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Do dogs like cold water? (Or do dogs prefer warm water?)

Do dogs like cold water? (Or do dogs prefer warm water?)

You probably love a warm bath after a long day. You may enjoy hot coffee or iced tea. The temperature of your dog’s water may not be something you have given a lot of thought to. However, dogs, like people, seem to have preferences for water temperature. 

Do dogs prefer warm or cold water?

It’s important to make sure your dog’s water is the right temperature, whether they are drinking it or bathing in it. There are some basic rules when it comes to water temperature, but your dog’s preference is important as well. 

Drinking Water Experiment

When it comes to drinking water, you may be tempted to give your dog cold water on a hot day or warm water on a cold day. Experts advise that giving your dog ice cold water isn’t a good idea. However, some dogs seem to love it. 

A recent experiment tested dogs’ preference for water temperature. They provided the dogs with three bowls of water. One was 15°c, or 59°f. The next was 25°C, or 77°f. The last was 35°C, or 95°f.

The dogs were given 4 days to get familiar with the bowls and routine. Then the researchers monitored their intake of each bowl over the next 13 days. This included different outside and indoor temperatures, to see if that had an affect on preference. 

Dogs chose the cool water 60% of the time. 27% chose the neutral or room temperature water. 18% chose the warm water. Ambient temperatures didn’t impact dogs’ water preferences.

However, their core body temperature did have an effect. Dogs with the lowest body temperatures preferred the warm water. This suggests that while dogs generally prefer cool water, they will prefer warm water if their  body temperature is low. This may be important during cold weather, when your dog is exposed to cooler temperatures. 

Wild Water Temps

It’s reasonable to assume that the temperature water dogs encounter in the wild might have an impact on their preferences. They are likely to encounter a range of temperatures in the wild. In the winter, the water will be cold, and potentially icy. 

In the summer, the water is likely to be warm. This won’t give you a specific temperature your dog prefers, but it can give you an idea of the temperature ranges that are good for your dog. It’s best to stick to the temperature range they would encounter in the wild, which means keeping it between cool and warm. 

Do Dogs Like Ice Water?

If dogs prefer cold water, what about ice water? Do they like it, particularly in the summer months? Most dogs do not like ice water. The temperature is too cold, and can be painful or uncomfortable to drink. However, not all dogs have this reaction. 

Dogs drink differently than we do. When a beverage is very cold, or hot, we sip it carefully. If you’ve ever gulped down ice water, you probably regret it. It can give you a headache and be too cold for your mouth. 

Your dog uses their tongue to bring in a large amount of water at one time, so the ice-cold water can be too much for them. It’s also important to note that smell and taste are primary senses for your dog. Their mouth is very sensitive. 

Most dogs prefer their water cool instead of ice cold. However, there are exceptions. Some dogs do love ice water. 

Determining Your Dog’s Drinking Water Preference

To determine your dog’s drinking water preference, you’ll need to provide them with different temperature water. Give them ice water and watch their reaction. If they don’t drink it, or drink very little, it’s safe to assume they don’t like it. 

You can also do this with warm water. However, you should never give your dog hot water. It can burn their mouth, just as it can burn yours. If it’s too hot for your mouth, it’s too hot for theirs. 

You could also repeat the experiment described above to get a better feel for the temperature your dog prefers. 

Water Temperature For Bathing

Most dogs prefer cool water for drinking, but what about bathing? Do dogs like a warm bath, or a cool one? 

The ideal temperature of your dog’s water will vary slightly based on their age and size. For adult medium to large dogs, 37°C, or 98°F, is the best temperature. This is very close to their own body temperature. It should feel slightly warm, but not hot.

Puppies, small dogs, and senior dogs are more sensitive to temperature. You can lower the temperature of the water slightly, but you want to keep it lukewarm. These dogs also get cold more quickly than large adult dogs. 

Keeping Your Dog Warm During Bathtime

If your dog’s bathwater should only be lukewarm, you may be wondering how to keep them warm. Some dogs can get cold easily, especially when their fur is wet. 

The best way to keep your dog warm is to raise the temperature of the bathroom. If it’s wintertime, turn the thermostat up before bathtime. If it’s summer, raise the thermostat or block off the bathroom vent temporarily. 

Avoid having a fan in the bathroom when you are bathing your dog. 

After their bath, be sure to dry them thoroughly with a warm towel. For some extra warmth, toss the towel in the dryer for a few minutes to warm it. The warmth will feel great to your dog after their bath. 

Do dogs like cold water?

Most dogs like cool water to drink. Water with ice cubes is usually too cold for dogs. When it comes to bath time, lukewarm water is always the best choice. 

Source of the Water

Of course, this will also depend on the weather, your dog, and the source of the water. A dog that would hate a bath in cool water may enjoy jumping in a lake of the same temperature. They may frolic in an icy cold stream, but howl if you turn on the hose. 

Perhaps its instinctual for dogs to be comfortable with water temperatures in nature. Wild dogs and wolves find  themselves in bodies of water with very different temperatures. Perhaps, our domesticated dogs are aware of this, and simply have different expectations when they aren’t in nature. 

After all, if you are in nature, you have very different expectations for comfort and convenience than you do at home. 

What temperature of water is good for dogs?

Generally, you’ll want to stick to cool or lukewarm water. Most dogs prefer cool water to drink, and lukewarm water is always the best choice for bathing. 

Cold Water Risks

Cold water can seem like the best way to cool your dog down in the summertime, particularly if they are becoming overheated. However, it can actually make things worse. 

Cold water causes the blood vessels beneath the skin to narrow. This traps heat inside your dog’s body. Instead, you’ll want to use cool water to lower your dog’s temperature. 

The temperature of the water can help lower your dog’s temperature, as long as it’s lower than your dog’s body temperature, but not too cold. As your pooch’s fur dries, the evaporation process will also help them cool down. 

Water in Wintertime

You take your dog for a walk in very cold weather. When you get back home, they are shivering and clearly very cold. Can you give them a warm bath to heat them up? 

It’s not a good idea to use water to warm your dog up for a few reasons. The heat can actually cause shock, pain, and damage if your dog has hypothermia or frostbite. 

Warm water comes into direct contact with skin, and will warm it very quickly. This may seem like a good thing, but you actually want your dog’s body to warm up slowly and steadily, not very quickly. 

It’s easy to get the water too hot, particularly if your dog is cold. A water temperature that is normally comfortable for your dog can feel much too hot because your dog’s skin is at a lower temperature. 

Cool water helps cool your dog down because the water evaporates from your dog’s fur as it dries, which helps to cool them. When you give them a bath to warm them up, they will have wet fur when they get out. This can lower their temperature slightly, and make them feel colder. 

Breed and Coat

We know that smaller dogs and those that are very young or old are more sensitive to temperature than other dogs. However, breed and coat also play a role in your dog’s water preferences. 

Dogs with long warm coats are more likely to be unphased by cold water, or even seek it out. These pooches often have a double coat, which helps keep them warm regardless of the water temperature. These dogs may jump into a semi-frozen lake, much to their owners’ dismay. 

Short-coated breeds, however, are designed to withstand warmer temperatures. Their skin is much more exposed to the elements, including water. They will feel the temperature of the water much more than a long-coated breed. 

This can cause them to avoid cool or cold water, particularly for bathing or swimming. They also get cold easier than long-haired breeds. 

Is hose water too cold for dogs?

Most experts say that hose water is considered too cold for dogs. It can be too cool and make them uncomfortable. However, some dogs love nothing more than a water hose on a hot day, so this seems to depend on the dog, just like drinking water preference. 

Dogs who have long coats and are traditionally found in colder climates tend to enjoy cold water, like water from the house. Short-haired breeds will likely find the water too cold, even in warm temperatures. 

You should exercise care when giving your dog hose water. When the water first begins to run, what comes out has been heated by the sun while it was in the hose. This water can become hot enough to burn your dog, so be sure to allow it to run until you feel lukewarm or cool water. 

Do dogs like ice cubes?

Again, it depends on the dog and the situation. Most dogs seem to enjoy ice cubes, particularly in hot weather. However, these same dogs may not like ice water. It seems that ice itself doesn’t cause the discomfort that ice water does. It may also be novel to them. Perhaps they like ice cubes because their curiousity is piqued, regardless of the cold tempertaure.