You might think your dog doesn’t need to drink as much water when it’s cold out, but nothing could be further from the truth. Proper hydration is important all year round, including in the winter.
If you’re like a lot of people, you may not get as thirsty in the winter as you do in the summer. At first glance, it seems to make sense. After all, when the weather is freezing out, we’re less likely to get hot and sweaty, and probably aren’t craving a frosty glass of water. But the fact is, hydration is just as crucial during the winter as it is during the summer — and that goes for our dogs as well. Depending on where you live, in fact, your dog may become even more dehydrated in the winter, so it’s vital to ensure he’s drinking enough water and getting the electrolytes he needs to stay healthy.
WHAT CAUSES DEHYDRATION IN THE WINTER?
During the winter, indoor air humidity drops significantly when the heat is switched on. If you live in a northerly climate, the humidity in your house can drop to 30% to 40% (which is actually regarded as a good baseline for winter humidity levels in the home). During cold snaps, when the heat is on a lot, household humidity can fall even lower. “A drop in humidity will always increase the risk of a dog becoming dehydrated,” says Dathan Kuppin of Petralyte, a company that makes an electrolyte formula specifically for dogs. “There is no change in the type of electrolytes dogs benefit from during the winter as compared to the summer, but dehydration always results in a loss of electrolytes. Warning signs include panting, dry nose, loss of appetite, reduced energy levels, lethargy and thick saliva.” Winter dehydration can be more an issue for our dogs than for us, because they tend to spend more time at home than we do.
HOW TO ENSURE YOUR DOG IS DRINKING ENOUGH
Start with the basics, by making sure your dog has 24/7 access to fresh, pure water. Change the water every day and clean the bowl regularly. Mixing water into his food can help increase his fluid intake as well. Because some dogs are more attracted to running water, a pet fountain may also encourage him to drink more. In some cases, you might want to consider a humidifier in the home.
Additionally, a hydration-boosting product like Petralyte goes a long way to making sure your dog is consuming enough water, by drastically improving the speed and efficiency of water absorption. “It decreases the need for dog parents to worry if their companions are in fact hydrating enough,” says Dathan. “Petralyte also delivers l-glutamine (to help promote stomach, gut, and intestinal health), glucosamine (for mobility and joint discomfort), and taurine (an amino acid that keeps your dog’s heart and eyes healthy).”
By recognizing that winter dehydration in your dog is very real, you can easily take steps to prevent it!