Article: Water Water Everywhere — What to Give My Pets? Page 2
Page 2 — Types of Water on the Menu for Your Pets
Did you know that the type of water can also has an effect on acidity or ph levels of water? Purified water runs more acidic after the removal of natural minerals and other filtration procession, while spring water is usually heavier on the natural pH side. Higher acidity can affect pets with conditions such as renal disease, making their stomach acid levels more uncomfortable.
Water from your local municipality is the most widely used choice for pets to date and certainly the most affordable. Tap water is usually sourced from a local river, reservoir or lake. Sourcing from local streams unfortunately does open the risk to ground water contaminations from chemical spills and leaching, bacterial outbreaks, even algae or red tide infestations. While outbreaks are small in numbers, if your pet has low tolerances due to health problems, it only takes one small microbe to cause a mighty big issue. City and county governments do monitor water production closely. However municipalities are facing many struggles with clean water issues across the country and it's getting more difficult every day.
An easy way to reduce the dangers is by using a filter on your tap (see below), or using filtered pitcher, depending on how much filtered tap water you wish to have each day. Carefully compare filters — some reduce lead and bacteria in addition to chlorine, whereas others do not.
Risk to ground water contaminations from chemical spills and leaching, bacterial outbreaks, mineral imbalances has increased. The EPA warns "Rainwater can pick up harmful bacteria and chemicals on the land's surface. If this water pools near your well, it can seep into it, potentially causing health problems." Some states have EPA superfund cleanups from chemical spills and manufacturers' abandon sites. Current filtering technology can't address these significant problems. Hard water mineral imbalances can affect many species of pets.
Bottled gallons and five gallon dispensers — comes from a host of companies providing home water delivery services for years. Five gallon dispensers like offices utilize are also available for home use and have many pros and cons just like the gallon jugs counterparts. You can have a variety of different types of water delivered right to your doorstep — for a price. While sometimes better than tap, these companies also don't have a perfectly clean performance record. There is no government monitoring (like the EPA or FTC) or routine inspections of bottled water companies, they are self regulated. Research newspaper articles on the web and you'll find recalls and issues within this industry. You can usually get distilled, spring , mineral and premium waters in bottles detailed below.
Caution about Public Tap Dispensers:
Many different types of public bottle water facilities (free and pay services) have popped up across the globe. While many are maintained responsibly, some are not. Be sure to examine the place where you fill your bottles to make sure it's clean. Check the tap and any place water touches for signs of mold, contamination, dirt or other foul sources of material that could affect the water quality when stored in a bottle at room temperature.
This is chemically the purest water due to the distillation process and should be free of any bacteria, but also probably the most tasteless or flat, which pets also may experience. Since it's usually delivered in plastic bottles some say it can even have a "plastic taste." I have heard purists refer to distilled water as "dead" water, they tend to think that water t has life giving qualities from the mineral elements, which are removed during distillation. They view this as offering no nutritional benefit. However, other sources state that the minerals found naturally in water are not in an absorbable form that the body can properly utilize. (This is an ongoing debate and we recommend you consult with your veterinarian.) You must also consider distilled water has a higher acidic level (see chart below)
This comes from artesian wells far below the surface of the earth, which self-filter through many layers of stone, limestone, and other natural elements below the ground. As it essentially bubbles up towards the surface it gets cleaned. Like tap water, it does have the risk of possible ground water contamination that companies are supposed to monitor closely. However, over the years there have been major FDA recalls on even spring waters. Where distilled water is acidic, spring water has more pH.
Drinking (quality) waters — have been found (and tested) to be the exact same as tap water, sometimes less in quality due to storage in plastic bottles at room temperature.
Many are under the impression that the higher a water costs the better it must be, and it seems like that should be true. Under varies consumer agency testing time after time, they have found this simply isn't true. In fact, with pets and premium waters you need to be careful about additives to waters, that may be perfectly safe for human consumption, but may put your pet's health at risk. For example, (See our article on Foods and Substances that are dangerous to pet health, just to get an idea of how many common items can be dangerous to your pet.) Also, some states are passing legislation on banning plastic bottles due to landfill issues.
Typically Reverse osmosis, deionization or distillation..
Reverse Osmosis systems (RO) — while this is a great sustainable system for our earth, because you are basically capturing, treating and recycling the same water over and over right in your own home. It makes you more personally responsible for your won water, which many people like. The systems are costly initially but pay for themselves over time. We personally have heard some pets do not like the taste or feel of this water.
Mineral waters are similar to spring waters in how they are discovered and produced, except that mineral water tends to have a heavy concentration of rare minerals. These usually have some propertied properties from natural sources which can contain salts, sulfur, gases and minerals such as zinc, calcium, iron and magnesium. It's best not to give mineral water to pets since their tolerances for substances can be very low.
Above or Below The Sink Charcoal filters are one of the bigger selections on the market as far as options. There are some very good choices for the whole family, especially on a budget and you want real choices. First, narrow down whether you can use an under the sink (requires a mounting hole above the sink) or an above the sink filter. Above the sink options are good for rental homes, condos and apartments or where there's a no-drill hole choice. Then compare filtering options, features and price. Certainly the Britta company has been around for years and has established a respected reputation, easy to find filter replacements. Also check out Aquasana; the specs are among the best in the industry and clean the water better than most filter systems on the market today.
Other Considerations for Your Pet's Water
Type of bowl or delivery method can make a big difference to the taste, but also in the ability of your pet to drink more too. It's been found that certain types of ceramics (mainly manufactured from China) can leach harmful ingredients over time. Plastics can do the same thing with PBA's. Often a shatter proof glass, porcelain (made in USA, ) even Correll dinnerware seem to work very well and hold up to various small pet uses. Stainless steel is also a popular choice that is considered safe, and easily cleaned.
The shape and size of bowl can make a difference to each of your pets. Pay attention to the way that they drink — how they hold their head, how they use their tongue, and finally, how they swallow. Each pet is different. Some will require using the sides of the bowl for help in grasping and swallowing, so a no-tip bowl on a non-slip mat could be helpful. Others don't like their whiskers touching anything — ever! Consider a larger bowl for these pets. Senior pets, pets recuperating from injuries or surgery, and disabled pets may need their water bowls raised up high enough so that swallowing is easier for them. How high? That is all experimental — but be careful they don't choke, and monitor any changes you make closely.
Water fountains provide constantly circulating water enticing many pets to drink more water. One very important note on these devices: even though they come with a charcoal filter pack to help keep the H2O clean — be sure to test the bowl every day to see if it's "slimy" to touch. These units need to be kept very clean to prevent bacteria from developing inside the pump and fountain mechanisms. Change the filter pack often too! Also, these fountains are often made from plastic or ceramic, so leaching is still a consideration.
What's Really Best for My Pet?
What is most important is that your pet drinks the most healthy water that they like to drink, and that you can afford. We can't stress this enough — they must like what they are drinking. We all assume the quality of food we feed our pets results in the direct reduction medical care costs and the extension life expectancy. Not everyone realizes just how much this holds true with water, but also holds true with the volume of water they choose to drink. Clearly what type of water your pet will drink is one of the key factors since animals all have free will. The old saying couldn't be more true here "You can lead a horse (cat or dog) to water, but you can't make them drink." So I'm going to make an amendment to that saying. "You can lead a horse to water — but if he doesn't like (insert your favorite high priced brand here), he's not going to drink it."
So how do you find out what your pets like best? You can spend the rest of this year experimenting with different types of water and delivery systems. Create complex charts and measure your pets day by day. Or, you could hire someone professionally trained in animal communication to ask your pet what they like as part of your check-in / quality of life session.
During animal communication sessions many of our clients have us ask their family pet "Is there anything else we can do to make you happy or that you want?" Often we hear back from the pets "I would like the kind of water we had in the old house" or "...two years ago." I hear silence on the other of the phone for a moment. Then the pet parent remembers — "oh, that's when we switched to the new "R/O system. Son of a gun — that's exactly when we did it! Well, we'll have to get them something else really quick." I've heard from the families a few months later that they switched back to the old water and the pets are doing wonderful — drinking, drinking, drinking away! (Visit AnimalHealings.com for more info about pet behavior problems we can help, family changes and Quality of Life Check-in's with your pets.)
While many joke about where a dog will drink his water from....it's up to you to provide them with a good clean source if you want to keep them with you longer.
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