Skip to Content
My Happy Husky is an Amazon associate and earns a small commission for qualifying purchases. Not professional advice, education only. More info here.

How To Get Dogs to Drink Water After Surgery!

So your fur baby just had surgery, and you’re probably worried about a bunch of things.

One of those big concerns is getting your pup to drink water afterward. Trust me, I’ve been there too. And many of our readers message us about this every month.

So let’s talk about how to keep our four-legged friends hydrated post-op.

dog wont drink after surgery

Why It’s Important For Dogs to Drink After Surgery

First things first, let’s talk about why it’s so crucial for dogs to drink water after surgery.

Surgery takes a toll on their little bodies. Water helps in the healing process. It also helps flush out any anesthesia and medications they might have had.

If your dog isn’t drinking enough, they can get dehydrated. That’s bad news.

Dehydration can make them feel even more miserable and slow down their recovery. So, we gotta make sure they’re drinking up!

Why Dogs Often Don’t Want to Drink After Surgery

You might be scratching your head wondering, “Why won’t my dog drink?” Well, there are a couple of reasons.

The anesthesia from surgery can make them feel nauseous. Or maybe their throat hurts a bit from the breathing tube.

Plus, let’s face it, they’re probably just not feeling like their usual selves. So it’s on us to encourage them to hydrate.

5 Tips To Help Dogs Drink More

Alright, so how do we get our pooches to drink up? Here are some tips to help you out.

Try one at a time to see which works, then double down on it.

1. Fresh Water: Make Sure It’s Inviting

The thing about fresh, clean water is that it’s just more appealing. I know, it sounds simple. But imagine if you were given a choice between a glass of fresh water or a stale one? You’d go for the fresh one, right? Same goes for our dogs.

Change the water in their bowl at least twice a day. If your pup sees a piece of fuzz or a stray leaf floating in their water, they might turn up their nose at it. So keep it clean, and you’re more likely to see them take a sip.

2. Ice Cubes: A Cool Treat

Ice cubes can be a hit with some dogs, especially when they’re not feeling great. The cold can also soothe their gums and throat, which might be irritated after surgery. Offer a single ice cube to start, and see if they’re interested.

Be careful though, the ice shouldn’t be super cold, as extreme temperatures can upset their tummies. You can even make ice cubes from low-sodium broth for a tasty twist!

3. Broth: Make Water Tasty

Low-sodium chicken or beef broth can be a real game-changer. Just a small splash can make their water smell and taste more interesting. But go easy on it. A tablespoon or two should do the trick.

Always check the ingredients to make sure there’s no onion or garlic, as those can be harmful to dogs. And remember, this is just a temporary treat to get them interested in their water bowl again.

4. Hand Feeding: Personal Touch Matters

Sometimes, you’ve gotta get up close and personal. Using a small syringe (without a needle, of course!), gently squirt water into the side of their mouth. This can be particularly helpful right after surgery when they might not feel like moving much.

It’s also a way for you to bond with your dog during this stressful time. If they’re not too keen on the syringe, you can also dip your fingers in water and let them lick it off.

5. Location: Convenience is Key

Location, location, location! Your dog won’t have to go out of their way to get a drink if you place water bowls in their favorite spots around the house. Put one next to their bed, another in the living room, and maybe even one in the bathroom if they follow you in there.

This makes it super easy for them to take a sip without making a big effort, which is especially useful when they’re recovering from surgery.

My personal experience: Adding any kind of meat broth to the water is the easiest. Even if your dog isn’t highly food motivated, meat broth is practically irrestiable for most dogs. So try this first, just ensure it’s healthy (unsalted, no oil, fat, or spices). Pure, plain meat broth.

Extra Tips on Caring For Dogs Post Op

When To See a Vet If You Can’t Get Your Dog to Drink

If you’ve tried all the tricks and your pup still won’t drink, it’s time to see the vet.

This is especially crucial if it’s been more than 24 hours since they’ve had any fluids.

Better safe than sorry. Your vet can provide fluids through an IV and check for any complications.

How Long Can My Dog Go Without Drinking

Don’t freak out too much, but a dog shouldn’t go more than a day without water, especially after surgery.

According to experts like those at the American Veterinary Medical Association, dehydration can set in quickly, and that’s a road we don’t want to go down.

If you want a frank answer to that question, most experts say that healthy adult dogs can go 2-3 days. If they’re not particularly healthy or have recently undergone surgery, or are on medication, this could be less.

This is why the matter of dehydration is no joke.

Is Adding Electrolytes to Their Water Safe?

You might be wondering if giving them something like Pedialyte could help.

Good news! Adding electrolytes can be safe and beneficial. But there’s a catch. Always check with your vet first.

They can provide the right dosage and brand to use for your dog’s specific needs.

And there you have it, pals! That’s the lowdown on getting your pup to drink water after surgery. Keep those bowls full, and give your fur baby some extra cuddles from me. Take care!


The advice given in this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice in any context. Before making any decisions that may affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. For the FULL disclaimer Visit Here

Copyright Notice: The content produced and published on My Happy Husky is unique and original. My Happy Husky makes an active effort to search for plagiarized content using plagiarism detection software. If plagiarized content is found, action will be taken.

Protected by Copyscape

Highlight not available