How safe is tap water for your dog or other pets? What are the potential risks/issues with tap water?
Many of us are lucky to have the companionship of man’s best friend. We are always concerned about what is best for our favorite furry canines.
Whether it’s ensuring that they get quality nutritious food or the best grooming in town, we try to provide our dogs with the very best. However when it comes to drinking water, what are you giving your dogs?
Umm….. tap water?
According to a survey by pets.com 82% of petowners give their pets tap water.
For something so essential, tap water is taken for granted as a good choice. Pets often have a smaller body mass than humans and can be much more sensitive to chlorine, microplastics, heavy metals and other unwanted substances.
In this article we will give you an overview of the importance of given your dogs the right kind of drinking water.
Benefits/Importance of Hydration for dogs
Dogs like us have a body containing 60-70% water. So if we’re so cautious about our drinking water sources, why should our furry companions not have the same privilege?
Water is just as vital to them as it’s to us and it’s essential for all kinds of bodily function, including:
- Regulation of body temperature (especially with all the running that dogs do!)
- Keeping the skin elastic so you can cuddle your dog even more.
- Lubrication of the joints so they play fetch with more speed!
- Keeping the eyes, nose, mouth,and lungs moist so your pup can showeryou with those face licks!
- Cushioning the nervous system and organs
- Flushing out waste products from the body
- Helping in the digestion of protein, fat,and carbohydrates through hydrolysis
- Dissolving and transporting nutrients to the cells
Problems with Tap Water for dogs
Studies conducted to test the safety of water from various water treatments have raised doubts as to how safe our drinking water really is. Many contaminants have been found to be in our drinking water sources.
Contaminants and Hazards in tap water
These are some of the potential contaminants in tap water that may be a risk for your dog.
Though most E.coli strains are harmless, few dangerous strains in public water supplies can cause appetite loss, low body temperature, depression, increased heart rate, diarrhea, vomiting, malaise/weakness, and lethargy in dogs.
High doses of lead can cause acute stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting in your dog. Prolonged exposed over a long time period can cause your dog to experience seizures, fatigue, poor appetite, extreme anxiety, blindness, and changes in behavior.
High levels of fluoride are toxic and can damage kidneys. In dogs, it can cause severe sickness & diarrhea, restlessness, drooling, weak muscles, seizures.
There is a possible link between fluoride and cancer in dogs but there are studies have yet to confirm these facts.
However, drinking water has very low levels of fluoride, way below toxic levels so this may not be too alarming. Fluoride levels in dog food and toothpaste are more startling.
Whether chlorine is dangerous or not depends on the dose and duration of time with which your dog consumes it. The chlorine dose in tap water is baed on human consumption and not small animals.
Generally, the water is safe if the chlorine is within the set levels by regulatory guidelines. Though it has been reported that water maybe dangerous because of disinfection byproducts produced by the chlorine rather than the chlorine itself.
Despite clear documentation on the effects of chlorine in dogs it’s safe to say that this better be avoided.
A parasite which is transmitted by discharges of fecal wastes into water, food, soil, and other surfaces. This parasite can cause diarrhea in animals as well as humans.
Hardness and Limescale
Hard water is water with a high mineral content usually calcium and magnesium. Very hard water has been linked to urinary illness such as Crystalluria (crystal in urine) which may predispose your dog to stone formation and bladder and urinary tract infections. But calcium and magnesium are also essential minerals for your dog so normal hard water is probably a good thing.
How worried should I be about the safety of tap water for dogs?
Now before you freak out because of the above-mentioned complications, check whether your drinking water source actually has these risks.
Contact your water company to receive the annual consumer confidence report, a good assessment of your water quality. You can also buy a water testing kit or send your water to an EPA-approved laboratory or government departments of health to have professional approval on your water.
Is it better with Bottled Water for dogs?
Would switching to bottled water solve this problem? Well, that depends on perspective, some bottled water sources come from a natural aquifer, spring or underground sources with zero harmful contaminants.
While others just use the same water treatment used for tap water. Many companies just draw water from any source and then treat them to reduce dissolved solids to a certain level.
In a study, the EWG (a nonprofit research organization) discovered 38 different pollutants including bacteria, pharmaceuticals, fertilizer residues, industrial chemicals and so on in 10 popular brands of U.S. bottled water.
Therefore it’s crucial to check labels and check the ingredients of the bottled water you are buying.
A more recent issue is that microplastics and hormon disruptors are found in pretty much all bottled water. This could have severe impact on the health of your dog.
Another drawback of drinking bottled water is that it can be very expensive. There is also an environmental issue associated with the contamination caused by plastic bottles which are non-biodegradable. And bottled water has been proven to contain lots of microplastics which are definitely not healthy for your pet.
Solutions for clean tap water for your dog
Water is a very sensitive constituent. If it’s not healthy for drinking, both humans and dogs alike can suffer from a plethora of dangerous water-borne diseases. To avoid that, take precautionary steps like the ones mentioned below:
Invest in a Water Filter for your dog
Filtering tap water ensures that you don’t have to rely on your water supplier or bottled water companies to meet regulations.
This way you can rest assured that your drinking water is safe. Make sure that you chose an independently tested water filter that removes the contaminants of particular concern.
There are both faucet and under-the-sink filters that comply with these standards. Though they are a little costlier, they’ll be a healthy option for both you and your pet in the long run.
Europe: Check out EcoPro by TAPP Water on this website for clean tasty tap water for dogs and humans
US: Check out the new Flo Faucet filter
Pet Water Fountain
It’s basically a water bowl with a fountain installed to supply flowing water. The flowing water is fresh and will also encourage your dog to drink more.
You can also add filters on them to keep unnecessary bits from the water.
Ensure a Clean Water Bowl
Sometimes the problem is not the water but the container from where your dog is drinking. If not regularly cleaned, bacterial growth in the bowls can infect your dog.
Therefore it’s important to keep the water bowl clean. Also, steel water containers are a better alternative to plastic bowls as there are concerns about toxins leaching from plastics into the water.
Conclusion about tap water for dogs
Though the controversies regarding tap water may have been exaggerated in many cases, it’s safer for your dog to drink filtered tap water over direct tap water or bottled water.
The bottom line is if you won’t drink that water then don’t give it to your dog either. Look up what is in your water, check your budget and try to achieve what you think is the best alternative within your capabilities.
Dogs are not only our friends but also our responsibility so whatever you decide, just remember it’s your duty to keep them hydrated and healthy.
Shawn is a content writer at FeedFond. He’s a doting father not only to his two children but also to his two Golden Retrievers. Check out more of his articles at FeedFond.com.