What could be more wonderful than a good long romp outside in a snowy winter wonderland with your best canine chum? The air is crisp, the snow glittering and your pooch is having a grand old time chasing snowflakes and enjoying the elements. But there’s something owners should be aware of when working their dogs in the depth of winter. Hydration.
“Hydration?” many of you are probably asking. “But it’s not hot outside.” True. However, no matter how cold the temperature gets the fact remains that your dog will still be in need of liquids. Running around like a maniac causes a lot of panting and the low humidity in the winter actually leaches more water molecules from the body when breathing.
“Alright,” you may be thinking. “No problem. There’s lots of snow on the ground. Instant refreshment.” This is the biggest mistake most dog owners make. Contrary to popular belief eating snow and nibbling on ice isn’t going to help your pooch either. In fact, it’s down right unhealthy. Although it seems logical to hydrate by eating snow (it is frozen water after all), the sub-zero temperatures can have harmful effects internally. Consuming ice cold water lowers body temperature and constricts the blood vessels in the stomach, for humans and canines alike, which makes digestion infinitely more difficult. So remember, say no to snow (yellow and white alike!)! The best solution for any thirsty pup is clean fresh water.
Bring along a water bottle on your next outing and a plastic dish to serve it in. Metal dishes should be avoided because they cool water faster and…well…there’s always the risk of getting one’s tongue stuck on the edge. It may sound silly, but keeping your dog properly hydrated during these frigid winter months is one of the most important things you can do. Plus, it means they can have even more winter fun!

By Laura L. Benn