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My Pet World: Can anything be done to correct a dog's sloppy drinking?

Cathy M. Rosenthal, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Cathy,

We recently adopted a two-year-old yellow lab named Charlie. We love him to death. He is very intelligent and knows a lot of commands. He has lots of energy, but we understand labs and know he will settle down when he gets to be five years old or so.

Our problem? He is the SLOPPIEST drinker ever. I bought one of those bowls with a floating disk that slows his drinking. The problem is that he keeps water in his mouth, and it runs out as he walks across the floor. I keep an old towel handy and am constantly wiping up his mess. Is there any way to train him not to do this? He responds very well to treats, but it's so hard to always be present when he decides to have a drink. Thank you for any advice you can provide.

— Beverly, Juneau, Wisconsin

Dear Beverly,

I'm afraid there is no way to train a sloppy drinker. Dogs can't close their wide mouths securely enough to contain the water, so some of it is going to always spill out. Mouth size and shape can vary from dog to dog, which means some dogs will always be sloppier than others at the water dish.


They do make several bowls, as you know, that slow down their rate of consumption. But since that hasn't worked for you, maybe try a doggie water fountain instead.

Place the fountain level with his head when standing. He will use a slightly different technique to drink water coming down in a stream than lapping up it from below, and maybe that will help. You also could place a carpet near his water dish to absorb the water as it falls to the floor. I wish I could offer you more suggestions; but some dogs are just sloppy drinkers.

Dear Cathy,

My little shih-tzu had a terrible outcome from a dental cleaning when she was 12 years old. When she woke up from the anesthesia, she was deaf. I searched for connections between teeth cleaning and deafness on the internet, and found that small, old dogs can lose their hearing from dental work. My vet didn't believe me, but he looked it up as I had and found it to be true. My precious little dog spent her last year very depressed and sad, and I suffered along with her. This is rare, fortunately, but something to consider.


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