All dog owners have probably watched their pets gulp down food or water so quickly that they get sick. We think all dog lovers have experienced this at least once or twice.
There are other good reasons to figure out how to slow down a dog drinking water beyond the annoyance of cleaning up a mess.
Gulping down water too fast can make a dog sick right away, but it can also cause more serious problems.
Let’s look at how to slow down dog drinking water habits to help keep your dog healthier.
Why You Should Slow Down Dog Drinking Water?
Dogs drinking water too fast can cause a few different problems that no pet owner wants to see.
We mentioned this at the beginning of the article, but this is an excellent reason to slow down your dog’s drinking.
Vomiting can cause dehydration. It’s not likely that your dog will get dehydrated from vomiting once after drinking water or eating too fast. But if your dog does it constantly and throws up a lot, they’re not getting the hydration and nutrients they need.
Watch for signs like lethargic behavior, lack of urination or bowel movements, and a dry nose and mouth. These are signs of dehydration and nutrient deficiency, which require a call to your veterinarian.
Choking and Coughing
If you’ve ever watched your pet gulp down water and accidentally inhale some, you’ll want to figure out how to slow down your dog when drinking water.
Many people may have experienced this, and it’s the worst feeling. You can’t stop coughing because you inhaled something, and your lungs are desperately trying to get it out.
Watching a dog cough because they gulped water and inhaled a little is uncomfortable. And it certainly isn’t any fun for the dog.
In some cases, it can lead to a lung infection called aspiration pneumonia which will require veterinary care like antibiotics and other medications. In severe cases, your dog may need IV fluids and oxygen.
Many people aren’t aware that too much water is not good for humans or dogs. Unfortunately, people who have taken part in hydration challenges and drank too much water too fast have died.
When someone, or a dog, drinks too much water too fast, the kidneys can’t keep up with eliminating the water. It accumulates in the body to abnormal levels, and this extra fluid dilutes the amount of sodium and other electrolytes in the blood.
When those levels drop too low, hyponatremia occurs. The symptoms are typically headache, vomiting or the urge to vomit, fatigue, bloating, swollen feet and hands, confusion, and a generally altered mental state.
Dogs that drink too much and too fast can show these symptoms. Typically, they’ll have dilated pupils, and they might stagger when trying to walk. Vomiting, lethargy, and confusion are other signs in dogs.
Hyponatremia is a severe and often fatal condition that requires immediate treatment. To set your mind at ease, it’s not likely your dog will suffer from this from merely drinking water, though it’s possible in extreme cases.
Most dogs with this condition have played in the water, like at a beach or river, and ingested a lot while playing. If your dog does drink excessively, it’s a good idea to at least watch for the signs.
Canine bloat is much more common than hyponatremia and is also potentially fatal.
Bloat occurs when dogs swallow large amounts of air, typically while gulping water or food.
This condition is always fatal if it’s untreated. Preventing bloat is vital because 30% of dogs who develop bloat will die.
When a dog’s stomach fills with air, it blocks the blood flow coming back to the heart from the legs and abdomen. The blood stays in the dog’s hindquarters, dramatically reducing the amount of blood volume in the rest of the body, sending the dog into shock.
The stomach can bloat and shift enough to pull the pancreas and spleen out of position and cut off their blood supply. Toxins accumulate, and some can even instantly stop the dog’s heart.
Signs of bloat include restlessness, retching, a distended abdomen, and excess saliva. The condition is painful, so touching or pressing on the stomach could cause the dog to whine.
If you haven’t yet figured out how to slow down your dog while drinking water and see signs that could be bloat, take your dog immediately to an emergency veterinarian. Bloat is a medical emergency that can be fatal quickly.
How to Slow Down Dog Drinking Water?
Fortunately, you can do a few things to slow down your dog’s drinking. These methods can help prevent annoying vomiting and more severe conditions like hyponatremia and bloat.
Elevated Food and Water Bowls
Large dogs are more likely to suffer from bloat than small ones because they have to bend down to drink and may gulp the water to fight gravity. Elevated bowls let them eat and drink at a more natural level.
Because they’re not trying to draw food and water up, they gulp less and will ingest less air.
Most dogs love chewing on ice cubes. You can give your dog less water to drink and provide them with several ice cubes throughout the day instead. Don’t completely replace water with ice cubes, but use them for a portion of your dog’s daily water.
You can give them by hand if you don’t mind the mess. Or you can put the ice cubes in your dog’s water bowl. Don’t use this method if your dog has a habit of swallowing the cubes whole.
Offer Less Water at One Time
Always try this as a first course of action to slow down a dog’s drinking. There’s an automatic limit to how much dogs can drink if you give less water at one time.
Slow Feeding and No-Spill Bowls
You can purchase a unique food bowl for your dog called a slow feeding bowl. Slow feeder bowls have little maze-like obstructions that force a dog to slow down to get the food out of the small compartments.
You can use these bowls for water in the same way as food. And you can make a slow drinking bowl by putting an object that’s too large to swallow into the bowl, like a baseball or something they have to drink around.
No-spill water bowls typically have a floating disc and a smaller opening at the top that keeps less water at the bowl’s surface and can help, too.
Why Is Your Dog Drinking Too Fast?
Using some of these methods, you can figure out how to slow down your dog’s drinking water habits. But don’t forget to look at why your dog drinks too fast.
If your dog drinks water too fast, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a problem. But it could be because of too much salt in your dog’s food. Your dog’s medications can also affect thirst, so ask about those side effects.
Drinking a lot of water very fast can signify some health conditions like diabetes. Monitor your dog to see if they just happen to be a fast drinker or if it could be a sign of something else.
Figuring out how to slow down dog drinking water habits is vital for your dog’s well-being. Do what you can to slow them down and keep them from gulping air or making themselves sick so your dog can stay healthy and happy.