Hydrating the hounds: identifying safe drinking water
Most dogs don’t detect if water sources are safe or unsafe. They’ll drink from any source, and in most instances there are no bad health effects. However, some water types can put them at risk of illness.
A dog can view a swimming pool as one giant water bowl. As most pools contain chlorine, train your dog not to drink from it. The additives can cause additional thirst, which may lead to excessive urination and dehydration. If you’re struggling to stop them from drinking from the pool, place their water bowl near it. Encourage them to drink from it and reward them when they do. They may then associate drinking from their bowl as something that results in treats.
It’s difficult to stop your dog drinking out of random puddles and you don’t know what could be lurking in that water. Bacteria, viruses, animal faeces, and parasites may all be present. If your dog does drink from puddles, watch for signs of illness, such as vomiting, diarrhoea, and dehydration. If you notice any, consult your vet.
Dogs don’t see any difference between their water bowl and the toilet bowl. While toilet cleaners are often diluted enough to avoid fatal issues, some toxins may still cause illness. Combat this problem by putting the toilet lid down and ensuring your pets have access to fresh water at all times.
Stagnant Lakes and Ponds
Fungi, algae, bacteria, and viruses can all be present in still water, due to a lack of circulation. These may cause various health problems in dogs, such as organ damage.
Even swimming in still water may cause issues, with skin rashes associated with algae-contaminated ponds and lakes. If they come into contact with such water, wash them immediately and watch for signs of illness.
How Much Water Should My Dog Be Drinking?
If your dog drinks from unconventional sources, or is a messy drinker, it can be hard to know just how much water they get daily. The amount they need depends on their size, activity level, diet, age, and even the weather.
A healthy dog generally should drink around 1-2mL per kg of body weight per hour, or up to 50mL/kg per day. Water is critical to your dog's health – keep water bowls filled up with a supply of fresh, clean water daily. While you may not be able to stop your dog from drinking elsewhere, you can certainly reduce how often it happens. If you're worried your dog is drinking too much, or too little, mention it to your vet.