Water is great. We all love it, and our pups love it too! It's great for bathing, for drinking, for sustaining life. But have you ever looked down at your dog's bowl and wondered if he was bored with drinking just H2O? So, what can dogs drink besides water?
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The importance of hydrating your canine
Yeah, sure, water is super cool and all (the human body alone is comprised of about 60% of it), but you may not even realize how much of that good ol' H2O your pupper requires to thrive! A dog needs one ounce of water per pound of body weight daily, and similar to their humans, if a playful pooch is very active, prancing about in the hot sun, feeling under the weather, or taking medication for a medical condition, they may need their water bowl filled even more frequently than usual.
Signs of dehydration in dogs
- dry mouth
- sunken eyes
- lack of energy
- loss of appetite
You can also check your dog for signs of dehydration by examining his skin and gums. When pulled on gently, healthy hydrated skin should snap back into place, but if your dog is dehydrated, skin will move slowly back into place. If you press on a well hydrated dog's gums they should go from white back to pink quickly. If it takes more than a few seconds, your dog may very likely be dehydrated.
What liquids are dangerous to dogs?
Beverages with caffeine, such as coffee and tea, can be extremely dangerous to your dog. The effect of caffeine on a dog can depend on the size, age, and health of your pet. However, it is toxic to dogs and should not be given to any canine under any circumstance. Caffeine poisoning symptoms include:
- Extreme thirst
- Excessive urination
- Increased body temperature
- Mild to extreme hyperactivity
If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms of caffeine poisoning after ingesting a caffeinated beverage, take him to the vet immediately.
Again, many sodas are caffeinated, and caffeine is very toxic to dogs. To make matters worse, sodas complicate things even further for dogs with diabetes and other health conditions. Keep those caffeinated beverages far away from your doggos, folks.
According to AKC, while alcohol toxicity is not super common with dogs (because most dogs are not especially drawn to alcohol), it is still something that can occur. Poisoning depends on how much your dog has consumed and the size and state of health of your dog. Another thing to consider is that dogs may tend to be more attracted to fruit-based drinks, which could have artificial sweeteners like xylitol or other ingredients that are toxic for dogs mixed in. You must be careful to keep your dog away from your drink to avoid any further complications. Dogs respond much to alcohol like humans, however. If they have any of these symptoms, you may want to contact your vet.
According to AKC, symptoms of alcohol toxicity include:
- Depression or lethargy
- Vomiting or retching
- Decreased respiratory rate
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Hypothermia (low body temperature)
What liquids are safe for dogs to drink?
If you want to give your dog a couple sips of fancy schmancy sparkling water, you technically can. Be aware that there are some risks of bloat, though, so don't give your dog more than just a couple laps of the bubbly stuff.
Fresh fruit juices
Juice from the store is not very good for your dog, as it can contain a lot of added sugars and artificial sweeteners and colorings. Freshly made fruit juices straight from the fruit in small amounts, however, are not toxic for dogs—depending on the fruit (some fruits are toxic and should not be given to dogs). Some fruit pulps and seeds can also be toxic to dogs, like apple seeds, so keep this in mind. You may want to remove these before juicing a whole fruit and then giving a small amount of juice to your dog. (For more information on what fruits are safe for dogs to consume, check out our list of everything your dog can and cannot eat.)
Remember that all dogs are different with their own sensitivities, and approach your dog with caution before giving him new and unfamiliar foods. As always, consult with your vet if you have any concerns.
Chicken bone broth or beef bone broth
According to AKC, bone broth is a great mild liquid for dogs that can help sooth upset stomachs. If you get store bought broth, be sure to check all the ingredients before serving, and make sure it doesn't contain anything that is toxic to dogs. If you are making at home, make sure all the bones and pieces are out of the broth before giving to your dog, as they can be a choking hazard!
Remember that all dogs are different with their own sensitivities, approach your dog with caution before giving him new and unfamiliar foods. As always, consult with your vet if you have any concerns.
Remember, dogs don't need any liquid besides water, and most of them are content with their water bowl (which they should have access to at all times). If you do want to give your dog another liquid, never use it to replace their water—just give them a couple laps as an occasional treat, and make sure it's a liquid that's safe for your canine friend before you give it to them.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.