6 Tricks to Help Your Pet Drink More Water

Staying hydrated is important for dogs and cats, too.

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Water is an important part of health for you—but it’s also important for your pets. Usually, cats and dogs will instinctively drink enough water, but there are certain reasons they might neglect their water dish. If that seems to be happening in your home, there are little tricks to help your pet drink more water.

Encouraging Your Pet to Drink More Water

Some of these tricks to help your cat or dog drink more water are common sense. Others are subtle ways to coax your pet into returning to their water dish. Either way, these ideas can help them avoid health problems from poor hydration.

1. Make sure the water is fresh and clean

Your dog might put disgusting things in their mouth, so you may be surprised that they’re picky about their water quality. Pets may be turned off by dusty, dirty water. (Wouldn’t you?) Even if it doesn’t look visibly dirty, your pet may be able to taste if it’s a few days old.

2. Make sure the dish is clean, too

You might be refilling their bowl with fresh water regularly. However, a dirty dish leads to dirty water. You might notice some grime and slime building up on the bottom of the water bowl. That’s why you need to wash it with water and dish soap regularly. (FYI, pet dishes are one of the germiest spots in the house.)

3. Try a different dish altogether

You know that water from a plastic bottle tastes different than tap water in a glass. Your pets can tell the difference, too, and they might have a strong preference. Experiment with bowls made of different materials: glass, steel, ceramic, plastic, etc.

4. Move the water dish

Many cats and dogs like to have their water dish next to their food dish—but not all. Try moving the dish, or adding additional dishes, to other spots that might be convenient for them. Your pet might drink more water if there’s a bowl near their favorite bed, out in the yard, or in a quiet room in the house. If your pet is skittish, avoid placing the dish near a noisy or high-traffic area.

5. For cats, try a water fountain

Many cats prefer to drink flowing water (yet another mystery of cats). If your cat neglects their water dish, try getting them a cat water fountain. Look for one with a filter (and make sure to change it regularly according to the instructions).

6. Check with your veterinarian

As previously mentioned, dogs and cats usually drink enough water by instinct. If they’re not drinking enough water—and you’ve tried the above tips—it might signal a bigger health problem. This medical problem might need treatment, and early treatment can often help prevent the problem from worsening.

You’ve taught your dog how to “stay.” Now, make sure they can “stay hydrated.”