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How to Help Your Dog Drink Slower

Hydration is essential for all living things, your dog included. It keeps them healthy, maintains a good coat, and also 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 do tend to drink too fast, and this 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. 

If you want to know how to slow down a dog drinking water, the answer is simple. 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 have a negative effect on their health, and there are several reasons why you should be ensuring 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). This is where the stomach expands due to too much air, and it is relieved by pumping the stomach. 
  • Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV). This is where 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. 

When dogs drink too fast it can also cause vomiting, or the water can be immediately regurgitated as a result. 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 it can also be referred to as hyperhydration. Excessive quantities of water can reduce the sodium levels in the body, and this can be fatal. Symptoms to watch out for if you are concerned are:

  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting 
  • Staggering
  • Dilated pupils 

Leading on 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, meaning that treatment is required urgently.

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. Now, 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 making sure 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 either add these to the water bowl or just give them the cubes instead of letting them have a bowl of water. Both methods are effective and will result in slower drinking while also 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 being anti-gulp, and specifically for water, a slow-feeder bowl can be used to the same effect. 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 who have 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 trying to drink. 

No-spill bowls can be a brilliant option as well. What these do is limit the amount of water that rises from the bottom to the top, reducing the speed at which your dog drinks and also creating less mess on the floor around them. It’s a win-win situation. 

When You Should be Concerned 

If your dog is drinking too fast and drinking excessively as part of their regular routine, you may need to take them to the vet for a checkup. This is because it could be part of a more serious health issue that requires urgent medical attention. 

Some of the conditions that have excessive drinking as a symptom include: 

  • Diabetes 
  • Kidney failure 
  • Kidney disease 
  • Cushing’s 
  • Cancer 
  • Liver disease 
  • Dehydration 
  • Medications (as a side-effect)

Excessive drinking can be fatal if it is left untreated, and it can result 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 a variety of 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. If your dog is gulping water regularly and drinking more than usual, make sure you call your vet for advice. 

What should I do if my dog drinks too much water? 

If your dog drinks too much water they 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? 

Absolutely, your dog should have access to clean, fresh, water all day – especially after their 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 dog who is desperate to pee.

To Conclude 

We understand how important your dog is to you, and making sure they are drinking at a speed that is healthy for them is essential to their continued good health. However, it’s equally vital that you understand the potential health issues that can be connected with drinking too fast. 

We hope that this guide has helped you to better understand your furry friend, and that it 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.