Dogs love playing in the rain, and they love playing in the water. They also tend to drink from the puddles left behind from a rainstorm. Though it may seem innocent enough, how do you stop your dog drinking from puddles?
Avoid any areas where standing water is common and train your dog to stop drinking through the use of commands. These commands will be a sharp sound that your dog will become familiar with.
Drinking from puddles can be dangerous, and understanding why it is dangerous will make you better equipped to stop them from getting a drink at the closest puddle. Read on to discover how to stop your dog from drinking puddles, why it is a health risk, and more.
How to Stop Your Dog From Drinking Puddles
Everyone has seen it: a dog going for a walk after a rainstorm and stopping to drink from a puddle on the side of the road. Perhaps you have seen your dog drink from puddles in the woods that were muddy. Puddles occur everywhere. Dogs will try to drink from them.
Puddles, however, can be dangerous to your dog. They can contain diseases, chemicals, and other runoff that is hazardous to the health of your dog. Even if the water is freshly fallen, it can contain these dangerous elements.
So, how do you stop them from drinking puddles or other pools of stagnant water? It will take a consistent approach, but it is doable.
Bring Bottled Water
The best, and quickest, way to stop your dog from drinking puddles is to bring bottled water with you on your walk or hike. If you notice that your dog is getting thirsty, reach for the bottle of water. If your dog is hesitant to drink right from the bottle, or you just prefer something to hold the water, you can bring a portable dog bowl. When they get thirsty, add the bottled water to the bowl, and then they can drink like they would at home.
Bringing bottled water is a part of training your dog to not drink from puddles. You have to be consistent. Mixed messages will not help them break the habit and positive reinforcement is important.
having your dog on the leash is going to help prevent them from drinking puddle water. However, if you’re like me then you will also endeavor to find an area your dog can run freely. If your dog is off the lead remember that they will be able to get away with much more, as you won’t be as close to them.
Try to use a sharp-sounding command like No! or Ah! this will help your dog snap to attention. Be patient and enjoy your walk how you normally would. Every time your dog goes for a puddle say the command and if they leave it give them a treat and lots of praise.
If you have trained your dog to the leave it command then using this will help reinforce the correct behavior.
Consistency is key when it comes to stopping your dog from drinking puddles. If they have been doing it for a long time, it is a habit that will be difficult to break. However, it is not impossible. You must be patient and kind if you want them to turn to you for a drink of water instead of a nearby puddle.
Avoid Standing Water
Standing water is the main culprit when it comes to the risks of illness from drinking out of puddles. If your dog has a habit of drinking out of puddles then areas that will have running water may be a better option. Of course, even running water poses some risks but after all these are dogs and they have been known to consume much worse things.
Standing water can also cause some nasty skin irritations, through the bacteria that live within it. Washing your dog is another way to reduce the chance of any bacterial infections or other ailments. This is especially important during the winter as you will battle through many muddy walks to complete the test of winter. Check out our article on “How To Clean Your Dog After A Walk” and “How To Keep Your House Clean With Muddy Dogs”
The Risks of Drinking From Puddles
As mentioned, there are several risks associated with drinking from puddles. Puddles are stagnant pools of water, and this means that anything that is trapped in the water has nowhere to go. There is no filter. Therefore, many diseases and chemicals can get trapped in the puddles. Of course, we don’t want to scare you from taking your dog out or letting them play around in these wet conditions. The risks are low if you think about how many dogs play around outside during the winter months, but it’s still important to be aware of the risks and discourage where you can.
When your dog starts drinking from a puddle they are exposing themselves to these dangerous elements. When they do this, they are opening themselves up to illnesses. They can also spread some of these diseases to you or your family. This is why teaching them how to stop drinking from puddles is important.
So, what risks are associated with drinking from puddles? There are a few to consider.
- Giardia. Organisms carried by the fecal matter of other animals carry this dangerous illness. It is contagious and humans can be infected with this, too.
- Leptospirosis. Similar to giardia, leptospirosis is carried by the urine of other animals. There are vaccines that can protect your dog against this. Furthermore, leptospirosis can have no side effects or very serious ones.
- Chemicals. There are chemicals everywhere, and when it rains these chemicals can get washed off into puddles, which your dog then drinks. Chemicals can include antifreeze, fertilizers, and pesticides.
- Other runoff. Other types of runoff can collect in puddles, such as oil, dead insects, trash, and more.
Nobody wants their dog to be exposed to these things, and puddles can contain any of them. Sometimes, a puddle may seem clean but is contaminated. This uncertainty can leave you uneasy, which is why it is important to bring clean water for your dog and to train them to stay away from puddles they see while out walking.
As mentioned vaccinating your dog can help reduce the spread of infections but it can be difficult to understand the limitations when you first get a puppy. Here’s our guide on “When To Let A Puppy Outside In The Garden”, this contains some useful information on what to do with your new pup.
You may or may not have heard giardia, but it is a common contaminant of puddles that your dog may decide to drink from.
Giardia is carried by the fecal matter of other animals. When it rains, the water can carry these organisms with it. The water forms a puddle and the organisms stay there. Giardia can be transferred to humans, and it can be a nasty illness.
Dog parks are a prime area to get giardia because of the number of dogs that use the park. Nevertheless, when a dog gets giardia, it will begin showing symptoms. The most common symptom, however, is diarrhea along with weight loss.
You can bring your dog to the veterinarian if you suspect your dog is sick with giardia. Once diagnosed, your veterinarian will be able to prescribe medicine to help your dog. This is why it is better to avoid puddles altogether.
As with giardia, leptospirosis can be found in puddles and is carried by the urine of other animals, which can be carried and collected into puddles. Leptospirosis is a very serious illness that your dog can contract if they drink from a puddle where these organisms are present.
If your dog drinks from a puddle where the urine residue from an infected animal is, your dog will get very sick.
When a dog is infected with leptospirosis, it may begin vomiting, being tired all the time, and will lose interest in food. Moreover, if unattended, it can lead to complications with kidneys, liver, and lungs. These complications can cause these organs to fail.
Luckily, leptospirosis can be diagnosed and treated with antibiotics. Furthermore, there are vaccinations you can give to your dog to help avoid this unpleasant situation altogether. Avoiding puddles, however, is a great first step.
Chemicals and Other Runoff
Anything that is on the ground can be washed by rainwater and can be gathered in puddles. For example, any chemicals that incidentally come off vehicles in the street will be washed into the puddles that form near the curb. If your dog drinks from these puddles they will also be ingesting these chemicals.
One of the higher risk seasons is winter and not just because of the excess water, but also because of the chemicals used on the roads and pavements. Chemicals are used for de-icing roads all throughout the winter and once the ice or even snow melts you get runoff water. This water will collect into puddles and contain some nasty chemicals, check out our “Winter Dog Walking Guide” for more information on walking your dog in the winter.
Another possibility of contamination is the rubbish collection, which happens every week depending on where you’re from. With this amount of activity, it’s more than likely household waste will somehow make its way onto the road at some point. Think about what you use in your house and the possibility of some of it getting onto the road before it rains. Chemicals, along with trash and other runoff, can seriously harm your dog. You would not want them to eat antifreeze or pesticides, but it is possible if they drink from puddles.
Why Do Dogs Like to Drink From Puddles
So, why do dogs like drinking from puddles? As mentioned, it is very common. You have probably seen it regularly.
There are a few reasons why dogs like drinking from puddles and other stagnant pools of water they come across when out for a walk or a hike.
- Dogs need to stay hydrated. As with humans, dogs need to stay hydrated when they are exercising. As they exercise, they sweat the water in their body out through their noses and paws. This causes them to be thirsty. If they are thirsty, they will look for the closest source of water to quench their thirst.
- Puddles smell different. Dogs’ sense of smell is much stronger than a human’s sense of smell, and the fact is that puddles smell different from them. They get curious about the scent and want to investigate. If you want to learn more about your dog’s amazing sense of smell check out this article on “How Long Can A Dog Follow A Scent”
- Puddles taste different. As with the difference in smell, the puddles taste different than the water they are used to. Even if the water is not contaminated, dogs can taste the difference. As with the smell, the dog will get curious and want to taste the water while also satisfying their thirst.
Dogs are drawn to puddles out of curiosity and out of instinct. By bringing your own clean, filtered water for them to drink, you will protect them against the risks puddles bring, while also keeping them healthy and happy. If you enjoyed this article why not check out our homepage, where we have more great content on walking your dog, getting out and about with them, and sharing the best life.