Why Won’t My Dog Drink Water But Will Eat?

Recently, you may notice that your dog disregards water but finishes their food. If your dog has done this repeatedly, it is a cause for concern. Water is essential for maintaining normal body functions in both humans and animals. If the dog goes without water for several days, they risk dehydration, proving fatal if left untreated.

So, why do dogs avoid drinking water? There are several reasons that may cause dogs to go without water that we will cover below. We will also provide reliable solutions to help your dog get back on track. If all fails, the vet is just a phone call away.

Top Reasons For Your Dog Possibly Not Drinking Water

Dogs are not crazy; they don’t wake up in the morning and decide not to drink water. There has to be a significant reason for keeping your pooch away from water, even on a hot day. Some of these reasons are easily manageable, but some you may require professional help to sort out.

Bad Associations

If you have just adopted a dog, they may refrain from drinking water because there is a negative memory behind it. It may be as simple as a loud noise that scares the dog into a flight response, so every time you present the drinking bowl, they remember the noise and cower away.

If the dog stopped drinking the water after a specific day, think about what happened during that day to establish the exact cause. If it is fear-related, consult a behavioral expert or trainer and get some tips on how to handle the situation.

Old Water

Dogs are messy; hence their water is not always crystal clear. In fact, dogs can drink water that we humans may find questionable, like water from the toilet bowl. However, if you see that a dog approaches the bowl, sniffs it, and walks away, there is definitely something wrong with the water.

Clean the bowl and put some freshwater to see if the dog will respond. If it does not drink the water, then there must be another reason.

Change In The Water

The same taste buds that dogs use to identify delicious food are the same taste buds responsible for identifying different water tastes. If you just moved to a new area, the dog may hesitate to drink the water because it tastes different. Different locations have different water companies that use different water treatment methods. 

Dogs do drink water from the swimming pool, although experts advise against it. If the drinking water you present to the dog has a chemical-ridden smell, then your dog won’t even touch it. Introduce water from a different source and see if the dog will drink it without issues.


Urinary tract infections usually start subtlety and become more painful as the days go by. Dogs, just like humans, can suffer from bladder and urinary tract infections. These infections cause the dog to experience pain while urinating, and because the dog doesn’t want to feel pain, it will hold off on urinating.

Dogs holding off on urinating means that they reduce their water intake. Dogs are smart animals; hence if you notice that the water intake has reduced coupled with symptoms like whimpering during urination and cloudy urine, it’s time to see the vet. Some dogs do not show symptoms of these urinary tract infections, so you may want to rule out all other causes before settling on the UTI as a factor.

The Weather

During cooler temperatures, dogs may reduce their water intake because they are not thirsty as they are not as very active. It is not easy to notice the amount of water in the bowl lowers if the dog takes two or three licks. 

You might assume they are not drinking water, but they only take the little they need. As long as the dog has not stopped taking water completely, there is hope that it is not a major problem.

Stress And Anxiety

When we are stressed, food and water are the last things in our minds. When it comes to dogs, this is also the case because they have the capacity to get stressed. There are many reasons why a dog could be stressed or anxious such as a new environment, the owner leaving for long periods, or even losing a loved one. Please find a way to reduce the stress or anxiety the dog feels so that it can return to normal.

Oral Pain

Oral issues may cause the dog not to drink water. It may be weird that they can eat and not drink water because they use the same mouth. However, some mouth infections cause the dog to produce excessive saliva. The excess saliva may feel uncomfortable while drinking water compared to eating; thus, they refrain. 

Also, sensitive teeth can prevent the dog from drinking water as the temperature difference causes them pain.


While this is not a significant cause, it may factor in why your dog is not taking water. A dog that is overfed and lacks exercise will develop lethargy after a while. A lazy dog will find it bothersome to find the drinking bowl unless it is very thirsty. Sometimes, old dogs face this problem, which is why regular exercise is essential no matter how little.

If they exercise more, they eat more and get thirstier, forcing them into drinking some water.


Reducing water intake is normal, but completely refraining from drinking water should signal a bigger problem. If you have ruled out all the other reasons above, then maybe your dog requires medical attention. Take the dog to the vet to rule out any kidney or severe bladder issues that are not UTI-related.

How to Fix The Issue

The fact that your dog is eating is a good indication that the issue is not too bad because sick dogs rarely eat. You can try to use these few tricks to keep the dog hydrated and prevent further issues like sunken eyes and thick saliva.

Mix Dry And Wet Food

Your dog might be stubborn and refuse even to lick the water, but since they are eating, use this chance to introduce some water into their system. Most dogs are fed dry food because it is affordable and easy to keep for longer compared to canned food. If your dog only eats dry food, try and mix it in with wet canned food.

Pick something that you know the dog enjoys, like chicken or beef, to entice them into eating the entire meal. If your dog enjoys consuming wet food, place them on a wet food diet for a while to keep them hydrated as you solve the drinking water issue.

Introduce Flavored Water With Electrolytes

Using flavored water is an excellent way to ensure the dog gets some water in its system. Since they neglect regular water, you can try flavored water to see if they like it. At least if they drink the water with electrolytes, you rest easy knowing that their system is balanced to reduce dehydration. Water with electrolytes does not have a lot of sugar which is perfect for a picky dog.

Moist Snacks

Just like with the main food, letting the dog snack on moist snacks like apples, cucumbers, and watermelon is beneficial. Be sure that the snacks you give the dog are safe to prevent vomiting and diarrhea, which will worsen dehydration.


Delicious broth made of beef and chicken should lure the dog into drinking it. Broth is mostly water, so it will be good for the dog. Do not present the dog with hot broth because the heat may dissuade them from drinking it. Give the bowl of broth to the dog when it’s cooled, and you can put a piece or two of meat to make the bribe even better.

Change The Location

If your dog has a negative relationship with the bowl in place, change the bowl’s location. Maybe the new surroundings will motivate the dog to forget about the negative associations. When you change the location, you might want to change the drinking bowl too. Do not pick the same color as the previous one because the dog will notice and get anxious all over again.

Consult The Vet

The vet is your best bet in identifying why your dog will not drink water. If your dog presents other symptoms that you cannot diagnose, take the pet to the vet. Quick bloodwork or a stool test should be a fast way of ruling out any major illnesses. Even if the reason behind drinking water is psychologically related, the vet will recommend working solutions or refer you to a specialist.


There is a lot of patience that goes into persuading your dog to drink water. Do not give up; persist because water is life. The sooner they get back to drinking water, the sooner you can relax and go about other businesses. Keep monitoring the dog closely until they regain their water drinking habits to normal.

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