Having adequate access to clean and safe water is essential to caring for a dog, and it’s important to be mindful of your water source. As a general rule of thumb, only give your dog water that you would also drink. So, if you regularly drink tap water, then it’s also safe to give your dog tap water.
In some cases, tap water may not be the safest option to drink, and it’s better to give your dog filtered water. Here’s what you need to know about tap water and how to make sure your dog’s drinking water is safe.
Safety of Tap Water
The quality of tap water is regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA monitors public water systems and establishes limitations for germs, chemicals, and other contaminants in the water. This is accomplished by requiring water utilities to test for contaminants and notify their customers if the water is unsafe to drink through notices and advisories. These water utilities must also provide customers with an annual Consumer Confidence Report, which contains information on their drinking water quality1.
Because tap water is monitored by the EPA and water utilities, it’s relatively uncommon for tap water to become unsafe to drink. However, there are still times where contamination levels can pass the limit and the water becomes unsafe to use.
Water can get contaminated in a variety of ways. Fertilizers, manufacturing operations, sewer overflows, and cracks in water pipes are all factors that can cause contamination. Sometimes, rocks and soils naturally containing harmful elements can compromise the safety of tap water. In the case of the Flint Water Crisis, residents were exposed to high levels of lead due to a switch in water sources2.
How to Know if Your Tap Water Is Safe for Dogs
If you want to take an extra safety measure, you can do several things to check on the quality of your tap water. Most people use a municipal supply of water. This water supply is first treated through a water treatment plant before it flows through your tap. You can request a copy of the plant’s Consumer Confidence Report to get information on your tap water quality.
You can also test your tap water using a testing kit provided by the water testing laboratory. Once you obtain a water sample, you’ll mail it to a laboratory, which will then send you a report of the results. When using a water testing kit, make sure to work with an EPA-approved laboratory. Some of these laboratories may even complete the test for free.
If you find that your water suddenly has a change in smell, taste, or appearance, contact your local health department. If your local health department isn’t able to provide assistance, you can submit a water quality test to an EPA-approved laboratory.
Providing Access to Safe Water for Your Dog
If you’re unsure about giving your dog tap water or want to be extra safe, you can make the switch to giving your dog filtered water. There are different methods of filtering or treating your water that come in a variety of price ranges. You can simply use a water pitcher or install a faucet mount that filters your water. Just make sure that the product is certified and capable of treating the specific contaminants found in your tap water.
You can also hire a water treatment professional to assess your home’s water system. They can make recommendations for changes in your current water system. In some cases, they may install a reverse osmosis filter to treat all the water that flows through your home.
Overall, tap water is safe for dogs to drink. If it becomes unsafe, you’ll receive a notice from your water treatment plant. You can also do your own water testing by purchasing a kit and sending samples to a laboratory. Lastly, if you ever notice any changes in smell, taste, or color in your water, make sure to contact your local health department to ensure you and your dog are drinking safe water.