Water Bottle at Beach

Teaching your dog to drink out of a water bottle is a cute and memorable party trick. But beyond that, there are practical reasons to teach your pup to drink out of a bottle. It’s a perfect solution for hikes, trips to the dog park, neighborhood walks and days at the beach — any place a water bowl would be hard to manage. Although areas heavily frequented by dogs may have water bowls outside, there is some risk involved with your pooch sharing water with other dogs, so having your pet’s personal water source directly from the bottle is added protection against communicable diseases.

Some dogs take to drinking out of a water bottle naturally, while others may need encouragement, largely because drinking out of a water bottle changes the way a dog naturally drinks. Here’s how to train your dog to drink from a water bottle.

Using an Adaptor

The easiest way to teach your dog to drink out of a water bottle is by using a pet adaptor on a standard water bottle. Water flows out of the bottle only when the dog moves the ball in the middle of the adaptor by licking it. The flow can be adjusted specifically for your dog.

  • The Pet Top portable drinking device can be attached to the top of most standard water bottles.
  • The device can be adjusted for water flow, from a very light flow for dogs unfamiliar with drinking from a bottle to a heavier flow for larger or more avid drinkers.
  • Dogs are able to access the water when the bottle is held vertically by the pet parent and the dog rolls his tongue across the device.
  • Most pets naturally take to the water bottle adaptor, especially when it’s introduced on the lightest flow setting. If your dog doesn’t seem interested in the bottle, try smearing a small amount of peanut butter on the ball of the adaptor.

Straight From the Bottle

To teach your pet to drink out of a water bottle without an adaptor, sports caps may work the best because they allow you to adjust somewhat for the amount of water that flows out.

  • Bring out the water bottle when your pet is thirsty and start with the sports cap barely opened so that only a minimal amount of water will flow out.
  • Check the amount of water that will flow out by tipping the bottle upside down before you offer the bottle to your dog.
  • Smear a tiny amount of Cheez Whiz or other palatable treat on the tip of the water bottle cap to encourage your pet to investigate and start licking. 
  • As your pet gets comfortable, you can decrease the lickable treat on the bottle and add a small amount of low-sodium chicken broth in the water, or simply give your pet fresh water from the bottle. 

Tips for Small Dogs

Small dogs often have a unique way to drink out of a water bottle: Toy-sized dogs actually reach their tongues inside the water bottle to drink. If your dog prefers this method, the water needs to be close to the top for him to get it out. It helps to have a bottle with a slightly larger opening so your dog’s tongue can more easily fit inside the bottle; however, the opening also needs to be small enough that his nose doesn’t get stuck.

  • Hold the bottle at an angle so his tongue can go inside to scoop the water out, much like a bowl.
  • Use a bottle with a larger opening.
  • Palatable treats smeared on the opening and low-sodium chicken broth-flavored water can encourage smaller dogs to drink straight from the bottle — just be sure to have the bottle filled close to the top.

Even if your dog enjoys drinking out of a water bottle when he’s on the go, always keep a bowl of fresh water available at home to help prevent dehydration.

Watch the video below to see how Mikkel taught her dogs to drink from a water bottle.