Every living thing needs water. That’s why you keep your pet’s water bowl full of refreshing H2O.

But what kind of water is best for cats and dogs to drink? Should you give them water straight from the tap? Is hard water safe for them to drink? Can pets drink soft water?

You love your pets like family. So let’s take a closer look at some things you should consider when keeping cats and dogs hydrated.

Hard Water for Cats and Dogs

In most cases, experts say giving your pets hard water probably won’t cause any problems. The minerals in hard water (calcium, magnesium, and iron) shouldn’t lead to any health issues.

However, some veterinarians do advise against giving cats and dogs untreated tap water, and that’s not because of the minerals. Holistic vets, for example, believe pets shouldn’t be consuming chemicals that municipalities add during water treatment process, like chlorine and fluoride.

Plus, there’s the potential for other contaminants in the unfiltered tap water as well. That’s why it’s wise to check with your municipality with questions about water quality in your area. If you get your water from a private well, it’s recommended to have you water tested once a year.

While there is no conclusive evidence suggesting health concerns from drinking hard water, a 2016 Trupanion study found a correlation between medical claims for pets with urinary issues and areas of the United States with very hard water.

“Once we identified the ‘extremely hard water’ areas and compared it to our urinary health claims in those regions, we saw a significantly higher risk of pets running into urinary health issues.”

It’s important to note there is no decisive evidence that hardness levels of water lead to any health issues, but this study should be kept in mind, especially if your pet is more prone to urinary problems.

Trupanion says cats are more than 40 percent more likely to have issues than dogs, and female dogs are 2.5 more likely to develop urinary problems than male dogs.

Soft Water for Cats and Dogs

If you have a water softener installed in your home, it is removing the hard minerals and replacing them with sodium ions. (Learn more about how water softeners work)

The amount of sodium getting added to your home’s water depends on how hard it is to begin with. However, the amount is generally very minimal.

Still, if your veterinarian has recommended a low-sodium diet for your dog or cat, this is something to consider.

Some people don’t like the taste of softened water, and some pets aren’t too fond of it either. If you give your dog or cat soft water and they don’t seem to be drinking it, you may want to switch to something else so they stay healthy and hydrated.

Water softeners are not designed to filter contaminants. So if you are giving your pet water straight from the tap, it likely contains more than just pure H2O, such as the chlorine we mentioned earlier.

Give Your Pets The Right Water for Life

If you have concerns about your pets drinking both hard water and soft water, there are certainly other options.

What is the rest of your family drinking? Since we love our cats and dogs like family, shouldn’t we give them the same quality of water?

If you have reservations about pouring bottled water into your dog’s dish, that’s understandable. A better idea would be investing in a reverse osmosis (R.O.) drinking water system.

R.O. water is some of the best drinking water you can get, and it’s an ideal way to make sure every family member (even the furry ones) gets clean and delicious water. R.O.s filter out additives and contaminants that water softeners do not. Find out more about reverse osmosis benefits here on the Water-Right® blog.

If you have questions, contact a residential water treatment expert in your area.

Cats and dogs are amazing creatures! Check out the video below and see what scientists discovered when they took a closer look at how our pets drink …


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