Whole Dog Journal's Blog December 9, 2014

Does Your Dog Have a Drinking Problem?

Posted at 10:58AM - Comments: (12)

I'm lucky to have two dogs, one small and one large, who can come galloping into the house from a hard romp, run to the water bowl, and drink their fill, and hardly leave a drop on the floor. 

Cole's lips are not the problem. He lacks the typically pendulous hound lips we could otherwise blame for his messy drinking

I'm reminded of how lucky I am every time my son's dog comes to visit - as I move the water bowl outside and grab the first of a series of “dog towels” from the bottom shelf of the linen closet, the stained, frayed-edge, holey towels kept just for dog baths and... well, this! Cole is incapable of drinking even a little without redistributing half of it around the kitchen. It wasn't such a big deal in summer - it's so dry here, the water would evaporate in no time. But now, with cold floors and me walking around in socks... Darn it, Cole!

I mentioned a while ago that I had a lot of visiting dogs for Thanksgiving, including a Boxer. She gets forgiven for the sloppy drinking. I don't know how a dog with that sort of lippy anatomy can drink without half of the water going every which way. Cole's problem is not anatomical; though he's at least half hound, his lips aren't pendulous enough to be the cause of his problem. He's more of a stylistically poor drinker -- a distracted drinker. If anything, and I mean anything, crosses his brain while he's drinking, he will walk away from the bowl to investigate that thought, even as his tongue still churns and water pours from his mouth. He's such a dork!

Bronco is now too large to fit his paws in his water bowl. He almost doesn't fit in the kitchen!

My friend Christine was telling me the other day, as we watched her big dog Bronco slurping water all over my deck outside, that when he was a puppy, he would always stand in the water with his two front feet when he was drinking. And then, of course, not only drool the water all over her kitchen, but also track it all over on his big paws, too. She tried putting the bowl up on a stepstool - once. Splash! Well, it's a good way to get a person to mop the floor. It probably needed it anyway. Fortunately, he's now too large to reach the bowl while his feet are in it.

I just saw this video on the New York Times site, footage from a study in which researchers are examining slow-motion footage to see exactly how dogs pull water into their mouths. After watching it, I'm amazed they manage to get much water down their throats at all!

Does your dog have a drinking problem? Would you like to talk about it?

Comments (12)

I have a water question: Why does my toy poodle seem to prefer to drink water from potted plant saucers -whether inside or outside (with some rain water)- rather than the fresh filtered city water in their water bowls? This was also true of previous miniature poodles I've owned.
Is it because they detect and dislike the fluoride and chloride in the filtered city water while the plant soil filters these toxins from the water?

Posted by: BeastmasterAL | December 31, 2014 5:12 PM    Report this comment

I had a Flat-Coated Retriever who was notorious for leaving half of what he drank on the floor. At age 10 and a half years, he was diagnosed with megaesophagus after he was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia. He had never regurgitated food prior to the diagnosis. In retrospect, I wonder if he was having issues getting water down his esophagus as he did have issues ingesting anything liquid after the diagnosis. Meatball consistency food worked fine. It is possible the messy drinking could have been an indicator of the megaesophagus (or maybe not). Just some food (or water) for thought...

Posted by: Sara G | December 12, 2014 7:12 PM    Report this comment

My girl, Alteza, was a 40 pound mutt who was super fastidious about everything. Grooming and teeth cleaning (she would literally rub knot toys on her teeth and gums) were high priorities to her. She was just as fastidious with water drinking but in a very messy manner. Alteza didn't like to get her nose wet so she would stick her chin further into the bowl than most dogs in order to keep her nose out of the water. This, of course, meant that when she walked away from the bowl her sopping, wet chin would always drip a path of water on the floor.

Posted by: hattie | December 10, 2014 11:40 AM    Report this comment

We tried mats & even those cheap turkey roasting pans for the water bowl to sit inside of on, a vinyl floor. But enough water spilled often enough, under it, to made the floor go bad. Finally we decided the water bowl would go sit on top of an overturned plastic bathroom trash can, inside the tub. We made sure the plastic can was at least equal to the height to the tub. It provides a nice large safe surface for a ceramic bowl, that magically sits under the faucet. The dogs mostly splash & slobber water back into the tub. But they stand on a no-slip washable bath mat that sits on ceramic tile floor, so they can drip a LONG way before they reach a wood floor, in the hall. (That area has another washable runner on it). We consider this problem =solved for a breed (Weimaraners) that ALL tend to drip & slobber while drinking water. Although we have found they drink far less now (eating a raw diet) than when still eating kibble. We start any puppy on the ceramic floor at the base of the tub for its water bowl but by 4 months they can reach the bowl in the tub on top of the "platform", in most cases.

Posted by: Betsy | December 9, 2014 11:57 PM    Report this comment

Yes my Goldens and my Great Dane mix are sloppy drinkers. We used to foster with a Golden Retriever rescue group in NJ and talking about messy water drinking was on our list of talking points when we were interviewing prospective adopters. We had to ask if they were aware of this issue with the breed and where they planned on putting the water bowls (it was a very intense group of rescuers). At our house we put down washable rugs and beach towels and it seems to do the trick to soak up the water. We are now in NC and foster many different breeds of puppies.....and sometimes have siblings in the house......and one will be a sloppy drinker and one will not be sloppy.....it is a mystery.

Posted by: Olivia | December 9, 2014 4:25 PM    Report this comment

I have two German Shepherds and a Papillon. One Shepherd and the Papillon are very neat drinkers. The other shepherd is a totally different story. But like kids, there is always one in the bunch! She leaves a water trail behind her, as the dogs described above. What's worse, she LOVES to drink water! Oh well, I love them like they are, the same as they put up with me the way I am. Isn't it great! I don't think this is a "griping discussion" as mentioned in one of the comments. I think it's a funny one. I don't feel like there is complaining going on, just sharing funny stuff about our best friends! I've gotten a giggle out of your comments!

Posted by: carolthequilter | December 9, 2014 3:45 PM    Report this comment

My Lord people, do you have nothing to do but complain about you best friend's drinking water. I have a Yellow Lab and a Mountain Bernese at the age of 76 and had big dogs all my life along with 5 children. More clean up with the children lol. I have a good mat long enough to compensate for my dogs drinking water. If that is all you need to do is wipe up some water(come on lighten up). I love my house to be clean and neat even when I had children, just to let you know. Feel lucky that that is the only hang up you have. My dogs go for a 2 to 2 1/2 hour walk at a lake 12 months out of the year, rain snow or sunshine.

Posted by: liz3809 | December 9, 2014 2:21 PM    Report this comment

I have a Golden that sounds similar to Sue Piper's -- that last mouthful of water pours out of his mouth as he turns his head to walk away from the dish. He cannot leave a drop of water in the bowl; has to drink it dry every time.

Posted by: kpeck | December 9, 2014 1:41 PM    Report this comment

I have two boxers and the female is a dainty drinker with very little getting on the floor but if I forget and fill the deep dish too full the male has a large puddle by the time he is done. And he wipes his chin on the nearest leg too lol.

Posted by: Rocky'sMom | December 9, 2014 12:19 PM    Report this comment

I have a Golden Retriever and a long haired German Shepherd. Their drinking habits are the difference of night and day. With my Golden, Casey, water goes every where. The volume of water that he slops around. Oh my! We swear he let's the last mouthful just run out of his mouth onto the floor. Of course that does not seem fun enough, he has to walk around dribbling the rest all over. Yep, It does not matter how much or how little water is in the bowl, he shares with the floor. Then for extra entertainment, he will dry his chin on our laps. He is by all definitions, a true water dog. My Shepherd does not share the drinking problem. My floors and I are very grateful.

Posted by: Sue Piper | December 9, 2014 12:04 PM    Report this comment

I had a mutt with a sleek Dobie physique. She drank water with such enthusiasm it went all over the floor - even from an elevated dish. Her two littermates had bulkier profiles more like water sloppy dogs, but they never spilled. My sleek mutt develped Cushings Disease which made her ravenous for water and even messier. Perhaps in her case there was a connection between the mess and impending disease? She never spilled any of her food though.

Posted by: SundogsHawaii | December 9, 2014 11:53 AM    Report this comment

Luckily, both my dogs (a Papillon and a miniature Australian Shepherd) are both fastidious drinkers. I have two water bowls, a large metal bowl and a small metal bowl. Strangely, they both use just the large bowl; the small bowl is just a reserve in case the large bowl gets empty (never happened, I always fill it again before it is empty). They position their muzzles just next to the side of the bowl and lap carefully. At most, one drop lands on the floor if the Aussie lifts his muzzle and turns away too soon. The Papillon never spills any. I live in the Northeast so maybe it is because the water is cold (the bowls are on the floor)? I am still completely mystified as to why they are so neat about drinking, but I hope it lasts forever!

Posted by: margeam | December 9, 2014 11:18 AM    Report this comment

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