“Water is the driving force of all nature.” ~Leonardo da Vinci
The warm weather has finally arrived in many areas after what seems like a (too) long winter! Now is when we all spend more time outdoors with our dogs, from going on long walks and hikes to extended play times in backyards and at the dog park. It is also the season when dogs can very easily overheat and dehydrate. According to DogFoodAdvisor.com, “Water is perhaps the most neglected daily nutrient your dog must count on for you to provide.” Not only is having a constant supply of fresh water crucial to your dog’s health (not just in the spring and warmer weather, but every day all year long), it is also important to be sure his/her water dish or bowl is always clean.
Here are some of my FiveSibes™ tips on taking care that your dog’s drink and dish are the best and safest they can be:
1. Beware of Glass Bowls
Do not use glass bowls outside on wooden decks as they not only can heat up to the point of breaking, which the broken glass is a hazard to your dog, but the sun can also filter through the glass like a magnifying glass, causing the wood to ignite and cause a fire.
2. Plastic is Not Friendly
Plastic is not a good choice for a pet’s water bowl for many reasons. Aside from possibly harboring potentially dangerous chemicals (even if it is BPA-free), it is a very porous material, where germs and mold love to invade. It is easily scratched or chewed, inviting nasty bacteria, and can crack or have pieces break off that can be sharp and cause a serious health risk to your dog.
3. Keep it Fresh
Whether outside or inside, water in dishes can become mucky even after a few laps from saliva, dirt, dropped treats, and dribbles of food into the dish. Multiple dogs? That’s multiple times the amount of drool and slime that gets deposited in the water bowl, so change out the water often.
4. Get Shady
Keep your dogs’ outdoor water dishes out of the sun. Check the yard, porch, and/or deck for a shady area and make that your furpal’s designated watering hole. Be consistent, so your dog will always know where to go to get a fresh drink.
5. No Sharing!
Always be sure birds are not using your dog’s watering trough as their personal bath to avoid your dog from getting a disease.
6. Water 24/7
If you are not always home to check on your dog’s water quality and supply, check into the possibility of installing one of the constantly flowing fountain-style dishes.
7. H2O on the Go!
Going for a walk or hike with your furry best friend? Be sure to bring along a clean portable water bowl and a fresh container of water. A great tip is to freeze a plastic bottle of water beforehand so as the ice melts, you can pour still-cool water into the bowl for your dog. When empty, toss the water bottle into the recycle bin.
8. Clean Means Safer
To avoid any growth of germs, bacteria, and/or mold that all can cause our dogs to get sick, be sure to wipe off any slime or film that may be on your dog’s water dish and then give it a thorough wash daily with hot water and soap (rinse well so there is no soap residue left behind), or run it through a cycle in the dishwasher. Just as we drink out of a clean glass or cup, our dogs should drink their water from a clean bowl or dish. According to The Honest Kitchen blog, “While hand washing with soap and hot water will get the bowls clean, the dishwasher takes it a step further. Most bacteria that collect on pet bowls need scalding hot water (140° F) to fully remove and kill it.”
Whether you choose to clean your dogs water bowls with some good old-fashioned light elbow grease, or by popping them into the dishwasher, keeping our dogs’ dishes clean, and, thereby, safe for use, is an easy task that will keep our pups happy and healthily hydrated, not only in the warm weather months, but all year long!
Dorothy Wills-Raftery is an award-winning photojournalist and author of EPIc Dog Tales: Heartfelt Stories About Amazing Dogs Living & Loving Life With Canine Epilepsy; the FiveSibes™ Tales children’s books What’s Wrong With Gibson? Learning About K-9 Epilepsy and Getting Healthy With Harley: Learning About Health & Fitness; and Buddy, the Christmas Husky~Based On A True Holiday Miracle books (ArcticHouse Publishing), as well as the FiveSibes.com, an online encyclopedia for the Siberian Husky breed and Canine Epilepsy information, as well as her international award-winning FiveSibes blog, based on the lives of her five Siberian Huskies. Her work has also appeared in American Pet Magazine, Ruff Drafts, The Sled Dogger, and Hudson Valley Paw Print Magazine. Dorothy is the writer and host of "The Sibe Vibe” Dog Works Radio show. Dorothy is a 9-time Dog Writers of America Association “Excellence” nominee, winning the prestigious Maxwell Medallion in 2017 and 2016 for her writing, photography, and design. Dorothy was also named “Best Author” in 2015 & 2016 by Hudson Valley Magazine and all four books named “Best in Print” by American Pet Magazine, An official International Purple Day® for Epilepsy Ambassador since 2012 and a volunteer case manager for The Wally Foundation-Canine Epilepsy, Dorothy is the creator of the FiveSibes #LiveGibStrong K-9 Epilepsy Awareness campaign inspired by her own epileptic Husky, Gibson. In addition to her Siberian Huskies, Dorothy shares her home with her husband, daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. You can follow Dorothy and her FiveSibes on Facebook at FiveSibes: Siberian Husky K9 News & Reviews, on Google + , Twitter, and Instagram(@FiveSibesMom).