How to force a dog to drink water

Written by caroline jackson
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How to force a dog to drink water
Make sure your dog drinks plenty of fresh water. (dog image by Ramona smiers from

Dogs need clean water available at all times to stay healthy. A dog that refuses to drink water may have a serious health problem. Since lack of water can lead to dehydration, you must make sure your dog is drinking. Forcing a dog to drink is only a short-term solution. To be sure your dog doesn't have a urinary or digestive problem, an injury or other illness, take him to the veterinarian for a checkup.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Eyedropper or Syringe

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  1. 1

    Fill a clean bowl with fresh water.

  2. 2

    Hold your dog in your lap or sit next to him beside the water bowl.

  3. 3

    Pour a small amount of water from the bowl into your cupped palm.

  4. 4

    Touch the water in your hand to your dog's muzzle. If he refuses to drink, wet the area around his mouth. He will ingest small amounts of the water.

  5. 5

    Place the bowl close to the dog's nose if he shows interest in drinking more water.

  1. 1

    Fill a clean eyedropper or empty syringe with water.

  2. 2

    Hold your dog in your lap. Hold him securely, but pet and speak soothingly to him to keep him calm.

  3. 3

    Place the end of the eyedropper or syringe in the corner of your dog's mouth.

  4. 4

    Squeeze the dropper or depress the syringe to shoot water into your dog's mouth. Your dog will automatically swallow.

Tips and warnings

  • Your dog may not like his bowl--try thoroughly cleaning it with soap or replacing it.
  • Try giving your dog an ice cube. While he may not drink water in liquid form, he might enjoy munching on it frozen.
  • Give your dog bottled or filtered water instead of water from tap. If the water has an unpleasant or chemical-like smell or taste, your dog may refuse to drink it.
  • Mix water with your dog's regular canned or dry food. When he eats the food, he will also ingest some water.
  • Some dogs will drink water with a little milk mixed in. Speak to a veterinarian about this first, since milk may upset your dog's stomach.
  • Do not let your dog go for a long period of time without drinking water. The Dog Health Handbook warns that dehydration can lead to shock or death if left untreated.
  • Keep your dog calm when using the eyedropper or syringe so that he doesn't snap at or bite you.

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