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Water, the Basis of a Dog's Life!

Leslie May from explains how to provide your dog with safe, healthy water. It's more complicated than you think!

Water. It's the most important nutrient for a dog's healthy life. And they need lots of it. Did you know that an animal can lose all of its fat and half of its protein and survive, but a loss of only 10% 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 a dog's quality of life, the quality of their water needs to be of great concern. With reports of fluoride and chlorine in tap water, Giardia in standing puddles, and salts and lawn/farming chemicals in rivers and ponds, how do you know if your water is safe?

Dangers found in water:

*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. (Symptoms of giardia:

*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 bets 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; this 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 using 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.

A version of this article was first posted at and has be reposted with permission.

Leslie May enjoys competing in USDAA with her two dogs, Johann and Gracie. Leslie is founder of Pawsible Marketing, a pet business marketing consulting firm, which grew out of several other endeavors including (an online portal offering products for active, sporting, and agility dogs), (presenting tips and products for raising environmentally friendly and healthy dogs), and Rescue Me (helping lost pets find their furever home), each focused on a different aspect of serving those beloved furry friends.


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