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Dog Won’t Drink Water After Dental Surgery – What To Do?


Dog won’t drink water after dental surgery

After your dog has undergone dental surgery, it is important that you continue to provide them with plenty of water. However, if your dog is refusing to drink water, there may be a reason why. In this blog post, we will explore some of the reasons why your dog may not be drinking water following dental surgery and how you can help encourage them to drink more. Keep reading for more information!

Table of contents

Why do dogs stop drinking water after dental surgery?

Dogs refusing water after dental surgery is entirely normal. Generally, the anesthesia used during the surgery makes the dog sick and lethargic, which can translate into dogs refusing food or water.

These conditions usually occur within two days after the surgery and can last for days, depending on the anesthesia dosage. While most dogs surpass this period and continue with their daily feeding routine, sometimes you may have to encourage your dog to drink water.

Furthermore, if your dog still avoids drinking water, it would be best to seek professional help or visit a qualified vet for a complete medical examination.

Why do dogs stop drinking water after dental surgery?

How long can your dog go without drinking water?

Although you can ignore this situation for a day or two, the effects of dehydration will certainly kick in from the third day.

Dogs can survive without water for three days (72 hours). However, you will witness several behavioral changes or health issues if you do not encourage your dog to drink water.

For instance, appetite loss is one of the common issues faced by dog owners after their fur friend undergoes surgery. Likewise, other health conditions like nausea, vomiting, or grogginess also kick in due to less water intake.

Some owners have even complained about the change in behavior, which can sometimes lead to aggression or depression due to the pain caused by the surgery.

So how long is too long? Although you shouldn’t force your dog to drink water, you can certainly encourage him to drink as much water as possible. Lack of water for extended durations can invite different health conditions, and it would be undoubtedly unwise to leave things for too long.

How long can your dog go without drinking water?

How to encourage your dog to drink water after surgery?

As mentioned earlier, you cannot force your dog to drink water, as it can make things worse. However, you can encourage your dog to drink water to avoid dehydration.

Here are some useful tips that you can follow.

Offer cold water

Cold water is an excellent natural agent that can ease pain and stop possible bleeding. If cold water soothes your dog’s agony, it will certainly enjoy drinking more cold water.

You can place different bowls of cold water at strategic locations to help your dog drink whenever he wants. Furthermore, ice cubes can also act as a soothing cold treat that will help rehydrate your dog.

Offer wet food

Offering wet food is undoubtedly your best option as it allows your dog to eat without putting pressure on its gums or teeth. Additionally, wet food also contains moisture that will further hydrate the dog.

However, ensure that you consult a vet first before getting wet food that won’t compromise your dog’s stomach.

Water with a twist

If offering cold water is not working for you, you can add low-sodium broth into the water to entice your dog’s smell and taste.

Since broth contains essential vitamins and minerals, it will provide energy to your dog. This way, your dog will stay hydrated and recover from the surgery without compromising his appetite.

No force-feeding

Force-feeding will only make things worse, so keeping it aside is the best thing. Instead, place clean bowls with either cold water or water mixed with broth at strategic locations for your dog.

Your dog will find it convenient to drink whenever he wants instead of force-feeding. Furthermore, a dog can become aggressive after dental surgery, which means force-feeding may result in accidents.

However, if your dog is not aggressive, you can use a syringe to drip water inside his mouth. A strong dose of anesthesia can make your dog’s jaws numb, so using a syringe can be effective.

You can repeat this process throughout the day if your dog is not drinking himself.


Painkillers are crucial after dental surgery as it helps your dog to fight the pain. These medicines control the pain and allow your dog to drink and eat according to its normal schedule.

However, ensure that you follow the correct dosage and timing to avoid any side effects. Furthermore, if you notice any adverse symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

How to encourage your dog to drink water after surgery?

Things to avoid after your dog’s dental surgery

Here are the things you should avoid after your dog’s dental surgery.

Wrapping Up

Although seeing your dog not drinking water can be a worrying sign, it would be best to give him some time to recover. However, also ensure that you do not leave things for too long if your dog exhibits signs of dehydration.

We hope that our post has helped you understand this topic and also the ways you can encourage your dog to drink water after dental surgery.

Written by

Tim Smith
With years of experience writing about dogs, this author is a go-to source for insights on the furry friends. A lover of all animals, this writer's work has been published in many respected publications.
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