Dog Drinking Behavior and the Raw Diet Explained

  • By: Andrew
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Dogs need to stay hydrated to remain healthy like any living being; they also need a good, nutritional diet with the right balance of everything they need to thrive and stay strong. Most dogs will drink enough water on their own provided that their owners leave out fresh water every day and refill/replace the water when necessary. Still, you may be curious how often dogs will take a drink of water, and in addition, we will explain the raw diet.

Dogs drink less water on a raw food diet because they get a lot more moisture through natural foods than from kibble. They should be drinking one ounce of water per day, but this measurement may vary, depending on how much moisture is in their food. Vegetables and fruits add quite a bit of water.

The raw food diet is brought up nowadays, and there is lots of debate on whether or not this is appropriate or potentially harmful to dogs. We will be going over both aspects of a dog’s health, and so if you’d like to learn more, we would encourage you to keep reading.

Dog Drinking Behavior and How Much To Give

As we mentioned above, dogs need 1 fluid ounce of water per body weight per day. However, unlike food, you can’t put out too much, so feel free to go over this to ensure the pup stays hydrated at all times.

Dogs rarely overdrink; they’ll know when they have had enough and will stop when they have had their fill. If you have a smaller dog and give them a slightly big water ball, that’s perfectly fine as long as they can comfortably reach the water.

Also, you don’t necessarily need to whip out the ol’ measuring cup. Simply leave a full dish of water and refill when it is getting low!

However, some dogs might not drink enough on their own; you may notice a dog only going to their water bowl once a day at most or taking tiny licks when this happens. This could either be because they don’t recognize that they are thirsty and are confusing it with hunger (humans do this too). It could also stem from a health issue such as oral diseases.

Nevertheless, it is encouraged to contact your vet about this if your dog stops drinking as much as they used to.

How To Encourage a Dog To Drink Water

Some dogs might need some encouragement to drink enough water. A popular way to do this is to get a pet water fountain such as this PetSafe Drinkwell. Water fountains turn what is formally a boring dish full of water into a toy-like affair for dogs.

PetSafe Drinkwell 2 Gallon Dog and Cat Water Fountain, Best for Large Dog Breeds and Multiple Pet Households, Easy-to-Clean Design, Filters Included

There are pros and cons to these devices; however, if it means your dog stays hydrated and healthy, they are worth the money and maintenance.

Another way to encourage a dog to drink is to flavor the water to a dog’s palate. It’s common knowledge that dogs like meaty flavors, so there are water flavor enhancers for dogs that come in various flavors, such as chicken, beef, etc. Some people even need encouragement to hydrate themselves by making their water taste nice, and some dogs are no different!

Can You Give a Dog Saltine Crackers To Make Them Drink Water?

We’ve seen (unofficial) advice that giving a dog saltine crackers will encourage them to drink since they’ll get thirsty. However, this is counterproductive. Think about it, if your doctor told you to drink more water, would you increase your potato chip consumption just to make yourself thirsty? Giving dogs sodium intentionally will make them thirsty, but they’ll also be even more dehydrated.

The Raw Diet: What Is It and Is It a Good Idea?

Putting your dog on a nutritious, healthy diet is one of the best things you can do for your dog. It doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult (unless your dog has specific allergies or an especially sensitive stomach, then you’ll have to be very choosey). For most dogs, we recommend either Hill’s Science Diet or Purina Pro Plan. Many veterinarians will recommend these recipes because they are nutritionally complete, use good ingredients, and are affordable.

However, some pet parents want the absolute best for their furry friend, a healthy mindset. For some, “the best” means the raw food diet, which you may have heard of before, but what exactly is it? And should your dog be put on it?

In short, the raw food diet involves raw meat and other animal parts, with some produce and oftentimes raw eggs. It’s raw in the most literal sense, spinning a debate on both sides if it is a good idea.

Raw Diet Pros

If done right, a raw food diet ensures that your dog is getting wholesome food with no filler that is a waste of calories. Some dog food will involve fillers that do nothing but bulk up the caloric and quantity count, resulting in a hungrier dog than they should be in between meals, more frequent bathroom breaks, and malnourishment.

The raw diet idea is to closely replicate a wolf diet with some tweaking since dogs are omnivores; in theory, it’s a good idea, and dogs generally love it since they have kept their strong desire for meat since evolving from wolves. Some people can successfully pull this diet off with extensive knowledge and research and obtain food from a safe source, whether it’s butchered or prepackaged raw food.

Raw Diet Risks and Cons

You are likely aware that to stay safe, it’s good to cook your meats. It’s not that eating raw meat in itself will harm you, rather the bacteria that can affect it. Some dishes involve raw meat, such as steak tartar and the ever so popular sushi and sashimi. However, any restaurant worth their salt will be getting their meat from a safe source if they serve these dishes.

Many people considering the raw diet think you can just grab chicken breast at the supermarket and throw it at your dog, but this is far from the case. Dogs can get salmonella. It may not make them sick, but it passes into their waste, affecting other lives. Additionally, raw meat can contain other diseases such as E. coli, which can spread around and even make the owner sick from just handling it.

In addition, most people don’t have a full understanding of the nutritional balance that dogs require. Good dog food such as Hill’s, Purina, Acana, etc., have years of extensive research behind them and can put together healthy diets that meet all of a dog’s nutritional needs. A pet parent that is creating a recipe themselves has the potential to go south and result in a malnourished pup.

These two reasons are why many veterinarians are wary of a raw diet at best or flat out say not to do it. For most dogs, we simply recommend quality wet food instead. It will be nutritionally complete, and your dog will love it all the same. However, IF you are willing to do the research and obtain safe food, it’s not such a bad idea. Some companies have prepackaged raw food, which is a safer option than doing your own recipe.

We recommend watching this video below if you’d like more insight on this topic.


Overall, your dog needs a source of fresh water and a nutritious diet to live their best lives. Ensure your dog always has water in their dish and keep an eye on them to check if they are drinking enough. Additionally, check the ingredients on your dog’s current food, especially cheap recipes that are essentially junk food for dogs.