The best way to slow down your dog from drinking water too fast is to place large objects in their water bowl. Make sure the object is large enough (like a baseball), so they won’t choke on it. Placing a large object in the bowl will force your dog to lap around the ball, slowing down their drinking.
Many dog owners struggle with getting their dogs to drink enough water. But some dog owners have the complete opposite problem! It might seem harmless, but drinking water too fast can negatively affect your dog’s health in more than one way. Not to mention the fact that too much water in one sitting can cause dogs to throw up.
Luckily, we’re here to help you manage this. Before you slow your dog’s drinking habits, consult with your vet to ensure that they do not have any underlying health issues, which causes them to drink excessively.
In this guide, we will go over the health risks of drinking water too fast, then we will show you a few great tricks to slow your dog down when they’re drinking water.
Negative Effects of Drinking Water too Fast
There are several reasons why drinking water too fast is bad for your dog, the five below are the ones that cause the most concern.
No, we aren’t just talking about a bloated stomach. When dogs drink or eat too fast, they ingest large amounts of air. Large quantities of air in their stomach can cause canine bloat. Bloat, if not caught quickly, is fatal. It’s the second most common cause of premature K9 deaths, cancer being the first. There are two types of bloat:
- Gastric Dilation (GD): This is where the stomach expands due to the amount of air in it. This is relieved by pumping their stomach.
- Gastric Dilation and Volvulus (GDV): This is the more life-threatening condition in which the stomach gets twisted and involves life-saving surgery. This usually happens when a dog is too active immediately after eating or drinking.
In addition to slowing down drinking, there is a simple surgery that “tacks the stomach” in place to prevent GDV. Most vets recommend you have this surgery done the same time your dog is being neutered.
Vomiting can be a result of dogs drinking or eating too fast and bears health effects of its own. Dogs who continuously vomit from drinking too fast are at risk of dehydration and nutrient deficiency.
It’s a vicious cycle: dog drinks water, dog throws up, leading dog to gulp down more water, causing dog to throw up again and so on.
Symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, loss of appetite, sunken eyes, and little energy. If your dog is suffering a nutrient deficiency, you may notice a change or dullness to their coat, depression, or fecal changes.
Unfortunately, dogs can’t handle too much water in their stomach at one time, so vomiting after drinking a lot of water is common.
Down the Wrong Pipe
It’s happened to us plenty of times. We’re eating or drinking something and break into a violent coughing fit because it “went down the wrong pipe.” The same thing happens to dogs too when the drink (or eat) too fast.
This is caused when a small flap of tissue in our throats, called the epiglottis, doesn’t open fast enough. The epiglottis guides food and water into our digestive tract away from the trachea (pathway to the lungs). While this isn’t terribly harmful if it only happens every so often, if your dog does it often enough, it can damage the lungs. It’s also an extremely uncomfortable feeling, as you know firsthand.
It’s just as possible for dogs to drink too much water as it is for humans. It’s actually easier for them! Drinking too much water can result in fatal water intoxication, also called hyperhydration. It’s weird to think that water can kill a dog, considering it’s essential for survival. Excessive water levels diminish the body’s sodium levels. Symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, staggering, and dilated pupils.
Hyponatremia is a fatal condition in which cells expand from the excess fluid from hyperhydration. Expansion in the cells can cause the organs to swell. This can lead to irreparable brain damage or even death in some cases. This is more common in dogs who ingest water while playing in it for long periods of time.
How to Slow Down Your Dog When Drinking Water
Here are our top three ways to slow your dogs drinking without having to purchase any special bowls.
Limit Their Water Supply
This is the cheapest way to make your dog drink slower, but it isn’t always the easiest! When you give them small amounts of water, you will have to give them water often to be sure they are getting enough. This is perfect for people who are home for most of the day and can monitor their dog.
There’s a fine line between giving your dog too much water vs. not getting enough water. We do not recommend this method if you aren’t home all day to monitor your dog’s water intake. The risk of dehydration is too high.
If your dog drinks too fast, try giving them ice cubes instead. This ensures that they are getting water without swallowing a ton of air. Plus, they’re fun to chase around! This is especially great in the summer because it cools them down as well.
We realize ice cubes can be messy and make your floor wet. So, if you don’t want that, just add the ice cubes to your dog’s water bowl instead. The distraction of something floating in their bowl will slow down their drinking. Be sure to keep an eye on your dog to make sure they don’t swallow whole ice cubes.
Place a Large Object in their Water Bowl
This is our favorite “hands-off” way to slow down your dog when drinking water. It works for all dogs but works best with medium to large sized pups. Put a baseball, or another similarly sized object, in their water bowl. Having to lap water around the ball will help slow their drinking.
If you don’t have a ball, a large rock will work, assuming your dog does not try to eat or chew on it. Just make sure you thoroughly clean the rock before placing it in the bowl. For smaller dogs, one or two golf balls should do the trick.
You can also use a floater bowl. Floater bowls are exactly as they sound, smaller, floating bowls that sit in your dog’s water making them drink slower. If you don’t want to buy anything, a cheaper alternative is using a smaller bowl placed upside down. Just make sure the bowl floats to create an obstruction in the water.
Different Types of Bowls Slow Drinking
We live in a technology-rich era and have access to so many tools to enhance the quality of our pets’ lives. Here are some other ways to slow down your thirsty pooch. These bowls do cost a bit of money, but they all do a great job accomplishing the goal.
Slow Eater Bowl
Slow eater bowls don’t just have to be used for food. Using a slow eating bowl is an excellent alternative to fancier drinking bowls. Though you will have to remember to fill them more often since they don’t hold as much water.
Elevated Water Bowl
This is ideal for dogs with long legs or necks, far from the ground. One reason dogs drink fast is because they are fighting gravity to get water into their mouths. Which causes them to frantically gulp.
Elevated water bowls take away the need to fight gravity and gulping. This also decreases the risk of bloat since your dog won’t be inhaling as much air while drinking. While these bowls are fantastic, make sure your dog has learned that he can drink slower before you leave him alone with it.
No-Spill Water Bowls
Most no-spill bowls are inherently slow drinking bowls, but always double-check to be certain. No-Spill bowls are perfect for sloppy, speedy drinkers who soak the floor. These bowls work by limiting the amount of water that comes to the surface from the bottom. And they have the added perk of keeping your floors dry!
Keeping Your Thirsty Pup Healthy
You’ve probably had to deal with dogs that won’t drink enough water, but when you have a dog that drinks too much water too quickly, it presents a whole new level of challenges. As a dog owner, your dog’s health should always be your top priority. The good news is that slowing down the rate at which they drink water is simple. Our favorite method is to simply place a baseball in the water bowl (or golf ball for small dogs). This one little trick should work wonders. However, if it doesn’t work for you, you can always try one of the three bowls discussed above.
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