Could your dog's water be harming them?

Water is vital to life and is considered the most important nutrient. Water makes up around 70 to 80% of your dog’s body and is responsible for many functions including: 

  • Water helps dissolves and transport substances around the body
  • Water is necessary for chemical reactions that involve hydrolysis (enzymatic digestion of carbohydrates, proteins and fats)
  • Water helps regulate body temperature
  • Water provides shape and resilience to the body 

Salinity, nitrates and nitrites, heavy metals and other toxic inorganic and organic chemical and microbial contaminate can affect water quality. Heavy metals like lead, copper, arsenic can be extremely harmful to your pets and can cause serious effects on their kidney and liver. A study also found that dogs and cats that lived in areas with hard water had higher rates of urinary problems.  When providing your dog water, always use filtered water to help remove containments that could affect their health. 

So what is the best type of water for your dog?

One of the first steps you can take is to check your water. This can either be by hiring a company to do a water test or by reaching out to your local water company and ask for the most recent water report. This will allow you to understand the water in your area and allow you to select the proper filtration system. According to the EWG, the best filter is solid black carbon filters. Other options are reverse osmosis and distilled water. 

Keep in mind when using a water filtration system, make sure to choose a filtration system that would help remove the specific contaminates in your area. For example, if your area is high in lead, choosing a water filtration that helps reduce lead in water would be ideal. Be sure to read up on your water filtration system.

Don’t forget about the bowl! 

According to a study done by NSF International, they found that pet food dishes are the 4th germiest product found in the average home. Your pets water bowl (& food bowl) can contain harmful bacteria like bio-film. Biofilm is a sticky slime that forms on your dogs bowl. 

To prevent harmful bacteria, wash your dog’s food and water bowl each day in hot, soapy water. Be sure to designate a cloth or sponge to your dogs dishes so you don’t accidentally transfer germs to your own dishes, using a new one each week. At least once a week, place the dog bowls in the dishwasher to completely disinfect them. You could also create a disinfecting solution using 2 parts water to 1 part bleach and allow the dish to soak for 10 minutes. Don’t forget to rinse the dishes thoroughly when you take them out of the bleach water.

Selecting the type of water (and food) bowl is just as important. A research was done to find out what type of material (ceramic, plastic & stainless steel) harboured the most bacteria. What they found was that plastic contained the most amount of bacteria. The also found that the plastic bowls used could be contributing to allergic contact dermatitis. Ceramic bowls were found to be better than plastic but they also harboured the worst bacteria out of them all including bio-film. Stainless steel was proven to be the best bowl for your dog since it held the least amount of bacteria however be sure to use bowls that are NSF approved since heavy metals have been found to be in lower quality stainless steel bowls.