The 10 Best Dog Water Fountains
Benefits Of A Dog Fountain
Dogs have an innate ability to quickly wrap us around their little paws, getting us to do anything to make them happy and keep them healthy — like dropping a couple hundred bucks on pet supplies (and then when you get home, you discover he'd rather play with the cardboard his $20 toy came in than the toy itself).
So, I forgive you if you've found yourself thinking that Fido doesn't need a fancy dog fountain, and that he can just drink out of a big bowl. But there are some health benefits to dog fountains that shouldn't be overlooked, and can make them a good buy for your fuzzy friend.
First off, fountains encourage many canines to drink more often. The sound mimics that of a stream, and most animals prefer drinking out of running water to slurping from a stagnant pool (unless it's toilet water...mmm that's the good stuff).
Many fountains use charcoal pads or other filters to purify the water as it flows. This makes it taste better, as the filters remove impurities from your water before it reaches the bowl. Tasty water is water your dog is more likely to drink, which is especially important if you live in a hot, dry climate.
Additionally, keeping the water moving infuses it with oxygen, which can help reduce the spread of bacteria. Of course, you'll still have to clean it regularly, but it will stay sanitary for longer than a stationary bowl — and trust me, you'll be glad your dog has been drinking clean water when he licks your mouth while you're yawning.
Signs Your Dog Might Be Dehydrated
During the summer months (or year-round in certain climates), dog dehydration is a very serious issue for pet parents. Not getting enough water can lead to joints not being sufficiently lubricated, inability to go to the bathroom, and even death.
The first sign to worry about is lethargy. If your dog is moping around when he'd usually be bouncing off the walls, it's a problem — even if he's not dehydrated. If he won't even show interest in his favorite treats or toys, it might be time to start worrying.
Check his gums (and watch your fingers). Are they slick and slimy? If not, he needs more moisture. Another test you can do is to pinch his skin and pull it a little bit. It should snap right back into place, so if takes a second to return to its normal spot, it's a tell-tale sign of dehydration. If you have a more elastic breed like a bulldog, you should check his skin when you know he's healthy, so that you have a baseline to reference.
While you've got your fingers in his mouth, take a second to check his capillary refill time. If you press your finger into his gums, two things will happen: your dog will be confused, and his gums should turn white for a second. If it takes longer than a second or two for his gums to return to their normal color, then it means that it's taking too long for his capillaries to refill with blood, which could mean he's dehydrated.
Panting is another thing to be aware of. One reason why dogs pant is to regulate their body temperature — akin to sweating in humans. If your pooch is panting for no good reason (a good reason being that he just came back from a walk, or he saw an attractive golden retriever wagging her tail across the street) then you should monitor his behavior. There are many reasons why your dog might pant, however, so this isn't cause for concern in and of itself, but it is something you should watch.
If you think your dog might be dehydrated, get him to a vet immediately. Dehydration is a serious health issue on its own, but it could also be an indication that something else is wrong, so time is of the essence.
How to Prevent Dehydration in Dogs
If you're on this page, then you've already taken a step towards ensuring that your dog stays hydrated. Providing him with plenty of clean, fresh drinking water is incredibly important, so make sure that your pet always has a full bowl or fountain.
The general rule is that your dog should have an ounce of water per pound of body weight each day. If you know how big his drinking receptacle is, you can get a pretty good idea of how much he's drinking. If it's especially hot out, he might appreciate some ice cubes in there as well.
Make sure his bowl or fountain is somewhere that he can easily access, and make sure it's heavy or secure enough that he won't knock it over. Many breeds like to dig in their water bowls, so they can easily find themselves with an empty trough, even though you just filled it up.
It's also important to let your dog out to urinate often. If your dog is cramped inside for hours at a time with no means of emptying his bladder, he might naturally start to drink less to compensate. This can lead to kidney problems, so get him a pet door or arrange for someone to let him out during the day if your schedule keeps you away for too long.
Putting water in his food is another way to get him to take in the proper amount of fluids. Many dogs like hot water in their kibble, as it releases the food's natural aromas. Exercise is another easy trick to encourage drinking, as Rover will likely work up a powerful thirst on a long walk (especially if he sees that golden retriever again).
Most dogs will naturally regulate their fluid intake on their own, but if you've got a pooch that's cavalier in regards to his health, these strategies can help you keep him healthy and hydrated, and that can help keep him around for as long as possible.