Dogs, like humans and all other animals, rely on water for life, which is fundamental for maintaining the health of every animal. However, humans seek variety from our hydration and have created an endless assortment of drinks to meet this desire. It’s therefore natural for dog owners to wonder if our pooches share this craving and if it is safe for them to drink some of our favourite beverages, such as coffee, beer and milk?
This piece from James Wellbeloved explores different types of dog drink and answers other common drink-related questions, including ‘can a puppy drink milk?’ and ‘how much water should a puppy drink?’
HOW MUCH WATER SHOULD MY DOG DRINK?
The amount a dog drinks will vary depending on factors such as age and size. Generally though, dogs should drink one ounce of water for every pound they weigh. This rule is true for puppies, who will usually drink less due to their smaller size.
Remember also that your dog’s needs will also change depending on environmental factors; for example, they will drink more on hot or particularly active days. If you’re concerned your dog isn’t drinking enough, consult a vet for advice.
SHOULD DOGS DRINK MILK?
Dogs drink milk from their mothers for approximately the first six to seven weeks of their lives. After this time, they can gain all the nutrition they require for a happy and healthy life from a properly formulated dog food, alongside clean, fresh drinking water.
CAN A PUPPY DRINK COW’S MILK?
Whilst rich in beneficial nutrients, like calcium and proteins, cow’s milk is not a healthy option for your pooch at any age. Cow’s milk contains a sugar called lactose, which dogs lack the necessary enzyme for digesting. Ingesting cow’s milk can therefore cause digestive discomfort and possibly excretion issues.
CAN DOGS DRINK ALCOHOL?
Definitely not. Dogs are far more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than humans, with possible side effects including vomiting, diarrhoea, breathing difficulty and even death. The quantities of alcohol needed to induce this toxicity is much lower in dogs than in humans, so it is best to prevent them drinking any at all.
Further, alcohols like wine and beer are made from grapes and hops respectively, both of which are highly toxic to dogs. If you are concerned that your dog has ingested alcohol, you should contact a vet immediately for further advice.
CAN YOU GIVE YOUR DOG TEA OR COFFEE?
It’s hard for many people to imagine starting their day without a tea or coffee to perk them up in the morning. However, dogs are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine. This is largely due to our pets having a lower body weight than humans and means that a small amount of caffeine can be surprisingly damaging to your dog. Drinks like tea and caffeine are therefore not to be shared with your pooch.
CAN DOGS DRINK JUICE?
Shop bought juices, particularly those from concentrate, should not be given to your dog, as they often contain sweeteners, artificial flavourings and colouring which are not good for dogs.
However, a small amount of fresh fruit, ideally squeezed yourself, can be a refreshing treat for your dog. This should still only be in very small quantities, as fruit juice is very high in sugar. Try allowing your dog to lick the plate after you’ve cut strawberries or oranges on it, as the residual juice is an ideal quantity for your pet.
So, when thinking about hydrating your pet pooch, clean and fresh water is always the best option. If you’re worried they’re not drinking sufficient quantities of water then contact your vet for advice, rather than trying to find an alternative beverage.
Introducing a new puppy to cats
Introducing a new puppy to a cat can be tough – cats are usually less tolerant than dogs and will quickly make their disapproval known in the form of hissing or spitting. A young boisterous puppy may prove to be an annoyance for an existing cat, so it’s important to get the preparation right.
You can use the scent technique for cats, too – just take the blanket with your new puppy’s smell on it and leave it for your cat to investigate. You could rub the blanket on different spots around the house to familiarise your cat with the smell. You should also ensure that your cat’s eating and sleeping spots are separate to the puppy, and that your cat can easily escape to a high area if they feel stressed or irritated. The first time the two meet, put your puppy on a lead and use treats or toys to keep them entertained while your cat investigates. As before, keep meetings short and simple – don’t try to force your cat to do anything they are unhappy with.
A new puppy and children
It’s incredibly exciting for children when you bring home a new puppy – but it’s important to explain to them how to properly greet the new arrival. Teach young children how to handle animals beforehand, including gentle patting or stroking. As new puppies often feel overwhelmed and homesick for mum, calm and quiet behaviour will help to reassure them. Always supervise children with the puppy and avoid using treats or toys to start with, as this may lead to overexcitement and rough behaviour.
Your pets may not always be best friends, but they should be able to co-exist happily. If you experience any issues introducing your pets, you can ask a vet or pet behavioural specialist for advice.