How to Train Your Dog to Drink from a Bottle

Easy
1-5 Days
General

Introduction

Your dog lives to play ball. He is never happier than when chasing after a ball, fetching it, and dropping the ball at your feet to start over again. However, in hot weather, he pants heavily. On this particular day, you realize the dog badly needs to drink when you pick up the ball and it's coated in thick, sticky saliva and the ball feels physically warm.

A responsible pet parent should always take water along on a hot day. But for some dogs, this also means packing a container or bowl for the dog to drink from. How much more convenient would it be if the dog could drink directly from the bottle?

Defining Tasks

This isn't so much a command as a life skill. Like a child learning to eat food with a knife and fork, for a dog, learning to drink from a bottle makes life so much easier. For the majority of people this is about keeping their dog hydrated while on the move, but for some owners, it's about keeping their pets clean.

Pet water drinking bottles can be a good solution for some breeds that are messy drinkers. Not only does using the tube from a pet water bottle keep their fur drier, but the water itself stays cleaner and fresher...since it doesn't get contaminated by slobber, dirt, or general detritus.

Getting Started

To teach your dog to drink from a bottle just takes a little time and patience. Most dogs will get the hang of it more quickly than others, and be sure they have an alternative source of water while learning. The basics you need to get started include:

  • A water bottle, either a sports bottle or a wide-necked bottle
  • An adaptor or specialized water bottle (should you choose this method)
  • Peanut butter
  • Low salt chicken broth

It's perfectly possible to train a dog to drink directly from the bottle. But this works best for small dogs with small tongues that will fit inside the bottle. If your dog is larger, then choose a water bottle with a wider diameter top.

It can be helpful to introduce the bottle while on a walk when you know the dog is thirsty. However, take extreme care not to deprive the dog of fluids, especially on a hot day when heatstroke could be a factor.

The Peanut Butter Method

Effective
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Peanut Butter method for Drink from a Bottle
Step
1
Smear the tip
This works best with a sports-type water bottle. Use a finger to smear peanut butter (or another, dog-safe but tasty food) over the sports cap of the bottle.
Step
2
Let the dog lick
Let the dog sniff the cap and discover the tasty treat and lick it off.
Step
3
Open the cap
Open sports cap a little so that a dribble of water comes out.
Step
4
Repeat 1& 2
Smear peanut butter on the lid with the sports' top open slightly to allow drops of water through. This time when the dog licks the peanut butter, he'll now get water in addition.
Step
5
Widen the cap
Gradually open up the sports' cap so that the dog gets maximum flow of water as he learns to lick and lap.
Recommend training method?

The Chicken Broth Method

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Chicken Broth method for Drink from a Bottle
Step
1
Wide-necked bottle
To teach the dog to drink directly from the bottle, select a wide-necked bottle. It should be large enough to let the dog's tongue enter, but not so wide his nose could become stuck inside.
Step
2
Chicken broth
Cook up and cool some low-salt chicken broth. Put this inside the water bottle (you can make the broth quite weak, while being tasty enough to encourage the dog to lap).
Step
3
Tip the bottle
Let the dog sniff the full bottle to discover the treat waiting inside. Hold the bottle very slightly angled so that he can skim some of the broth from the top of the bottle.
Step
4
Tip more
As he becomes eager to get the broth, angle the bottle more acutely so that there's always broth within reach of his tongue
Step
5
Switch for water
Now make the broth more and more dilute, so that he learns to lap water from the bottle rather than chicken soup.
Recommend training method?

The Adapter Method

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Adapter method for Drink from a Bottle
Step
1
Drinking bottle
For the larger dog whose tongue won't fit inside the bottle, try using a special dog drinking bottle. These clever devices have a scoop that fits around the bottle that hinge open, and allow you to tip water into it to act as a bowl.
Step
2
Portable pet drinker
Try a Pet Top portable drinking device. This fits on top of a bottle. The pet parent holds the bottle while the dog rolls his tongue over the top. Start with a light flow setting while the dog gets used to the device.
Step
3
Heavier flow
Once the dog gets the hang of the Pet Top drinker, adjust the flow to maximum for a satisfying drink. If your dog is slow to catch on then use the peanut butter trick, smearing some on the Pet Top.
Step
4
Dog drinker
If you prefer a dog drinker with a spout to a water bowl, then take things slowly and make sure your dog has access to water bowls until you are confident he has the hang of things.
Step
5
Dog drinkers II
Hold a finger against the ball-bearing at the end of the spout so the water flows out. Show your dog your finger and the water. If he's slow to catch on, smear tasty peanut butter on your finger, so he licks and laps at the same time.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Toby
Shih Tzu
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Toby
Shih Tzu
1 Year

What age can you put a dog on a bottle

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainier
30 Dog owners recommended

Hello Tilly, You can try to teach a dog as young as eight weeks to drink from a water bottle. Some will be able to do it right away at that age, but others will need to practice for a month, and will learn closer to three or four months.

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