My Dog Won’t Drink Water – Common Reasons

golden retreiver and water bowl

If your dog won’t drink any water, you’ll need to learn the reason why.

 It is important for them to stay hydrated throughout each day. If they aren’t getting enough water, their overall health will be at risk. In this article, we will explore some of the reasons for this behavior.

Why Is Water So Important for Dogs?

Water keeps your dog hydrated, which is absolutely essential to their overall health and well being. It also helps your dog digest its food properly, which is equally important. If your dog is not drinking enough water on a daily basis, it could experience joint problems. This can make it difficult for a dog to move around normally.

Why Your Dog Isn’t Drinking Water

If your dog isn’t drinking any water, there are several possible explanations that you need to be aware of.

1. Their Water Bowl is Dirty

If you haven’t cleaned your dog’s water bowl in a while, they may refuse to drink from it. While it might seem like your dog will put just about anything in its mouth, some are pickier than others.

It is important that you keep your dog’s water bowl clean for a number of reasons. This will encourage them to drink regularly so they stay hydrated. It will also reduce the chances of your dog getting sick from contaminated water. Your dog could get a bacterial infection when drinking from a tainted water bowl.

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2. Urinary Tract Infection

Some dogs that contract a urinary tract infection do not drink water because they know it will make them urinate, which causes them pain. Older female dogs are usually the ones that get UTIs, but dogs of any age or sex can contract them.

There are a few other signs of a UTI to look for in your dog, including:

  • Whining or yelping when urinating
  • Blood in urine
  • Peeing inside of the house
  • Difficulty standing during urination

A urinary tract infection can usually be treated fairly easily with the right medication. It is important that you take your dog to the vet if you notice these symptoms. The sooner you do this, the more likely it is that the infection can be taken care of without any complications.

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3. Oral Pain

If your dog has a tooth that is bothering it, they might not drink any water due to the pain. Periodontal disease is not uncommon among dogs, and it can be very painful for these animals. Make sure that you look inside your dog’s mouth to check for swollen gums or broken teeth. 

This could very well be the reason that your pooch is not drinking any water. If this is the case, they probably won’t be eating much either. A trip to your vet will reveal whether or not this is the cause.

Your dog could also have oral cancer, which can also be very painful. It might cause them to stop eating and/or drinking water. You might be able to see a tumor inside your dog’s mouth. Just because there is no tumor visible doesn’t mean they don’t have mouth cancer.

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4. Lack of Exercise

Dogs typically drink a lot of water after they are done exercising. If your dog isn’t getting enough exercise each day, they may be less inclined to drink water. Regular physical activity is crucial for all dogs. It helps with maintaining a healthy weight and keeping them in shape, which is important for many reasons.

If you’ve gotten a bit lazy and stopped taking your dog for regular walks, you’ll want to start doing so again. It is crucial that you stay on top of this for the sake of your dog’s health. Once you stop taking your dog out on a regular basis, they are more likely to gain weight. This puts them at an increased risk of diabetes and other serious health issues.

5. They Are in a Strange/New Place

Dogs sometimes refrain from eating or drinking water when they are in a strange place they aren’t familiar with. This is fairly common with dogs that are in a new home. It might take a day or so before your dog feels comfortable enough to start doing what it normally does.

6. Kidney Disease

Kidney disease is just one of many serious illnesses that can cause a dog to stop drinking water altogether. Some dogs with this illness drink more water while others drink less. It all depends on the nature of their condition.

Some of the other symptoms of kidney disease in dogs include:

  • Lethargic behavior
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Constipation

Depending on how far along your dog’s kidney disease is, it could be treated. This is a determination that your veterinarian will have to make after running the appropriate tests.

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7. Rabies

When any animal or human has a rabies infection they are afraid to drink water because their body refuses to take it. As long as this disease is extremely dangerous and their no cure for any alive form including people you should immediately go to vet to check up your dog.

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Encouraging Your Dog to Drink Water

While you should never force your dog to drink water, there are certain things you can do to encourage it. Make sure that you always keep their water bowl clean and free of dust and other contaminants.

It is also important that you make sure your dog is getting enough exercise each day. A nice long walk is usually enough to encourage almost any dog to drink a good amount of water.


  • If your dog is not drinking any water at all, there is a problem that needs to be addressed right away.
  • Water is crucial for keeping your dog hydrated and healthy as a whole.
  • There is a chance that your dog is not drinking water because its bowl is dirty/contaminated.
  • Your dog may not drink any water if it is experiencing oral pain from a broken tooth or even mouth cancer.
  • A lack of exercise is sometimes the cause of a dog that won’t drink water. Make sure that you take your dog out for at least one long walk each day.
  • Kidney disease can also cause a dog to not drink water.
  • If your dog is in a new place that it’s not familiar with, it could avoid drinking water or even eat altogether.