We know that hydration is important for our pets, especially during hot weather or strenuous activities. As a general rule of paw, dogs should be drinking about one ounce of water per pound of body weight each day (though this can vary based on health, activity level, weather, and more).
The quantity of your pup’s water is one thing—but what about the quality? Is it okay to fill Fido’s water bowl with water from the sink? What about those hot days when nothing is more enticing than water straight from the hose or sprinkler?
Keep reading for some tips to make sure your dog’s drinking water is as safe and healthy as possible.
Risks of Tap Water for Dogs
The safety of tap water can vary depending on where you live. Maybe you regularly drink tap water and are perfectly healthy; maybe you live in a household full of bottled water and filters.
Potential contaminants in tap water include:
E.coli, which can cause digestive issues and lethargy.
Lead, which can cause stomach problems or more severe health issues.
Fluoride, which can damage the kidneys if consumed at high levels.
Chlorine, while not dangerous itself if levels are within regulatory guidelines, can have problematic byproducts.
Giardia, a parasite often found in water, food, soil, and other surfaces.
- Hardness, or high mineral content, which is linked to urinary issues.
While it’s good to be aware of potential risks, there’s also no need to worry unnecessarily. If the tap water in your home is safe for you, it’s generally safe for your dog too.
Keeping Your Drinking Water Safe
If you’re unsure whether your tap water is safe for you and your dog, there are a few ways to ensure some peace of mind.
- Obtain a report from your water treatment plant. State regulations can vary, so it’s a good idea to read the annual consumer confidence report to get a better idea of what’s in your water.
- Test your water supply. You can buy a home water testing kit, or perhaps your city offers free testing. Either way, we recommend annual tests just to be safe.
- Treat your water. You can purchase a water pitcher filter or faucet mount, or invest in a reverse osmosis filter that can treat all of the water in your home.
Even if you haven’t seen the reports or test results, it certainly doesn’t hurt to invest in some water filters anyways!
Safe Water Solutions for Your Dog
If your tap water isn’t safe for your dog to drink, it’s time to find some alternatives. After all, hydration is crucial for Fido’s overall health.
As mentioned above, you can install a filter that will make the water safe for consumption. You can also purchase a pet water fountain with a built-in filter; this will also keep the water fresh and flowing to encourage your dog to drink more.
You can also exclusively give your dog bottled water, though this can be a bit daunting to keep up with. That said, it’s a good idea to bring some safe, clean, relatively familiar bottled water along anytime you travel with your dog. That way, you won’t have to worry about whether the tap water at your destination is safe or not.
Additionally, be sure to clean your dog’s water bowl on a regular basis. Even if the water itself is perfectly fine to drink, that bowl could become full of contaminants—or just plain unappealing.
Signs of Dehydration in Dogs
If your dog doesn’t drink enough water, he could become dehydrated.
Signs of dog dehydration include:
- Loss of skin elasticity (if you gently pinch the skin between the shoulder blades, it should quickly fall back into place)
- Loss of appetite
- Excessive panting
- Dry, sunken eyes
- Dry nose
- Dry and/or sticky gums
In order to keep your dog hydrated, make sure Fido always has access to clean, cool water. When you go out for the day, be sure to bring along a collapsible water bowl, or a water bottle.
If your pooch is picky about his water, try flavoring his water with bone broth, or even some ice cubes to make it more intriguing.
Additionally, make sure your dog is getting a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet; some pet owners give their dogs wet food for added moisture.
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