Often, dogs don’t get enough to drink each day. Their water bowls may contain water that’s grown too warm sitting in the sun. Giant breeds with jowls may carry pieces of food over that ends up floating in the bowl. (If it’s gross to you, it’s gross to them) Or they may drink more than the average dog bowl can hold, leaving them with nothing until you return home from work. Without a minimum intake of fluid every day, they balance on the verge of dehydration. And as temperatures climb, this can lead to concerns for lethargy or worse.
The lack of proper hydration stresses the kidneys in dogs. Over time, kidney disease starts to develop as those organs suffer constant strain, leading to chronic kidney failure. Suddenly, your dog needs regular infusions of subcutaneous fluids (fluids administered under the skin) to help the kidneys limp along. All for want of proper water intake.
Enter the Fountain
Automatic water bowls for dogs step in to prevent such health concerns. Many feature fountains or bubbling water, both of which mimic the sound of running water. That natural sound is the key to getting your dog to drink.
Babbling brooks or streams tell wolves there’s a source of freshwater close by. Your dog retains that same instinct. They’ll seek out the sound, even if it’s only to head to the kitchen.
Automatic water bowls for dogs draw your dog, encouraging them to pause and take a swallow. Place one in your house, switch it on, and watch your pup gravitate toward it. They can’t help it! It’s a simple, elegant solution.
Choosing an Automatic Water Bowl for Dogs
There’s a wide array of automatic water bowls for dogs available. They come in different styles, feature various materials, and operate in different ways. You’ll want to choose one that suits your home, your dog’s drinking style, and your lifestyle. As you look through the options, keep the following in mind.
- Capacity: How large is your dog? Do you have several dogs in the household that will share the automatic water bowl? You want to make sure the size of the bowl works. Most dogs drink 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight every day (but erring on the high side won’t hurt).
- Materials: You’ll find automatic water bowls for dogs in everything from BPA-free plastic to ceramic to stainless-steel. The choice is yours, but consider the ease of cleaning.
- Filters: Filters keep the water in an automatic water bowl for dogs fresh and clear of the hair and debris that collect in a typical water dish. You’ll need to change them periodically, but it beats dirty water (and your canine will appreciate the freshness each time they drink).
- Noise: Automatic water bowls for dogs utilize a pump to circulate the water through the filter. Some are louder than others. If you have a dog that startles with noise, try to find a quieter option. (And keep the water level topped off – empty bowls equate to louder noise)
- Design: Automatic water bowls for dogs vary between gravity, fountains, and bubblers. Each has its pros and cons, and you’ll need to consider what works best for you and your pets.
Best Automatic Water Bowls for Dogs
Keeping fresh, aerated water on-hand at all times encourages your dog to drink. That’s hard to manage on your own (unless you want to leave a hose or the bathtub running). Automatic water bowls for dogs simplify that concern. You’ll be amazed at how often your four-legged friend drops by to snag a drink. While we DO keep a ceramic bowl filled at all times, our dog often makes the extra trip around to stop at the fountain. She prefers that fresh, bubbling water. She’ll only drink out of the bowl if she feels she doesn’t have another option.
Best Fountain-Style Automatic Water Bowls for Dogs
The sound of running water makes the most difference in getting your dog to drink. It piques their interest and draws them to the automatic water bowl for dogs. Whether you choose a fountain or a bubbler, the soothing rush of water entices your dog to pause in their activity. (And, yes, the images usually have cats, but believe me when I assure you all of these fountains work for dogs, too)
PetSafe made a name for themselves in automatic water bowls. Their Drinkwell Fountain still tops the list for a lot of people with its sleek, basic design. The BPA-plastic can go onto the top shelf of your dishwasher for easy cleaning, and there’s a filter to keep the water cycling and clean. An adjustable knob gives you complete control over the strength of the waterfall. (I recommend keeping it low – the highest level WILL splash out of the basin) And the reservoir holds 50 ounces of water, making it perfect for cats and smaller dogs.
Downsides? The plastic doesn’t have an anti-microbial coating. If you don’t stay on top of cleaning, it builds up biofilm. Also, if you have particularly fluffy pets, hair clogs the filter. You need to clean it out at least once a month to prevent problems. And don’t let the water level drop unless you want to hear a horrible grinding sound from the motor. (It’s really awful)