The best way to keep dog water from freezing is to use a heated bowl. If you need to prevent water from freezing without electricity, try placing ping pong balls in the water. This won’t stop the water from freezing, but it will increase the time it takes to freeze.
Regardless of the weather, most dogs love playing outside. But even when it’s cold out, it’s still important that they stay hydrated. If you put a bowl of water out for your dog during the cold winter months, you may find that the water becomes frozen within an hour of putting it out.
The good news is that there are many ways you can keep your dog’s water from freezing. There are some quick solutions that will work in a pinch, using items that you likely already have. Other solutions require an investment, but are worth it if your dog spends a lot of time outside in cold weather.
Believe it or not, dogs actually need more water in the winter because of the dry air! Additionally, they use more energy to keep themselves warm while playing, so they need extra hydration to keep them going.
This is why it’s so important to not let the water in their bowl freeze before they have a chance to hydrate.
What You'll Learn
Temporary Quick-Fixes To Keep Water From Freezing
There are a few quick fixes you can do to prevent water from freezing. The best part is you won’t have to spend much money on the following solutions.
First, choosing the right type of bowl will make a massive difference in how fast your dog’s water freezes. Additionally, adding things to the water can extend the time that the water stays at a drinkable temperature.
Types of Bowls
The first thing to consider is what type of bowl you are using. Metal, for example, is not a great bowl to use when it’s cold outside because the metal itself gets very cold. This will cause the water to freeze much quicker.
There is also an element of risk to using a metal bowl in cold weather. There is a chance that your dog’s tongue could get stuck to the bowl and freeze. This can be extremely painful for the dog, so it’s best to avoid metal bowls.
Better solutions include rubber or Tupperware containers, which take much longer to get cold. Of course, this doesn’t prevent the water from freezing, especially if it is below freezing outside.
Rubber is especially effective at retaining heat if it is placed in the sun. The sun will warm both the water and the rubber and hopefully keep the water in a liquid state!
Adding ping pong balls to the water is another excellent idea. If you do not have ping poll balls at home, anything light and sealed that will float on the water will do the trick. This may be something as simple as a bath toy, although your dog may just want to play with it!
The difference that ping pong balls make is that they keep the water moving in the wind. The water will still eventually freeze if the temperature is low enough, but having something moving the water will delay the freezing effect.
However, some dogs love to play with ping pong balls. This means that your dog might take them out of the water and start playing with them. If you place ping pong balls in their water bowl, be sure to keep an eye on the dog to make sure it doesn’t take the ping pong balls out of the water.
Bottle of Salt Water
This is an old-school trick that relies on science. Fill a plastic water bottle about a third of the way with salt. After that, add warm water to the bottle, then add the sealed water bottle to the water bowl. Salt lowers the freezing temperature of water.
The saltwater in the bottle will stay warm for longer and will keep the water in the bowl from freezing for a little longer than normal.
If you’re looking for a long-term solution and don’t mind spending some money, the following solutions work great.
Keep in mind that some of these solutions require you to have access to electricity. This might limit where you are able to place the water.
If you can afford it, heated bowls are your best bet. They do require an outlet relatively close by, but many of the bowls on the market have up to a six-foot cord which allows some flexibility with range.
The water in heated dog bowls is likely to evaporate quickly. This means you may have to refill the bowl with water more than you usually would. However, most of these bowls hold more water than a regular bowl, so it may even out.
K&H Pet Products produces a 96-ounce plastic thermal bowl that also has a covered cord, so there’s no risk of your dog chewing on wires.
It is BPA-free and holds plenty of water. All you have to do is plug in the 5.5-foot long cord, and the bowl will make sure the water stays at an optimal temperature. It is available in plastic, but they also make a stainless steel version.
Another option is the Farm Innovators heated pet bowl, which is available with a capacity of 1 and a half gallons, which is more than enough for most dogs.
This bowl is designed to not tip over, and some sellers even offer a limited warranty for one year in case it breaks. The Farm Innovators bowl also has a heavy-duty covering on the cord to prevent the dog from getting harmed by exposed wires.
There are many other great options on the market. Most of them work the same way, with slightly different designs.
Some keep the water warmer, and some turn off automatically when there is no more water in the bowl.
Microwavable Heating Pads
Although this doesn’t work quite as well as an electric bowl, the major benefit is that it doesn’t require anything to be plugged into an outlet.
Microwavable heating pads are relatively small and easy to use. You can find small microwavable discs at most major retailers, as well as online, for just under $20. It is a great investment.
Microwavable heating pads can be used over and over without issue. All you have to do is microwave them for a couple of minutes, then place them under your dog’s bowl. It will greatly slow down how fast the water cools as it slowly lets out heat to keep the water from freezing.
Hot packs designed to keep food warm work similarly. They might be slightly less effective, but they will still make a difference when it comes to your dog’s hydration. They are also cheaper and more readily available than specially designed heating pads.
Heater or Heat Lamp
Investing in a small heater or heat lamp is another electric solution. This also requires an outlet close by. Additionally, it is not safe to use a heater or heat lamp if your pet goes unsupervised for a long time. A heater that has been tipped over can cause a fire.
If you have a small heater or heat lamp, place it a few feet away from the bowl and make sure it is not too close to anything else. It will keep the water at a comfortable temperature for your furry friend.
What Option is Best For You?
There are many ways to prevent your dog’s water from freezing. Some solutions work better than others, but not all of them require an investment.
If money is tight, we recommend the ping pong ball trick. You might be surprised at how well this works. If you don’t mind making the investment, an electric bowl will be your best option.
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