My dog is obsessed with drinking water

How can I stop my dog from drinking so much water?

My dog has a drinking problem. No, not that kind of problem. Ace does like booze, but we’ll save that for another post 🙂

What I’m referring to is Ace’s obsession with drinking water, and how I’ve managed to train him to think he’s not supposed to drink any water at all.

Ace came to me with a few OCDs – retrieving and drinking. He does not have an “off switch” and will literally keep on drinking water until it’s gone unless someone takes it away or tells him to stop.

He has drank an entire toilet bowl of water on several occasions, and he throws up almost every day from drinking mass amounts of water so quickly. I’ve seen him try to drink all the water from our kiddie pool and all the water from my mom’s fountain.

My “command” for Ace to stop drinking water has always been “that’s enough!” This works, but his obsession is so bad that I have to say it in an angry voice in order for him to “hear” me. Usually I actually am mad because I’m sick of cleaning up his drool and puke 🙂

I was sitting on the couch recently and Ace was lying on the floor crying. I could not figure out what the big baby wanted. I took him outside and he didn’t have to go.

Sometimes he cries if he’s hungry or if he wants to play ball, but he had already eaten and there wasn’t a tennis ball in sight. Then I realized he was facing his full water dish.

My dog was crying because he thought he couldn’t drink water without my permission!

I said “OK!” and he ran over and tried to drink the whole bowl.

My dog thinks he has to wait for a command to drink. Or, he waits until I leave the room and he can “sneak” some water.

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My dog is obsessed with food, too

I’ve always made Ace wait until I say “OK” before he eats, and now he thinks the same concept applies to drinking. This doesn’t sound like such a big deal, but the second I go upstairs or into the garage, I can hear Ace run to his bowl and try to drink all the water as fast as he can before I get back! I’ve made my dog’s water obsession even worse.

Ace will eat any amount of food I give him. My dog is always hungry. If I were to give him six cups instead of his usual 1.5, he would eat the entire 6 cups. If I spilled a whole bag on the ground, Ace (and a certain fat cat I know) would attempt to eat every last piece.

Dogs are dependent on us and conditioned to eat whatever we put in front of them. They do not stop to think about the amount of food. They just eat whatever is there because it’s there.

My dog is the same way with water. He doesn’t understand the concept of drinking until he is no longer thirsty. He only knows to drink until the water is gone. If I fill the bowl up again, he drinks it all immediately.

How to stop my dog from drinking so much water

Since “correcting” Ace for drinking too much water has confused him, a better approach for this case is to use positive reinforcement. I will reward him whenever he walks away from the bowl on his own before the water is gone. The reward could be food or a tennis ball or maybe a walk.

This won’t happen naturally at first. Instead, I’ll “just happen” to have some treats in my hand when I fill his water bowl. We’ll see what happens!

Techniques that did not work to stop my dog from drinking too much water

Ace the black lab mix dog tries to drink too much water. He's obsessed with drinking water.

1. Using a command stop my dog from drinking water

Using the command “that’s enough!” to signal Ace to stop drinking is not a solution to the problem because this makes him dependent on me to tell him when to stop drinking. If I’m not in the room, he drinks the whole bowl. It does work as a temporary solution if I happen to be in the same room. I usually say “that’s enough” followed by “go to your bed.”

I chose not to use “leave it” or “no” because I didn’t want Ace to think water is totally off limits. Obviously this didn’t work because my dog thinks “that’s enough” means “don’t you dare drink water in my presence.”

2. Keeping a giant bucket of water available at all times

With a ton of water always available, I was hoping Ace would realize the water wasn’t going anywhere so there would be no need to drink it all. This idea did not work since Ace believes all water is meant to be consumed immediately. When I left the whole bucket out, he tried to drink all the water and I had to eventually say “that’s enough.”

Some pet might prefer to drink from a fountain. See my PetSafe Drinkwell pet water fountain review.

3. Using a water bottle

I received a travel water bottle for Ace designed to hang inside his kennel (thanks, Tawna!). The water bottle is a large version of what a hamster uses to drink from. It’s designed so the dog can drink from the “straw” without spilling water in his crate. It also requires the dog to drink very slowly.

I tried using this as Ace’s only water source for a few days but he didn’t use it often enough, and he wasn’t getting enough water. It made him even more obsessive when I finally did put a bowl out again.

4. DogPause bowl

The DogPause bowl (pictured, top) is designed to slow the dog down while eating, and it is what I use for Ace’s water. 

The bowl is divided into four compartments so Ace has to drink each one, pausing between each. He still drinks the entire bowl, but it does slow him down slightly. You may be interested in my review on the DogPause Bowl.

A dog’s water obsession could be a sign of a physical problem

I do want to mention that if your dog suddenly starts drinking a ton of water, it could be a sign that something is physically wrong, especially if this is not normal behavior for him. Drugs like prednisone make dogs extremely thirsty, and increased thirst can also be a symptom of kidney issues or diabetes. Talk to your dog’s vet if you have any concerns.

I talked with Ace’s vet about his water issue, and we concluded that it is most likely just another one of his OCDs. Now that I’ve put more thought into it, I’d like to talk to the vet again and consider some tests just to make sure.

Do you have any ideas for stopping a dog from drinking so much water?

Have you unintentionally trained your dog to do (or not do) something?

Let me know in the comments!

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Aug. 9, 2011 update: Ace drinks less water these days as long as I keep a big bowl of water available at all times. He still drinks a lot of water at once, but he’s less obsessive about drinking the whole bowl.

As long as there’s always water available, he doesn’t try to drink it all at once. I still have to tell him “that’s enough” sometimes. And if he’s had a lot to drink, I have him stay on his dog bed for a good 20 minutes. This has decreased his throwing up almost completely. Instead of cleaning up dog puke every day, I clean up dog puke about twice a month.

2018 update: Sadly, Ace has passed away but he lived a long, happy life.

79 thoughts on “My dog is obsessed with drinking water”

  1. I leave kibbles down for my dogs all the time and they never overeat. The only time they eat their food is when we are eating or I give them something more tasty than kibbles.

    Misty the alpha Poodle would hide food in couch cushions until I finally got the idea of letting her know food is always available.

    On the other hand, none of my dogs is a Lab.:-)

    1. My wife had a miniature poodle when we first met that would hide kibble in between the couch cushions. We also had another miniature poodle that, upon our first visit to a dog-friendly mall, tried to find a hiding place for the committee he was given.

  2. Lindsay Stordahl

    I like to only feed dogs at specific meal times in order to use food as a reward. But, maybe if food were available all the time, my lab mix wouldn’t be so crazy about food. Doubtful…

    Misty is a smart one!

  3. Emmett is the exact same way! At one point, he was visiting my sister who free-feeds her dogs, and Emmett devoured the approx. 3 pounds of food that she had out at various times. And, yes, he got realllly sick! He’s the same with water, too, and I ended up having the same confusion problem when I used the “enough” command. So my solution is just to leave a small amount, maybe an inch deep, at any given time and just refill it more often throughout the day to prevent the too-much-water barfing!

  4. Lindsay Stordahl

    Yeah that’s what I’ve been doing, too. Just refilling it in small amounts throughout the day. Sigh …

  5. This reminds me a little bit of my dog Stetson who drinks a lot of water as well. I usually call him away from his water bowl by just telling him “Stetson, Come” We usually have more problems with Stetson eating too fast rather than drinking too much. We’ve used several different dog food bowls for his eating including the Brake-Fast bowl, the EatBetter Bowl, and the DogPause Bowl. We also came across the Contech DrinkBetter Bowl and wrote up a review including a video of Stetson and Derby drinking from the bowl. Here’s a link: http://puppyintraining.com/contech-drinkbetter-dog-water-bowl-review/.

    I did this review a while ago and initially found that the water bowl made quite a mess even though it slowed down drinking. I later tested the bowl by submersing the obstacle slightly by filling it with water. This greatly reduced the mess along with the fact that Stetson and Derby eventually learned not to push their nose and paws to try an remove the obstacle.

    It’s probably about time to revisit that review and make some updates, but I thought you might find it useful for Ace.

    1. Yeah, really funny when you’re either constantly cleaning up vomit or worrying about having to.
      This is a huge stress if your dog does start doing this. 🙁

      1. Lindsay Stordahl

        I get really mad at Ace when he throws up. Even though he can’t control it. Poor Ace. I just make sure to keep him calm and still after he chugs his water and then usually we’re OK!

  6. Lindsay Stordahl

    Yeah I should get a second opinion from another vet. I am concerned that it could be related to an illness.

    Mayra, it is kind of funny, especially if it’s not your dog! 🙂

  7. We have the opposite drinking problem. Normally, the dogs are pretty good about keeping themselves hydrated without over-drinking. They both seem to view drinking as a waste of time, so it’s not “worthy” of over-doing.

    Our problem is that when Lady is at the beach retrieving in the water, which is probably her most favorite thing in the world, she will NOT drink. She has a workman-like focus about water retrieval (shocking for a lab, I know! Haha), and for some reason, she just won’t drink there. We’ve trained her to sit and wait for the item to be thrown before retrieving, so it’s not that she isn’t trainable there (in fact, she’s so determined that this is her “job” that she’s particularly trainable in that setting). And it’s not that she’s soooo obsessed about the retrieval, because as soon as we put everything away and leave, she quickly switches mindset and is good with that. There isn’t classic obsessive behavior about the end of the exercise.

    She knows “drink” means, “Here is some water, now drink!” as a command, and she’ll usually humor me with a sip even if she really isn’t thirsty in other circumstances. In our *problem* scenario, she just turns her head away from the water bottle, like “Why are you bothering me with water now?” Hehe. I’m not sure where it came from. For all I know, she associates the one time she drank from the ocean and got sick with all drinking at the beach in any capacity. Anyway, we figured out the best way to deal with it is just to give her a chance to drink immediately before we get to the beach and have the water ready immediately after (she’ll drain a 16 oz water bottle & still be thirsty). Sometimes, if I can ‘trick’ her into thinking we’re all done retrieving, I can get her to take a few sips at the beach, but it usually doesn’t work if she thinks there is a chance the retrieving will continue after.

    I think the only way to solve our problem is to convince her that she must drink before she’ll get to retrieve, but I’m not sure how to do that safely. I have been afraid of making her think she *can’t* drink water at a specific time or making her think she *must* drink a certain amount, if she’s not interested in it. Without those stop/start moments, there isn’t much to work with. Since we’ve done ok the way we are, I just do my best to make sure she’s cool and hydrated, counting her weirdness about drinking at the beach.

    I have a friend who free-feeds, and it’s the first thing we have to remember every time we go over, or it becomes a feast for my dogs.

    Besides all the standard reasons against free-feeding (making the feeding ritual a bonding experience, dog should work for food, etc.), it’s not practical with more than one dog anyway. I’d have no sense of how much food each dog is getting – Lady might stuff her face while Rusty starves or learns to become insecure around food, since she does wind up with all coveted resources when they are left to their own devices.

  8. Lindsay Stordahl

    That’s interesting about Lady’s water “issue.” Ace will not drink water if he is in the middle of retrieving either, but that’s because he is more obsessive about retrieving than he is drinking. If I put the ball away, then he drinks. I’m not really sure what you can do about Lady other than what you are already doing. You’d think if she really was thirsty enough, she would stop and drink a bit 🙂

  9. This happened to Nacho, a 6 month old white shepherd that I was dog sitting for a friend. I think with him it may have also been OCD, but his habit caused a lot of pee breaks — and accidents.

    Did Ace ever calm down and figure out that the water wasn’t going anywhere? If so, what triggered it, if anything?

  10. Lindsay Stordahl

    He only calms down if I say “hey” or “that’s enough” or say his name. It’s like he needs something to get him to snap out of it. He will sometimes stop on his own, but not often.

  11. Lindsay Stordahl

    Colby and Lisa, thanks for the suggestions on those bowls. Haven’t seen them so I’ll look into those!

  12. Wow. I guess Nacho will probably do that the rest of his life too. It reminds me of this thing horses do when they have anxiety called “cribbing” where they bite on something (usually a piece of wood) and inhale deeply. It makes a noise and is really sad because it’s a compulsive behavior.

    At least this one keeps them hydrated!! By the way, I posted about your post on my dog blog, thanks for the info!: http://thebostondogblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/this-happened-to-me-well-technically.html

  13. As you probably know, Delton has some OCD issues too. He likes to chase anything and everything that moves, especially lights and shadows. Sometimes he is fixated on a wall, just waiting for a light or shadow to move. He licks the carpet. Chases cotton from the trees outside. And of course birds, rabbits, squirrels. He LOVES to watch TV. He seems to do it out of boredom, but it gests worse if he is excited/nervous about something – i.e. when we get company, which drives me a little batty. When we are at the dog park he will chase bird shadows on the ground.
    His one behavior that has become a concern to me however is his chasing the little dogs along the fence line at the dog park. It seemed to have started out as “fun”, but now seems to be escalating as though he is “guarding” the fence between the little & big dog park. He completely fine with any little dog that is on the big dog side. I have resorted to leaving his leash on, so if he starts a chase I can grab him, correct him, & direct him away from the fence. Anyone have any ideas? I don’t want to be doing anything that would make it worse.

  14. Amanda Steiner

    Susan, my dog did the exact same thing at the dog park. He started off as playing between the fence with the little dogs, and it escalated to the point where if a small dog was standing toward the fence and made eye contact with my dog, he was off. It even escalated to the point where if we were walking by another dog in any fence he would attempt the behavior. First, I stopped going to the dog park as much, because this behavior seemed to take priority when we were there. Second, I bought an electric shock collar. I could always see him make eye contact with a small dog, and then be off, and if I was not right next to him to grab him, there was no stopping him. The shock collar has made it so that he gets a correction when he makes eye contact with another dog through the fence. Now he completely avoids the fence, or with my permission will go up to it to smell the other dogs, but doesn’t even try to fence fight anymore. Unfortunately we have not made so much progress on our walks, but that is getting better. I had previously tried to walk him back & forth along the fence and correct him with the leash on, but that didn’t seem to help as much as the electric collar did. I know a lot of dog owners don’t like the thought of using one, but this is what worked for my dog and I. Do you live in Fargo? If so, I could meet you at the dog park and we could trial my collar on your dog and I can show you how it works.

    As far as his OCD issues go, it sounds like he needs more physical or mental stimulation. My dog is very high energy, but he also needs a lot of mental stimulation, so I have bought 3 things to help with this. First, I have a buster cube that is a big plastic cube that about every 3rd day or so I put his food into and he rolls it around trying to get the food out. I also bought an Everlasting Fun ball since he caught onto the Buster cube so quick, and I put his food into that and about every other day. It’s a big ball with 2 holes on the end and the dog has to figure out how to get the food out. I will also put some kind of goody morsel (today a piece of home made jerky) in it that he has to try to out. Sometimes it takes him up to an hour to get the thing out and he is VERY stimulated by it. Of course, I have a Kong for him, too. Sometimes I stuff it with soaked dog food and random treats, and then shove biscuits in the bottom and freeze it, which he really enjoys, but it is kinda messy. You can also buy the kong stuffn’s that are hard and shaped like a kong so they are difficult to get out. You can get all of those things from PetSmart. I also give my dog large raw bones about every 3 days to clean his teeth, but it is a good energy drainer also. This may sound like a lot, but without these tools I’m pretty sure my dog would drive me crazy! He does get a lot of exercise, we average about 8-10 miles a day simply because he’s a high endurance dog. I think if you found something you dog enjoys doing and keeps him busy, you’ll find his behaviors decreasing. I personally highly recommend the toys that make the dog work for food. Good luck, I hope you find something that helps!

  15. Lindsay Stordahl

    Hey Susan! Yes, I have noticed a few of Delton’s obsessions 🙂 Ace is that way with a tennis ball – it’s like nothing else matters. As Amanda suggested, I would also recommend the e-collar to stop the guarding along the fence if you are comfortable with that idea. It’s the best way to correct the dog the instant he does the behavior. If you have friends with little dogs, maybe you could purposely go to the park at the same time with their dogs on the little dog side and you and Delton on the other side to set up the guarding scenario.

    I would also purposely walk along fences during your walks with him so you can be there to correct him if he lunges or barks at other dogs.

    Thanks for the suggestions on the toys, Amanda! I think Ace would love some of those!

  16. Thanks for the suggestions. I do have kongs and an everlasting treat ball. I’m sure a raw bone would be wonderful too! So far he’s excellent on walks, even along fences with other dogs on the other side, but I can definitely see the possibility of his behavior from the dog park transferring to other places. I think I will try the ecollar, it would help teach him not to charge the end of his tie out in the back yard, and learn boundaries, too. He’s so smart I really don’t think it will take much for him to get the message. He’s just figured out when I have control and when I don’t 🙂 I do live in Fargo, that would be great if we could meet sometime!

    He’s still young, but I can see him exhibiting some dominant traits….want to make sure he can maintain his friendliness and remain calm when he should…
    Thanks again! (We’re starting obedience again next week too)

  17. Lindsay Stordahl

    I agree, Delton is great when out running! I’ve never seen him lunge or even bark at another dog. You’re right, it would probably only take a correction or two for him to understand not to guard the fence at the dog park.

    Keep up your great work with that sweet dog of yours! He is one lucky boy!

  18. Amanda Steiner

    Delton sounds a lot like my dog! If you and Lindsay would be ok with giving me your e-mail address I could see when we could meet.

    Lindsay, I was trying to think of things that would help Ace’s problem, but I’m pretty sure you’ve tried everything I’ve thought of, or what I thought of won’t work because Ace’s water obsession transfers to more than just his water bowl. I think your treat idea sounds promising, I hope it works for you!

  19. Lindsay Stordahl

    The problem is I’m not consistent enough! Usually I just give him small amounts of water throughout the day …

    I’ll give Susan your email address since I assume that’s OK with you.

    1. Our miniature doberman has never had this problem and all of a sudden she is obsessed with water, we give her small amounts of water as well but she is so bad that she would go outside and try sniffing out water, she even sleeps at the place where her water bowl is and is up every 2 hours or so at night for water, she doesnt even care about food or treats anymore, only water, she will sit or lay down in the place until someone gives her some water… and even then she is not happy she wants more…she is even getting a round belly of the water… we dont know what to do with her, we have taken her to the vet he tested her vir diabetes and also did a sonar and found nothing wrong, he says he doesnt know whats wrong with her and that maybe she is just obsessed… but we dont know how to stop her from wanting more…

  20. Wow! I’ve never had a dog with this challenge. I guess from reading the comments that it’s not that unusual though. I don’t have any other suggestions, but it was interesting to hear what other people have come up with to help manage this.

  21. Lindsay Stordahl

    Be glad you don’t have any dogs with weird obsessions 🙂 I know it helps that you keep them occupied with plenty of exercise and mental challenges.

  22. Wait…Ace likes booze! Now you have to tell me about this.

    Gus drinks a lot of water. He particularly likes to drink the tiny bowls that are meant for the cats. He’ll leave the big bowl that’s his and even nudge the 18 year old cat out of the way to drink from the small bowl. He’s such a silly doggie.

  23. Lindsay Stordahl

    Ace tries to steal beer any chance he gets. He’ll tip over beer cans on “accident” so he can lick up whatever he can.

  24. I have two dogs of opposit character, one drink like mad (yes the lab), and the other(Pom & Shltie mix) is way to snobbish to wet his muzzle. So the Lab keep hoping the other won’t finish while she ‘leopard crawl’ towards the drinking bowl.
    Luckily, the stuck up one do drink from water bottles installed all over the house when he is thirsty; though not as much as I like. The lab on the other hand think the bottle is way too slow for her and stare at me pitifully like ‘mom, you think i can hydrate with this sorry dribble?’.
    Do share how to make a dog drink more (plain water) if anyone has an idea… I still have to resort to bribing my boy with 1/10 part of veggie juice or milk…sigh!

  25. Lindsay Stordahl

    I have only known a few dogs who were picky about their water and it was because the dog always wanted fresh, cold water. This seems strange, but then again, I only like to drink fresh, ice water and not water that’s been sitting out for even an hour or two.

    So, your options are to keep catering to her by providing fresh, cold water mixed with veggie juice. Or, just don’t worry about it because she is an animal and will eventually drink when she’s thirsty enough. I’ve written posts about dogs who are picky eaters, and it is the same concept, really. You could also increase her exercise so she gets thirsty and drinks.

    http://www.thatmutt.com/2009/12/27/my-dog-wont-eat/

    http://www.thatmutt.com/2008/04/23/what-to-do-when-your-dog-is-a-picky-eater/

  26. We used to have an English Bulldog who was totally obsessed with drinking water. We got her as a puppy and learned early on that we had to monitor her access to water very closely. No matter how much water we gave her she would drink it as fast as she could until every drop was gone. At first we thought she may be dehydrated but it was ridiculous because she would pee a TON and it caused problems with house-breaking. It never changed. Water was like crack to her and she acted like a crack head whenever it was around. All toilets in the house HAD to stay shut or she would drink them dry. Every morning she would wait by the shower and as soon as someone got out she would jump in and lick every last drop of water she could reach from the floor and walls. She could be sound asleep then on her feet the instant a faucet was turned on. We pretty much just learned to deal with it and monitored her as close as we could. We knew whatever amount of water we put out for her would be consumed instantly so we tried to ration it out as best we could. It actually was a very effective (and cheap) training and coaxing tool…she would go anywhere and do anything for water. Nothing got her attention better than water, not even a juicy steak lol. She did get a little better over the years and occasionally would leave some water in her bowl. She lived a long, healthy life…but sadly she is no longer with us 🙁 This post made me think of her and how crazy it seemed to us in the beginning.

  27. Lindsay Stordahl

    That was a funny story! Ha! Your dog was way more obsessed with water than my dog, but I see a lot of similarities. I’m sorry to hear she is no longer with you, but I’m glad she had a long, healthy life. What a character!

  28. Oh man, my dog is the same exact way. Water = crack. It does make a really cheap, healthy training reward!! She goes CRAZY for water. The dog is not allowed in the bathroom… too many opportunities to get at water. But if I take a shower and step into the bedroom to get dressed she will try to lick my wet legs for the water droplets. Crazy.

  29. Lindsay Stordahl

    Sounds like something you should ask your vet about if you haven’t already. Extreme thirst can be a sign of serious medical problems. Of course, it could also be an OCD.

  30. I just got an Olde English Bulldogge/English Bulldog mix puppy 11 weeks old and she is obsessed with water and food too! Water I would say is more of a concern because she will go ANYWHERE she can to find water too. She has discovered where our outside water drains and constantly goes there to drink more water. It is becoming a concern because then she constantly has to pee and housebreaking is now becoming more difficult. I limit her consumption as much as possible but I have 4 bathrooms in the house and it seems like someone always leaves a door open. She has now discovered the dishwasher. My son left the dishwasher open and I found her in there licking all the excess water off the dishes and the bottom- gross. I think I am taking her into the vet to maks sure this isnt a health related problem. Thanks for the stories, I was starting to wonder if she was “special”.

  31. Lindsay Stordahl

    Haha! Well, I shouldn’t laugh, but I had to when you said you wonder if she is “special.” I would definitely take her to the vet to make sure there is not a physical problem. Beyond that, make sure she is getting tons of exercise. Get her into obedience training, and provide her with interactive toys to play with. Good luck with your pup!

    Aren’t Olde English Bulldogges and English Bulldogs the same dog?

  32. I had a standard poodle who was the same. It turned out he had developed Cushings Disease and had to be treated. He also had a heart condition and eventully we had to have him put to sleep when he was later diagnosed with a brain tumour which made him appear very spaced out. It broke our hearts! So please have your dog properly evaluated by specialist vets before it is too late.

    Good luck

    Monica

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Thank you for your concern. I believe Ace’s water obsession is one of his many OCDs. He has a retrieving obsession, and he also licks himself a lot. I will bring it up with my vet again though, just to be sure.

  33. Hi Lindsay, Been following your blog for a while but never commented. I read an article a while back that dogs with obsessive drinking habits could lead to a whole range of diseases, good to see you are taking him to the vet. BTW do you know that dogs actually curl their tongues backwards when the drink?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Yes, I did know they curl their tongues backwards. Crazy for us to imagine. Thanks for your concern about Ace. He goes to the vet in November for his checkup, so I will bring his drinking obsession up with his vet again. Perhaps I’ll get a second opinion if she doesn’t seem to be concerned.

      1. It’s very interesting reading everyone’s posts. I too have an excessive drinker on my hands. I have a English Bulldog that is 1 1/2 years old and loves to drink. I am stumped when it comes on what other things to try to stop him from drinking so much. I can’t take the water bowl away because I have another dog and that’s not fair to him. My dog will do anything for water, like previous posts, mine will go to the toilet, shower, even outside if it’s raining or snowing I have to keep an eye on him. He literally drinks himself sick and I have had it with cleaning up vomit piles.

        Lindsay, did the treat trick work with Ace? I did the same thing with my bulldog as you did with Ace; telling him “that’s enough” when drinking and telling him “ok” to eat. When I would leave the room or fall asleep he was all over the water bowl trying to suck it down before he was caught. The vet told me everything was fine with him… I just don’t know what else to do with this dog. Help? 🙂

        1. Lindsay Stordahl

          Yeah, it’s frustrating! Your dog is much more obsessive than mine when it comes to water.

          Ace is a lot less obsessive about his water if I make sure to keep his bowl full of water at all times. He still doesn’t seem to have an “off switch.” He seems to think he’s always supposed to finish the water (like with food). So what I do is gently say, “Come here, Ace” or “OK, Ace!” And then pet him when he stops drinking before the water is gone. Or I grab some food or toys to distract him without getting him too excited.

          If his bowl always has water in it, though, he does much better. Sometimes he still drinks an entire bowl, and then I just calmly put him in his kennel for about a half-hour of down time so he doesn’t throw up. This is not a punishment, and he doesn’t see it as one. (He throws up from drinking too much, too fast)

          When I don’t keep water in his bowl at all times, he gets more obsessive about it and thinks he better drink it all right away.

          So, my suggestion is to always keep a giant bowl of water available. Your dog will probably drink it all at once for the first couple days, but then hopefully once he realizes it’s not going anywhere, he’ll chill out. This didn’t work for me at first because my dog literally tried to drink two gallons of water. But he’s gotten much better over time.

          Let me know if you come up with anything that works!

  34. I have a 3 year old bull dog that is absolutely obssessed with water… I really dont know what else to do. He will drink water from anywhere! He will drink toilet seat bowls, from puddles in the streets and even when he bathes! He has absolutely no limit and will keep on drinking. His stomach gets huge, he eventually throws up, and then resumes to drinking water. We decided to get him that hamster looking water dispenser, and it has helped a little. It definetely restricts the amount of water he drinks as well as how fast he drinks it (However in the long run he is still obssessed with water)! I took him to a dog park once and he saw the lake and got a little to close and feel in the lake. He doggy paddled for a while, but got really tired and after two seconds started to sink. Lets just say he learned not to jump into lake but not that his obssession is not good.

  35. Lindsay Stordahl

    Oh gosh. Have you talked to your vet to rule out a physical problem? It’s probably a behavior problem, but you never know.

  36. hi lindsay! found your blog post by searching on google while trying to solve this problem with my dog, desmond. he only started chugging water once the hot weather hit NY, but it is really annoying and not the easiest thing to clean up. he chugs the water whether it’s in a bowl or from a hose or from a bottle. he doesn’t care. at the moment, we’re just stopping him when we think he’s had enough. sometimes we’re not quick enough, though, and i’m definitely worried about him learning that drinking water is bad.

    when we’re home, we fill his water only a little, like you’re doing. but we both work all day, and last night was the first time i came home to a puddle of regurgitated water/saliva. i would like it to be one of the last times, as well.

    i’m going to check out these bowls for sure. if you come up with some solution, please post!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Honestly what I have been doing for Ace for the last six months or so is to just leave a full bowl of water out at all times. Then he knows it’s not going anywhere. And if I see him chug a huge amount of water, I tell him to go lie down on his bed and stay for at least 20 minutes. He still pukes every now and then but it’s probably about twice a month now instead of twice per day. Having water available at all times seems to help.

  37. Thanks for the suggestions. I have two dogs and one who I got as a puppie has the same issue. We always have water down, it’s not fair to restrict it for the dog without the issue. My wife and I were using the “that’s enough” method and it seemed to be working. As long as we watched her after she exercised she would come and get small sips and then walk away. However, now that it’s winter, she’s now started runing around the back yard eating so much snow that she comes in and vomits.

    She’s not diabetic and our vet wasn’t much help. I’m afraid I may have to start taking her outside on a leash every time she goes out just to avoid this. I’m litterally cleaning up her vomit at least twice a day and I’m worried that she’s not going to get enough food since she just keeps throwing it up. Any advice?

    1. Jamison,
      please let me know how your situation resolved itself.
      I have a great dane obsessed with water and snow eating….and am at the end of my rope.
      thanks
      Wendy

  38. Lindsay Stordahl

    One thing you can do is put her in her kennel or make her stay on her dog bed as soon as she comes inside. Depending on your dog, that might be easier said than done but this works for my dog. I allow him to drink as much water as he wants, and then I tell him to stay on his bed, which he does. After 20 minutes or so, the water seems to be settled enough where he doesn’t throw up, but by that point he usually prefers to keep lying down anyway. This may be harder for you since your dog is a pup, but I’d give it a try. Maybe she will stop eating so much snow once some time passes and the snow is not such a new and interesting thing to her.

  39. Have you tried placing a few ice cubes in his bowl with little water, just enough to melt them. Tommy, the lab mix, I am currently fostering is similar to Ace when it comes to his consumption of water. No matter what amount of water available, Tommy has to drink it all at once. I also caught him a couple time, attempting to drink the whole toilet bowl. However, I thought to place a few ice cubes in his water bowl, it challenges him to take big gulps of water, as cubes are in way and being a dog and so curious, it slows him down. He even takes one to chew on which obviously distract him from drinking at once his bowl. Let me know if you try it how it goes. I admit, while I love labs, (I grew up with a black lab, the reason why I love black dogs or any lab mix, though I love all dogs. As well as the reason why I fell the need to rescue Tommy.) they are sloppy, and droop water wherever, drives me nut as I am constantly having to clean the water tracks of Tommy. No harm done though, it’s part of having a lab. Hope ice cubes help.

    1. I think the ice cubes would help! I will have to try that and let you know. Yes, Ace drools everywhere and slops water everywhere. After he drinks, he always seems to come over and wipe his mouth on my pants, too. Or the couch. Gross.

    2. Definitely going to try the ice cubes! My dog looks exactly like Lindsay’s and has the same OCD tendencies. I adopted him last Friday and found right away that water was going to be a problem. He drained the toilet this morning (totally forgot to close the lid…I used to give my BF a hard time for closing it, now I have to train myself…). The problem with leaving unlimited amounts of water for him is he is left for part of the day while I’m working and will pee inside. Understandable with how much he’s drinking! So thank you for the ice cubes tip, going to go do that right now 🙂

  40. My 7 year old German shepherd starting drinking a lot of water all of a sudden. It was constant. He usually drinks till the bowl is empty, and has to be filled up a few times a day. But he suddenly couldn’t get enough at one time. He also started urinating all over my house. I thought he was diabetic. I took him to the vet, and he had a UTI, was treated for 6 weeks with antibiotics. He still drinks a lot, but not as fiercely. Now there is a new problem. Since he urinated all over, he kept on urinating in the house. I have tried products that remove the smell, have cleaned the rugs multiple times, and he keeps doing it. He was completely housebroken before.

  41. Lindsay Stordahl

    Oh that is too bad. I would definitely go back to the basics with housebreaking. Pretend you just got him and that he is not housetrained at all. Within a month or so he should be back to normal as long as you are consistent.

  42. He might have cushing disease poor baby cannot get enough water it is not bad behavior for you to correct it is your responsiblity to get him to a vet.

  43. I have a labrador retriever bitch, she doesn’t drink from streams, rivers or lakes when swimming or retrieving in them. I have trained her not to as she can pick up ticks and all sorts in this water. After a long walk or run she rarely drinks a lot but when you let her out last thing at night for a pee and head up to bed you can hear her drink her bowl of water. She drinks the whole bowl till it’s dry. I have put this down to just her own habit as she gets a treat in the morning and dinner around 5-6pm and then mid-night after her last toilet she always (9/10) times waits till everyone is in bed and polishes the whole bowl off of water. I used to stress at first because i would worry she might want to go out in the middle of the night but when i fell ill and couldn’t get outta bed for up to nearly 2 days at a time, my lab could hold her own and not once did she pee or poop and she sleeps in a plastic bed on a cold floor because she don’t like the warmth for to long. I’m quite surprised and also impressed at how many hours she can go between toilet breaks. She loves to drink from my water bottle on walks or picnics but that’s her being part of the family and copying us humans.
    When i rescued her at 1yr old she weighed around 45kg and was well over weight and i wondered if she had a drinking problem because she never drank water for days and days. She weighs 30kg now and i fill her water bowl up half way whenever empty which is in the mornings. I have put her obsession to finishing off the whole water bowl every night down to her daily cycle/routine and i dont stress anymore on the matter.

    She does get very very excited when she sees snow and is obsessed with trying to eat it all. should i be worried or just get outside before my dog and melt it all with a big blow-torch lol.

    1. My dog seems to think he’s not allowed to drink water without my permission because I’ve said “that’s enough” to him so many times when he’s drinking half the bowl at once. So now when I head upstairs I can hear him drinking water when I’m out of sight. Oh, the joys …

      As far as the snow thing, I guess I wouldn’t be too concerned. Just make sure she has plenty of actual water to drink, which you are doing. And you wouldn’t want her to eat snow that contains salt or any type of chemical ice melt.

  44. I have a great dane (Henry) obsessed with water and eating snow.
    He was water obsessed when he was a puppy, and it took about a year to work that out of him. He was fine until recently, my life became more active and the dog wanted to go out more often than really needed. (i had been letting him drink alot of water).
    i researched the healthy amount of water to give him, and then ‘limited’ him to that, and the water obsession returned like gang busters. Only this time it wasn’t a little puppy i was dealing with, it was a full grown, 4 and a half year old great dane.
    With snow everywhere, walking or taking him outside to pee becomes a physical battle. He lunges bodily towards the snow banks, diving headfirst, and will madly gulp great mouthfuls of snow until i pull him away.
    Last week, I finally decided to just let him eat snow for the most part….and not fight it so much. Since i was being driven insane by all the trips to go out and pee, i finally just tied him out, and would leave him out for a few minutes….then return after he had done his business (and eaten whatever snow he wanted).
    This resulted in: frequently having to urinate, and eventually peeing great dane lakes of pee in my house. Also, Since he’s so obsessed with eating snow, he sometimes will not pay as much attention to going potty when he ‘s outside…..this resulted in huge great dane cow pies of poop all over my apartment.
    He also got loaded with too much water….and it became difficult for it to physically come out….so he’d squat, but only dribbles…..maybe one time in four, a good pee stream. This resulted in even more frequent outings to pee.
    All that said, i am trying my last ideas with this dog.
    He has been my therapy dog, my buddy, and i have loved him dearly, but i spend my days mostly angry, if not enraged by all the fighting, and no peace….the crying at the water bowl, the asking to go out all the time, sometimes just because he wants to eat snow…..the pacing around and not resting….
    i can’t live like this anymore.
    Today we have an appointment to speak with a lady dog trainer, who also has a great dane….and while i don’t expect any great answers there, it will be good to confide in someone who will listen….just to ease the burden on me.
    I am getting married in a few months, and have had to get used to the idea i’d have to give my buddy away…..this has been a huge deal for me…..but as insane as things have gotten around here, i am actually thinking i might have to put him to sleep before a home becomes available, just because i cannot live this way anymore.
    i will gladly read anything anyone replies to this post.
    and i don’t recommend letting a great dane gorge on water….especially because of the bloat danger….
    and it realy seemed to do physical damage to my dog (the water loading)

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      This is how my cat is with food, so in that sense I have some idea of what you’re going through only I’m dealing with a 15-pound animal.

      I’m sure you’ve consulted with the vet about a physical problem. If not, that’s where you should start. It does sound psychological, though, as is the problem with my cat’s food obsession.

      I do hope the trainer you meet with can offer you some ideas as I am at a loss.

      I guess if it were my dog I would be rationing the water inside to a reasonable amount. Then, when taking him outside, I would keep him on a leash at all times and walk him on a Gentle Leader/Halti type collar that fits around the muzzle for more control. Instead of playing in the yard or tying him, I would take him on walks while attempting to stop him from eating snow.

      And I know this sounds crazy, but have you tried using one of those mesh muzzles for when he’s loose outside?

      How about a shock collar? When the obsession is that great, sometimes a correction can help “snap them out of it.”

      Best of luck to you. I hope you find a way to live peacefully with your dog. I can imagine how frustrating it is, but no one can really understand unless they’ve had the same problem.

  45. THank you Lyndsay! I actually did put a muzzle on him yesterday, and that slows him down a great deal on the snow eating. He was more frustrated than i ‘ve ever seen him though, and after a little bit, his nose was bleeding from being pushed into the snow and ice. ugh!
    the trainer lady was fantastic and i have made an appointment wiht a new vet, to get a second opinion. We will check more avenues of the physical just to make sure it’s nothing medical.
    I always keep him on a leash…and he wears a pinch collar. The obsession is so strong that even the pinch collar does not stop him sometimes.
    Anyway, i have been encouraged, and have more energy today to fight this battle, thank God.
    I look forward to meeting wiht the vet and perhaps finding out more info.
    Thank you again for your reply

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Wonderful! I’m glad things are looking a little better.

      For what it’s worth, my dog drinks less water now that he’s on a raw diet instead of a dry food diet. I know that’s a big change to make, but maybe you could try feeding canned food once a day or something like that. Just something to consider, I guess. My dog’s water obsession was nowhere near as bad as your dog’s, but the change in diet did help.

  46. My husky has a massive obsession with water. Once its gone its like the end of the world to her. The crying NEVER STOPS! It’s hard to sleep in the middle of the night when a loud dog is howling, whining, barking and freaking out. We give her a pitcher of water, size of a juice pitcher you put in your fridge. 3 times daily. Its STILL not enough!! We even have a pause bowl for her! But, i’m the ONLY one her ever puts her water in there. Everyone else who takes care of her puts her the water in the food dish and vis versa. Because the water dish looks weird people assume its food dish? not likes it matters much she still found a way to chug her water down at record speed. One 2 litre bowl of water would be gone in a half hour or less.

    She also cries and whines when a specific “kibble” isn’t available in her food dish. It is so mentally draining, and she’s stressing me out. The only way to make her “shut up” is to put her in her kennel and put a blanket over it.
    We’re not even sure WHY she’s doing this, or why she’s being so obnoxious. It’s lead me to believe that all huskies are just as annoying as her, and I will never get another one!

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      My cat is like this with food. It’s incredibly annoying and frustrating. He meows and harasses us non-stop to eat. He can never get enough food. I wish I had some advice for you. Of course, you may want to get a vet’s opinion to rule out a medical problem. That sure sounds like a ton of water! Best of luck to you.

    2. Akira, i can really identify and empathize with the obnoxious, if not completely insane-making nature of your husky’s water obsession.
      It does sound like alot of water you’re giving him.
      I don’t find alot of people out there who are really helpful in the case of a psychological obsession like this…
      I had people who tried to help, but the vets basically threw up their hands.
      I wish the dog whisperer would clone himself and visit those of us who have obsessed animals….
      it can begin to drive you insane.
      Good luck and God bless you and the dog.
      It’s NOT hopeless!!
      I don’t know what you think about the Dog Whisperer….but if you have checked out the dog medically, and there’s nothing physically wrong with him, then I would watch the episodes of the Dog Whisperer where he is dealing with dogs with obsessions and practice his techniques!
      WEndy

  47. I have a 12 year old maltese and she drinks a lot of water and when there is no water in her bowl she comes to me and barks at me for more and I say no sometimes it helps and sometimes it doesn’t and she pees everywhere in the house in my room and the ktichen area and shen wines when she wants more warter how can I stop her from drinking a lot of water.

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      If you haven’t already you may want to rule out a physical problem with her vet.

      After that, it’s tough. I would probably just measure the amount of water she gets, and then ignore her when she begs for more. You could try different types of bowls that slow her down. Also teach her a solid down/stay command so you can always get her to lie down and leave you alone. Another option would be to give her some sort of toy as a distraction such as a Kong toy filled with canned dog food and frozen.

  48. My 7lb chihuahua rescue is obsessed with water. He, like many others, will drink until his stomach is completely engorged. He will obsessively lick the bathtub dry if he gets into the bathroom. He searches for drops of water everywhere in the house – in the kitchen, near bathrooms, near house plants… anywhere he’s found it before. He’ll lick the door mat if it’s raining outside and you’ve just come in. He compulsively checks all the ‘water places’ daily. If he accidentally gets into the bathtub, and you go into the bathroom and call his name, or try to remove him, he goes into rage, baring his teeth. If you let him stay, he’ll be in there for 5-10 minutes easily.

    We have decided keep the bathroom closed at all times.

    As far as his regular water, we ration his water throughout the day. We provide a portion of his daily water after each walk, meal, and trip outside. It’s helped. It’s a routine that we can all function in… and helps to mitigate him peeing inside due to physically being unable to hold it after a OCD drinking session.

    I won’t go on about our protocols for walking him in the rain… but that has been another huge challenge. The Gentle Leader has been extremely important.

    1. Oh my gosh! This sounds EXACTLY like the 7 month old lab/hound mix I have been fostering for the past 2 months! I mean to a T…the shower, the sidewalks when it’s rained, the sinks every time you turn one on, puddles…it never ends! Have you had any success since your last post? She was given a round of antibiotics but that did nothing ( I didn’t think it would) and I am convinced it’s psychological, she has an adoption event this Saturday, and she could potentially go to a new home so this might be too little to late, but for my own sake I would love to know.

      Thank you!

  49. I have a 13 week old GSD that seems to just be obsessed with consuming anything he can get his mouth on. That includes water. He inhales his food as if he’s never going to eat again, it hasn’t slowed down at all since he’s been aging. I expect this from little little puppies when they’re fighting over food once theyre weened, but 7-6 weeks later one would thing that obsession would subside a bit, but not with this one! He is like a lot of your dogs and will drink as much water as he can and look for more no matter how much he’s given. He gorges himself until he’s so bloated he can barely walk. I honestly don’t get it.. my first instinct is to say he’s just obsessed with having his belly full of something, anything! When I first got him he would inhale rocks faster than you could blink. He’s slowly gotten out of that habit bc I correct him every time he would even attempt it, but I have to give him water and the obsession just won’t quit! I’m trying to potty train him too so it’s making it difficult. If I restrict it, he’s twice as bad and drinks more frantically.. if I leave it out he inhales it to the point of exploding. Frustrating and have never even heard of a dog being obsessed with water until I started researching his issue.

  50. We have a 4 month old Irish Setter puppy that drinks water like there’s no tomorrow. The breed can be prone to bloat, so I’m trying to find out why she does this and how to stop.

    One thing I found mentioned is that a dog that will eat or drink as much as possible is because food and/or water is seen as a valued resource. They may have had access to it limited so they get it when they can and in mass quantities. One source said to monitor the dog drinking and after a short amount of time to step between the dog and the bowl but don’t remove the bowl. Essentially the goal is to condition the dog to realize the food and water is not a finite resource.

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