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Hydration is important for your pet — but if your dog is a messy drinker, choking hazards, damaged floors, and slippery surfaces could potentially result. That’s where the best dog water bowls for messy drinkers come in, and I’ve reached out to a certified dog trainer for insight on what to to look for as you shop. These dog bowls offer special features that keep the spillage to a minimum and moderate your dog’s drinking speed.
Nicole Ellis is a certified professional dog trainer (CPDT-KA) and pet lifestyle expert with Rover. She has trained hundreds of animals — from basic commands to service dog training — and is the author of Working Like A Dog. Ellis’s own dog, Maggie, was rescued from a city shelter, and has since performed in films and commercials, and knows over 100 commands.
Negative Effects of Drinking Water too Fast
There are several reasons why drinking water too fast is bad for your dog, the five below are the ones that cause the most concern.
No, we aren’t just talking about a bloated stomach. When dogs drink or eat too fast, they ingest large amounts of air. Large quantities of air in their stomach can cause canine bloat. Bloat, if not caught quickly, is fatal. It’s the second most common cause of premature K9 deaths, cancer being the first. There are two types of bloat:
In addition to slowing down drinking, there is a simple surgery that “tacks the stomach” in place to prevent GDV. Most vets recommend you have this surgery done the same time your dog is being neutered.
Vomiting can be a result of dogs drinking or eating too fast and bears health effects of its own. Dogs who continuously vomit from drinking too fast are at risk of dehydration and nutrient deficiency.
It’s a vicious cycle: dog drinks water, dog throws up, leading dog to gulp down more water, causing dog to throw up again and so on.
Symptoms of dehydration include a dry mouth, loss of appetite, sunken eyes, and little energy. If your dog is suffering a nutrient deficiency, you may notice a change or dullness to their coat, depression, or fecal changes.
Unfortunately, dogs can’t handle too much water in their stomach at one time, so vomiting after drinking a lot of water is common.
It’s happened to us plenty of times. We’re eating or drinking something and break into a violent coughing fit because it “went down the wrong pipe.” The same thing happens to dogs too when the drink (or eat) too fast.
This is caused when a small flap of tissue in our throats, called the epiglottis, doesn’t open fast enough. The epiglottis guides food and water into our digestive tract away from the trachea (pathway to the lungs). While this isn’t terribly harmful if it only happens every so often, if your dog does it often enough, it can damage the lungs. It’s also an extremely uncomfortable feeling, as you know firsthand.
It’s just as possible for dogs to drink too much water as it is for humans. It’s actually easier for them! Drinking too much water can result in fatal water intoxication, also called hyperhydration. It’s weird to think that water can kill a dog, considering it’s essential for survival. Excessive water levels diminish the body’s sodium levels. Symptoms include lethargy, vomiting, staggering, and dilated pupils.
Hyponatremia is a fatal condition in which cells expand from the excess fluid from hyperhydration. Expansion in the cells can cause the organs to swell. This can lead to irreparable brain damage or even death in some cases. This is more common in dogs who ingest water while playing in it for long periods of time.
How to Slow Down Your Dog When Drinking Water
Here are our top three ways to slow your dogs drinking without having to purchase any special bowls.
This is the cheapest way to make your dog drink slower, but it isn’t always the easiest! When you give them small amounts of water, you will have to give them water often to be sure they are getting enough. This is perfect for people who are home for most of the day and can monitor their dog.
There’s a fine line between giving your dog too much water vs. not getting enough water. We do not recommend this method if you aren’t home all day to monitor your dog’s water intake. The risk of dehydration is too high.
If your dog drinks too fast, try giving them ice cubes instead. This ensures that they are getting water without swallowing a ton of air. Plus, they’re fun to chase around! This is especially great in the summer because it cools them down as well.
We realize ice cubes can be messy and make your floor wet. So, if you don’t want that, just add the ice cubes to your dog’s water bowl instead. The distraction of something floating in their bowl will slow down their drinking. Be sure to keep an eye on your dog to make sure they don’t swallow whole ice cubes.
Best splurge no-spill dog water bowl
I love stainless steel products, and the Slopper Stopper Dripless Water Bowl gets rave reviews from dog owners of giant breeds and bearded pooches. The stainless steel base holds a full gallon of water, and the top lid design keeps ears clean. A gasket fits the pieces together to allow water to flow into the drinking reservoir. Yes, this bowl costs more than others, but it will last longer and, according to reviews, works better than other products. It comes in five sizes to accommodate virtually any size dog. Check sizing to best fit smaller dogs, or the water mess won’t be reduced.
What we liked about Slopper Stopper:
What to consider about Slopper Stopper:
How do I get my dog to drink water slower?
What do you do if your dog drinks water too fast?
Why does my dog drink water so fast?
Are slow water bowls good for dogs?
One of the primary benefits should be pretty obvious – slow feeders slow your dog down while eating. Regular bowls work very well for dogs that don’t inhale their food. The obstructions in a slow feeder make eating more of a challenge, so it takes longer for your dog to eat.