The Pet Water Fountain: Useful Tool or Expensive Gimmick?
Recently, quite a few emails have come through to the team at YourPetHatesYou with questions about whether a pet water fountain is a good investment for the health of your dog, or just an expensive and unnecessary luxury.
So, because we love to be responsive to our readers, today’s post will look at some of the pros and cons of buying a pet water fountain, answer some frequently asked questions and seek to find out what the attributes of the best pet water fountain are.
Your Dog & Water: The Facts
Your dog’s body is made up of about 80% water, as opposed to around 60% in the human body. So he needs to drink lots of water. In fact, a dog should consume one ounce of water per one pound of body weight every single day.
All of your dog’s vital organs need clean, fresh water to work and drinking the right amount of water will help to prevent urinary tract infections, organ failure and many other health problems.
To check if your dog is sufficiently hydrated, gently grasp the loose fold of skin between the neck and shoulder blades and release. If it does not snap instantly back into place, your dog may not be getting enough water. His nose should always be cold and damp to the touch, too.
The Pros & Cons of Using a Pet Drinking Water Fountain
The constant circulation or water aids oxygenation and helps to prevent bacteria growth, bad tastes and unpleasant odors in your dog’s water.
The most important health benefit of a pet water fountain is that it will encourage your dog to drink more water. Not only is moving water healthier for your dog, it’s also more appealing. It’s natural for him to choose running rather than stagnant water so he’s much more likely to keep himself hydrated with a fountain than a bowl. This means that he’ll be less likely to contract a urinary tract infection or other water-related organ problems.
Trips to the vets are horrendously expensive. If your dog is healthier and better hydrated, you’ll hopefully save on vets’ bills for urinary tract infections and other health problems.
Expense: a regular dog bowl will cost you around $5, a quality pet water fountain can cost up to $50. Replacement pet water fountain filters also add a periodic cost.
You will need to keep a careful eye on water levels as most pet water fountains don’t have an auto shut-off function and running dry can damage the pump.
A certain amount of maintenance is required for effective operation – you must regularly clean the bowls, filters and other components – a little more time consuming than with a regular drinking bowl.
Pet Water Fountain Reviews
Sounds like the pros outweigh the cons. But what’s out there on the market, and is it really effective as they say?
People who are trying to sell something will always tell you that their products are the very best on the market. The good thing about the net is that it’s easy to access reviews from real people who’ve tried a product and written their honest opinion about it. I’ve searched around for some of the most popular and highest rated with the best pet water fountain reviews:
Five Star Pet Products Pet Fountain
This electric pet water fountain has been very highly rated by customers and nearly 75% of buyers rated it the full five stars. It holds up to a gallon of water, is quiet running and even has a full money back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the purchase. Reviewers love how easy it is to run and that their dogs are using it enthusiastically – note that a number of reviewers mention that it’s essential to dismantle the fountain and thoroughly clean the pump periodically to keep it running like it should.
PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain
This pet safe water fountain is among the best known and most trusted on the market and is a Number One Best Seller on Amazon.com. It has had close to 7000 customer reviews and has an average buyer rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars. This model is suitable for pets of all sizes and is often recommended as a large pet water fountain (it stands to reason that an alsatian needs to drink more than a teacup poodle!).
PetSafe Drinkwell Multi-Tier Pet Fountain
This drinkwell pet water fountain is great for environmentally conscious pet owners and is completely BPA free and has very low power consumption. The trickling noise is also reduced by a clever receiving ramp (excellent for those of us with a sensitive bladders!).
Most reviewers have a positive opinion of this product and it has an overall consumer rating of 4.1 out of 5 stars after close to 300 reviews. Most find it really easy to fill, clean and maintain. Do make sure that you use any product as instructed – some buyers commented that it was loud or developed filter problems but admitted to not cleaning the filters regularly or to using it outdoors against the recommendation of the manufacturer.
PetSafe Drinkwell Ceramic Avalon Fountain for Pets
This ceramic pet water fountain has all the functionality of the models reviewed above, with the added bonus of being pretty! It’s perfect for pet owners who value tasteful decor. The drinkwell avalon pet fountain has an overall consumer rating of 4.2 out of 5 stars after more than 400 buyer reviews.
Uniclife Dog Cat Automatic Electric Drinking Bowl
This automatic pet water fountain is new to the market but has had a very positive initial response and has an average customer rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. It is suitable for small to medium pets and holds up to half a gallon of water. It also features a cute LED light for nighttime illumination, carbon filters and a low voltage power supply for enhanced safety..
Pioneer Pet Raindrop Oval Stainless Steel Fountain
The pioneer pet water fountain is another of the better known brands on the market. This stainless steel pet water fountain is dishwasher safe, holds up to 60 ounces of water, and has effective replaceable charcoal filters. After well over 3000 reviews, it has an average consumer rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars. The most common complaint from reviewers is that the pump does not last as long as it should. Definitely one to make sure you clean and maintain regularly to make sure it keeps working like it should.
Pet Water Fountain FAQs
Question: I have very hard water in my home. Will it damage the filters or cause calcium build-up?
Answer: If you have hard water it will clog the filters more quickly than water with lower mineral content. But there are a few things you can do to minimize this:
Clean the filters, bowls and other components every few days.
Look for a fountain with washable filters and a dishwasher safe bowl.
Consider buying cheap filtered water from your grocery store to put in the pet fountain.
Question: Is a pet water fountain noisy and will it make a mess?
Answer: If it’s a well designed pet water bowl fountain, it should contain and continuously circulate all water. Likewise, a quality fountain pump should not be too noisy. Keep water topped up often to ensure the pump is working at its best. If you have it on a hard surface like wood or tiles and find it is a little noisy, it’s likely that it’s just the motion causing the noise. You could try putting it on a vinyl mat to reduce the shake on the ground.
Question: What sort of maintenance is required for a pet drinking fountain?
Answer: Most pet water fountain manufacturers recommend that you clean or change the filters about once a month and many have time-saving features such as dishwasher safe components. Other than that, and regularly checking that the water level is full, very little time is required to maintain a pet water fountain.
Summary: Is a Pet Drinking Water Fountain Right for Your Dog?
At first, the idea of a drinking fountain for my dog seemed extravagant and more than a little gimmicky. But, on deeper research, I found that it’s actually a pretty good idea. Flowing, oxygenated water is both healthier and more appealing for your dog.
Just a Side Note: If you’re choosing to get a pet water fountain because your dog’s inside during the day and you want him to have access to clean, fresh water, it stands to reason that he’ll also need somewhere to pee! Check out our post on indoor dog pee pads here. After all, all that lovely fresh water has to go somewhere and preferably not all over your kitchen floor!