Skip to content
bbb super service Better Water for a Better Life
Call Today for a Free Estimate! 630.832.9393 or 847.271.6995

A Dog Owner’s Guide to Water Sources for Pets

Just like you, your dog depends on clean, readily available drinking water to stay healthy and energized. Unlike you, however, your dog may find his or her drinking water in unconventional locations.

Some of these water sources are technically safe, if a little strange, but others can pose serious health risks for your dog. In this blog, we discuss some of the most common household water sources and how they may affect your pet.

Chlorinated Pool Water

If you have a pool on your property, your dog may love swimming during the summer months. Pool chemicals like chlorine can affect your pet, especially if he or she drinks directly from the pool.

Water from a well-maintained pool can have a dehydrating effect, but should not cause illness. However, you should not let your dog drink from or swim in your pool for an hour after you add more chlorine to the water.

Chlorinated Tap Water

Many homeowners use chemical injection systems to remove impurities from their tap water. In most cases, chlorine-treated tap water is perfectly safe for dogs.

If your pet shows an aversion to the smell of the water or his or her coat becomes dull after you switch to a chemical injection system, you may want to consider a different water source for the dog bowl.

Distilled Water

Distilled water consists of water that has undergone heat treatments to remove contaminating particles. While distilled water may seem like a cleaner and smarter choice for your dog, providing only distilled drinking water may lead to a lack of essential nutrients.

Dogs that drink primarily distilled water may develop a potassium deficiency and experience a higher risk of heart disease. Avoid giving puppies distilled water at all since the lack of nutrients can affect muscle development. With adult dogs, only provide distilled water once or twice a week.

Lake or Pond Water

Your dog may love to splash around in natural bodies of water, but chances are that the lakes and ponds near you aren’t a safe source of drinking water.

Pay attention to the appearance of any lake or pond you visit. If you notice pond scum, algae, or other natural growth at the surface of the water, keep your dog near the shore and rinse his or her fur thoroughly after each swim.

Limit the amount of water that your dog consumes from natural bodies of water since many dogs have negative responses to common algae, and algae-free bodies of water may have been treated with heavy metals. Exposure to heavy metals can cause skin irritation or digestive upset.

Plumbing Fixture Water

Your dog may not see any problem with drinking out of an open toilet, but you certainly should. Water in your toilet tank is technically sanitary, but once that water flows into the bowl, it becomes contaminated.

Water from a toilet may include waste-related bacteria or organisms. Water from other plumbing fixtures, such as tubs and sinks, can contain soap residue that could also harm your dog.

Salt Water

Salt water technically isn’t potable for any animal, your dog included. However, salt water in pools generally has a much lower salt content than natural salt water bodies like the ocean. Consuming a small amount of salted pool water shouldn’t have any lasting negative effects. If your dog drinks out of the pool, you may notice that he or she seems extremely thirsty later since salt decreases hydration.

If your dog has a salt restriction on his or her diet, do not let him or her swim in the pool or ocean and drink from it. Additionally, you should avoid letting a dog with a kidney or heart condition drink from a body of salt water.


When you go out in the winter, snow can be a readily available water source for your dog. If you allow your dog to eat snow or drink freezing cold water, pay attention to the liquid’s location and source. It’s easy for snow and runoff to become contaminated by animal droppings, spilled chemicals, and road salts, all of which are harmful to dogs.

Contrary to some rumors, drinking cold water and eating ice cannot cause bloating or serious health problems for your dog. You should, however, be sure to take your dog back into a heated indoor area after drinking cold liquids in winter weather to keep his or her temperature from dropping too low.

Tap Water

Most dogs do well with tap water as their main source of drinking water. However, some minerals found in your water could cause complications over time. Have your water tested and treated if it contains iron, magnesium, or high levels of other contaminants.

Pay attention to the water that your dog drinks to ensure that he or she stays happy and healthy.

Cleaner water is a better option for all members of your household, both human and canine. To improve your water quality at home, work with Johnson Water Conditioning. We can recommend water treatment options that meet the needs of your entire family, Fido included.

Back To Top