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Should Dogs Drink Ice Cold Water?

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You may have heard the rumor that was circulating a few years back about how ice-cubes or extra cold water can cause bloat or GDV in a dog following consumption. The premise being, that he would enjoy the frozen cubes or the super-chilled water so much that he would be inclined to gulp them down too quickly. And because bloat is caused when a dog consumes large amounts of food or water too rapidly, it was perceived that something as refreshing as ice cold water, or cubes, would exacerbate the situation. In fact, it was felt that unlimited access to cold water would naturally cause over-consumption and dog owners should be discouraged from offering it to their pets.

Fast forward a decade and while the myth about ice-cubes has long-since been de-bunked, the concern still lingers with some who feel that really cold water is a bad idea for dogs.

Rest assured that it is perfectly fine for your dog to drink from an icy cold bowl of water – in moderation. I mean, its refreshing, it helps cool him down, and it hydrates, right? But there is a caveat, and it’s the word “moderation”. Too much water (of any temperature), consumed too quickly, immediately following exercise, can be a problem for a large dog that is prone to bloat. And because a thirsty pooch is hard to control once he begins to drink, its important to pace his consumption.

To help prevent him from wolfing down his fluids, give your dog a few minutes to cool down naturally – particularly if extreme play or exercise has just taken place and he’s panting heavily. By allowing him a little time to catch his breath, to calm himself, and to cool off through panting, you can prevent him from going into guzzle-mode and drinking too much, too quickly.

Now, to be honest, if your dog is like most dogs, water that is super cold won’t be something he is keen to finish off in one sitting. Most dogs find ice water to be a little overwhelming and uncomfortable to take on in big, never-ending gulps. So, to a certain extent he’ll naturally pace himself, lap up what he needs, and come back when its not as cold.

But if your dog is full of energy, has had a particularly active play session or run at the dog park over an extended period of time, having a bowl of cold water available to him is a great way to help cool his core down and prevent him from over-heating. Again, allow him to calm down, and be sure to pace his consumption, but cooler water is highly effective at helping his body temperature return to normal.

That said, if your dog has passed the point of being uncomfortably hot, and moved into serious over-heating or even heat-stroke, it’s best to cool him down from the outside. Cold, wet compresses on his pads, ears, and body core will help bring his temperature down. And at this point, giving him ice-cold water may trigger blood vessel constriction and cause him to go into shock. If cold compresses don’t seem to be helping him return to normal, get him in to your vet.


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