Water!Your dogs are working hard out there on the trail. Winter, Summer, Spring or Fall, your dog needs water, and you need to provide it to him.
During the times of the year when the waterways are still open and not covered with ice, if you provide your dog with enough to drink, it will limit, or eliminate their need to drink from possibly contaminated water sources.
Drop a piece of your dog's kibble in a bowl of water, and see what happens. It will generally swell up as it absorbs water. This is what happens in your dog's body after a meal, the dog needs more moisture to process the food. So if you are feeding your dog kibble, be sure to soak food you offer them before your planned runs. This is a great way to get water into your dog! Do be aware they might need to pee a bit more once you start to soak their kibble.
We offer free choice water in our home. Each kitchen has a bowl out, and so does the dog room. The dogs have plenty of options of fresh clean water to drink. Bowls are washed and checked on a regular basis, and are always refilled on a routine schedule. The dogs know that water is available to them at all times, and they also seem to enjoy drinking the fresh water as we put it out.
Before, and after runs we also give them baited water. Everyone has their own methods for baitng water, and different dogs have their own preferences as well. Vanilla ice cream, beef fat, hot dog water, or low sodium broth mix. There are also ready made mixes you can purchase and mix with water to get your dog to drink more.
If your dog pees dark yellow, they need more water! If the pee is clear or light yellow, they have had enough! Know your dog, and know his needs!
Winter Time- Snow Dipping
A dog who is dipping his head for snow to eat, is developing bad habits, and not getting enough water. If you have a few fast moving dogs, and one starts to dip, it throws the other dog(s) off their gait, and messes up your rhythm of skiing as well.
Snow is also inefficient for a dog to melt and turn into water.
So if your dog is dipping for water, stop. Offer plenty of water and bring more next time!
Summer Time- Drinking from a pond
In the warmer months when we run the dogs, we still bring plenty of baited water for the dogs. The idea being, whether we are biking, hiking, mountain boarding or scootering them, we want them to drink the water we know to be safe. Water of the wild may look alright to drink, but may harbour parasites. I offer my dogs the water I know to be safe, and they don't get sick!