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Does My Dog Need a Water Fountain? Interesting Care Tips

Kristin Hitchcock

By Kristin Hitchcock

white Dog drink water in white pet drinking fountain

Your dog doesn’t need a water fountain as dogs can get their water from any clean source, including a plain bowl. However, water fountains can be useful in many situations. Because the water is running, it often stays cleaner than still water. Some dogs simply like drinking running water, as well.

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Should I get My Dog a Water Fountain?

If you’re having trouble keeping your dog hydrated, it may be helpful to get a water fountain in an attempt to encourage them to drink more water.

Many water fountains are larger than your average dog bowl. Therefore, you may need to refill it less often than with a normal bowl. Some models even have different areas or streams for dogs of different sizes to use, which may be practical in homes with several differently-sized dogs.

However, there are also several drawbacks to a dog water fountain. For instance, they are often more expensive. You also have to change the filter regularly, which can add to the price over time. You’ll also need to clean the fountain and while water fountains tend to stay cleaner longer than a bowl, cleaning them can also be more time-consuming.

Fountains used indoors may also lead to splashing. While this isn’t a problem outside, it can lead to issues inside.

In the end, some dogs may benefit from a water fountain, while others may not benefit all that much.

ground level view of a specialty drinking fountain made for dogs and pets
Image Credit: The Image Party, Shutterstock

How Often Should I Clean a Dog Water Fountain?

The answer to this question can vary from fountain to fountain and dog to dog. You should clean the water fountain at least twice a month. However, if you notice signs of slime, debris, or reduced water flow, you should clean it more often. Some fountains may need to be cleaned as often as twice a week, especially if you have many dogs.

To clean the fountain, you’ll need to unplug it and dump the water. The next steps vary from fountain to fountain. You’ll need to read the instruction manual for the complete steps needed to clean your particular model.

However, most fountains require you to disassemble the fountain and remove the pump. You’ll have to clean the fountain and all internal parts separately, usually with warm water and soap. Some may require special brushes to reach down.

Once everything is washed and rinsed, you’ll need to reassemble the fountain and fill it with fresh water. Sometimes, you may also have to change the filter. A dirty filter will lead to slower water flow and dirtier water.

How Much Does a Dog Water Fountain Cost?

Dog water fountains can vary significantly in price. With that said, most are substantially more expensive than a plain water bowl. Generally, you can find water fountains for around $20 to $50. However, we’ve seen water fountains cost over $100.

Luckily, you can find many perfectly functional water fountains for around $20, though they may not have some advanced features or be harder to maintain. How much you’ll need to spend on a water fountain for your dog depends largely on your preferences and reasons for purchasing a fountain.

chihuahua drinking in the water fountain
Image Credit: muslody.com, Shutterstock

What Are the Different Types of Water Fountains Available?

Just like with any product, there are many different dog water fountains available.

There are two main types of water fountains: electric and gravity. Electric fountains require electricity to function, and they’re often more expensive. However, they often have extra functions that gravity water fountains don’t have. For instance, they may allow you to adjust the flow rate.

On the other hand, gravity water fountains are simpler and cheaper. They use gravity to make the water fountain work. However, they may not function as well as an electric option and often don’t have any of the added features.

Of course, the size of the water fountain also varies. Some water fountains are quite small, not holding more than 64 oz. However, others may hold hundreds and hundreds of ounces. Larger dogs typically need more water each day than small dogs. You should also account for how many dogs you have when picking a size.

Water fountains can also be made from plastic, ceramic, and stainless steel. Each material has its pros and cons. Plastic fountains are cheaper and lightweight. However, their surface can be scratched easily, and these scratches can harbor bacteria.

Ceramic fountains are heavy and durable. They may be chipped if dropped, though and they tend to be less durable. Stainless steel fountains are hygienic and sturdy, which is why they are often recommended by experts. However, they can also be more expensive and may be noisy.

Will All Dogs Use a Water Fountain?

While water fountains may be objectively better for some dogs, not all dogs will use them. Some dogs simply prefer to drink out of a regular bowl and may not know how to drink out of a water fountain. Some dogs may even be fearful of the water fountain.

Luckily, you can train many dogs to use a water fountain if you have enough patience. First, choose a quiet, secluded place for the water fountain that isn’t going to lead to stress. Start by keeping the fountain turned off. This way, your dog can get used to drinking out of it just like a normal bowl.

As your dog drinks from the fountain, gradually turn up the flow (if you can). Your dog needs to get used to the sound gradually. Reward your dog when they properly drink out of the water fountain. When your dog is comfortable, you can leave the water fountain on whatever flow setting you want.

thirsty dog drinking water from a flowing pipe
Image Credit: Sinawa, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

Water fountains can be very helpful for dogs in some cases. They help keep the water clean and cool for longer, which can help in hotter climates. Some dogs may prefer water fountains and drink more when a water fountain is available. If you’re trying to encourage your dog to drink more, then getting a water fountain may be helpful.

However, not all dogs like water fountains. Some may refuse to drink out of them at all and others may need significant training to drink out of a water fountain.

Plus, water fountains will cost more than your average bowl, and they require more maintenance. Therefore, you may spend more time cleaning the fountain, even if it does keep the water cleaner on average.

Featured Image Credit: muslody12345, Shutterstock

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