Some dogs instinctively know the right about of water to drink. Even as puppies, they hydrate to perfection. Others can have a. widely inappropriate idea of how much water they consume.
Over and under hydration can be a health problem for dogs. Are you worried your puppy might have a drinking problem?
Drinking the right amount of water is vital for dogs. It is particularly important for puppies. A puppy is growing and needs to have all their nutritional needs met.
They also need their internal systems to be running like a smooth machine. Adequate and appropriate hydration is a crucial component for a healthy puppy.
So is there an appropriate amount of water for a puppy to be drinking? What about an 8-month-old puppy who is entering a growth stage?
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How much water should a 8 month old puppy drink a day?
Puppies need to drink frequent amounts of small volumes of water. We need to monitor puppies and ensure they regularly drink. As they get older, puppies will drink more water in fewer sessions.
An 8-month-old puppy should drink around 30mL (1 ounce) of water per pound of body weight.
So a 6 kilogram (13 pound) 8-month-old puppy should drink up to 400mL of water (3 ounces) per day.
Don’t stress if your dog drinks a little more or a little less. But if your 8-month-old puppy is always thirsty – this can be a sign of a health issue.
The same is true in reverse as well – a dehydrated or under-hydrated dog can become very unwell.
What to do when a puppy doesn’t drink water?
A puppy that won’t need to drink water at all is a real problem. Their digestion and overall health will suffer significantly from this. Luckily there are some essential tips that owners of stubborn puppies swear by.
Even though some of these steps seem simple – try them all. Often the smallest of changes can be the tweak to the routine needed.
- The first thing to do is to make sure that the water available is clean. This goes further than just replacing the water in the bowl. Physically clean the container thoroughly and rinse it tomato sure there are ZERO traces of any cleaning products.
- Dogs have an incredibly highly attuned sense of smell. If something is triggering your dog’s nose to “not drink,” they will avoid the available water. A non-BPA plastic or stainless steel drinking bowl is ideal. These can be picked up on a budget and are virtually indestructible.
- Treat and reward your puppy when it successfully takes a drink. Positive reinforcement training is incredibly useful in achieving the desired behaviors. In other words, bribe your dog with treats whenever they drink.
- Spice things up by getting your dog water in alternative ways
- Supplement dry kibble with wet food (as this good contains water)Consider flavoring the water temporarily with some beef stock or safe dog flavors. Be mindful that stock has a lot of salt – not simply dissolve a stock cube in water. Give very very watered down flavors only consider ice cubes as a fun treat for a dog. My dog goes berserk when you give him an ice cube. It is one of his favorite surprise things to play with! Great for boosting the total water intake for a stubborn puppy AND even cooling down a dog in summer.
- Set of 2 stainless-steel food bowls for puppies, dogs, cats, or kittens
- Holds up to 38 ounces each; perfect for dry kibble, wet food, treats, or water
- Rust resistant; offers a healthy alternative to plastic; doesn’t hold odors
- No-tip design; rubber base protects floors and prevents bowls from sliding while your pet eats
- Dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning
How to tell if your puppy is dehydrated
- Look out for vomiting or diarrhea, as these are common causes of dehydration in puppies.
- Excessive panting and a dry tongue are other common signs (though an excited or tired dog will also pant lots)
- Do the skin test. Lightly grab the skin on the back of your dog’s neck. Stretch it out and see how the skin goes. If it goes back to its normal position quickly. This happens because healthy hydrated skin will return to its natural position immediately. When there is dehydration, we expect a decrease in the elasticity of the skin.
- For super fluffy dogs (like my wavy-haired miniature Labradoodle Max), it can be challenging to see the skin in this area.
- An alternative test is to check the gums. These gums of dogs are highly vascularised. This means there is ALOT of blood that flows into them. If you press on the pink part of the gums, they will actually blanch – which means that they turn white when you touch them.
- If you do this on a healthy dog, you would expect the whiteness to disappear within seconds as the blood rushes back to the area.
- Some dogs have heavily pigmented gums with black or dark skin. These gums will not show the blanching as quickly. For these dogs, see if you can find a pink gum area or try a different test.
- We have control of the liquid part of the water intake for dogs. If you suspect long term dehydration of your puppy – keep a water log diary.
- Fever is another symptom that can be caused by dehydration. Fever is such an essential symptom for so many health issues – you should promptly seek Veterinarian advice.
Does Your Puppy Have a Drinking Problem?
If a dog drinks too much water, then the overindulgence can actually cause harm also. At the extreme end, there is water toxicity caused by over drinking. At the lesser end, there is an excess of peeing and the chance that the kidneys and organs are overworked.
An over hydrated puppy will exhibit some of the following concerning symptoms. If you see any of these and do not resolve promptly, it is always worth consulting your veterinarian.
Common symptoms of puppy overhydration include
- Lethargy in a dog you do not expect to be so relaxed
- Nausea that cannot be otherwise explained
- Loss of coordination (critical to seek help)
- Pale gums or skin color
Be very cautious with a dog that loves the beach, lake, or pool. Some dogs that love to swim (like Goldendoodles or even the extra-large Bernedoodle) can actually drink a considerable amount of water while merely playing.
On a hot day, they can then feel dehydrated and overindulge when you do provide them with water.
If the volume being consumed seems out of character or inappropriate for the conditions – simply intervene.
Bonus tip for a puppy that won’t drink water
A puppy that simply won’t drink water can be an issue. An oddly practical tip for many stubborn dogs is to give them water from the hands. Allowing your dog to drink from your hands helps overcome any fear your puppy might have.
It is odd to consider – but some puppies actually become scared of drinking water. Some part of their previous experience was scary or unpleasant.
Offering water from the hands of a trusted and loved owner is a great way to overcome a puppy’s fear of the unknown.