There have been multiple reports of tap water being unsafe for human consumption in certain cities. You may live in one of those cities, or not trust that your water supply is as clean as it should be.
So instead of drinking from the tap, you buy bottled water and put a filter system on your faucet. You don’t know what’s in the water, and you don’t want to take any risks when it comes to your health. But should you do the same for your pet? Perhaps Fido should be drinking Fiji water, too.
Hard Water for Cat and Dog
In most cases, experts say giving your pets hard water probably won’t cause any problems. The minerals in hard water (calcium, magnesium, and iron) shouldn’t lead to any health issues.
However, some veterinarians do advise against giving cats and dogs untreated tap water, and that’s not because of the minerals. Holistic vets, for example, believe pets shouldn’t be consuming chemicals that municipalities add during the water treatment process, like chlorine and fluoride.
Plus, there’s the potential for other contaminants in the unfiltered tap water as well. That’s why it’s wise to check with your municipality with questions about water quality in your area. If you get your water from a private well, it’s recommended to have your water tested once a year.
While there is no conclusive evidence suggesting health concerns from drinking hard water, a 2016 Trupanion study found a correlation between medical claims for pets with urinary issues and areas of the United States with very hard water.
“Once we identified the ‘extremely hard water’ areas and compared it to our urinary health claims in those regions, we saw a significantly higher risk of pets running into urinary health issues.”
It’s important to note there is no decisive evidence that hardness levels of water lead to any health issues, but this study should be kept in mind, especially if your pet is more prone to urinary problems.
Trupanion says cats are more than 40 percent more likely to have issues than dogs, and female dogs are 2.5 more likely to develop urinary problems than male dogs.
Is tap water safe for pets?
Says Hanen Abdel Rahman In most cases, experts say giving your pets hard water probably won’t cause any problems. The minerals in hard water (calcium, magnesium, and iron) shouldn’t lead to any health issues. However, some veterinarians do advise against giving cats and dogs untreated tap water, and that’s not because of the minerals.
How Much Water Cats Should Drink
Typically, cats need between 3.5–4.5 ounces of water per 5 pounds of body weight per day. If you have a 10-pound cat, they should be consuming between 7–9 ounces of water, or about half an average bottle of water. The keyword here is “consume,” since cats don’t need to get their water just by drinking.
A can of wet food is about 70–80% water. So if your cat is eating wet food, which is highly recommended, they might get between 3.85–4.4 ounces of water from a single can (an average 5.5 once can). That’s half their daily water right there.
Wet food can be highly beneficial for many reasons, not the least of which being that you know a cat eating wet food is at least getting some of their needed daily water. Because if your cat is home all day, you might not actually see them drinking, but there are ways to tell if they’re not be getting enough water.