Our pets are often as close to us as family, which is why we’ll do anything within our power to ensure their safety and well-being. More often than not, this means buying them veterinarian-approved foods, taking them out for numerous walks, keeping them hydrated, and giving them the love they deserve. Pet-owners will go out of their way to provide their furry friends with anything they need and more, but unknowingly, some of them are allowing their house pets to drink a substance that is not exactly animal-friendly: untreated water.
When your pet is thirsty, the logical thing to do is pick up their water bowl and fill it up with tap water, right? While this may seem ideal at the time, giving untreated water to animals can potentially be harmful to them. Curiously enough, not many pet owners know about this, which is why they continue to supply hard or untreated water to animals.
What is Hard Water and how Does it Affect Us?
There has long since been a dispute about whether or not tap water is drinkable. This is because while tap water is better than nothing, it isn’t exactly perfect. Hard water is a term used when referring to H2O that has been infiltrated by minerals, such as calcium and magnesium, which have no known harmful effects to humans or pets. However, these minerals can be accompanied by fluoride, chlorine, unknown bacteria, and other harmful substances, which is why many households choose to only drink treated water.
It is possible to have treated or filtered water that is still hard water. If the filter removes everything but the calcium and magnesium then it would not pose health threats (with mild exceptions including dry skin and hair). However, in most cases, signs of hard water are also signs that the water is generally untreated since most devices which filter home water also soften the water.
Now, most people are going to have hard water flowing through their pipes. This isn’t because they’ve asked for it; it’s because hard water is naturally supplied to millions of homes in North America (more than 70% of homes have hard water), with the Phoenix metro area having some of the hardest water in the country. The first step in getting rid of hard water is to acknowledge its presence, and to do that, homeowners typically look for the following.
Foul tasting tap water
Rust-like stains surrounding drain entries
An abundance of soap scum
Clothing not 100% clean
Poor Shower Experiences
Effects of Untreated Water on Animals
Many pet-owners give their cats and dogs tap water because it has yet to be confirmed that giving untreated water for animals has any negative effects. However, in a recent study, it was said that house pets who were given tap water throughout their lifetimes, were 40% more likely to develop urinary health issues. In other words, animals who were given hard water were more susceptible to developing crystalluria (crystallized minerals found in urine).
Moreover, dogs who are bathed in hard or untreated water can also lose some shine from their coat. This is because, much like human hair, animal hair can be stripped of its natural oils and replaced by the soap scum residual that is often related to hard water.
When house pets go outside, they are usually prone to drinking from any body of water that presents itself, be it from a lake, puddle, ocean, river, etc. Outdoor water sources and hard water, however, are on two entirely different spectrums, as hard water isn’t going to have nearly as much bacteria as a body of water can. Animals who drink untreated water from the outdoors can be at risk of falling ill due to parasites, chemicals, toxins, salts, algae, and other harmful substances.
To stop this from happening, pet owners can benefit from bringing a bowl and bottled water with them when taking their dogs out for walks, and ensuring that they stay hydrated along the way. As for cats, pet owners can’t typically control what type of outdoor water they drink, as many of them are free to roam the streets during the day. What they can do, however, is supply them with treated water at home.
It is a lot more alarming when an animal drinks untreated water from the outdoors than when they are given tap water. This is because the city water supply does have some treatment, although it is insufficient for “life support” or drinking water.
Effects of Soft Water on Animals
When pet owners find out that tap water isn’t exactly ideal for their pets, they are naturally going to become curious about the many health benefits attributed to treated or filtered water. Soft water can be achieved by purchasing a water softener and having it installed, and both animals and humans can benefit from drinking and bathing in it. Better yet, a whole home water filter will not only soften the water but also remove other harmful substances.
With a whole home water filter, even the water that comes out of the garden hose will be cleaner since the water is filtered from the point where it enters the home plumbing from the city water supply (or well water supply). However, it will not be as pure as water which has also been filtered by a reverse osmosis system. That’s why Aqua Bright recommends the Max Pack for complete water treatment, at least for human consumption, but it could also benefit your pets.
How Providing Pets With Soft Water can be Beneficial
All in all, untreated tap water for pets isn’t exactly the best option, which is why so many pet owners are choosing to equip their homes with a water treatement system. By doing this, they are ensuring that their pets are receiving a lower volume of fluoride, chlorine, unknown bacteria and other harmful substances into their systems. More than that, when animals are washed with soft water, their coats can actually get the attention they deserve, causing them to shine to their maximum potential.