Hydration is essential for all living things, your dog included. It keeps them healthy, maintains a good coat, and ensures they have enough energy for the day ahead.
The good news is that your dog will naturally drink as much as they need so long as you keep their bowl full.
However, some pups drink too fast, which can cause them to throw up right after drinking or cause health issues such as water intoxication.
Usually, there is a reason for this increase, such as diabetes or kidney failure, and that’s why talking to your vet is essential.
The answer is simple if you want to know how to slow a dog’s drinking water. You can get them an anti-gulp bowl, place a large object in the water dish, add some ice cubes, or limit their water supply. These are fantastic solutions.
The Negative Impact of Dogs Drinking too Fast
Drinking water too fast can negatively affect their health, and there are several reasons you should ensure that they aren’t slurping down their water at record speeds.
Canine bloat is one of the most concerning reasons, and it can become fatal quickly. When dogs eat or drink too fast, they ingest air that swells in their stomach and causes bloat.
There are two types of bloat to look out for:
- Gastric Dilation (GD) is when the stomach expands due to too much air and is relieved by pumping the stomach.
- Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) is when the stomach twists due to bloat and requires life-saving surgery to correct. It usually happens when a dog is too active after eating or drinking.
Dogs drinking too fast can also cause vomiting, or the water can be immediately regurgitated. It should be noted that dogs that vomit after drinking too much continuously are at risk of dehydration and a loss of electrolytes, which can be dangerous.
Water intoxication is also possible and can be referred to as hyperhydration. Excessive quantities of water can reduce the sodium levels in the body, which can be fatal.
Symptoms to watch out for if you are concerned are:
- Dilated pupils
Leading from this, hyperhydration can cause hyponatremia as a result of the cells and organs expanding in the body due to the excess fluid. It can lead to permanent brain damage and even death, requiring urgent treatment.
How to Slow Your Dog Down When Drinking
There are several ways you can help slow your dog down when drinking water, and these can be used instead of or in addition to our anti-gulp bowl suggestions in the next section.
First, you can try limiting their water supply. The main downside to this method is that you will need to ensure that you give them water little and often – meaning a lot of getting up for you and ensuring that your dog is drinking. It can be a pretty frustrating method, but worth a try.
Ice cubes can also be a good way forward. You can add these to the water bowl or give them the cubes instead of letting them have a water bowl. Both methods are effective and will result in slower drinking while keeping your canine friend hydrated.
Placing a large object in the bowl, such as a baseball or a large rock, can also help to reduce the speed at which they drink. The obstacle means they can’t drink at record speeds and slows them down so that there’s no more gulping, and they learn to pace themselves instead.
Using Anti-Gulp Bowls
While many bowls are marketed as anti-gulp and specifically for water, a slow-feeder bowl can be used similarly. These bowls are made with large objects and ridges to make it harder for your dog to eat or drink quickly – slowing down their intake.
You can also use elevated bowls to make life easier for your dog. This is perfect for dogs with long legs or necks as it means they don’t have to go so close to the ground, and the distance can cause them to gulp because they become panicked when trying to drink.
No-spill bowls can be a brilliant option as well. These limit the amount of water that rises from the bottom to the top, reducing the speed at which your dog drinks and creating less mess on the floor around them. It’s a win-win situation.
When You Should be Concerned
If your dog drinks too fast and excessively as part of their routine, you may need to take them to the vet for a checkup. This is because it could be part of a more severe health issue that requires urgent medical attention.
Some of the conditions that have excessive drinking as a symptom include:
- Kidney failure
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Medications (as a side-effect)
Excessive drinking can be fatal if left untreated, resulting in complications such as those listed in the first section of this guide. Always call your vet if you feel even a little concerned; they will be able to offer advice before you bring your dog in.
Why is my dog gulping water?
Your dog might be gulping water for various reasons, they could be thirsty after a long walk, or it could be a sign of something more serious such as diabetes or kidney failure. Call your vet for advice if your dog is gulping water regularly and drinking more than usual.
What should I do if my dog drinks too much water?
If your dog drinks too much water, it should be taken to the vet as soon as possible. An excessive amount of water can cause what is known as water intoxication – a condition that can prove fatal if left untreated. Therefore, if you are concerned, call your vet right away for advice.
Should you leave water out for a dog all day?
Your dog should have access to clean, fresh water all day, especially after meals or treats. However, you should remove water a couple of hours before bedtime so that you don’t get woken up in the middle of the night by a desperate dog to pee.
We understand how important your dog is to you, and ensuring they are drinking at a speed that is healthy for them is essential to their continued good health. However, it’s equally vital to understand the potential health issues connected with excessive drinking.
We hope this guide has helped you better understand your furry friend and gives you peace of mind. Some dogs are speedy drinkers; others might need a visit to the vet. Just remember, if you’re ever in doubt, the vet is only a phone call away, and they don’t mind.