How To Get A Sick Dog To Drink Water: 10 Simple Tips & Tricks

dehydration in dogs

Every dog owner understands the importance of keeping a sick dog hydrated. However, getting them to actually drink can prove to be difficult.

When dogs get sick, they usually stop drinking water. This can lead to dehydration, which can be a serious problem for your dog. 

How do you make a sick dog drink water?

First, you should add flavoring and ice cubes to make the water more appetizing or get dog electrolytes to keep them hydrated. Also, give it at set times during the day. Drink up! 

Use these top 10 tips to get your sick down to drink water right away. By the way, you can also search for informative things about your puppy in our comprehensive Dogology Blueprint.

Tips on Making a Sick Dog Drink

If you are struggling, here are some tips on how to get your dog to drink more water and stay hydrated:

1. Offer your dog a bowl of water.

When dogs get sick, dehydration can quickly become an issue because these furry friends might refuse food and drink because of illness or pain associated with vomiting & diarrhea. 

Some people think that giving a bowl of cold soup would be better than plain old H2O. 

However, it is recommended to stick with offering the liquid to avoid any potential complications. 

An example of this is heart failure, which could result from sudden changes in diet during sickness.

2. Try adding some ice cubes to the water if the dog doesn’t seem interested in drinking.

If your pup doesn’t seem interested in drinking, try adding ice cubes to the water. 

Try to coax him into drinking by adding some ice cubes that will melt in the water bowl which should make the water more appealing. 

They’ll help keep his mouth cool and hydrated. If he still doesn’t seem interested, then call your vet ASAP!

3. Place some wet food on top of the bowl and place it near your pet’s mouth so they can eat while they drink.

For a safe and clean way to feed your dog while they drink, place some wet food on top of the water bowl. 

You can use wet, soft foods like canned tuna or chicken and dry kibble that won’t become soggy (such as a biscuit). 

The pieces should be small enough so that they don’t fall into the water but should be large enough for them to be accessible without problems.

4. Incorporate your dog’s dry food with dog food with much water.

Incorporating a few changes in their diet is an easy way to help prevent dehydration for pets. 

This is certain if water bowls are too high or challenging to reach from where you leave them after you feed him. 

Putting water in empty water bowls next to their normal feeding dishes will also make them more likely to drink from both sources!

5. If your dog seems thirsty, try filling their dish with fresh cold water from the tap rather than warm or hot water.

There are several benefits to giving your dog cold water

For example, it can help reduce the risk of bloating and other digestive issues that come from gulping too much warm liquid in one sitting. It’s also more refreshing on these super-hot summer days than traditional iced water! 

To get a better idea about how much water your puppy should be drinking, read this helpful guide.

6. Put tap water in your dog’s water bowl.

Tap water is much better for your dog than the hotter variety. 

It ensures that they stay cool, hydrated, and happy! The water is the best way to ensure a healthy drink of cold refreshing H2O for our four-legged friends.

7. Keep an eye out for signs that you may need to take your pet to see a veterinarian such as vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight loss, and more.

Every pet owner knows that a healthy and happy pet is just what every household needs. 

However, there are some signs to look out for if you want to make sure your furry friend remains as spry as can be. 

For instance, if you notice vomiting or diarrhea, it’s important not only to care for them at home but also to take the next step of getting their stomach checked out by a professional veterinarian who could prescribe an antibiotic that will help make things better!

Observing your dog for sickness signs that you may need to take your pet to see a veterinarian can help avoid major problems.

Some common symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and weight loss.

Therefore, it is important not only to know the warning signals but also when they typically happen depending on what type of animal you have.

8. Give them a little water at first and gradually increase how much you offer them until they are back up to the normal amount drank per day.

The best way to get your sick pup back up on their paws is by slowly reintroducing water into the diet. Instead of giving them a sizeable amount at first, start checking how much they drink throughout the day. 

The next thing you should do is to increase that number gradually until it matches what you normally offer per day.

9. Encourage your dog to drink fresh water to curb dehydration.

Giving a sick, recovering, or older pup small amounts of fresh drinking water can help keep him hydrated and healthy!

The gradual increase in how much he drinks until he is back up to normal is very important in his recovery.

10. See a veterinarian if you have tried everything, but he is not drinking enough.

Allow your pup to see his vet if his water consumption is low, or he does not drink enough water. Contact or visit the vet immediately to prevent any disease from getting worse.

Importance of Drinking Water for a Sick Dog

So why is it critical to make your pet drink water when he is sick?

Canines are just like people in that they need fluids when they get sick or have diarrhea. They need water mainly because of the following reasons:

Water Flushes Toxins

Water helps flush toxins out of the body as well as relieves any discomfort from vomiting or constipation which dogs typically experience after eating something bad while scavenging for food scraps on our sidewalks!

Water Replenishes Body Fluids

It’s important for your dog to drink water when they’re sick because their body needs fluid. When a dog becomes sick, it is important to keep them hydrated with lots of water. 

This will help flush their system and relieve their symptoms.

Water is Necessary for Survival

Dogs can’t survive without drinking, so make sure that you get them a fresh bowl of cool water and encourage them to take frequent sips throughout the day! 

If your pup refuses to eat or drink on her own, it may be time for some veterinary intervention.


Here are some of the commonly asked questions on getting a sick dog to drink:

How long can a dog go without water when sick?

Can you imagine being so sick that your appetite goes away? How could food be appealing to someone who isn’t feeling well at all?   

The same thing happens with water—it’s hard enough for a healthy person, but when an animal is in the throes of sickness, it becomes even more difficult to drink anything alone and hydrate themselves properly!   

That may be why dogs can go as long as three days without water and still survive; they are masters of fasting for emergencies like these! Make sure to put liquid in their water bowls.

What can I give my dog for dehydration?

Your best bet for prevention is always drinking plenty of fluids, but if your sick dog seems dehydrated, there are a few things you can do.

Offer him water or electrolyte-rich foods like fruit juices, canned pumpkin puree (with no added sugar), and cucumber slices dipped in chicken broth. If she doesn’t drink these liquids either, then call the vet right away!

In addition, it’s important that they stay cool since dogs don’t sweat as we humans do, so make sure their environment is not too warm. Encourage your dog to drink water no matter what.

And finally, avoid strenuous exercises, which will only exacerbate any dehydration problems.


Why will my dog eat but not drink water?

Animal experts say that many dogs have a natural instinct to conserve water when they are thirsty.   

So it is important for owners of such pets not only to provide plenty of fresh drinking options but also to keep an eye on the animal’s behavior.   

For example, if you notice your pet has been eating and urinating more than usual or seems otherwise out-of-sorts, then take them in for a veterinary exam as soon as possible before kidney failure sets in!

Do dogs like to be alone when sick?

Dogs can be very independent animals and often see human interaction as a form of punishment, making them feel guilty about their illness.   

Mental health is just as important to dogs as it is for people. Being left alone after feeling sick could leave your dog with feelings of isolation or depression that would only worsen the condition.

Can I flavor my dogs water?

Well, it depends. Some dogs are sensitive to sugar and can have an adverse reaction or be unable to digest the flavored drink at all.   

If your pup is healthy, then feel free!   

You could mix in some coconut oil for extra benefits of a rich source of energy with omega-3s fatty acids, antioxidants, and Vitamin E that promote good skin health too!    Put all these in his water bowls.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to your dog, health is the most important thing – just like humans. 

If you notice your pup isn’t drinking or eating as much as they usually do, try these tips and tricks for getting them hydrated again! 

You know now how to get your sick dog to drink water. Remember that many pets are picky eaters when they’re not feeling up to snuff so keep trying the tips above until you find something that works for you.


  1. My dog just stopped drinking out of her bowl one day. Its been months now. I have to out water in her kibble. I get in about 7 oz water a day though she should have about 10. Im hoping she gets the rest from fruits and veggies I give as treats. She seems healthy, no idea what happened?????

  2. My dog won’t drink or eat , I’m trying to find a effective way to give him Pedialyte however he is not responding to induce and liquids and has been vomiting and diarrhea for the last 18/20 hours.

    1. My dog did same. wouldn’t eat drink water and lost so much weight. We got him checked it was pneumonia . started his treatment today. :( hope your dog is feeling better.

      1. What did they do for him? I was told on Friday my dog had pneumonia and I’ve been giving him an antibiotic, but nothing seems to be helping and he will not drink or eat.

  3. My dog is usually hyper 24/7…I played ball with him this morning and he was fine… Later I realized he was just laying around a lot and I thought I wore him out for once but then he got sick He finally drank a tiny bit of water but isn’t even interested in his treats… I’m worried

  4. My Frenchie was fine went and got shots Tuesday and has fecal test. They said my dog had gi issues and gave medication, first she was eating and drinking but as of yesterday she only drank and didn’t eat. Today she hasn’t eaten or drinking anything I’m wondering if the medication has irritated her stomach. I tried cold water, ice cubes and she still not drinking but she did vomit the last 2 days. I’m lost I feel so bad.

  5. Our dog is 15 years old and has stopped eating or drinking. I’ve been giving her water using a dropper. she did drink from her bowl a little. She still pees but since she’s not eating there’s nothing much to poop. She’s also having a hard time standing and walking. Mostly lays around and sleeps most of the day. We have to carry her around. Today it was warm and I laid her blanket out to get some outdoor time. She seemed to like it. I also massage her especially her limbs since it may be arthritis. We’ve tried the chicken and rice, chicken and beef broth, wet food, wetting dry kibble, goat milk, mashed sweet potato, and it has all failed. She also won’t eat her treats. She was at the vet a couple weeks ago and after the tests the vet only said it might be her liver or kidneys. Pretty worthless and that was $300. prescribed some medicine to entice her to eat. Another $50 and she hates it. She may be ready to travel over the rainbow but we want to help her as much as we can in the meantime. So I will try some of these things to get more fluid in her. Like fruit and fruit juice. Thanks.

    1. Thanks so much Cass @ (December 15, 2022 at 10:53pm post) for your reply. Comfort me some as my dog is 15 years old and has the exact same symptoms to your entire post. Took her to the vet as well was told the same thing her kidney and spent the same amount $300. I’m just loving on her and trying to get her more fluids as well. It’s go to know that we all are not no alone. Thanks

    2. Going through the exact same thing with my 12 yo pup right now and it’s heart breaking, I think it may be near time to make the hardest decision I can imagine. I hope your pup and you found peace after all this. Sending good thoughts your way!

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