With such high demand for water, it’s no surprise many dog owners search for the cleanest, purest, and healthiest water source in place of tap water. With so many water choices besides tap, it leaves you wondering which option is best.
So, can dogs drink spring water? Yes, spring water is a safe alternative to tap water for dogs. Spring water undergoes a carbon filtration process, followed by ozone water treatment to disinfect and remove contaminants like bacteria and parasites. What remains is safe drinking water with the same beneficial minerals as tap.
This article details how bottled water is treated and provides more information on tap water to help determine the best option for your pup.
Can dogs drink spring water?
Seeing the hard water buildup on the showerhead, sink faucets, and even the Keurig coffee maker made me question the safety of tap water for my dog Shelby. So we recently turned to filtered and bottled water alternatives.
Both spring and purified waters are safe alternatives for dogs. But mineral, alkaline, and distilled water should be avoided.
Mineral and alkaline water may contain too many minerals for dogs. In contrast, distilled water is stripped of all minerals when processed.
How is spring water treated?
Spring water undergoes a carbon filtration and ozonation process to remove impurities. What remains is clean drinking water with trace electrolyte minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
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.
Your dog’s water only needs enough minerals to quick its thirst, which spring water has. Well-balanced dog foods contain enough minerals to fulfill a dog’s daily requirements.
Here’s a comparison of Arrowhead spring water minerals versus the average tap water across the U.S.:
- Spring water: 20 milligrams per liter
- Tap water: 50.6 mg/l
- Spring water: 1.5 mg/l
- Tap water: 4.9 mg/l
- Spring water: 3.6 mg/l
- Tap water: 10 mg/l
One liter of water is about 4 cups, the average amount of water a 35lb dog should consume daily.
Understanding water treatment options
With a better understanding of spring water for dogs, what about the others?
Purified water undergoes a two-step purification process.
First, the 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.
Natural Mineral water is bottled at the source. It must contain 250 parts per million of dissolved solids, so it must come from a safe source without being disinfected at a plant.
Distilled water is vapor distilled like purified water, but without the added minerals in the end. Without minerals, dogs can lose electrolytes by drinking distilled water, causing overhydration and water toxicity.
Alkaline water has a higher pH balance than other waters. Pure water has a pH of 7, while most alkaline waters offer 9.5 and as high as 14 pH. Alkaline is said to neutralize acids in the blood, preventing diseases like cancer, but those claims haven’t been conclusively studied. Reverse osmosis is used to treat alkaline water.
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, tap water additives have been found harmless. The actual risk to tap water is contamination.
Due to a lack of oversight and a higher risk of chemical leeching from farms, rural areas make up nearly 50 percent of the estimated 9 million and 45 million Americans drinking water from sources violating the Clean Water Act.
In large metropolitan areas, water samples are constantly analyzed to safeguard drinking water.
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
Bottled spring water for dogs is safe but expensive. And most bottled water comes from similar sources as municipal water.
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 dogs must have access to clean water at all times, so choose an option that best works for you.
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