How to Keep Dog Water from Freezing?

How To Keep Dog Water from Freezing Feature Image

Despite the borderline freezing temperatures, dogs love being outside. However, even when he’s playing outside in the cold weather, it’s still important to keep your dog hydrated. So, how to keep dogs’ water from freezing?

When knowing how to keep water from freezing outside, it is recommended to invest in an electrically heated water bowl(in case you can get electricity), water dishes, or a heating pad. But if you find this costly, there are some tips you can apply to keep dog water from freezing without spending any money or consuming electricity. Read on to learn more about these tips.

Natural Ways to Keep Your Dog’s Water From Freezing

One of the natural alternatives most pet owners usually do is add a small amount of water to their dog’s dry food. They believe that mixing a little water in the food will make it less likely to freeze. While this strategy is helpful, it shouldn’t be done for a long time.

Put Ping-Pong Balls in the Bowl

During the winter, many dog owners opt to place two to three ping pong balls in their pet’s outdoor bowl to help prevent the water from freezing. This is because putting them in the water will cause ripples every time the wind blows. The small waves will help keep the water from settling long enough to chill.

However, if the surface of the water does freeze due to cold temperatures, just remove the balls, crush up the ice, and replace the balls to restart the procedure.

Keep Your Dog's Water Drinkable in WinterPut the Bowl in an Old Tyre with Hot Rocks

Take an old rubber tire that is off its rims and place it on the ground with full exposure to the morning sun. Then, top up the tire with 10 to 13 cm (4 to 5 in) of dark-colored rocks. Position the bowl into the center of the rocks so the level of water will be equal to the top of the rocks.

The tire will keep the rocks warm for a longer period of time as the sun heats them. And as long as the rocks are warm, the water will also stay warm!

Use a Styrofoam Cooler

You can insert your pet’s water bowl inside a cheap Styrofoam cooler that has been altered so Fido can easily access the dish. To do this, you can cut a round hole in the styrofoam cooler’s lid to make it possible for your dog to put forth his head to the box for a drink.

Keep in mind, a shallow, large water bowl will freeze easily than a narrow, warm water bowl. So ensure to take this into consideration when preparing your bowl.

Place a Bottle of Hot Saltwater in the Bowl

Put a sealed bottle of hot saltwater into larger bowls. To do this, first, take an empty 590 mL (20 fl oz) plastic water bottle and fill it with 1/4 of a cup of salt. Then, pour the rest of the bottle with water and seal it tightly. Finally, submerge the bottle in the watering bowl.

This will stop the water from freezing since saltwater has a lower freezing temperature than pure water. Plus, the heat from the bottle will be transferred to the rest of the water. Keep an eye on your pets to make sure they don’t scratch or bite the bottle.

Also, never give them water with salt! See to it that the cap on the bottle is sealed securely tight.

Use a Rubber Bowl Instead of A Metal One

Choosing the right kind of bowl will also help you keep your pet’s water warm during the winter. Rubber, in particular, is a better insulator than metal. This means it can slow the freezing of your dog’s drinking water. For best results, nestle a small rubber water container in a sunny area to allow the sun to warm the rubber.

How to Keep Outside Dog Water Bowl From Freezing

Ways that Keep Your Dog’s Water From Freezing with Electricity

To learn more about how to keep pets water from freezing, you can also make use of the following:

Use an Electrically Heated Dog Bowl

Using an electrically heated dog bowl is the easiest way to stop the water from freezing. If you can position the bowl near an electrical outlet, you can purchase a heated water bowl with a cable and a plug online or at pet stores.

Just be sure that the heating device is made for outdoor use, and has no damage or weak spots, which could represent an electrocution hazard. Once you had it, simply plug the heated water bowl into the socket and pour water into it.

However, because of evaporation, you will need to refill the water with 1 gallon of water more often.

Place a Heating Lamp Near the Bowl

If your dog’s water bowl is close to the house, near a plug socket, or under a roof, another option is to place a small heat lamp or heater near the drinking bowl for a quick-fix solution.

All you have to do is plug in the device and then place the bowl about 5 to 10 inches away. The idea is that the heater will radiate enough heat to prevent the water bowl from freezing over and keep the water bowl warm. If you decide to follow this method, it’s essential that you only do it on a covered patio.

If left uncovered, moisture can enter the device and then cause damage which can stop it from working. You also need to keep an eye on your dog so they won’t get burnt from the heater.

Put a Microwavable Heat Disc Under the Bowl

You can also use a microwavable heat disc to keep your dog’s water from freezing outside. It’s a cheap and well-known option that doesn’t require an electricity cable. To use this, you have to warm up the microwave disc for few minutes first.

On your first attempt, it’s better to microwave the disc for one to two-minute intervals and then place it back into the oven when needed. This way, you will be able to know how long it takes to sufficiently heat the disc.

Prevent Your Dog's Water from Freezing

Frequently Asked Questions

Will Vinegar Keep Water from Freezing?

No, vinegar will not keep water from freezing much longer than plain water. Though, it is possible that adding vinegar to the water will lower the freezing point when the vinegar’s temperature is above 28 degrees or below 32 degrees. However, it will only lower the freezing point a bit.

Should I Give My Dog Warm Water in the Winter?

Yes, you should give your dog warm water in the winter but only if you want to melt the ice and it should be done periodically. You can also do this if you only need to keep your dog’s water bowl from freezing for a short duration. 

When doing so, consider microwaving the water bowl first and then fill it with room temperature water. Remember, you can pour some warm water into your dog’s bowl but not hot water.

Should I Keep My Outdoor Dog Outside During Winter?

It depends on the situation and breed of your dog. Most dog health organizations recommend keeping your dog inside the house during winter. Unless your outdoor dog is a Malamute, a Siberian Husky, or other cold-adapted breeds, assume that your pet appreciates cold temperatures as much as you do. 

If you are cold when you go outside, your outdoor pet probably is too. But if you must keep your dog outside during the cold season, see to it that it has a clean, dry doghouse that is insulated and elevated to remain suitably warm and ensure the prevailing winds do not enter the door.


Now you know how to keep pet water from freezing. Not only have you discovered how you can keep your dog’s water from freezing outside, but you also learned some tricks to stop the water from freezing without the use of electricity.

Ideally, however, a dog and his water dish should be kept inside during the cold weather [1]. Though, this doesn’t necessarily mean he has to come inside the house. You may opt to invest in an oversized dog house for the winter or you may set a doggy door on your shed to allow him to come in and out freely.

That’s where you can place the water and food, along with the stuff your pet may need to stay warm. And since dogs, like people, are susceptible to getting cold, you can administer antioxidant supplements to help them fight against cold or offer them food that will boost their immune system.