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 Husky won't drink water in winter

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Female Join date : 2013-12-20

PostSubject: Husky won't drink water in winter   Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:42 pm

We adopted a year old neutered male in early Oct - he's 24" at the shoulder and weighs about 60 pounds (he was 58, underweight when we got him from the shelter, he had been neglected before we got him). Happily, he has adapted beautifully and enthusiastically to life in the country. He is in outdoor dog with a 100 ft trolley, dog house, and for variation, 4 of my big pines have eye bolts in them so he can have a change of scenery (one dog house is portable - the dog mahal is permanent!). He is walked 3.5 miles in morning, 2 miles in evening and played with in between, when we leave the property for outdoor recreation, he goes with us.

Now the problem - in the fall, he would drink readily from his water bowls or the water bottle on walks and his urine was appropriately light colored. Now that the cold weather is here, he eats snow, will take a little free water IF I sit beside him, dip my hand in it and let him lick it off my hand. Problem is, his urine became much darker - though I do not see any other signs of dehydration, good activity level, good skin tone, gums and eyes nice and moist. I have taken to warming 2 cups of water and dumping his kibble in it until it makes a bit of a broth but still living his kibble crunchy (he loves his food - its the only treat I give him...all my pockets have handfuls of kibble that I have to watch for before laundry!!) He gets fed twice a day, 3X if its really cold out. The question is, just how much water should I be giving him - I don't want him to develop kidney problems from too little water - husband says just monitor the color of his urine - if it's pale, its enough. That works fine in snow, but the snow has melted. He readily drinks up all the water in the kibble before eating it. That makes a minimum of a quart to a maximum of 6 cups a day - is that enough?
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Ms. Amicable

Female Join date : 2009-05-20
Location : Glenville, NY

PostSubject: Re: Husky won't drink water in winter   Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:00 pm

This is actually something I am dealing with with Hailey (See Poor Hailey). She developed a lot of urinary tract problems in the winter and we spend a lot of money and time diagnosing her.

Here is a summary of what I learned (that is all in that thread) that might help you:
-Snow is actually formed around tiny dust particles. If you read survival guides, they ALL tell you not to eat snow to survive. The reason is that it WILL dehydrate you. That's why your husky's urine is very dark.

If your dog is just an obsessive snow eater (like Hailey is), then you might need to do some other things to entice him to drink more.

-Adding water to his kibble is a great idea.
-You can also fill his water bowl with a little bit of chicken broth to spice up the flavor. Perhaps the chicken broth (even straight chicken broth is okay- just make sure you don't overfeed) will encourage him to drink his water more.
-Feeding him some raw supplements (raw meat, mixing in some dehydrated raw kibble, etc) in the winter time may help as raw food contains a lot of water weight that kibble does not. Generally when dogs eat raw, they drink less water because they are getting so much water in their food.
-Add cranberry supplements to his food. Cranberry helps with kidney function, and can help his already stressed kidneys.

You're right to keep an eye on these things, but as long as your boy's urinary function stays the same and he doesn't seem uncomfortable, I wouldn't worry too much. Hailey was peeing everywhere and often in her sleep, so that's why she is on medication and supplements.

Good luck!

It's a husky thing... you wouldn't understand.

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Join date : 2013-04-17
Location : South East Wisconsin!

PostSubject: Re: Husky won't drink water in winter   Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:00 pm

I can not say how much water he needs, but "baiting" his water (making it palatable by adding a flavor) is a long time practice of mushers (so I've read) to keep dogs hydrated. Should not be anything wrong with doing it as long as he doesn't have some other problem that needs attention. Biting snow will not keep him hydrated but at the same time it will slow his water intake. Check for dehydration by pressing on the gum, if well hydrated the blood should push away easily and return making the gum change color.
Hopefully others will chime in but this should help you to worry a little less.
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Female Join date : 2012-11-01
Location : Spokane WA

PostSubject: Re: Husky won't drink water in winter   Mon Dec 23, 2013 7:15 pm

Hydration can be a huge challenge, as Hughie pointed out in running dogs mushers will 'bait' their dogs water to be sure the dogs are drinking enough water. Mine have been pretty easy baiting by just adding a few kibble pieces to their water, there are specialize baits you can buy, soaking natural (no sodium) beef jerky in the water, broths all work well. My friend had one that would only bait with canned cat food, the key is finding what works for your dog.
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Female Join date : 2013-12-20

PostSubject: Thank you for all the replies...   Wed Dec 25, 2013 12:53 pm

The Big Boy really seems to like the new practice of heating water and adding the kibble to it - he laps down every little bit and then chews up the kibble. It's a wonderful pleasure watching him eat - the first day we brought him home from the shelter, I dumped his kibble in the bowl - almost before I could stand up, he inhaled the food and it was gone! Now, I watch him lap up every bit of water, and its almost as if he's savoring his food, he takes a mouthful, lifts his head up and chews with a look of satisfaction. Very rewarding - we could not ask for a more sweet dog. (Except when he forgets I'm not a Boston Bruin and he comes hurtling at 100 miles an hour, leaps and body checks me at my shoulder height!! Then, aside from the bruises, he's just plain fun.)
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Join date : 2013-10-27

PostSubject: Re: Husky won't drink water in winter   Sun Dec 29, 2013 12:11 am

Great idea with making "soup" from your kibble!

I just wanted to reiterate what a poster above said in "baiting" your water with some other tasty liquid (not too salty) to incite him to drink. Warm water might also be a good idea if it's really cold out, since the cold water is probably less than appealing in those circumstances.
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