How to get dog to drink water after surgery

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Your dog has just undergone a successful procedure and is now on the road to recovery, so the challenging part is over.

This was the experience I had when my own dog Maximus returned home after a hind leg ACL surgery, but you quickly realize that though he should be drinking water and staying hydrated, he does not seem at all interested.

In addition to being mentally slow to respond and having a very depressed mood, Max did not want to move.Naturally, I was worried because he was also refusing to drink anything at all.

Welcome to the Concise Guide on How To Get A Dog To Drink Water After Surgery, I was able to implement a few solutions that got him drinking again after doing some research. Concise Guide on How To Get A Dog To Drink Water After Surgery.


  • Why Is My Dog Not Drinking Water Following Surgery?
  • Five suggestions to help your dog drink more water after surgery
    • 1. Ascertain that your dog has simple access to clean water.
    • 2. A good broth can solve a lot of issues.
    • 3. Make "soup" in place of dry food to increase hydration indirectly.
    • 4. Ice chips provide an alternative means of increasing water intake.
    • 5. Use the turkey baster if all else fails. 
  • In Conclusion

Why Is My Dog Not Drinking Water Following Surgery?

In order to block pain or to make a dog unconscious during surgery, anesthesia is administered. This is obviously beneficial for the dog's comfort and relaxation during surgery.Dogs typically tolerate anesthesia pretty well, but there can still be some very obvious side effects.

Several frequent adverse effects include:

  • fatigue and sluggish reflexes
  • Sluggishness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • unable to maintain heat or cool
  • Behavior changes
  • lack of desire for food or liquids

Although the state of anesthesia has advanced to the point where there may be no side effects at all, it is still more likely that your dog will feel some discomfort after surgery.

In the first 24 hours following surgery, pets will be more tired than usual, and it may take several days for a dog to return to normal.In addition, heavier dogs will take longer to recover because most anesthetics are absorbed into body fat, which prolongs their time in the body before being eliminated.

Force-feeding a dog right after surgery can result in vomiting, so it's not a coincidence that it doesn't want to eat or drink given how unsteady it must be feeling.Instead, keep a close eye on it and give it a day or two to heal naturally.

Despite this, it's still crucial to keep a recovering dog hydrated because doing so will help to safeguard its organs and prevent it from experiencing any further health problems.

Five suggestions to help your dog drink more water after surgery

How to get dog to drink water after surgery

1. Ascertain that your dog has simple access to clean water.

It's critical to make it as simple as possible for your dog to consume the water that you desire.

Dogs are frequently required to wear an E-collar, also referred to as the "cone of shame," after surgery as a form of protection; this prevents them from licking or scratching their wounds, but it severely limits movement.

Check to see if the collar prevents your dog from drinking normally; if it does, it might be a good idea to remove the collar when the dog wants to drink.

Placing the bowl in a position where it doesn't have to strain to get to it is another useful way you can make drinking easier for your dog. Placing the bowl so that it is level with its head can be a big encouragement for it to drink.

Last but not least, if your dog is currently too exhausted to seek out water, bring the water bowl to them and try to arouse their natural thirst by gently drizzling some droplets around their lips and mouth.

2. A good broth can solve a lot of issues.

Low-sodium chicken or bone broth not only gives your dog's water a delicious flavor, but it is also a nourishing supplement that will support your dog's recovery from illness.

This is due to the fact that homemade broth is the best because you can control the ingredients and amount of salt added, and that it is packed with nutrients like collagen and gelatin that nourish the joints, liver, and stomach.

To get your dog to drink, you can start with a higher concentration of broth; once it starts to behave normally, you can gradually reduce the amount until it's just water again.

3. Make "soup" in place of dry food to increase hydration indirectly.

Post-surgery may be the ideal time to switch from feeding your dog dry kibble to canned wet food because canned food naturally has higher moisture content, which means your dog will be getting water just by eating.Your dog won't even notice if you simply add water to the canned food to further increase hydration.

Dogs will adore this special meal and gulp it down, water and all. Another option is to make a "soup" by combining warm water with dry food and then stirring in some canned food.

4. Ice chips provide an alternative means of increasing water intake.

A raw, sore throat that hurts to drink or eat can result from certain surgeries when a tube is inserted down the dog's throat to assist it in breathing.

Some dogs are especially partial to the texture of ice cubes so it's definitely an idea worth trying. Ice cubes or chips offer a way to soothe that sore throat while also providing much-needed hydration.

You can give your dog frozen chicken broth, ice cubes with tuna or turkey flakes in them, or anything else besides just water.

5. Use the turkey baster if all else fails. 

It may be time to take matters into your own hands if your dog won't drink any water at all and doesn't like any of the aforementioned techniques. By using a syringe or a turkey baster, you can manually give your dog the water that it requires.

You will meet much less resistance approaching from the side than from the front. Fill the syringe, tip the dog's head upwards, and place the syringe into the corner of its mouth.Repeat as necessary, making sure your dog is swallowing the water as you slowly pour it into its mouth.

Syringes typically only hold about 20cc of liquid, so you might need to repeat the procedure several times to properly hydrate your dog.

*Take your dog to the vet if it has been refusing to drink for more than 48 hours!

In Conclusion

The effects of the anesthesia, which make the dog feel unsteady, sick, and lethargic, are what cause it to refuse to drink for the first day or two after surgery.You can do this by making water as accessible as possible, but it is still important to encourage it to drink whenever possible in order to prevent dehydration.

Ice cubes are a good way to add variety and also serve as a soother for sore throats. There are many other ways to encourage your dog to drink water, such as supplementing with broth or blending in wet food.Syringes and eye droppers work well for manually giving your dog the water it needs if all else fails.

Heather Abraham, a prolific blogger and owner of two dogs, one cat, a leopard gecko, a parrot (that her dad still can't teach bad words to), has always felt a connection to animals.Along with newly-added veterinarian DVM editor Elena, she puts pups first while providing other various fun tidbits along the way. She brings her love of every type of pet to you, with information on animal nutrition, medication, toys, beds, and everything else in between.

Is a dog not drinking water after surgery normal?

As a result of the weakness and lethargy brought on by sedation, which affects their bodies in a variety of ways, including thirst and appetite, it's not uncommon for dogs to stop drinking after surgery.Seeing your dog refuse to drink, however, can be unsettling because dogs require water to survive. . The weakness and lethargy associated with sedation affects their bodies in numerous ways, including thirst and appetite. Being that dogs need water to survive, however, seeing your dog refrain from drinking can be frightening.

How can a dog who won't drink be kept hydrated?

You can moisten your dog's dry food with a little water to encourage him to drink it, or you can give him ice cubes as a snack.Try a new bowl or a different location to place the bowl to tempt him. Dogs love the crunchy texture and there are no extra calories. add a little water to his dry food making it moist. You can also give your pup ice to snack on. Dogs love the crunchy texture and there's no additional calories! Try a new bowl or a new place to place the bowl to tempt him.

How long after surgery can a dog go without drinking?

Your pet can go for up to 72 hours (three days) without water, but after the first 24 hours, it will start to exhibit signs of dehydration.If you go over that, your animal friend will start to get progressively weaker. 72 hours (three days). However, it'll show signs of dehydration after the first 24 hours. Go beyond that and your furry friend will slowly feel weaker and weaker.