General Question

gussnarp's avatar

Is it acceptable to limit the amount of water available to my dog?

Asked by gussnarp (2820 points ) October 7th, 2009

My dog can’t quite handle our household schedule, he generally pees once at some point while I’m at work. Occasionally he poops, but he always poops on the same linoleum floor, so that’s not really a problem. He always pees somewhere different and I have to find it and clean it up. How much water does a dog need in a day? Is it acceptable to leave him less water when I go out for the day? What about none, is that just cruel? He really doesn’t do anything all day, just lays around until I get home (I think, based on days when I have worked from home). I kennel him at night to keep him from peeing during the night, and he’s just fine with that, but I can’t bring myself to put him in the kennel all day too. What’s the best approach here: limited water, kenneling, confining to one room, something else?

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48 Answers

DarkScribe's avatar

No, absolutely not. It would equate to cruelty.

Critter38's avatar

Dogs can’t sweat (well only limited amounts for cooling…on their paws for instance). They pant to reduce heat,but this also increases water loss.

To restrict your dogs access to water is potentially very dangerous to your dogs health.

Do not restrict their water access. It’s cruel and dangerous.

I think you should chat to a vet (to learn more about dog care) and a trainer (to learn about obedience training)....

Buttonstc's avatar

Why not just put him in the room with the linoleum and gate it off from the rest of the house.

Put in a nice soft bed, his toys and water and he should be happy.

virtualist's avatar

….properly trained dogs will NOT mess up their confined environment…. your apartment/house ! ...... they do so by self-regulating intake of food/water. You are in a bad cycle with this pet….. experts could advise you as how to train/modify pet behavior even tho not a pup…...

gussnarp's avatar

@Buttonstc It’s not a room, just a tiny entry hall.

gussnarp's avatar

@virtualist I got the dog about a year ago from someone who couldn’t keep him anymore, they said he was crate trained and I have no experience with crate trained dogs, so I wasn’t planning on him sleeping in a crate or anything, because I’ve just never done it and it seemed weird to me. The first night he hopped into bed and everything seemed fine, but at some point in the night he got down, made no effort to wake me (I’m a light sleeper), peed on the floor, and got back in bed. After he did this twice I started crating him at night, and he’s really quite content with it. He goes right into the crate when he is ready to go to bed and I just close the door before I go to bed. The peeing during the day thing has been on and off, but lately it’s become consistent. My mother in law loves to come over and walk him, but she’s completely inconsistent. She’ll forget about it for days and just flat won’t bother if the weather even looks like it might rain. I don’t mind so much cleaning up even, if I could just control where he pees.

gussnarp's avatar

@virtualist He has one other oddish behavioral trait, he is totally possessive/jealous of me. He’s totally friendly with any human being he meets, ever (he’d make a terrible guard dog) and when he is off leash at the dog park he has no problems with other dogs, but he’s really aggressive (scary like) with other dogs when he’s on leash. I thought this might be something I was telegraphing to him since my first dog as a kid was totally un-socialized to dogs and could not be allowed to interact with other dogs. But at the dog park if another dog gets to close to me he gets aggressive. The other day a dog jumped up on a bench I was sitting on to check me out, and my dog was up and snarling at him before I even knew he was there. Also, he peed on my leg once at the dog park when another dog was nearby. I wonder if this possessiveness is related to the house peeing?

JONESGH's avatar

Limiting water isn’t going to fix the problem. You need to read up on training dogs or take him to Petsmart or Petco and have him trained by a professional.

virtualist's avatar

@gussnarp ...... You have provided a wealth of useful information. Hopefully more expert individuals can help to organize some behaviors you can reinforce with the dog. Hopefully that can all be accomplished without costing you an arm-and-a-leg….....

syz's avatar

You haven’t told us how old this dog is, but there are several physiologic reasons that you should not limit water intake for your pet.

You also haven’t told us how long you are leaving the dog alone at home – are we talking 8 hours, 10 hours, 12 hours?

gussnarp's avatar

Yeah, if only my mother in law didn’t have a brain like a sieve and a total pathology about grey weather I wouldn’t have to worry about it. I mean, truly she loves the dog (more than her grandchildren) and loves to walk him, her own dog died 2 years ago.

gussnarp's avatar

@syz The dog is roughly seven years old, he would be at home usually eight to nine hours.

sandystrachan's avatar

Dogs / cats pets in general should have fluid readily available at ALL times of day and night .

Buttonstc's avatar

If your MIL’s aging brain can’t remember to walk the dog, why not just give her a call. Presumably you do have some type of lunchtime if your job doesn’t allow calls at just any old time?

gussnarp's avatar

@sandystrachan And just in case you’re worried about him being crated at night, I wake up if he whines and can go down and let him out for a drink or a quick pee outside. This happens maybe once every couple of months.

gussnarp's avatar

@Buttonstc You’d think I would have thought of that. I should probably do it, but the way she works things up in her mind it would turn into me harping on her. It can probably be done, but I have to be careful about just how. Obviously I can call her from work, I can fart around on fluther all day ;-)

fireinthepriory's avatar

Try putting down one of those absorbent puppy pads for puppies to pee on. If you can train him to pee on that, it would be a helluva lot easier to clean up – you just throw it out and put down a new one. Maybe in your linoleum hallway? I’m not really a dog person, but I know people who’ve trained their dogs to pee on them somehow.

He might just be unable to hold it for that long, but you really can’t limit his water.

gussnarp's avatar

@fireinthepriory I’ve considered this, but I’m hesitant. At this point I’m pretty sure he knows he isn’t supposed to pee in the house, I’m afraid if I start with the pads it will never stop. A little advice for anyone using the pads though, if I do I will not buy the puppy ones, but the ones for incontinent people. They are cheaper and more absorbent.

casheroo's avatar

I would hire a dog walker to come around the 5 or 6 hour point. It’s not too expensive, and it’ll make your dog and you happy.

gussnarp's avatar

@casheroo Good idea, but I should probably just suck it up and call the mother in law every day to remind her. She’ll forget that I “pestered” her anyway, I’d just almost rather clean up pee than call her.

ccrow's avatar

How big a dog is it? People train small dogs to use a litterbox, so that might be an option. It also sounds like an obedience class would be a good idea. Aggression while on leash is not uncommon & can be helped w/training.

fireinthepriory's avatar

@gussnarp Maybe not if you remove the pad and don’t leave one out all the time, he’ll know only to pee indoors if the pad is out and you’re not home. I think it would depend on how trainable he is to pee ONLY on the pads… I guess you could try it, since it seems like a better option than peeing in random places! Like I said though, I don’t know much about dogs. I have a kitty!

gussnarp's avatar

He used to pee on my shoes, but the other day I left them out and he peed somewhere else. I had thought about leaving an old pair of shoes on the linoleum floor, but apparently he is not going to be consistent about the shoes.

gussnarp's avatar

@ccrow He’s about twenty pounds. It’s possible, don’t know if he’d go for it though. He’s pretty bone-headed. I would call him too smart for his own good. I first got him and he wouldn’t sit. I thought, whose dog doesn’t sit? I trained him to sit, now he will sit, but only if he knows I have a dog biscuit in my hand.

also, he’d probably get it everywhere. Maybe I could put some plexiglass on the wall next to the box so that it didn’t damage the plaster and would run into the box.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

I crate my dogs whenever I leave and they’ve never had an accident in it. Dogs won’t do that in the place they sleep. And I think limiting water is ok as long as you allow enough water durig the times you’re able to watch the dog closely and making sure it isn’t peeing on your floors. Try not to let the dog drink too terribly much before you leave the house and crate it. That should work wonders.

sandystrachan's avatar

@ItalianPrincess1217 Animals do piss and shit where they sleep , i have seen it happen in person and on tv

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@sandystrachan Ok let me revise my statement. Properly trained dogs do not crap where they sleep.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Wow, this question turned my stomach. Your dog would be better off at the Humane Association than in your home. It’s a living being, not a toy.

Leaving your dog alone inside for such long hours that he urinates and defecates in the house is not acceptable. Neither is limiting the amount of water he has access to, in any way.

gussnarp's avatar

@La_chica_gomela Nice righteous answer there. Sorry, it’s just a question, there’s a reason I asked it instead of doing it. Sure, I should take him to the Humane Society, who already have more pets than get adopted and he will be dead within a week, much better off. He is in a large home with room to move around and do what he wants, he has plenty of food and water, he has toys to play with, usually including a Kong toy with a treat in it that will occupy his mind for a while and he has three cats he can chase around. When I am at home with him all day he will lay down on the couch and not move for pretty much as long as I am gone during the day unless I prod him to get up and do something. He gets played with when I get home, I take him to the dog park and let him run. When he does have to (or chooses to) urinate and defecate in the house he has isolated places he can do it, he’s not swamped in his own feces. Yes, his life is just terrible and I should definitely take him to the Humane Society to be promptly euthanized. I’m not perfect, but I’m a good dog owner, so drop your sanctimonious crap. If everyone lived by your rules there would have to be a mass euthanasia of the majority of dogs in the country.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@gussnarp: Right, there’s no reason to make the dog’s environment such that he can pee and poop in an acceptable place whenever he wants to. You and I would both LOVE not having access to a toilet whenever we needed to use one. That’s totally our idea of the perfect life. Sure. You try going 8 hours without using the toilet and see how you feel. Your attitude is really disgusting to me.

gussnarp's avatar

@La_chica_gomela So you’re volunteering to adopt every dog in American who is home alone while his owners work? That’s a lot of dogs. Or maybe you are in favor of killing them all? The worst thing my dog experiences is boredom, and I’m mostly bored for those 8 hours too. The fact that I don’t like where he pees and poops during the day is meaningless to him, he couldn’t care less if he poops in the doorway or pees on a table leg and then goes back to the living room. He goes ONCE while I’m gone. Even if I were there he wouldn’t go more often. The fact is, I’m not entirely sure he is urinating because he has to, the fact that he chooses to do it in a different place every time suggest to me that there is more territoriality involved than full bladder. And, not that it matters, but I have gone eight hours without using the toilet, it’s not the end of the world.

Frankly, the fact that I’m asking how to deal with this problem instead of just going out and doing something drastic ought to show you that I’m not the kind of dog owner you seem to think I am, so maybe if you think my dog needs help, you could try offering some constructive advice instead of pretending I’m some kind of animal torturer because my dog doesn’t sleep on a pink velvet pillow, eat steak, and have a personal valet to walk him every hour. Normally I wouldn’t respond this way, and I swore to avoid this kind of heated discussion today, but you really torqued me off with your over the top accusations.

LC_Beta's avatar

Is the dog neutered? Neutering dogs often reduces their urge to “mark their territory.”

gussnarp's avatar

@LC_Beta Yes, he’s neutered.

ccrow's avatar

My sister had a small dog who would ‘mark’ in the house; after ruling out any physical reason(infection etc) the vet told her that sometimes a small dog will need a small territory to mark. She would walk him around the block, which was too big a territory for him. The vet told her to walk him around the house first, so he could mark his territory, then take him around the block to take care of business. It solved the problem.
My husband & I had a dog when we were first married who would pee while we were at work during the day. Again, physical problems were ruled out; we finally just picked up the water dish while we were not home. He apparently was emptying the dish out of boredom.

gussnarp's avatar

In my defense, and now that I’m mostly over being incensed by the accusations made against me, and since I’m new to this community and would like to preserve my reputation here, I have a statement to make. First, I admittedly made the headline of my question a shocking one in order to get comments. I was never fond of the idea of limiting my dog’s access to water, but I was curious whether anyone had any information on how much water a dog needs during the day, but this was a question about how to handle a problem, and I asked it the way I did because I wanted to be sure that I heard from people who would oppose this option. I knew they were out there, and I wanted their input, well I got it. I have no intention of removing the water bowl entirely, or even of limiting it now that I have heard from you, thank you. If you actually think that I would allow my dog to become dehydrated, or otherwise abuse him, I want to make clear that I would not. I have witnessed real animal abuse and neglect and been unable to do anything about it, and I will not abuse any animal. I suppose if you really think that leaving a dog in the house for eight hours is somehow cruel, given that he has plenty of food and water, plenty of room to avoid any waste he may feel the need to produce, and at least has the company of cats, then I guess there can be no reconciliation. If, however, you were upset simply by the question, I hope you can understand that it was asked with particular intent to get your input, and that my animals are not in any way mistreated, nor will they be.

sandystrachan's avatar

Thats what all the animal abusers say
Let’s get this straight i am NOT calling you an animal abuser , i dinna (dont)even ken(know) you am just saying so get aff(off) yir(your) high horse .

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

@gussnarp I’m not too sure why so many people felt the need to attack you for your post. I understand where you’re coming from. My dog used to do the same thing. In fact, she would literally not stop drinking until it was all gone. She would make herself sick because of the amount she would drink. And then of
course she would have accidents. So I asked a professional for advice. In my dogs case she just didn’t know when enough was enough. She wasn’t dehydrated. She was just a puppy who liked overindulgence. So I monitored her water intake. I made sure she had enough, of course, but not excessive amounts so where she would have to urinate so bad she would do it all over our house. She grew out of that stage after a few months and now she knows when she’s had enough. The trainer advised us that sometimes dogs overinduge because they think the food or drink will be quickly taken away if they leave any in the bowl so they hurry and gobble it all up (even if they don’t NEED that large of an amount). So, your question is completely legitimate and valid. And you’re not a bad owner for asking it. I think some people overreacted when seeing the question about “limiting” your dog’s water. Good luck with everything. And when in doubt about animal problems maybe it’s best to seek a professional trainer’s advice to make
sure it’s going to be safe and effective for them.

gussnarp's avatar

@sandystrachan First, nice to start your post with “Thats what all the animal abusers say” and then say you’re not calling me an animal abuser. So what are you saying with that line? Second, I’m not the one on a high horse around here. All I’m asking is that people not make snap judgments about me solely on the fact that I asked a question. If you think my dog being home while I work is animal abuse, you can report me and most of the dog owners in this country to the SPCA and see how far you get. If not, then you have no evidence that I abuse my dog, so you have no more reason to think I abuse animals than I have to think you abuse animals. I suppose if you want to make judgments without any evidence, then we’re back to square one. You can report me to the SPCA on the nagging suspicion that I might be abusing my dog. Or you can give me the benefit of the doubt and assume I don’t abuse animals, just like you would to anybody you met on the street.

Zen's avatar

It’s cruel and stupid.

Capt_Bloth's avatar

Hire a dog walker. It is not your dogs fault you aren’t home enough.

Val123's avatar

Here’s this question! I’ve been looking for it. I have to ask….do you leave your dog in the house for 8 or 9 hours while you’re at work? If so, it’s not a question of “adapting to your schedule.” It’s a question of having reasonable expectations. Could you not go to the bathroom one single time after you leave the house? Not one single time?

stemnyjones's avatar

I’ve been reading all of the posts here, and I’ll be the calm and reasonable voice for the angry population. ;D

No, you shouldn’t limit your dogs supply of water, but I think you’ve gotten that point by now.

I had a pitbull who, until she was completely potty trained, was crated for 8 hours while I was at work, then most nights was crated overnight as well. I can assure you that most dog trainers and dog behaviorists will agree that there is nothing cruel about crating a dog while you are potty training, as long as they are not crated 24/7. My dog began to see her crate as her bed, and went in it willingly at night when she was ready to settle down.

Crating works because the dog has a natural instinct not to pee or poop where he sleeps. As soon as you take the dog out of the crate, of course, you have to take him right outside, because he’s been holding his pee all day.

Now, if you personally don’t feel comfortable crating your dog during the day and at night until he is properly potty trained (trust me, with the right potty training it will get to the point where you can leave him alone in the house outside of his crate and he won’t go potty), and you don’t have a fenced in yard to keep him in, your options are more limited. Depending on how big the dog is, another option is to get doggy gates and keep him in the linoleum area while you’re gone (kitchens are usually big enough for the dog to be comfortable in). We tried this with my pit, but she refused and jumped onto the counter and over the bar and pooped in the living room. If your dog isn’t so hard-headed, this may be the perfect solution.

But even if you’re locking him in the linoleum area, you still need to make it clear that it’s not okay for him to pee or poop on the floor. Don’t scream at him or rub his nose in it – if you come home and see poop on the floor and yell at him, even if you rub his nose in it, he has no idea why you’re yelling. The only time scolding is effective is if you catch him in the act.

If you catch him peeing or pooping, immediately say in a strong voice “No!” and bring him straight outside. When he pees or poops outside, shower him with praise – EVERY time.

While he’s still having accidents, buy some puppy pads. They are pads you put on the ground that give off a scent that makes the dog pee pee on them instead. That way clean-up is easier for you. However, you may want to move the pad around each time you put one down, so that he doesn’t come to recognize one spot as spot okay to pee on, and instead realizes that it’s the pad itself he should be peeing on. (of course, this is just for while you’re not home to direct him outside).

Another option is doggy diapers. I know it sounds silly, but when my pit went into heat and started spotting, we bought her doggy diapers and she did just fine with them. That’s usually not the best option, though, because if they poop it will either come out of the tail hole on the diaper, or will get smooshed to them and you’ll have to give them a bath.

Hope I helped.

Pandora's avatar

@gussnarp Unless he is marking perhaps you can have him pad trained. My dog goes on a pee pad during the middle of the night and I leave it out during the day whenever we are going to be gone a few hours. I stay home so he is walked regularly and does all number 2 outside but he has no problem using the pad. He was trained since little so I don’t know if an older dog can catch on. Find a trainer and see what he thinks.

daytonamisticrip's avatar

a dog needs axis to water 24/7 its the law

Joybird's avatar

It sounds like you live in a house you own. I’m wondering why you haven’t just put a dog door in the back somewhere and either given him free run of the yard during the day or created a situation where the dog door opens into an outdoor kennel so that the dog can get out and relieve itself on a concrete pad under the kennel. Many dogs feel more secure when kenneled at night as it mimics a den. And never withhold water from your dog. It’s inhuman to block this very basic need.
Your dog also isn’t really aggressive. It is protective and you are correct in your assessment that you are relating your tension to the dog via the leash and how you attempt to manage your dog. I would highly recommend you watch Cesar Milan videos in order to understand and visually see how to address that issue.

pro_pitbullluv's avatar

and you wonder why animals bite people…a dog should have water ALL the time. Get a dog walker or find the dog another home if you dont have time for it.

weareallone's avatar

gussnarp I want to chime in that this sounded like a relatively reasonable question to a legitimate problem. At least from subsequent posts it does not seem like you had any ill intent. But as I’m sure you’ve learned, withholding water is not an acceptable solution. Keeping your pet home all day obviously isn’t ideal but it certainly isn’t animal abuse. Overall the best solution would be to talk to a professional trainer. They could address the aggression issues too. And kudos to you for not sending your dog to a shelter after peeing all over (including on your shoes eww!). That shows your really care about your dog and I am baffled at all of these angry responses. Come on Fluther be helpful, not judgmental!

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