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Can Dogs Drink Well Water?

Updated on January 16, 2023

Yes. Dogs can drink well water if it is treated or filtered. If you can drink water from your well, dogs can drink too. However, dogs don’t sweat much, meaning they retain most of the water they drink. Untreated well water can be bad for your pet’s health. It can result in diarrhea, vomiting, mood swings, or even seizures if the water quality is too bad.

or even seizures at times if water quality is too bad.

Common Contaminates in Well Water and why they are bad for your Dog’s Health 

Well water is generally pure but takes up contaminants when it moves underground. It can have various contaminants like sediment, bacteria, and heavy metals.

Let’s see how these common contaminants affect your dog’s health

Sulfur: Sulfur’s presence is often indicated by a rotten smell in well water. It can cause digestive problems like vomiting, diarrhea, blotting, or dehydration. Your dog may stop drinking water because of its smell.

Iron: Iron is usually safe for dogs and humans. However, it adds orange/brown color to water which your dog may not like.

Calcium: Calcium is good for bones when it is in limited concentration. However, calcium’s high concentration makes water hard. Drinking too much hard water can cause urinary tract infections in dogs.

Nitrates: Too much nitrate in well water can lead to health problems like breathing difficulties, convulsions, and urinary issues.

Bacteria: Bacteria in well water can lead to vomiting, spasms, and lethargic behavior.

How to ensure that Well Water is Safe for Humans and Pets? 

It is the well owner’s responsibility to maintain well water quality. So, the best way is to test your well water at least once a year and install/update the water treatment system. Moreover, water testing and chlorination are also recommended after modification or building a new well.

recommended after modification or building a new well.

Which Water is best for my Dog? 

Dogs can drink the water you are drinking. Almost all pet parents don’t compromise on their furry baby’s health. So, filtered well and city water, bottled water, and water from RO systems are best for your dog’s health. Let’s see some common water sources from which your dog may drink water.

Puddle Water: It isn’t safe. Puddle water may have oil drips, antifreeze, brake fluid, animal pee, or other contaminants that aren’t safe.

Pond or River Water: No. It is unsafe for your dog as these water sources usually contain sediment, bacteria, and waste.

Ocean Water: No. It is high in sodium. You cannot drink it, so your pet shouldn’t.

Pool Water: No. It contains chemicals like chlorine. Your dog can have an upset stomach even after a few gulps.

Fish Tank: No. Water in a fish tank contains fish waste material and chemicals to maintain pH and reduce algae.

Toilet Water: No. It is the dirtiest water in your home. No pet should ever drink water from the toilet bowl.

Water Fountains: Yes. Water fountains installed by local authorities have fresh and treated water. It is safe for you and your dog.

Community Water Bowls for Pets: Yes. Your dog can drink from it if the water is fresh and clean.

Your dog can drink from it if the water is fresh and clean.

Is City Water safe for my Dog? 

Yes. The local government tests and treats city water before being supplied to your home. However, many people install water filters for city water to remove contaminants that may enter water pipes and storage tanks.

Can Dogs get Sick after drinking Hard Water? 

Yes. It can be bad for your dog’s health. Hard water is rich in calcium and magnesium. While a small concentration may not harm your dog, concentrations higher than 121 mg/L are dangerous for dogs. It can lead to problems like urinary tract infections (UTI), cystitis, incontinence, and crystalluria.

Trupanion, a pet insurance company, found that crystalluria (crystals in urine) is aggravated by hard water. Moreover, female dogs are more susceptible to these health problems than male dogs.

more susceptible to these health problems than male dogs.

Can Dogs Drink Water from a Water Softener

Yes. Softened water is safe for humans and dogs in most cases. Softened water has a slightly higher sodium or potassium content. You may need to avoid softened water if your vet has suggested a sodium-free diet for your dog. Symptoms of too much sodium in dogs include diarrhea, vomiting, fever, tremors, and seizures.

Why is my Dog not drinking Well Water? 

Your dog or other pets may refuse to drink well water because of its taste or odor. This usually happens if you shift your home or buy a grown-up dog accustomed to drinking city water or water from some other well.

Water from every source tastes different because of its composition and minerals. This is why bottled water’s taste is different than tap water. You can avoid this by bringing a few gallons of water from the old source and mixing it with new water to gradually transition your dog.

Sometimes your dog’s bowl may be dirty. Make sure you clean and sanitize your dog’s bowl at least once a week.

Can I Boil Well Water for my Dogs? 

Yes. You can boil your dog’s pet water but make sure you let it cool down before you offer it to your little friend. Moreover, you don’t have to boil water for your dog if you have a water filtration system installed at your home.

Can I bathe my Dog in Well Water? 

Yes. You can bathe your dog and all the other pets in well water. There is no harm in washing your dogs with well water as long as you bathe in well water.

with well water as long as you bath in well water.

What are the Symptoms if Well Water is not good for my Dog? 

Your dog’s health will go down if well water is not fit for drinking. You will notice vomiting, diarrhea, and mood irritation or refusal to drink well water. Some severe cases may lead to seizures, which could even lead to death. Your dog may get lazy, confused, irritated, dehydrated, develop red eyes, and undergo severe weight loss.

What to do if your Dog falls ill after drinking Well Water? 

Consult a vet about your dog’s health if you have recently switched to well water and notice these signs. You must also get your well water tested to see what’s causing the problem. Secondly, install a water treatment system and give your dog bottled water until the treatment systems are installed.

How can I Protect my Water Well if I have Pets?

First, you must stop drinking well water if you fear it is contaminated with pet waste. Second, you must get your well water tested and install a water filter. Third, you must not let your pets around the well cap and keep the area clean. You can build a barricade to stop pets or other animals from going near your well. Moreover, cleaning around your well is critical to stop contamination via seeping.


  • Roy Jones

    Roy lives in Anderson, Texas, and has been a part of various certified well drilling firms. He has extensive 20 years of working experience in water wells maintenance, repair, and drinking quality. Roy has been guiding neighbors on well issues and writes to educate private well owners about various well water issues.

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