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WATER AND PETS

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You've seen it, probably even done it. Drinking bottled water, or filtered water from the refrigerator while your cat, dog or other pet's water bowl is filled from that, ugh, tap. Why should our furry (or scaly) companions drink lower quality water than us?

PuppyWe all know that public water systems can contain certain levels of bacteria. But we knew that- that's why we are drinking the "safe" water. Still, many continue to feed fill pet bowls with tap water. Animals, like humans, need water to survive. And, like humans, animals are about 80% water. So, most animal experts will agree that pets should be given the same quality water as humans: bottled and/or filtered. As stated earlier, municipal and well water can contain many harmful things, even parasites. And, they don't discriminate between pets and people! Some folks feed their pet’s bottled water and can cause more problems than they think. Bottled water is extremely expensive and continues to add waste in our landfills. Only about 27% of plastic bottles are recycled. Despite the waste plastic bottles create, some bottled water is just bottled tap water. This means pets can still be harmed by the contaminants in the unfiltered water. Tap water can especially pose risks if it is high in iron, magnesium, or nitrates. These contaminants can cause health issues for your family as well as your pet.

One of these parasites is Giardia, a single-celled organism that ends up living in the mucous lining of the intestines. Giardia is transmitted by discharges of fecal wastes into water, food, soil, and other surfaces. This parasite can cause diarrhea in animals as well as humans. If a puppy or kitten is suffering malnutrition, the effects of Giardia can be worse. Treatment in the form of anti-prozoal drugs can be administered to infected animals.

There are also things in water that can cause cancer- just like in humans. (Fluoride, for one.) Giving your pet filtered water will remove a potentially sickness-causing organism or metal from being ingested.

Cats and dogs, the two most common pets, need fresh water and plenty of it. On a side note, cats are very finicky about their water; they like it fresh. The longer the water sits out, the more oxygen it loses.

Fish, who live in water, can be greatly affected by water with high levels of chlorine or ammonia; chemical used in some treatment plants. A certain pH value is needed in tank water for fish to have a proper living environment. Also, poor quality water can be more prone to 'bad' algae. Check with your aquarium retailer for specifics.

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