Most people think summer is the time to watch their dog’s water intake because of the heat.
But what about winter?
If your dog drinks more water during the winter, there are several things you should know.
Keep reading to find out:
- Why it’s important to hydrate your dog during winter.
- When you should increase or decrease your dog’s water intake.
- What ATP is, why your dog needs it and how it makes them drink more water.
- And much much more…
Table of contents
- Why is my dog drinking so much water in the winter?
- 5 reasons why your dog drinks so much water in winter
- 3 tips on what to do if your dog drinks a lot of water in winter
Why is my dog drinking so much water in the winter?
Your dog drinks more water during winter because of the humidity during this season. Your dog also needs to produce more ATP and water helps this process. The temperature of your house can also make your dog drink more water. Plus dogs lose their body moisture through their breath in the winter.
5 reasons why your dog drinks so much water in winter
#1: The winter has low humidity
People think that dehydration is impossible during winter because of the cold climate.
You cannot blame them because summer has harsh effects on a dog’s water levels. Summer is when dogs need more hydration, but you should never overlook winter.
Humidity is a huge factor when it comes to a dog’s hydration, both during summer and winter. Winter dehydration can happen to dogs because of the humidity during this time.
Dogs pant to regulate their temperature. As a result water from their mouth and upper respiratory tract evaporates faster. Once a dog’s saliva evaporates in the air, its body will become cooler.
The winter has low humidity, which means that dogs will lose a lot of body moisture through their breath.
What’s more, a study found out that relative humidity could cause swelling in a dog’s lungs. The cold air plus the activities of your dog may cause dehydration.
Some symptoms of dehydration include:
- Dry nose.
- Thick saliva.
- Loss of appetite.
- Dry, sticky gums.
- Loss of skin elasticity.
- Sunken, dry-looking eyes.
- Vomiting with or without diarrhea.
- Reduced energy levels and lethargy.
#2: Your dog needs more ATP
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is a molecule that your dog needs to have energy. All living things have ATP.
The main function of ATP is to fuel the cells by absorbing chemical energy from food molecules.
There are times where your dog does not want to walk as far as it used to in the winter. Your dog may even want to nap instead of playing outside because of the cold weather.
This is because your dog’s body needs the energy to warm itself during winters, where the ATP comes into play. Rather than having energy bursts, the dog’s body places its reserve energy for warmth.
Your dog drinks more water during the winter because the cells need water to split the ATP and get energy. Without enough water, your dog will have a hard time producing ATP, and without ATP, your dog’s body will get colder.
That’s why it’s advisable to give your dog more food during winter for more energy and ATP production.
A study suggests that the lack of ATP can affect the skeletal muscle, brain, liver, heart, and kidneys. The research has not entirely proven the cause of these diseases.
Yet, there is evidence that links the two to each other.
Your dogs should have their dietary needs to increase their ATP production.
Factors that determine the daily energy requirements of dogs include:
- Body mass.
Note: Working dogs need more energy than other breeds for them to do stuff during winter. Yet, you should remember to never overfeed your dogs during this season.
Some experts suggest that a meat-based diet can help in having more energy and a shinier coat.
But, it does not matter what you feed your dogs as long as it is balanced and nutritious.
Feeding your dog with a high-protein diet may help in drinking less water and having more energy. Yet, there is no harm in drinking more water for dogs.
You should even encourage it as long as you can take your dogs for enough walks to relieve themselves.
#3: The temperature of your house
You want to keep yourself warm during the winter. And you do it by adjusting the thermostat. Some homes even have a fireplace.
Most of the time, you adjust your thermostat to your preference but, what is warm for you might be too hot for your dog.
Bear in mind that your dog’s fur is its mechanism in keeping warm. Some breeds have shorter fur but are also affected every time you warm your house.
When you set the thermostat to a temperature too hot for your dogs, they tend to get thirsty. This does not mean that you should not use the thermostat during winter.
Instead, adjust it to a preference that is suitable for you and your dog.
If your dog has a thick coat like a Siberian Husky, you should turn the thermostat low then wear thicker clothes.
You can increase the thermostat a little higher or put clothes on your dog if they are not blessed with thick fur. This way, your dog can get warm while looking at the same time.
Coats are also applicable if you are taking your dog on winter walks. The best dog coats for winter reach the neck to the base of the tail. The coat should also protect the belly.
#4: Medical conditions
Your dog might have a medical condition if it drinks excessive amounts of water.
The term for excessive drinking of dogs is Polydipsia. Usually, dogs who drink more tend to urinate more.
This condition is not a sign of good health. Most of the time, dogs who experience polydipsia have a more serious medical condition.
Canines who show signs of polydipsia may be suffering from kidney failure or diabetes. One symptom of diabetes in dogs is dehydration.
Other symptoms of diabetes include:
- Appetite loss.
- Loss of eyesight.
- Peeing too much.
- Drastic weight loss.
- Urinary tract infection.
- ‘Sweet-smelling’ breath.
On the other hand, kidney failure can also cause thirstiness in dogs. Toxins and bacterial infections can cause kidney failure in dogs.
Warning: You should never let dogs eat grapes because it can lead to kidney failure. Bacteria build up in the mouth can also attack the organs, including the kidney.
Besides dehydration, here are some kidney failure symptoms:
- Pale gums.
- Blood in the urine.
- Intestinal seizures.
- Ulcers in the mouth.
- Decrease in appetite.
- Significant weight loss.
- Uncoordinated movement.
- Breath that smells like chemicals.
- Increase or decrease in water intake.
- Increase or decrease in urine volume.
If you see these symptoms, you should rush your dog to the vet. Older dogs have a higher chance of having kidney failure than younger ones.
#5: Lifestyle changes
There are cases where your dog has no health disorder but still keeps drinking more water. This means the issue is behavioral.
Sometimes, dogs drink excess water because they feel jealous of other dogs. This mostly happens in households that have more than two dogs.
Jealous dogs drink more water so other dogs cannot drink in their bowl. The same can happen with food.
You should treat your dogs with equal care to prevent this from happening. If you think that one of your dogs feels neglected, spend more time with them. Behavioral training can also help.
If your dogs are into medication, expect that they will be drinking more water. Some medicine makes dogs hungrier and thirstier as side effects.
Another possibility is that your dog drinks more water to get rid of the medicine’s taste.
Dogs who are in heat also have a chance of drinking more water because they feel hot. And if they ever have a litter of puppies, they will drink more to have more energy.
3 tips on what to do if your dog drinks a lot of water in winter
#1: Let your dog drink more water
You should let your dogs drink more water. Even though you may think that your dog is drinking too much water, your dog needs to drink more to keep its body warm.
Water helps in regulating your dog’s temperature because dogs do not sweat like humans. Canines sweat through their paws instead.
They also stick their tongue out to keep them at a normal temperature.
Water also helps the dog’s blood to carry nutrients and oxygen to circulate inside their body. A hydrated dog has easier urine and bowel movements than dogs who are not.
The normal amount of water that a dog should drink is 1 ounce (28.35 g.) of water per pound (0.45kg.) every day.
You should not restrict your dog from drinking as much water as they need. Water restriction can lead to severe problems.
Note: You should not worry if your dog’s water intake is more than usual as long as it is a consistent amount. You can determine if your dog is drinking enough water by checking their urine.
A sign that tells your dog needs more water is if their urine is bright yellow. Clear urine is a sign of a hydrated canine.
#2: Watch your dog’s diet
During the winter, your dog’s body needs a lot of energy to keep itself warm. And as you know, your dog needs more ATP during this time.
You might want to give your dog more dog food if they eat kibble. Kibble is a good source of balanced nutrients.
But you should watch out how much your dog eats. Eating more does not mean that the food meets their energy requirements.
The best way to get your dogs warm inside is to feed them frequently, not to force-feed them a huge chunk of food at once.
Feeding your dog with energy-giving foods can lessen their drinking in winter.
One of the best foods that your dog can eat during winter is rice.
Rice gives both humans and dogs the energy they need. It has manganese that helps break down protein and carbs to the energy needed by your dog’s body.
Eggs are also an excellent choice if you want your dog to drink less water in the winter. That’s because eggs are a good source of protein, and they contain leucine.
Leucine can help cells increase fat breakdown for energy production.
Lean meat is also an excellent source of energy for dogs because they contain fat and protein. Vets say that a dog’s diet should be 20% protein.
The best lean meat for dogs is lamb, but chicken, pork, and beef will also suffice.
You can either give cooked or raw meat to your dogs. Yet, you should deworm your dog if you plan to give it raw meat.
Warning: Do not feed your dog cooked bones because it is a choking hazard and can rip their stomach if eaten too much.
Another factor for drinking more water could be the dog food having too much sodium. Sodium makes your dog more thirsty, so you should check the amounts of it in the food you give to your dog.
#3: Keep the temperature right
If your dog is at a normal temperature, it would not drink more during winter.
If they feel too hot inside the house, they get dehydrated because of the heat. This heat comes from the thermostat, fireplace or the air conditioner. Because of the heat, your dog will drink more water.
But if they feel too cold, their body will need more energy to keep itself warmer, so it uses its ATP. The ATP breaks down faster with water which makes your dog drink more.
If you know that winter is approaching, do not get your dog a super short haircut. Yes, it looks cute, but they lose their source of warmth when the first snow hits.
Ensure that your dog’s bedding is also comfortable to sleep on, not too warm or too cold.
Note: The dog’s body temperature is important as well. You should check their temperature often in the cold season. The normal temperature for dogs is 101° to 102.5°F (38 to 39.2° Celsius).
BONUS: Check for symptoms
Do not panic but make sure that you are aware of the changes on your dog’s body. The winter can also bring diseases that cause dogs to become thirsty.
If there are obvious red flags like blood in urine and appetite loss, you should immediately call the vet.