One of the most common questions that veterinarians get is how to get the pets to drink water. While some dogs and cats are enthusiastic water lovers, there are some who need more than a little encouragement to hydrate. You may find that your beloved fur ball is not very keen on drinking water during cooler climates while they may slurp their bowls empty within seconds during hot weather. However, it is imperative that they remain well hydrated during any weather.
Dogs and cats are curious by nature. They are distracted easily and get bored quickly. This is especially true for kittens and puppies. When they are growing up, they are more interested in playing, exploring and eating. Drinking and hydration do not feature in their limited list of tasks. Therefore, you need to provide alternatives to water for them. Adult dogs and cats too would enjoy a change from mundane water through these alternatives.
Position and bowl
One of the major reasons why adult dogs or cats may reduce their water intake or even stop completely is because they are simply bored. A change in the location of their water bowls or buying a new bowl altogether can help in getting them back on track. Secondly, sometimes a dog or cat may not drink water because they find the bowl unclean or the water stale. Their sense of smell being so strong, they will stop drinking even if they find the water or bowl dirty in just one instance. It is, therefore, important to always keep their water bowls clean and change their water frequently.
Adolescent dogs may sometimes be so engrossed with play that they would skip hydration. In that case, you can always try the ice cube. Simply hold the ice cube in your hand or with the help of tongs. Let them come to you and lick the cube. The same trick can be applied to adolescent cats and kittens too.
A great way to ensure that your pets get hydrated and have a healthy diet is to make a smoothie for them. The same principles that apply for humans work here for dogs and cats. Make sure that the smoothie is made of healthy and fresh items. Dogs and cats need their vitamins, minerals and fibre just like humans. So, you can make a smoothie out of strawberries, bananas, carrots, spinach, apples, celery, natural yogurt, water kefir and loads of fresh cold water. It would be ideal to make their smoothies a bit thinner than what you make for yourself. You can also add turmeric, honey, and cinnamon to sweeten or spice the deal. There are, however, some fruits and vegetables which are not to be given to a pet. These include avocados, nuts, grapes etc. Also make sure you know what your pet is allergic to and avoid that completely.
Who doesn’t love ice pops? They can make adults and children happy and are a wonderful way to hydrate pets. Make ice pops out of fresh water and watermelon or strawberries or bananas. Hold them on their sticks for your beloved pet to lick and enjoy.
Kibbles and wet food
A dog or cat cannot say no to food, unless they are sick. Adding kibble to water is an amazing way to ensure that your pet drinks some. Not only will they enjoy finding and biting the kibble but they would slurp up large amounts of water in their enthusiasm to find more. There are also a variety of flavours available which you can mix up to ensure that your pet is happily slurping up more and more water. Many brands of pet food have wet food options. These are basically chunks of vegetables or meat or seafood which are treated and cooked in water. As these contain a good amount of water, you can be assured that when your pet eats them, they get hydrated as well.
This trick works well for dogs. If you cook your dog’s food, you can save the excess water drained from the meat or bone broth or even vegetables. You can later flavour your dog’s drinking water with the same. The taste of food would be enough to ensure that your dog drinks the water.
While milk is not advisable entirely as adult dogs and cats are lactose intolerant, you can give them diluted low fat milk occasionally. However, keep an eye on their bowels and discontinue if they get sick.
While there is a plethora of dog drinks available in the market, like alcohol-free dog beer, wine, processed fruit juices etc., these are treats. They can be tried occasionally. However, nothing beats the goodness of simple fresh water. It will keep your dogs and cats hydrated and healthy.
You can try the above-mentioned alternatives if your dog or cat absolutely refuses to drink water. However, it is always better to encourage your beloved pets to drink fresh water, through play or participation, for their own health.