As pet lovers, we all know that our dog needs proper nutrition and health care. We feed him the best food we can find and make sure he gets the exercise and water he needs. But when it comes to your dogs drinking water, do you know what you are giving to your dog?

Dogs bodies are similar to humans, in that they are largely made up of water. And it doesn’t take much water loss, around ten percent, for your dog to begin experiencing health problems and dehydration. Many of us drink bottled water or have a filter in our refrigerator or on the sink. This is for many reasons, but sometimes we don’t think about the quality of the water we give to our dogs.

Tap water and well water contains many contaminates. Although this is largely treated through the municipalities, tap water can contain a significant amount of chlorine, which can be harmful to you and your dog over long periods of time. Another item that is added to the majority of tap water is fluoride. There have been studies that may link fluoride to certain types of cancer in pets.

Some cities and towns have much better tap water than others. You can usually check your city’s water information online or ask for a copy of it, as the law requires that it be tested regularly. If there are high levels of contaminants or chemicals in it, you should be buying bottled water or filtering the tap. You do not want bad water in your body, or your in your dog!

Have a well? Unfortunately, well water is not always a good answer either. Have testing done on your well water, or buy a home testing kit. The bacteria found in some well water can contain giardia and other harmful bacteria. If you see your dog exhibiting signs of sickness, including diarrhea with mucus and a foul odor and vomiting, contact your veterinary immediately.

There are many things to keep in mind for giving your dog drinking water. First, dogs that are fed on a diet of dry kibble, which is considered by many to be good for their teeth, need more water than dogs on a soft diet. This is because of the moisture in the soft food. If you do feed dry food, it is advisable to withhold large amounts of water briefly just before and after eating, so that your dog does not develop bloat from the gas created by the expansion of dry food exposed to water.

You should avoid plastic bowls unless you know with absolute certainty that they are PVC & BPA free. Get a nice glass, ceramic, or (better yet) stainless steel bowl for your dogs water. Keep the bowl clean, washing regularly with soap and hot water, and rinse at least once daily. Do not put your dogs water into his food dish unless it is an emergency. The mixture of dog food remnants, dissolving in the water, can put bacteria into the water.

If you can afford it, get a water fountain that recycles and filters the water your dog drinks regularly. Of course, you can also get a whole house water filter, refrigerator water filter, or an under-sink water filtration system, and share the water with your pooch. Dogs love any kind of water, so he won’t mind. Try to avoid your dog sharing a bowl of water at the dog park. If you are taking a hike, bring some extra bottled water along for your dog. Remember, if you wouldn’t drink the water from a pond or stream, it is best for your dog to avoid it, too.

For more information on the EPA’s US safety standards, including what is and isn’t allowed in our water, visit the Drinking Water Contaminants section of their website. Or search the web for a similar website in your own country.