5 min read

Why Doesn't My Dog Drink Water Right After A Walk?



Dogs love walks! Getting all four paws moving and exploring new places is exciting, especially when it’s with their furvorite human. And while exercise can certainly make a pup thirsty, some dogs definitely gulp down more water after a walk than others.

So, what if your dog doesn’t drink any water right after a walk? Is something wrong with them? While your dog may have their reasons why they aren’t racing to the water bowl, there may not be anything strange going on.  

Let’s take a look at the reasons why a dog may refuse to drink after a walk, but first, let’s see how much water they need to drink in the first place. 

How much water should a dog drink?

Our bodies are composed of a lot of water, and the same is true for our dogs. Water helps regulate a dog’s body temperature, delivers vital nutrients, and assists with digestion. And if a dog doesn’t drink enough water, they could become dehydrated which could lead to serious medical conditions like organ failure if not treated. So, just how much water is enough?

On average, a dog should be drinking about 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. This means that for a dog weighing 65 lbs, they should be consuming 65 ounces of water daily. That equals about a ½ gallon or 8 cups of water.

But before you get out the measuring cup and start to carefully dole out water to your pup, you’ll need to take into consideration a lot of factors that can change this average amount. For instance, if your dog eats mostly moist foods, such as canned or homemade food, they will get some of that water in their meals. Likewise, if they are on a dry kibble only diet, they may actually need more than the average amount of water to stay properly hydrated. Other factors can influence a dog’s thirst and water intake too.

Why would a dog refuse to drink water?

If your dog isn’t drinking water like you think they should, it could be concerning. But there are several factors that could cause your dog to drink less water daily, or even refuse to drink water when offered. These can include:

  • Age – Older dogs generally drink less than young or adult dogs.
  • Temperature – Dogs may drink less in cooler temperatures, such as during winter.
  • Activity level – Sedentary dogs require less water than whose who exercise.
  • Medications – Certain medications, such as steroids, can affect how much water a dog needs.
  • Excitement – An excited, panting dog will lose moisture through the panting, and will need to rehydrate.
  • Stress – Anxiety and stress, such as from travel or a new experience, can decrease a dog’s water intake.
  • Health – Some medical issues or illnesses can cause a decrease in water consumption, such as nausea or dental issues, including pain or injury.
  • Diet – Moist diets give dogs water in their meals, causing them to drink less.
  • Water bowl – Some dogs can be picky, and simply prefer not to drink water out of certain materials.
  • Water – Water from different sources can taste different, and could sway a dog to drink or not drink. And any contamination can dissuade a dog completely from consuming that water.

And sometimes, a dog just doesn’t want to drink water at that moment.

Should a dog drink water after a walk?

Now that we’ve seen that dogs need to drink enough water daily to stay hydrated and healthy, and how much on average they should be consuming each day, what about when they get home from a walk?

Should dogs drink water right after exercise? While a lot of dogs will dive in to the water dish the moment it’s in view, others may hesitate- and this is normal. Sometimes, they need to catch their breath before they get a drink, and this is actually a good thing.

You should be cautious in letting your dog drink water right after exercise, as they can drink too much, and this could actually be toxic. An over-consumption of water can lead to hyponatremia, or an imbalance of sodium to water in the bloodstream which can cause the body’s cells to swell with excess water, including the brain cells. If not treated, the swelling in the brain can lead to serious neurological issues, including seizures.

During walks, its better and safer to offer small amounts of water along the walk to keep them hydrated, and then a small amount when the walk is over. Don’t refill the water bowl right away, just let your dog rest, and then offer more water later. This way, you can monitor their water intake and insure they aren’t gulping down too much at one time. It's also important to always give your dog clean, fresh water, especially when exercising.

Why Doesn't My Dog Drink Water Right After A Walk?

How to encourage your dog to drink more water

If your dog is not drinking enough water each day to stay hydrated and healthy, don’t despair! We’ve got you covered with these tips on how to encourage your dog to drink more water!

Always provide fresh, clean water

  • Replace water with fresh, clean water daily.
  • Clean water bowls daily too!
  • Put out multiple bowls of water throughout the house.
  • Invest in a pet drinking fountain which circulates fresh water constantly and filters out any gunk or sediment.
  • Be sure water is available to your dog 24/7, and is 
  • Always keep water fully accessible. Raise water bowl up off the floor on a short stand for arthritic or taller dogs.

Change things up

  • Try different bowls made with a variety of materials to see what kind your dog likes best.
  • Provide your dog different kinds of water to see if they like one better, such as tap, distilled or spring water.
  • Drop ice cubes in their water to cool it down, or give them ice cubes to chew or lick.
  • Dip your fingers in water and let your dog lick them, or cup your hand for a small, personalized bowl just for them.

Entice your dog with delicious flavors 

  • Add chicken, beef or bone broth, or even tuna water, to their water or food to make it super tasty.
  • Feed your dog a wet food, such as canned food, or homemade raw or cooked food which automatically adds moisture to their diet.
  • Make your dog a yummy smoothie they are sure to lap up! You can even freeze them in trays for a cool treat.

Make hydrating rewarding

  • Freeze treat-holding dog toys with water inside instead.
  • Reward your dog when they do drink water with tasty treats.

Hydration for a healthy life

For dogs who don’t feel like drinking water right after a walk, give them a minute and they’ll eventually take a drink when they are ready. Some dogs may be more tempted with our tips and tricks to gulp, slurp or eat their way to proper hydration. But if your dog stops drinking water for more than 24 hours, it’s time to see the veterinarian to determine what is going on with your precious furry pal.

Got more questions? Chat with a vet now to get answers about proper hydration, water requirements, and more to keep your dog healthy and safe. 

Comments (1)

Scot bello


Please I need assistance my dog is a year old and has not had her first heat , what could be the cause

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