We often think of dogs getting hot and thirsty in the summer time, so we take extra care to make sure water is in plentiful supply. You may give your dog ice cubes, wet down their food and even let them play in a sprinkler. We know the risks of dehydration and hyperthermia (heatstroke) and are therefore very diligent about our dog’s water intake.
DOGS MAY NEED MORE WATER IN WINTER!
Interestingly, water intake in cold months should be just as closely monitored, if not more, since your dog may not be as likely to drink on their own when it’s cold out. However, your dog needs to stay hydrated to stay healthy during cold months – there are several reasons for this.
#1 – lower humidity leads to dehydration
Cold dry air can make your dog dehydrated just the same as hot dry air. And, homes that are being heated will have drier air as well as a by-product of electric, gas or even wood stove heating.
#2 – The Body Needs Water To Produce ATP Which It Uses More Of In Cold Temperatures
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a molecule that is used to make energy to fuel the cells in our bodies. While there are several ways our bodies create and use ATP, one of the most affective is part of the cellular respiration. Water is used to split apart ATP to create ADP (adenosine diphosphate) to get energy.
It takes energy to stay warm in the winter. In fact, you may have noticed that your dog naps after a short run outside or doesn’t seem to want to go as far on a walk. They may also seem hungrier, because their body needs more energy to function. It also means that your dog is using more ATP and ADP to keep their body going. Without enough water, ATP/ADP production is slowed.
#3 – It’s Hot In The House
Not only is the humidity less in the house because of the heater, you may also have it warmer than your dog likes it. What’s comfortable for a person in a t-shirt could be a bit too warm for your dog, especially if they have a double-coat. Watch to make sure you are not over-heating your dog and be sure he has plenty of water available at all times.
You may find your dog actually drinks more in the winter. You can check if your dog is drinking enough by checking the colour of their urine. If its clear chances are your dog is drinking enough. If the urine looks a concentrated yellow then your dog probably needs more water.
If you think your dog is not drinking enough, however, you can add water to their food, or add something to their water, such as a dash of broth or even apple cider vinegar to get them to drink it. I like to male up a chicken broth and give them a warm drink. I find about 200ml for 20kg dog is fine. Although not common, if you think he is dehydrated to the point where there is a health risk, take him to see the veterinarian.
The bottom line: keep that water bowl clean and full at all times, no matter the weather.