Should Pets Share a Water Bowl?
All good pet owners know the importance of always giving pets clean, fresh water. If you’ve got multiple dogs, or different species of animals in your home, is it safe for them to use the same water bowl? Should your dogs share water bowls?
Different Animals Have Different Needs
All of us, human, canine, feline or something else, need water. The amount and frequency of water depends on the animal, size, activity level, the climate and other factors. Drinking the right amount of clean water is vital for many reasons. There’s an animal’s body temperature, nutrition, immune system, joints and mobility, even brain health.
What About Sharing Water Bowls?
For homes with dogs, or dogs and cats, it’s generally safe and just fine for the pets to share water bowls. In nearly all situations, the pets will not be at risk of passing on diseases, bacteria or viruses through sharing bowls.
Bacteria, germs and viruses may be passed through water. Yet, your pets are in close quarters much of the time. With what dogs and cats will do with licking, smelling, touching, playing and so on, sharing of practically everything is already happening. Sharing water bowls is not an extra risk by itself.
There are some important factors to keep in mind though. Sharing a water bowl can have other unplanned issues. It helps to notice and care for some situations.
Whether everyone has their own water bowl (which is probably getting shared anyways) or there’s communal water out, keeping the water clean and in clean bowls is important for everyone’s health.
Aggression can be an issue with water just as it can be with food, toys, napping spots, certain rooms and human attention. Pay attention to one dog, or cat, being aggressive or protective about a resource such as a water bowl.
Be aware of water coming from sources which might not be clean. Dogs have no problem seeking out water in puddles, ditches, a toilet or a bowl which has become standing, stagnant water. This can lead to disease.
When Pets Shouldn’t Share a Water Bowl
Specific pets, however, should not share water bowls with other pets, even if they’re in the same house. Generally, if a pet has its own separate environment, such as a cage or enclosure, for example a turtle, snake or bird, those animals should have their own individual water.
Keeping Water Bowls Clean and Safe
Whether animals are sharing water bowls or not, or if you’ve got indoor and outdoor bowls, keeping clean water in clean bowls is the most important thing an owner can do. It’s important for hygiene and overall health.
It may be good to have numerous bowls, especially if you’ve got numerous pets, including some who may be outside some and need water while outside. Washing the bowls and giving entirely fresh, clean water – not just topping up the dirty water – is necessary. Water left outside can be dirty, stagnant, get lots of bugs, parasites, fecal matter and bacteria in it, or just be rainwater or runoff. Putting more than one water bowl out is likely good, even if all the pets get along just fine. Encouraging more water consumption is a good idea for human and dog alike.
All pet bowls must be completely cleaned daily to keep them sanitary. Stainless steel bowls are normally easier to keep clean and less likely to lead to microorganisms, viruses or parasites. Ideally, bowls should be disinfected in a dishwasher regularly. You should wash them so there is no remaining soap or residue that could be harmful to pets.
Public Water Bowls
Pet-friendly parks and even businesses may have water bowls out for friends. Are these public water bowls ok?
Even though this is a nice gesture, you probably don’t know if this is safe. You might not know if the bowl is clean, the water is clean and fresh, if other animals have been in it, and so on.
One idea is to bring your own bowl and water. There are small, collapsible bowls or basically cups that are easy to carry and use. A dog is likely to be fine with a disposable cup or bowl if that’s easier or what you can find when you’re out. Keeping pets hydrated is important if you’re out, then, especially if you guys are doing a lot of walking and activity.
You give your dogs fresh water all the time at home. Can you make sure the communal bowl in the park is getting the same degree of cleanliness? Is the low water level just being added to rather than gotten rid of and replaced?
Pet water bowls are needed in extremely hot weather so dogs stay hydrated and ok while out and about. It’s good to know a dog’s water bowl can be affected by heat. It’s best to keep water bowls in shade. Stagnant water is never good to consume.
If your pet has a strong and healthy immune system, it is less likely Spot will get an illness or problem from sharing a water bowl. If, though, you have a pet with a condition or an illness, it could be necessary to take your own portable water bowl plus water.
A stainless-steel, non-porous pet dish which is completely washed on a regular basis is a good idea. This is the best plan for very good hygiene if you need it.
You can have this same level of care and hygiene at home, too. If you have more than one pet sharing a water dish, see to it to clean your pet dishes and bowls fully on a daily basis.
South End Plumbing specializes in leak repairs and water heater installation, so remember, we are just a click away. We also specialize in tankless water heaters – give us a call! South End Plumbing is one of the only companies that will give you a free estimate. Call us at 704-919-1722 or fill out the form online to schedule a visit.