional with a graduate degree from St. George's University. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.