All animals need hydration, so when your pet doesn't want to drink water, there's a problem. If you suddenly see a dramatic change in how much your pet drinks, then you may need to see an ER veterinarian. Here are some reasons why your pet may stop drinking water and signs your pet is severely dehydrated.

Reasons Why Your Pet Isn't Drinking Water

In some cases, a slight and gradual decline in water consumption is not abnormal. However, your pet should still be drinking some water regularly. Here are some reasons why your pet may not want to drink water.


Some animals naturally drink less water as they get older. The reasons for this vary but could be related to feeling less thirst or having mobility issues. Changing to moist food in this case may help reduce dehydration problems.

Less Activity

More active dogs need more water than less active dogs. If your dog has become less active, then his or her water consumption and needs will diminish.

Something Strange About the Water

Dogs and cats have a much better sense of smell than humans and can detect changes in the water more easily. The water might smell fine to you, but they could be sensing something different.

Stress or Fear

Some pets have a hard time adjusting to changes in their environment when you move or travel. They may be more hesitant to drink water if they are in an unfamiliar place. Sometimes, bringing a bottle of water from home and a family bowl can help.

Health Problems

Dogs and cats with certain health conditions, like thyroid and urinary tract problems, may have less desire to drink. If this is the case, your pet needs medical treatment as soon as possible.

Signs Your Pet Is Seriously Dehydrated

Even if you haven't noticed your pet drinking less, you should be concerned if you see signs of dehydration. Dry mouth and lethargy are two major signs. Some pets also pant heavily, and their gums will seem dry and sticky rather than moist. Appetite will also decrease. If you let severe dehydration go on for too long, your pet could suffer kidney damage and even die. Severe cases need immediate veterinary intervention.

A healthy dog or cat should be drinking water several times a day. Some drop off in water consumption is normal under certain circumstances. However, a sudden and complete refusal to drink water is a sign of something wrong. If your pet doesn't seem to be drinking any water and he or she is exhibiting signs of dehydration, then visit an ER veterinary clinic for help.