How to keep dog water from freezing is only ever an issue in freezing cold winters. Nevertheless, it happens frequently enough to be a concern.
We tend to drink less in colder weather, probably because we don’t do as much activity as we do in summer. Dogs are not quite the same, though. They drink a little less, but dogs still enjoy running and tearing around all over the place, even in winter months, so they always get pretty thirsty.
All dog owners know how vital it is to our dog’s health to keep them sufficiently hydrated; in the summer, it’s easier because the dog is generally always thirsty, so he will let you know he needs a drink. Cold winter months are more problematic, but I just mentioned dogs can still get very thirsty in winter. Keeping your dog correctly hydrated and them having easy access to water is super important.
If your dog loves to be in the backyard or spends any serious amounts of time outside, it could pose some issues with your dog’s access to clean, fresh water if the water in his bowl starts to freeze. There are some ways you can overcome this situation without recourse to electricity and if you are not looking to spend any money.
So we’ll discuss those first, and then we will show you how this can be so much simpler if you decide to purchase a heated water bowl for your dog.
Prevent Dog Water From Freezing Without Electricity
1. Use A Rubber Dog Bowl
Replace the dog bowl with a rubber one. Rubber insulates better than metal. Using a rubber bowl helps to slow down the freezing process. Use a large size bowl, even if your dog doesn’t usually have a big bowl. The more water the bowl contains, the longer it takes to freeze. If the sun is out, place the bowl in direct sunlight; once again, it will slow down the freezing process.
Should the temperature dramatically drop, the water will probably freeze anyway; there’s not much you can do about it except keep changing the water in his bowl.
2. Put Ping Pong Balls In The Dog’s Water Bowl
You could try putting some ping pong balls or something else round and equally as lightweight in the water. Ping pong balls are so light they will float on the water. But because they are delicate, it causes them to bob up and down in the water when the wind blows over them. This movement creates a disturbance on the surface of the water. That’s enough to make it harder for the water to freeze over.
Of course, there might not be enough wind to move the balls, so this method falls down a little. But you could try to move the water bowl to an area that gets a little more wind. It doesn’t take that much wind to move some ping pong balls around.
Another potential issue with this method is your dog. If your dog loves to play with something he might find in the water, then it isn’t going to work. A dog can easily swallow a ping pong ball, yet they are big enough for him to choke on.
3. Heating Pad Under Your Dog’s Water Bowl
If your dog is outside for only a short period, say two hours or so, then purchase a microwave heating pad (see on Amazon) and place it under your dog’s water bowl. They don’t require any outside electricity, and it’s an inexpensive way of keeping your dog’s water warm, at least for a couple of hours.
You heat these types of pads in the microwave for a few minutes, and they will keep the dog’s water from freezing. Determine the time it takes to reach the correct temperature by heating the pad in two-minute increments; this way, you’ll know exactly how long it takes. If possible, it would also be best to monitor precisely how long it takes for the pad to cool and allow the water to freeze, then you’ll know for certain how long your dog will have access to water.
4. Use A Styrofoam Cooler For Your Dog’s Water Bowl
Most people have an old styrofoam cooler (see on Amazon) hanging around in the storage shed or garage. Suppose you do, then take it out and cut a hole in one side. The hole needs to be large enough to place the dog’s water bowl inside, and your dog needs enough room for him to put his head inside to drink from the bowl.
They are pretty lightweight, so if it’s a breezy day, put a heavy rock on top of the cooler to make sure it stays in place. Putting your dog’s water bowl inside will protect it from the elements and slow down the freezing process.
5. Use Saltwater In A Sealed Bottle
Take an empty small plastic water bottle and pour salt inside. Fill it until the salt comes up to around halfway up the bottle. Fill the plastic bottle with warm water, then screw on the lid until it’s as tight as you can. Then put the saltwater bottle inside your dog’s water bowl; it should submerge in the water in the dog’s bowl.
As you know, saltwater will take longer to freeze than regular water, and it will prevent the dog’s drinking water from freezing at least for some time, possibly only a couple of hours. You might want to test it out to find out for sure how long it works. Also, you must ensure the saltwater bottle doesn’t leak; you can’t have any salt leaching into your dog’s water.
Of all the methods, this is our least favorite. Many dogs like to chew on plastic bottles. No matter how tight you think the lid is on, dogs will have the top off in seconds. If your dog loves to chew on plastic bottles, do not use this method.
6. Insulate Your Dog’s Water Bowl
Using an old tire, place your dog’s bowl in the center. Then you need black stones (the darker the stones, the better this works). Take the stones and pack them into the space between the bowl and the inside of the tire. Ensure the rocks are as high as the water bowl. You might need to use a more significant water bowl than your dog is used to because you need plenty of dark rocks.
Also, use the rubber dog bowl we suggested earlier in the article.
The sun will heat the rocks, and the residual heat will warm the water in the dog’s bowl. If your dog is small, this isn’t going to work because he won’t be able to reach far enough to get at the water. Insulating the dog’s bowl this way only works if you have a large dog.
Prevent Dog Water From Freezing With Electricity
1. Use A Heated Dog’s Water Bowl
If you have access to an electric outlet on the outside of your home, the most straightforward solution to your dogs’ water freezing problem is the heated dog’s water bowl (see on Amazon).
Just plug it in and fill it with fresh water. These bowls come in various sizes, so even if you have a small breed of dog, there won’t be any issues there.
You will need to top them up with water far more regularly than you are accustomed to because the water will evaporate over time. Also, it would be a good idea to set this up before the cold weather sets in to introduce your dog to a different water bowl.
2. Use An Electric Heater
If you have an outside electric outlet and a covered porch, you could always place a small heater close to the dog’s water bowl. It would only need to be a small heater, certainly no more than 200 watts. Position the heater at least twelve to eighteen inches away from the bowl – enough room for your dog to navigate around the bowl without coming into contact with the heater.
Never do this outside unless you have a covered porch free from the elements, wind, rain, and snow. If your dog is like most, he’ll also take the opportunity of laying close to the heater for warmth. You will need to keep an eye on the situation; dogs don’t seem to notice how hot they are getting until they’re practically on fire.
When the temperatures drop, it can get exceptionally cold, and if your dog’s water bowl is outside, the water will freeze. In parts of the US, they do experience freezing winters with minus temperatures. This weather is a genuine concern for dog owner’s who leave their dogs outside for one reason or another, even if it’s for only one or two hours.
Whatever the temperature, dogs love to run around and play; when they do, they get thirsty. If they cannot access their water because it’s frozen, it can lead to dehydration which is not suitable for the dog’s health, mainly if it’s over a prolonged period.
Also, any thirsty dog will try to access water from another source, which could mean any source of water that’s not frozen and wherever he might have found it. This water could be toxic and is another severe health risk for your dog.