It is a hot summer day in Southern California and you are dripping with sweat. Your dog has been laying in the shade but is panting profusely. You check the weather and notice it is probably too hot for her to be outside in the heat. Soon enough, you decide to fill up her water bowl. You add a few ice cubes to chill down her water because you want her to cool down. However, when she goes over to her bowl, she does not drink it. She looks up at you, trying to let you know that something is wrong with her bowl. Dogs don’t like ice water and there is a good reason for it.
The Root of the Behavior
Dogs don’t like ice water even though we humans absolutely love it. It seems quite peculiar that dogs would not like ice water, due to the fact that they are covered in fur and weather can get a bit steamy at times. Yet, their reasoning is valid. To begin with, it is important to know that your dog does not sweat. Your dog secretes warmth through their paws and by panting. Therefore, you may think that their fur is causing them to sweat, but it really is not. When your dog is hot or thirsty, they are going to want to drink water, just as any creature would. Yet, ice water is very cold and your dog has a sensitive mouth. Dogs use their noses and mouths to explore the world, so everything it touches will be much more extreme. If your dog is given an ice cube or water that has been chilled by an ice cube, they most likely are going to want to spit it out.
When we drink ice water, we do not chug it because it feels like it burns our throats with its freezing temperature. Similar to when we get a brain freeze from ice cream. Dogs drink water differently than we do, which means that they take in large amounts of it at a time. If the water is ice cold, your dog may have a horrible experience when drinking water, just as we would. There is nothing wrong with giving your dog cold water, but make sure it is not ice cold. They may not even drink it if that is the case. If you want, you may give your dog ice cubes and they may lick them or chew on them during a hot summer day. It is suggested that you watch your dog and see how they react to extremely cold water and ice. If they can handle it, go ahead and give it to them, but notice to see how they like their water and proceed from there.
Encouraging the Behavior
If you do decide to throw some ice cubes in your dog's water, check to see if your dog drinks the water you give her. From seeing how she reacts to the icy water, you will be able to proceed with what you can give your dog. Yet, it is not suggested to encourage your dog to drink ice cold water unless she absolutely loves it. While the experts say you can allow your dog to drink ice cold water, but they also say you should not shove ice water in her bowl when it is hot out unless you know she is able to handle the extreme temperature. It is important to be sure your dog gets all the water she needs, especially when she is outside on a hot day.
But there are other ways to cool off your "hot dog." If it is hot outside and you feel like your dog needs to cool down, you can freeze some of her toys or give her ice cubes to chew and lick on. Chewing on these frozen treats are somehow more comfortable to your dog's senses than icy water and she will love them. Normal temperature water is what her body needs and cooling down may take time through her panting and through her paws.
Other Solutions and Considerations
If you notice that your dog loves ice water, it is fine to let her enjoy it. Yet, it is suggested to keep the temperature at a moderate range so your dog’s body does not react poorly. If you are worried about your dog because it is hot out, it is suggested to take water and rinse off her paws. Dogs will secrete heat through their paws as well as through their panting. If you wash down their paws, it may help with the heat and your dog may feel better. Yet, if you feel your dog needs cold water to drink, go ahead and give her that, as well. There is no harm in a little bit of cold water, but make sure she enjoys it. Another choice is to bring her into the air-conditioned house so she can cool down. It is not recommended to keep your dog outdoors for any length of time during extreme temperatures, both hot and cold.
Another choice is to bring her into the air-conditioned house so she can cool down. It is not recommended to keep your dog outdoors for any length of time during extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. Yet, if she is outside and you want to cool her off quickly, don’t give her ice water if it seems like it bothers her. Just like us, dogs do not like to get brain freezes even when they are "hot dogs."