Can dogs drink something other than water?

Loads of new ‘dog drinks’ arrive on the shelves every year. From dog beer to dog tea, and yes, even pawsecco. But when it comes to rehydration – is water really the king of the drinking bowl? We rounded up the questions everyone’s asking to see what’s best, and why.

What drink is good for my dog?

Let’s be honest. Dogs and fresh, clean drinking water are a match made in hydration heaven. Water is absolutely the best drink you can give them. If they’re fussy and turn their noses up at drinking water from the tap, there are a few tips you can follow before cracking open the Evian 

  • Try an ice cube, instead
  • Make a doggy smoothie
  • Make an ice pop (watermelon is great because it’s 80% water)
  • Offer it from your hand 
  • Mix some into their kibble recipe
  • Make sure it’s fresh
  • Wash bowls daily
  • Flavour it with a bit of bone broth (yummy).

If your dog is weird about water, try praising him and giving him a treat every time he drinks. 

Can dogs drink milk?

Milk is full of healthy nutrients like calcium and protein, but did you know most dogs are lactose intolerant? We don’t put any dairy into our kibble, either because it’s actually not a good choice for your dog. 

Milk can upset their digestive system and make your dog feel quite poorly – leaving you with the mess to clean up. Not all dogs drinking milk will have this reaction straight away, and it can vary from dog to dog how much will upset their stomach. The best advice is to err on the side of caution and simply not give them any.

Can dogs drink tea or coffee?

Giving your leftover tea to your dog sounds harmless enough, but caffeine can be toxic to dogs. When they’re so much smaller than us, what might seem like a harmless sip (or lap) to you, can play havoc with their health. Caffeine toxicity levels and their size means it’ll take no time at all before the caffeine jitters turn into something more serious. 

So no, we don’t recommend you give your dog:

  • Tea
  • Coffee 
  • Any other caffeinated drink
  • That includes sports drinks and fizzy drinks, too. 

If you think they’ve lapped up your grande latte, guzzled down some grounds or more, look out for these symptoms and call your vet immediately:

  • Restlessness 
  • Racing pulse
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Agitation
  • Hyperactivity
  • Vomiting 
  • Panting 
  • Tremors or seizures.

Can dogs drink alcohol?

Absolutely not. Ever. It’s not cool, okay or funny to give any dog a sip of beer, wine or other alcohol. Your dog’s kidneys and liver are not made for filtering (metabolise) alcohol through them! It’s not just wine, beer and spirits that have alcohol in them either, it might be surprising to know that soy sauce, uncooked bread dough and gone-off fruit are common household culprits, too.

What about specialist doggy drinks?

Dog-friendly drinking alternatives like alcohol-free dog beer, wine and prosecco and health tonics and herbal tea for dogs (minus the caffeine) are treats. We think they should be an occasional treat, not a regular part of your dog’s diet. But your dog will likely prefer a tasty and more nutritious biscuit or similar bite-size treat with a little water instead of a fancy drink.

Water, please

For your dog, drinking water really is the best way to keep them hydrated and healthy – no other dog drink comes close. 

Water is really key in summer, when drinking it helps your dog cool down. If you’re going for long car journeys or days out enjoying the summer sun, don’t forget your travel bowl!

If you want to read more about how to keep your dog cool in hot weather, click here.

40 comments

  1. Tiny and Benji enjoy goats milk laced with pawsceco as a summ tipple need to watch for tinys weight ,also a little coconut milk
    Cheers

    1. I give my puppy about 1/4 cup of almond milk as a special treat each evening. She loves it and so far hasn’t had any issues.

  2. What a halpful thing to do about what dogs should drink and what thay should not i have seen dogs with their owners on a very hot day with out any signs of vessel or water for them to drink out of i think a lot of people forget a dog as a fir cote on all year round and that thay don’t sweat like we do so on hot days if you are taking your dog on a day out with you always take water and something for your dog to drink out of and please do ever lock your dog in a car

      1. Someone is trying their best to speak English, it’s not everyone’s first language. Is there a need to be mean to them?

        1. My daughter is Dyslexic and I would hope people wouldn’t make fun of her for spelling errors. A lot of Dyslexic people spell how it sounds therefore sometimes spelled incorrectly…

      2. Instead of just criticising, maybe you could understand that not everyone is from an English speaking background, or that they may not have had the same educational standard that was available to you. Unfortunately most people learn to spell by SMS short hand and not by reading books.

  3. Thank you for putting this article out there. Our pets are part of the family…you wouldn’t give something you weren’t sure of to a human (and they can talk) so why don’t to an animal who can express themselves. Sadly some people think because products are marketed towards animals then it must be safe to give it to them.
    So well done Tails.com

    1. My new puppy refuses point blank to drink water. He’s only 8 weeks old and I had to take him to the vet where he was put on a drip to rehydrate him. Hes home now but still not touching water. Any suggestions? Hes a bichon frise.

      1. My 16 year old cross breed would only have the tiniest amount of water for possibly 12 months. Encouraging him with treats didn’t work. Today I added a little milk to it and he lapped it up. It was concerning and had mentioned it to his vet several times. They didn’t seem concerned. We used to add milk to his water when he was younger and he lapped it up then also. Don’t know why I didn’t think of this before. If it stops him being dehydrated and he must have been, that’s what he’ll have. Don’t remember it making him sick before but has been sick a lot recently probably due to dehydration.

        1. Our 12 year old min pin suffers from quite a few issues such as SM, hydrocephalus, low bp and heart issues…after his last seizures he refused to drink water and spat it out when we tried to give it to him with a needleless syringe…(for 3 weeks)…we did give him IVs but his veins are not in the best condition due to age and disease…one thing that worked was giving him watered down Ayran (a Turkish/Lebanese drink made from water and yogurt)…you would really need to water it down if you make it with yogurt)..Our experiences without watering it down have been lots of loose stool…hopefully this helps…it worked wonders for us and Ayran is apparently something they drink to prevent dehydration in Middle Eastern countries

        2. Our 12 year old min pin suffers from quite a few issues such as SM, hydrocephalus, low bp and heart issues…after his last seizures he refused to drink water and spat it out when we tried to give it to him with a syringe…(for 3 weeks)…we did give him IVs but his veins are not in the best condition due to age and disease…one thing that worked was giving him watered down Ayran (a Turkish/Lebanese drink made from water and yogurt)…you would really need to water it down if you make it with yogurt)..Our experiences without watering it down have been lots of loose stool…hopefully this helps…it worked wonders for us and Ayran is apparently something they drink to prevent dehydration in Middle Eastern countries

      2. Put a few tablespoons of chicken broth in his water (or go half n half). Store bought/canned broth is fine, but.make sure it’s low-sodium.

      3. My rescue Bichon Frise 3Yrs refuses to drink water at wits end as she has crystals in urine. When we first had her we found her stealing coffee and tea fortunately they were decafe she clearly wants a drink as she looks at her water bowl then walks off we have tried different bowls stainless, ceramic and plastic she has an overshot lower jaw so she seems to prefer plastic bowls. We tried tap water and three different bottled waters to no avail. I have made beef tea by boiling steak mince in lots of water she drank it once then turned nose up, she will however drink skimmed lacto free milk and red bush tea which is caffeine free with a splash of above milk she also likes very diluted black currant cordial (Belvoir farms a natural product with no nasties in it) also tried kids cold brew fruit teas but she’s not keen. We are fed up with being told water is best, what do you do when your dog just refuses water they have too drink otherwise they are going to be ill with bladder stones, infections and worse kidney disease. We’ve been told she’s playing us and to leave her she’ll drink when she’s thirsty but that’s not true she will go days without drinking I wish a dog food company would come up with a everyday drink for dogs like ours. She also has a chicken allergy so chicken broth is out of the question. I’ve put her on wet food with kibble 50 / 50
        . Hope some of my drink suggestions help your pup.

        1. I am having that same issue with my Yorkiepoo. She use to tear water up all day and night and then one day she just stopped. I have to give her water by syringe for her to drink it. If I pour it in my hand she will drink it sometimes if it is spring water, tap water… forget about it!
          She will not drink broth. I will try the other options I see posted here.

      4. Do you have other pets that use the same bowl? My dog will only drink out of her bowl. If another dog drinks from it she’s done.

  4. my dog thankfully is now eating your wonderful dog food which has taken a while as he is rather was a fussy eater but I have tried so much as it is far easier giving him your dried food and know that it will do him good I must say he is a different dog now and has far more energy I must say your help has been excellent and I would highly recommend you to others to not give up on them eating your food

    1. What kind of dry food are you talking about .
      I would Luke to try it on my dog too.
      If you be so kind to respond with the
      Name of the dry food and where I’ll be able to get it .
      Thanks .

  5. Do NOT give ANY DOG WINE! It can harm their liver, it is VERY TOXIC AND CAN KILL THEM! RAISINS are dried grapes. Grapes are toxic and in wine.

  6. Almond milk & honey is a great treat drink for my little fella but is especially effective & soothing for kennel cough …

  7. I live on a very busy rural road so it’s not safe to use for a walk. So I drive a short distance and me and my dog Charlie can take a walk for 30-60mins. Its so easy , just fill a big flask with cold water take a cup for yourself and a bowl for your dog. When he has had a good drink pour any water left in his bowl onto the ground and walk your dog through the wet ground to cool his paws and if it’s v warm gently pour a bowl or 2 of water along your dogs back, your pet will love it . Happy safe , cool dog.

  8. Treats for dogs : Charlie loves washed , par cooked carrots , chop the carrots pop them into a bowl with a couple of spoons of water . Microwave, drain, cool and serve. Fresh green beans are also a favorite and can be cooked as above. Why buy expensive dog treats when we can serve up these 2 veg safely to our much loved pouch ❤️ and it only takes minutes

  9. My toy doggy is NOT keen on drinking her water. But she loves licking ice cubes so a neat alternative is making your own doggy popsicle’s! For example, I will use baby food in the little jars… My pups fav is a banana popsicle (a lil jar of banana’s mixed with water and freeze the mixture) there is a variety of jars of baby food that are perfect to mix with water to get your pup hydrated! Hope this helps!

  10. Looks like a mix of water & goats milk might help those reluctant to drink just water.
    I offer the dog a drink of water in the car before we start our walk, so she doesn’t feel the need to drink out of dirty puddles, stagnant water or streams & then offer more water at end of walk once back in car. She is reluctant but on these hot days will drink it & I drink some from the flask too.

  11. How insensitive some of you are to think you are perfect. This person’s grammar does not matter. What matters is how caring they are to worry about animals health. If this person found your dog and loved taking care of your dog for you, would it matter? Shame on you!

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