We all expect our pups to drink a lot of water when the weather turns hot outside. But have you ever noticed that your dog actually may drink more water in the winter months? If so, you are not alone. Many of us have noticed this and wondered why dogs drink more water in the winter. There is quite a bit of discussion on the topic among experts and the majority of them agree on the root of the behavior. While proper hydration is key in dogs just like in humans, you may want to understand more about why your pooch is lapping up extra water.
The Root of the Behavior
It's no secret that warm spring and summer months make us sweat and run the risk of dehydration. So drinking more water during these months would be nothing unusual for your canine friends. What you may notice and find unusual, however, is when Rover is drinking way more water than normal when it is cold outside. This extra water consumption can be troubling for some, as you may think there is something wrong with your pup. The main reason behind this behavior may be surprising.
During the cold winter months, the humidity levels in the atmosphere are actually lower. With the lower humidity, your dog can easily become dehydrated if he or she is not drinking enough water. There are many reasons why staying hydrated is important for your dog's bodily functions. One such process is the production of Adenosine Triphosphate (or ATP). ATP is a molecule present in all living tissue that provides the energy for physiological processes in the body. When dehydration occurs the blood flow delivering oxygen to the cells is decreased and ATP is made at a much slower rate.
More simply stated, cold weather takes a lot out of the body. Extra energy is needed for your pup to stay warm and for his or her body to produce adequate ATP levels. Making sure that they have a sufficient source of clean drinking water at all times is very important to your fur baby's overall health. Especially during the colder months when any exposed water source may be likely to freeze. Most experts recommend not giving your pup ice-cold water, as it can contribute to lowering their body temperature in the already cold winter weather. Additionally, extremely cold water can make digestion more difficult and keep Rover from getting the maximum amount of emery from his or her food.
Encouraging the Behavior
You can ask any veterinarian, and almost all of them will agree that you should never restrict your dog's water access. Even if you feel like they are drinking in excess, restricting their available water can lead to dehydration. If, however, you feel like you are having to refill Rover's water bowl more and more, you may want to contact your vet and schedule a check-up. While the increased consumption of water during cold winter months is not uncommon, there is the chance of an underlying medical issue causing the behavior.
A good rule of thumb is to try to keep track of just how much water your pooch is consuming on a daily basis. Start by filling their water bowl at the same time every day and also with the same amount of water at each refill. You will quickly be able to determine if your pooch is taking in more than just a little extra water or if it seems to be quite excessive. Ideally, you will want to make sure that your sneaky little pup only has access to their water bowl, and not able to drink from the toilet. Let your vet know the results of your water tracking and he or she can help you determine if there is an issue of concern.
Other Solutions and Considerations
While it is not uncommon for a canine to drink more in cold weather, there are other reasons for the change in behavior. Is your pup on any medications? Some anti-inflammatory drugs, such as prednisone, are known to increase both thirst and urination in dogs. You can check the list of side effects of any medications your pup is taking and also call your vet for more information. A change in diet could also be to blame for your fur baby drinking more water. Is someone in the family is slipping human snacks that are higher in sodium to them? Or possibly you have switched Rover from canned food to dry kibble. Either of these scenarios can cause an increase in thirst and lead to your pup drinking more water.
Making sure that your pooch's water bowl doesn't turn into pupcicles in the winter is something all pet owners should remember. While Rover may enjoy romping in the brisk cool air, he or she will definitely want a non-frozen drink when playtime is over. So keep those water bowls full and check with your vet if you have any continued concerns.
By a English Mastiff lover Dena Withrow
Published: 02/20/2018, edited: 01/30/2020