The average-sized pup drinks more water daily than most people. With a constant need for water, it’s no surprise many dog owners search out the cleanest, purest, and healthiest water source in place of tap water.
Where I live in Las Vegas, our hard water leaves calcium buildup clogging the holes of the showerhead and leaving a white film behind on glasses. Not water I’m comfortable giving to Shelby. But, as a smart water drinker, I was initially cautious about the added electrolytes — and quickly learned I shouldn’t be.
Can dogs drink smart water? Yes, smart water is a safe alternative to tap water for dogs. Even with the added potassium, magnesium, and calcium for electrolytes and taste, the levels are safe and comparable to most tap water across the U.S.
This article explains what’s in our tap water and how it compares to smart water so you can make a sound decision on the right water for your dog.
Can dogs drink smart water?
Today, it seems like everything has additives. There are additives in our drinking water, packaged foods, and a long list of additives in many popular dog foods.
Since dogs have a constant need for clean water, avoiding additives sounds like the right choice. But when taking the time to learn about additives, you realize not all are scary — and the additives in tap water far exceed those in bottled water.
The difference in bottled waters
Who would have imagined twenty years ago the endless options for bottled water? Today, grocery stores dedicate entire isles to different water brands, types, and flavors.
Personally, I like purified water. My wife prefers spring water, specifically arrowhead. But what’s the big difference in bottled water?
The answer comes down to the source. And the most common sources of bottled water are:
- Spring water: Derived from natural springs on the surface or a borehole, spring water is filtered and then purified with ozone to kill bacteria.
- Purified water: Typically treated through reverse osmosis, deionization, and distillation. Smart water is a vapor distilled purified water.
- Mineral water: Mineral water doesn’t contain added minerals. Instead, natural water treatment dissolves fewer minerals from the source.
- Distilled water: Distilled water is mineral deprived and shouldn’t be considered a safe water source for dogs. Dogs can lose electrolytes by drinking distilled water, causing overhydration and water toxicity.
What’s in tap water?
Jersey City, New Jersey, became the first U.S. city to start disinfecting drinking water in 1908. Forty years later, Grand Rapids, Michigan, began fluoridation to prevent tooth decay.
Today, over 90% of the population has access to disinfected water, with 73% of municipal water fluoridated.
The treatment and additives in tap water include:
- Chlorine and Chloramine
- Minerals, including:
With a century of disinfecting water and decades of studies, the additives in tap water are harmless, but 50% of rural areas get drinking water from sources that violate the Safe Drinking Water Act.
What’s in smart water?
Smart water is purified water that undergoes a two-step purification process.
First, smart water is vapor distilled. Vapor distillation is when boiled water dissolves into steam and condenses into a liquid, like a lid on a pot of boiling water. The process kills impurities that can’t withstand the boiling temperature of the water.
After vapor distillation, the water undergoes a second filtration process, removing the impurities that survived boiling temperatures.
When the water completes the purification process, electrolytes are added for flavor.
Are the electrolytes added to smart water safe for dogs?
The primary concern for smart water, and why many ask can dogs drink smart water, is due to the added electrolytes. Electrolytes are essential minerals necessary for hydration and vital to many functions in the body.
Dogs lose electrolytes through sweating, panting, and urinating. The water and food your dog consumes replenish electrolytes, keeping them hydrated.
The electrolytes in smart water include potassium, calcium, and magnesium. So, how do these minerals compare to tap water or other sources? Here’s a comparison the mineral content in smart water versus the average tap water across the U.S.:
- Smart water: 10 milligrams per liter (about 4 cups)
- Tap water: 50.6 mg/l
- Smart water: 10 mg/l
- Tap water: 4.9 mg/l
- Smart water: 15 mg/l
- Tap water: 10 mg/l
A 35-pound dog should drink about 4 cups of water each day. Although the levels of potassium and magnesium are above tap water, it’s a safe amount for dogs.
To put into perspective, the 5mg difference in magnesium is equal to two medium-sized strawberries.
Smart water contains no sodium, a mineral often associated with electrolytes.
Your dog can drink smart water, but it is an expensive option. Tap water has a bad reputation but isn’t dangerous due to the additives. The potential for contamination is the real risk of drinking tap water.
In large metropolitan areas, water samples are constantly analyzed to safeguard drinking water. Still, rural areas suffer from a lack of oversight and risk chemical leeching from farms.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) lists the following potential contaminants in tap water that may be harmful to you and your dog:
- Lead: Leached from old pipes and plumbing fixtures
- Atrazine: The most commonly detected pesticide in U.S. waters
- Pathogens: Bacteria, viruses, and parasites
- Chlorine by-products: From the disinfecting process
- Arsenic: A naturally occurring, highly toxic element
- Nitrates: From fertilizer runoff
- Pharmaceuticals: Flushed down the sink or toilet
Even with the Safe Drinking Act regulating contaminants in our drinking water, it’s estimated between 9 million and 45 million Americans annually get their drinking water from sources violating the act.
Areas with a population of less than 500 were responsible for over half of all cases.
At the very least, consider investing in a water filter, like the ones in refrigerators or a Brita filter, to save money. You don’t have to break the bank to provide safe drinking water for your dog, but smart water is safe for you and your pup.
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