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Discussion Starter #1
My dogs rarely drink water, maybe once a week, despite the bowl being changed daily. I worried about this at first with Finlay and just started adding water to her food. They now get about 1/4 -1/3 cup of water each with their morning and evening meals so they seem to be hydrated.

While Fin can easily drink if she wants, whenever Javva goes to take a drink, he ends up choking for several minutes after. I've elevated the water bowl and it hasn't helped. I have sometimes given him water in my hand and he's had no trouble, and he's always fine sipping the liquid from his food before he eats it. Apparently the choking/coughing thing is pretty common so I'm not concerned there.

I do want him to be able to drink water if he wants, without choking or fearing choking, and have considered a water fountain for them. I've looked at a few and boy, they aren't inexpensive (but way less costly than what a dehydration issue would cost)! The main thing that's kept me from getting one though, is the size - they all seem to be quite huge.

The Petsafe Drinkwell 360 has a lot of what I'm looking for - can alter the stream to find one that suits him, stainless steel, easily cleanable - but it's so big that it wouldn't fit in our kitchen where we feed them.

So firstly, has anyone found that a fountain setup has fixed a water-choking issue? Secondly, any recommendations for a smaller fountain? Thirdly, any other suggestions to fix the choking issue are very welcome.
 

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My cat had one but he managed to gag himself still by drinking to fast (he had the Petsafe Drinkwell Original until my dog killed the motor by drinking it dry, he also has the Animal Planet Pet Fountain at my parents house). now my dog and my cat share the
Petsafe Drinkwell Big Dog Fountain​
.

Both your dogs are Chi mixes right? Tracheal collapse can happen in Chihuahuas (Pugs and some other small breeds).
The Coughing Pet | College of Veterinary Medicine
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@Esand, yes they pee quite a bit as soon as we get outside. Not sure why you don't believe what I'm saying, but the once a week is actually a stretch, they each go weeks without drinking straight water.
 

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@TruckersMom I'm fairly sure it's not tracheal collapse in Javva based on the descriptions I've read, I looked into that before. He's also far from overweight (he was horrendously underweight and nearly emaciated when we got him) and doesn't cough when licking the liquid out of his food. He had a lot of sinus issues before we got him, and the pre-adoption vet report mentioned nasal drip and constant cough. He'll have occasional nasal drip now and snores when he sleeps, but no coughing - I think the potential pug in him might be an issue there.

In searching for a reason for the choking on water I've seen a lot of small dogs who have this, and were checked for tracheal collapse - consensus is it's just common for some small guys to have issues drinking water. Apparently drinking water is rarely done in the wild as they normally get enough moisture from their food, so maybe this is part of it?

Javva does check out my water glass quite frequently, and a few times when I've poured some into my hand or scooped it up with a spoon, he's drank that. No choking, only seems to happen from the water bowl which is why I've tried changing the height. I want him to have the option to drink on his own, especially with summer coming.
 

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@Cynna They may believe you, but that it just fairly unhealthy. Unless they are getting the required 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day then they are not maintaining proper hydration.

Using the 1/4 cup you say you say they are getting with each meal that is only 4oz per day which is under-hydrated considering your pup who is 12lbs and on the low end of hydrated for your 9lb pup.

The proper hydration amount would be:
Javva- 4.5 ounces to 9 ounces
Finlay- 6 ounces to 12 ounces

Maybe you can feed wet food? to provide more water.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@TruckersMom
Just to clarify, I add 1/4-1/3 of water to each of their dishes, twice a day. However it's not dry food, it's already a stew. I make a big batch and freeze it or use a locally made frozen stew; either way when I go to thaw/reheat it each morning and night I first add about 1/3 cup of bone broth to the pot, then the wet stew. I'll put a bit of pureed pumpkin and the additional water to their dishes before adding their heated food. So their meal looks quite soupy (my vet cousin was actually a little horrified at their 'liquid' meal when she saw it on a video, until I explained there was food in there).

I started doing this with Finlay as she never drank water, the rescue she came from told me she refused water, and I think she was dehydrated when I got her (she had a nasty uti too, poor girl). I'd read a lot about dog diet and the necessity of greens and moisture, so started making her food and adding her liquid in there.

When we got Javva I gave him the same food without the added dish-liquid, but when I didn't see him drink water I started giving him the extra amount that Finlay gets. He's done incredibly well and is very healthy now; vets haven't had any hydration concern, and I check them regularly for that (skin and gums).

Any time we do an extra long walk (4-6hrs), I'll put down some water with a tiny bit of yoghurt stirred in (maybe 1/2 tsp), and they each gobble it down - seen more as a food item than water to them! But I want to make sure they are always hydrated. When Javva drinks that mixture he doesn't choke, so I've wondered if the water issue is that he sticks his nose in too far, and with the other liquids doesn't as he can see them - just speculation.

When we do go outside (5 times a day on average) they'll each pee for 20-40 seconds. Then we walk, and Javva will mark on every possible tree/bush/pole, and never runs out, up to about 2 hours. Then his camel hump seems to empty. ;)

So I'm generally not concerned with them lacking hydration. However, they do get dry treats and a dehydrated chew most afternoons, and I'd like to know that they'll drink water if at all thirsty, and not have a choking fear stop them (at least with Javva). And if Finlay sees another dog drink water, she'll do it too. The water bowl is always out, and the bowl is changed daily with fresh water put in, so there's ample opportunity to drink. They've each done it before, though it's exceptionally rare, but I prefer them to always have access to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I spoke with the vet about this when we were in. She was quite happy with their level of hydration and said it's quite common for little dogs - especially Chihuahuas - not to like drinking from a bowl, and thought the fountain idea was good as a backup.

I'd prefer for them to drink water on their own for when summer comes, and so I don't have to give them so much liquid in their food if we're travelling.

Back to my original question, has anyone found particular fountains which are good for their small dogs? I'm avoiding plastic and preferring stainless steel. I think the Fountain Raindrop style is what I'm leaning towards, however reviews seem to be from cat owners.

The fountains specifically for dogs seem to have water 'pouring' from them while the cat ones are water running down something. Not sure if that's just a marketing thing or if dogs will actually prefer the pouring action?

Fin and Jav will drink out of my hand. Wish I could just try a few of these out.
 
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