Should Puppies Have Free Access to Water?

There are some very common themes most puppy owners encounter, and while our natural tendency is to problem solve for success, sometimes the results we want can cause issues later down the line that aren’t intended or realized.

A very common puppy-raising problem is frequent potty accidents. Potty training success takes time, patience, and planning. A common solution that does not have benefits in the long run is withholding water. Following the old proverb of what goes in, must come out, may seem like rational sense BUT the thought of limiting the water your puppy drinks, can actually have some pitfalls.

You can inadvertently create a dog that may resource guard water. If a dog is not getting enough water, there can be a certain amount of anxiety created because that resource isn’t always freely available. Then, when it is presented, they may want to control that resource, so it doesn’t go away again. And what does resource guarding look like? Growling or potentially snapping anywhere near the resource. This pup is now forming an unhealthy relationship with water and while those behaviors being practiced are normal communication for a dog, you do not want a puppy communicating anxiety around something that should just be there.

You can also inadvertently create a dog that gorges on water. They learned it isn’t always around so they will finish the entire bowl in one sitting. That is not the intention of providing a resource as well as aiding in helping with potty training. The entire bowl of water has to come out, and sometimes especially for male puppies, they may not release all their urine in one potty visit outside.

Puppies should be able to have free access to water whenever they want it and it’s the human’s responsibility to create appropriate habits around that resource.
However, withholding water can be a useful tool for getting through the night without accidents. So, if your puppy has access to water all day, the assumption would be that they have hydrated enough, then it’s perfectly reasonable to be able to set a time where the water may be taken away before bedtime.

Are you a pet parent in Morristown, Warren or Montville, NJ? To find out more about Morris Animal Inn’s award-winning daycare services, boarding, grooming, and training, give us a call at 973-241-7412.