Ask a Vet

How to Keep Dog Water from Freezing (No Electricity): 9 Hacks

By Kerry
Updated on

It is absolutely vital that your dog is always well-hydrated. It doesn’t matter whether it’s hot or cold. Staying hydrated is essential for your dog’s well-being.

Your dog always needs access to clean drinking water, including during the winter months when it’s super cold.

How to keep dog water from freezing

Here’s the issue. Your dog needs water when the temperatures are sub-zero, but sometimes your dog’s bowl may freeze when it’s super cold.

This is especially likely to happen if your dog’s bowl is outside or in an open-access kennel area. What should you do in these situations, especially if you don’t have any electricity?

In this article, we’re going to explore some of the ways that you can prevent your dog’s water bottle from freezing when it’s freezing outside. Read on to find out more!

How To Stop My Dog’s Water From Freezing Outdoors

Use Some Ping Pong Balls

You may be wondering why someone would put ping pong balls in their dog’s water.

While it seems like a rather weird thing to do at first, it’s something that many dog owners do. Simply put around 3 ping pong balls in your dog’s bowl that’s outside, as this will help to ensure that it doesn’t freeze.

How does this work? Well, the wind will begin to blow when the water bowl is outside. When this wind starts blowing, the little balls will start to ripple on the water.

As such, the water won’t stay in one static position. Instead, it will constantly move. Since the water isn’t completely still, the water isn’t going to freeze.

Naturally, this method isn’t necessarily always going to work. There will be some situations where the air is just so cold, and there’s so little wind that the bowl will freeze over, no matter what you do. Don’t panic if this happens.

Simply take the balls out of the water, then crush the ice. You can then put the balls back into the water. If you’re having this problem a lot, you can move the bowl to somewhere that will be slightly windier to solve the issue. 

Of course, some dogs are super playful and obsessed with balls! If this sounds like your dog, then you should try to find a way to make sure that your dog doesn’t think that they need to play with the ball!

Use Microwaveable Heat Disks

This is a slightly more fancy method of keeping your dog’s water warm enough that it doesn’t freeze over. All you need to do is get a microwaveable heat disk online.

This is used by a lot of different dog owners, and it’s super affordable. All you need to do is microwave the disk. Otherwise, there is no electricity required for this method.

To begin with, get the disk and warm it in the microwave.

You can check the manufacturer’s guidelines to see how long it needs to be microwaved, depending on the wattage of the microwave in question. You simply need to ensure that the disk is totally hot.

If you’re microwaving the disk for the first time, it’s usually best to put the disk in for around one to two minutes before taking it out and checking it.

This will indicate how long it needs to be in the microwave for future reference.

Don’t try taking the disk out of the microwave with your bare hands, though – you don’t want to burn yourself! Instead, grab a tea towel or an oven glove to get the disk out.

You can then put the disk underneath the bowl to keep it warm. It will help to stop the water from freezing in cold temperatures.

Now, this isn’t the best long-term solution. Unfortunately, microwaveable disks only tend to last for around 10 hours before they run out of heat.

You will need to microwave it again once it gets cold once more. It is a great choice if you need a short-term solution, however.

Use Styrofoam Coolers

If you look online, you can find plenty of styrofoam coolers that you can use to stop your dog’s water bowl from freezing over.

All you need to do is cut a little gap in one of the ends. Make sure that you cut a hole that’s big enough for your dog to put his head inside. Then, you can put the water bowl inside the cooler.

What’s great about this cooler is that it will stop your dog’s water from freezing, and it’s great for keeping any ice away from the water. 

However, you should be careful that the cooler doesn’t blow away in the wind. You can stop this from happening by weighing the cooler down with a couple of rocks.

Hot Saltwater Bottles

You can also use a water bottle full of hot salt water and put it in the bowl. To do this, you must grab a water bottle and put around a quarter of salt inside.

Then, fill the remainder of the bottle with water. You can then put this bottle in the water.

This may not seem like it would work, but it’s a rather clever way to keep your dog’s bowl from freezing over.

Saltwater doesn’t have a very high freezing temperature in comparison to clean water. If you put the water bottle in the bowl, the heat will transfer into the bowl, keeping it cool and preventing freezing.

However, you should be cautious when doing this. The bottle could potentially split.

If this happens, you should take the bottle out and refill the bowl with new water. Your dog should not be drinking saltwater – it’s not good for them.

Old Tires

Got any spare tires hanging around your yard? Well, you can use this to your advantage. All you need to do is cut off the top part of the rubber tire.

Then put it on the floor and put the bowl inside the tire. You will then notice that there’s a lot of dead space surrounding the bowl.

You can fill this space with some dark pebbles or rocks since they will help to keep the bowl warm.

This is because the sun will heat up the rocks and the rubber tire, and some of this heat should then transfer onto the water bowl. As such, it won’t freeze as quickly since the rocks and tires keep it warm.

Buy A Rubber Water Bowl

Instead of using the rubber tire method, why not get a rubber water bowl as an alternative? Rubber is much better at keeping your dog’s water cooler than metal is.

As such, the heat will stay in the water for a much longer period of time, meaning that it will take more time for the water to freeze.

It will be even better if you can put the bowl in a warmer location. This is because the sun can warm up the rubber, thus keeping the water warm.

It is worth noting that there are some situations where a rubber bowl isn’t going to be particularly helpful.

For instance, if the weather is freezing and too cold, then you may find that the rubber bowl doesn’t make a great deal of difference.

It does not help if the bowl is left alone for a long time. It’s a great choice if it’s only going to be used for a couple of hours, though.

Have a Spare Bowl Nearby

If your dog’s bowl freezes, it may be handy to have another bowl at your disposal.

This will allow you to switch between the bowls if one of them is getting very cold. As such, your dog won’t run short on crucial drinking water. It won’t cost you a lot of money to do this either. 

Now, it goes without saying that not everyone has the time to switch the bowls every few hours manually. It’s not the best option in this case, so you may need to find a better alternative that works for you and your dog’s schedule.

How To Stop Your Dog’s Bowl From Freezing – Electricity Methods

How to keep dog water from freezing 9 hacks

Use a Heat Lamp 

You may have your dog’s bowl close to the house. In this case, you can put the bowl next to a heat lamp. This is a great choice for a short-term solution.

Basically, just plug the lamp into an electrical outlet and then put it relatively close to your dog’s bowl – 5 to 10 inches should be sufficient.

The heat will then radiate to your dog’s bowl, keeping it warm. This can help to prevent it from freezing. 

Don’t do this method unless it’s on a covered area, though. You don’t want any moisture getting into the lamp, as it can prevent it from working in the future.

You should also ensure that your dog doesn’t get too close to the lamp since it could burn them.

Get a Heated Water Bowl

There’s another super efficient way of keeping your dog’s water bowl cool, too.

You can get a heated water bowl! This will cost you a little bit of extra money, but it’s worth it if you want an easy way to stop your dog’s water bowl from freezing.

You can get them in a wide variety of different sizes and shapes. This is perfect since you are sure to find one that will be absolutely perfect for your dog. They’re readily available online and in some pet stores.

You should ideally position the bowl near an electrical outlet. Then, you can get the bowl to work using a cable and plug.

It is worth noting that you will need to refill a heated water bowl a lot more often. This is because the water may evaporate after a while since it’s heated.

You should also take some time to allow your dog to get used to using the bowl.

Get them to drink from the bowl before the cold months arrive, as this will make it less weird for them when they’re using it regularly during the winter months.


Unfortunately, it can get super chilly outside, especially during the winter. In these situations, a dog’s water bowl can freeze over, meaning that your dog will have nothing to drink.

As the day goes on, the weather will likely get colder, and this is quite troublesome since it means that the bowl is unlikely to defrost on its own.

This can be problematic for your dog since he won’t have any way to drink water when he’s outside, and this may make your dog dehydrated and give him various health problems.

Dehydration is a serious problem, so you need to make every effort to ensure that your dog’s water bowl doesn’t freeze over.

Thankfully, it’s fairly simple to stop your dog’s water from freezing over during the colder weather. You don’t even need to use electricity!

It’s usually best to get a heated water bowl to keep your dog’s water from freezing over, but there are many other options that you can utilize too.

There’s absolutely no reason that your dog should be struggling to access his water during the winter, so long as you take steps to ensure that the water doesn’t freeze during the day.

A wide variety of options are available to you for every kind of budget. Hopefully, you won’t need to worry about your dog having access to clean drinking water in the winter if you follow the guidelines listed above! 

Photo of author
About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.