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Friday, September 12, 2008

Water, the basis of a dog's life!

Water, it's the most important nutrient for a dog's healthy life. And we need lots of it. Did you know that an animal can loose all of its fat and half of its protein and survive, but only a 10% loss of body water causes serious illness. (Source:

But not all water is created equal. There's tap water, filtered water, bottled water, water from streams, rivers and ponds, and standing water in puddles on our walks. Oh, and not to forget, toilet water!

Since water is so important to our quality of life, the quality of our water needs to be of great concern. With reports of fluoride and chlorine in tap water, Giardia in standing puddles, salts, and lawn and farming chemicals in rivers and ponds, how do you know if your water is safe?
  • The Associated Press reported a vast array of pharmaceuticals - including antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones - have been found in the drinking water supplies of at least 41 million Americans.
  • The CDC talks about the dangers of Chlorine in tap waters.
  • And there have been reports of links of Fluoride to cancers in pets.
  • Common causes of giardia in dogs includes drinking from a lake, pond or stream.
  • Unfiltered/untreated water can have contaminants in it such as parasites, bacteria, and even viruses
  • Many lakes, rivers and streams are contaminated with lawn and farming chemicals which have been reported to cause cancer in dogs.
  • Some plastic dog food and water bowls may leach harmful chemicals into your dog's food and water.
So what can you do?

Here are some tips to keep your dog's water the safest it can be:
  • Never reuse plastic water bottles for your dog's water.
  • Purchase safe reusable water/beverage bottles - Safer choices include bottles crafted from safer HDPE (plastic #2), low-density polyethylene (LDPE, AKA plastic #4) or polypropylene (PP, or plastic #5). Best bests are stainless steel.
  • Utilize a water filter for your dog's water that filters out both chlorine and fluoride.
  • Avoid distilled water or water treated with reverse osmosis, as it lacks beneficial minerals and nutrients normally found in water.
  • Provide your dog with a pet water fountain to encourage more drinking of fresh, filtered water; which can discourage them from drinking from potentially harmful sources.
  • Replace any plastics dog bowls with stainless steel.
  • Keep your dog's water bowl full and clean at all times and provide often. (Clean the bowls at least once a day with hot water and vinegar, rinse very well).
  • Don't allow your pup to drink out of potentially harmful ponds, streams, rivers or puddles.
  • Utilize safe lawn care practices, organic and all natural fertilizers, and avoid areas with your dog where dangerous lawn chemicals are used.
  • Don't allow your pet to swim in chlorinated pools, or contaminated rivers, streams or ponds.
  • Don't allow your dog to drink out of public or shared dog water bowls.
  • Get a filtered bath/shower head for your dog's bathing area.
  • Utilize environmentally friendly shampoos, conditioners, cleaning products, laundry detergents, non-chlorine stain removers and other items to keep your water cleaner in your community, around your dog and you.
  • Keep your pup from drinking out of the garden hose, the combination of leaching plastic, chlorine and fluoride can be dangerous.
These are a lot of do's and don'ts, I know! But taking part in as many of these hints and tips as you can will help your pup live a longer, healthier and happier life.
Additional sources: Water, the great healer. Water: a Nutrician Requirement Reusing Plastic Bottles Can Pose Serious Health Hazards


  1. I am always amazed how little attention some owners pay to making sure that their dog always has access to a water bowl with CLEAN water!

  2. Hi, I am a guide dog raiser in Seattle, WA. The puppy I am currently raising is named Shep. I love your blog and I love reading about other people's pet experiences. I also have a website where I sell pet supplies and i have a blog on it also about guide dogs. I built the site to try and help raise money for guide dogs and other animal charities.

  3. I just purchased a PetMate fountain for my dogs to hopefully help them drink more water. I find it interesting that you say to not use plastic bowls but all fountains are plastic. Any specifics on the safety of them? Thanks!

  4. Hi Stephanie - the important thing to look for in plastic is BPA free. In many cases if the plastic fountain is BPA free and you clean it every filling with vinegar and water - we feel the benefits of the fresh filtered water flow out way the risks of potential bacteria buildup. Let me explain...If you keep it very clean, then bacteria shouldn't build up. Also dogs don't scar drinking fountains the way they may scar their food bowl, reducing the risk of potential bacteria buildup.

    The nice thing is that companies, like Drinkwell, are coming out with stainless steel versions of the pet fountain. If we were purchasing one now, that's the one we would purchase.

    I hope that information is helpful!

    Woofs, Johann

  5. Thanks for the post! Dogs always become a part of the family, and should definitely be treated as such and given good, clean water to drink. Stainless bottles for one and all!
    Klean Kanteen makes an extra big 64 oz wide mouth bottle, it's great for carrying enough water for the pup and their person all day long.

  6. Have you heard the term "golden canary"? The propensity for Golden Retrievers to get cancer may be a warning to all of us about the dangers of lawn chemicals and other chemicals. Thank you for sharing the caution about lawn chemicals - those pose more of a danger than anything in our tap water! I avoid lawns that are treated and also use stainless steel water bottles for everyone in my family including my pup. I got mine from


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