Dogs can get dehydrated in any season, including winter. Although the cold temperatures of winter may not cause dehydration on their own, there are other factors that can contribute to dehydration in dogs during this season. For example, decreased water intake due to decreased activity levels, increased exposure to cold, dry indoor air, and increased respiratory water loss due to breathing in dry, cold air all contribute to dehydration in dogs during winter. Additionally, dogs may not be inclined to drink as much water in the cold weather, which can further contribute to dehydration.
In fact, your dog may become even more dehydrated in the winter, so it is vital to ensure your pup is drinking enough water and getting the electrolytes needed to stay healthy. Winter dehydration can be more of an issue for our dogs than for us, because they tend to spend more time at home than we do.
Colder Weather Can Also Cause Dogs to Drink Less Water In Winter
Colder weather can cause dogs to drink less water, as they may not feel as thirsty as they do in warmer weather. This can be especially true if your dog is spending most of their time indoors, where the air is dry and warm. The dry and warm air inside many homes during the winter can contribute to decreased water intake in dogs.
Furthermore, indoor heating systems can dry out the air, leading to increased evaporation of moisture from the skin and respiratory tract. This results in increased respiratory water loss and decreased overall hydration levels in dogs. The brittle air can cause your dog’s mucous membranes to become dry, which can make them feel less thirsty.
Importantly, their body’s thirst mechanism is less stimulated in colder temperatures, as your pup may be less active, which can decrease their need for water.
Water Loss When Exposed to Cold, Dry Air
When dogs breathe in cold, dry air, the moisture in the respiratory tract evaporates, leading to increased respiratory water loss. This process is similar to the way in which breathing in cold, dry air can cause human skin to become dry and dehydrated. However, panting can also cause water loss in dogs when they are exposed to cold, dry air. This is because the dry air can cause the moisture in their respiratory system to evaporate more quickly, leading to increased water loss. In addition to painting, dogs can also lose water through evaporation from the moisture on their tongue and in their mouth. This is especially true if they are spending a lot of time outside in the cold, where the air is dry and the temperature is low.
The respiratory tract is lined with a thin layer of moist mucus, which helps to trap inhaled particles and keep the airways moist. When dogs breathe in cold, dry air, the moisture in this mucus evaporates, leading to increased respiratory water loss and decreased overall hydration levels. Additionally, the respiratory tract contains a large number of small blood vessels that are close to the surface of the mucous membranes. When dogs breathe in cold, dry air, these blood vessels can constrict in response to the dry air, leading to increased respiratory water loss.
It’s important to make sure your dog has access to clean, fresh water at all times, especially during the winter months. If your dog is spending a lot of time outside, you may need to refill their water bowl more frequently to ensure they are properly hydrated. You can also try adding a little bit of warm water to their bowl to encourage them to drink. Additionally, owners should be vigilant for signs of dehydration, such as sunken eyes, dry mouth and nose, decreased skin elasticity, and increased thirst.
Interested in learning more?
Read: How To Tell if a Cat Is Dehydrated
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Freed, A. N., Anderson, S. D., & Daviskas, E. (2000). Thermally induced asthma and airway drying. American journal of respiratory and critical care medicine, 161(6), 2112-2113.
Freed, A. N., Omori, C., Hubbard, W. C., & Adkinson, N. F. (1994). Dry air-and hypertonic aerosol-induced bronchoconstriction and cellular responses in the canine lung periphery. European Respiratory Journal, 7(7), 1308-1316.