A snow-covered shaggy dog outside in the snow.

Winter dehydration

Team Walmart Pets

June 8, 2021


min read

Dehydration and overheating don’t just happen during the dog days of summer; pets can suffer these conditions even during the cold days of winter. And keeping them hydrated takes more than just a water bowl.

Make sure your pet stays hydrated during the winter months by following these tips.

What causes dehydration during winter months?

When we’re feeling the chill, people and pets tend to be less active and more in tune with our inner couch potatoes. This can lead to a decrease in water intake, which in turn can cause dehydration.

Factor dry air and less humidity into the equation and we’re met with a parched pet at the end of the day. 

Dog dehydration symptoms

  • Increased thirst
  • Loss of elasticity in the skin
  • Appetite loss
  • Lethargy
  • Dry nose and gums
  • Thickened saliva 
  • Panting
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea

Signs a cat is dehydrated

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

Tips to get your dog to drink more water

Most dogs have no issue lapping up water when thirsty - and usually getting it all over the place! But if your pup is avoiding the water bowl, try these tips:

  • Encourage your dog to drink more water during the winter months by offering ice cubes to your dog as a hydrating snack. 
  • Just like in the summer, you should provide your dog with fresh water daily in a clean bowl. If you go on long walks in the winter, consider getting a collapsible bowl for water on the go.
  • You can also add a teaspoon of broth (beef or chicken) to each bowl of water for added flavor.
  • Sometimes, dogs will enjoy drinking from a pet water fountain more than stagnant water from a bowl.

How to get your cat to drink more water

Not all cats love drinking water from a bowl, but there are ways to entice your cat to stay hydrated if she’s not getting a good amount of moisture from a wet food diet.

  • Encourage your cat to drink more water during the winter months by giving your cat a drinking water fountain. The movement of the water attracts some cats to drink unlike a stationary bowl of water. 
  • Add multiple bowls of water around the house. Sometimes the location itself is an issue. Just remember where you put them so you don’t end up kicking it over!
  • Try out different water bowls until you find one that fits your cat’s personal preference.
  • A teaspoon of chicken broth or water-packed tuna juice added to the water may entice your cat to drink due to the smell. 

Dehydration is something pet parents are keenly aware of during the summer months, but it’s important during colder winter months as well.

If the above tips don’t provide a quick turnaround, be sure to contact your veterinarian to determine if there’s an underlying medical issue affecting your pet’s water intake. 

Pet Health

Photo by Paje Victoria on Unsplash