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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 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. These harmful things don't discriminate between pets and people! 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, the less likely the cat would love to drink it. One more note of interest. It doesn't really matter what type of water is used in a pet's bowl if the bowl is not cleaned frequently. Bacteria can grow from mold in the air in your pet's bowl. (That's what those growths are!) So, clean the bowl often and keep it filled with fresh, filtered water. Additionally, drinking more water can also reduce urinary tract disorders in cats and dogs.

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