Dogs have a sense of smell 40 times more developed than that of the human being so that they can be bothered by a smell of chlorine present in the tap water with which you fill his bowl. Sometimes it is enough to offer him water free of this smell to make the animal want to drink again. To do this, you can of course fill his bowl with bottled spring water (and not mineral water!) or let him “decant” tap water before serving it. To do this, pull tap water from a large carafe and let it stand at room temperature or in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before offering it to your dog. Since chlorine is relatively volatile, it will have time to evaporate.
You can also invest in an activated carbon water fountain that delivers fresh water that is constantly renewed and rid of its chlorine smell.
Also remember to put water bowls in several rooms of the house to encourage your dog to drink more and change the water from the bowls at least twice a day by emptying it completely each time so that it remains sufficiently clean and fresh. Use ceramic bowls to keep the water fresh longer.
Your dog is afraid of his water bowl
Your dog may refuse to drink if he made a bad association while drinking from his water bowl. This can happen if he has experienced fear or pain while drinking. The “bowl” object then became for him the object to flee and he will then seek to quench his thirst in fountains, in puddles or bodies of water or by licking the wet ground during his walks. It is then necessary to try to deconditioning it from his fear by “repositioning” its bowl. To do this, it is possible to change the bowl, place it in another part of the house and gradually bring it closer to the object that terrorizes it. Offer them play sessions around the object in question and sow treats around the object to encourage them to get closer. Then, little by little, place treats inside the bowl where you can leave a bottom of the water in order to gradually get him used to drink.
In the meantime, don’t leave your dog without drinking, but offer him water in other forms: ice cubes, cooked zucchini, watermelon (seedless variety) or gelled water to prevent him from becoming dehydrated. You can also use a pipette or syringe (with the needle removed, of course) to inject water directly into your pet’s mouth.
Some dogs can also be very sensitive to the noise their water bowl makes on the ground when they come to wash the water it contains. Remember to put a small carpet under the latter to prevent the dog from getting scared when he goes to drink.
It is also possible that your dog is not afraid of his water bowl but does not feel safe when he drinks if he is afraid of being vulnerable to attacks from another animal in the house (a cat, for example). Then offer him/her to drink in a place where he/she is safe, as well as in a room where the object of his/her fear does not have access.
A serious behavioral problem
A refusal to drink may be a sign of a real behavioral problem that only a veterinarian will be able to solve. This is particularly true in the case of acute depression following post-traumatic stress disorder or Stage III sensory deprivation syndrome in the young person.
A lack of thirst of the dog
A dog may not drink due to lack of thirst. When the dog does not feel this feeling much or more, it is called hypodipsia or adipsia. Neurological lesions with altered mechanisms for the onset of thirst may be at the origin. You should then consult your veterinarian to diagnose the origin of this problem.
The sensation of thirst may also diminish in older dogs. In order to restore the taste and the desire to drink to dogs who are getting older, bet on vegetables or fruits rich in water (cooked courgettes, watermelon…) but also on gelled water. You can also try flavoring its drinking water with little tuna juice in the natural, a few drops of fruit juice or a little bit of low-salt poultry broth.
Pain that prevents the dog from drinking
Your dog may finally refuse to hydrate due to the pain that prevents it from drinking. Any injury to the jaw or throat, as well as any oral problems, can make the act of drinking painful. If this is the case, it is imperative that you consult your veterinarian immediately.
Dog who doesn’t want to drink: the risks
Water is essential to the life of all living beings and the dog is obviously no exception to the rule!
The dog’s water requirements vary according to his body weight: they range from 140ml per day for a 1 kg dog to nearly 2.5 liters of water per day for a 50 kg dog! If your dog does not drink enough water, these hydric needs will not be covered and he may suffer from dehydration, the first signs of which are a Depression of the animal and persistence of the skinfold.
To check your pet’s hydration status, grab the skin and release it. The skin should normally return spontaneously to its original state. If the skin crease persists, this is a sign that your pet is dehydrated. Give him water with a syringe (no needle !) or pipette and contact your veterinarian promptly if your pet’s condition does not improve.