Tapping into the Right Water Source
Updated: Dec 16, 2021
Water is essential for life. We all know dogs and cats shouldn’t drink from puddles, ponds, pools or other standing bodies of water but what about tap water, distilled water or bottled water? Are they safe options for our beloved companions?
A majority of pet owners have access to tap water from their own sinks. It’s easily accessible simply by turning on the faucet however hard water is found in 85% of the country (1). Hard water is often noticeable by smell, taste and hard water scale on appliances. Crusty, white scale on faucets, blue and green build up clogging our shower heads and rusty red rings around our drains. Hard water often includes heavy metals, chloride, and fluoride among other things (2). Although water softeners are often the solution for many owners as they prefer softer drinking water themselves, while it does not increase your monthly electric bill (3) or increase sodium levels intake, it does remove essential minerals as well as environmental and water quality concerns (4). Not only is this a concern for your family but it is a concern for your pets and their health.
In 2016 Trupanion a pet insurance company began noticing a 40% increase in urinary based claims, so they performed a study to see if there was a correlation with areas of the country that had hard water. They found that in areas with high levels of hard water, cats, especially male cats were 3 times more likely to be afflicted with urinary problems! (5)
Fluoride is another concern with tap water. Originally it was added to the drinking water to help with tooth decay in the human population. Ironically, today it is known to contribute to tooth decay (6)! It is now classified as a neurotoxin and legally allowed in drinking water (7). In humans, it is also linked to a decrease in IQ (6) often leading to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and other cognitive problems (8). Fluoride IS cumulative as well as irreversible (6) which is why it also is linked to bone cancer (9), hypothyroidism (10), kidney disease (11) and bone loss (13, 14). It is not far-fetched to be concerned that similar issues are trickling into our companion’s behavior and dental hygiene (11).
So, if all these vitamins, minerals and other junk are in our water why don’t we completely get rid of them? A water such as this actually already exists. Distilled water involves the purification of water via a distillation process (15). All impurities including vitamins and minerals are removed from the water (16, 17). Although distilled water in humans is good for SHORT term detoxing as it can quickly absorb and eliminate toxins (16, 17), it is actually not any healthier than regular drinking water. In fact, there are health concerns that come from drinking distilled water. This type of water is demineralized lacking such vitamins and minerals like calcium which is essential for many biological and physiological purposes that occur on a regular basis. Sodium, potassium, and chloride are rapidly lost not only resulting in a decrease in important minerals but increased consumption of water in larger quantities because consumption is unsatisfying. This may result in your companion having accidents in your home. Furthermore, distilled water also increases the body’s acidity. When it comes in contact with the air it quickly absorbs carbon dioxide (18) which quickly can become dangerous as the body should not be in this acidified state. Distilled water is so good at dissolving things that it can even dissolve metal (18). Other risks of long term distilled water use are osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and a long list of degenerative diseases (18).
Bottled water is probably your best option for providing a water source for your companion. However, with anything, you must source your bottled water properly and know where it is coming from. Unfortunately, some companies will claim one thing while containing contaminants such as fluoride which is legally allowed without requiring it to be labeled (7). European countries stopped adding it while other countries like China are removing it from water (19).
Water consumption in your home isn’t the only thing you should worry about when it comes to your companions. Water finds its way into everything including processed commercial foods. In fact, the Environmental Working Group claims commercially processed foods are 2.5 times higher in fluoride levels than the “safe” recommended amount (20). This often is a result of many commercial foods containing such ingredients as chicken by-product meal, poultry by-product meal, meat meal, meat and bone meal, animal digest and chicken meal (20). As it pertains to raw feeding your cat or dog, you want to know not only where your meat, organs, and bones are coming from but what those meat sources are eating. If they are eating genetically modified corn, you probably don’t want to feed this source to your companion as they will be ingesting similar things. It works the same with the source of water for these food stock animals.
Water is essential to life and essential to your companion. It is important to know where your water is coming from and what is in it to continue providing a long, happy and healthy life for your companion. While tap water is readily available it can be hard containing chloride, fluoride, and hard metals. Demineralizing the water via distillation can be a solution to purify water but it quickly can deplete the body of essential nutrients while acidifying it. Bottled water is a pet owner’s best bet, but just with anything proper sourcing and knowledge of the water production company is essential to ensure you are providing the best for your companions. Finally, making sure your companion’s food source is being watered properly also ensures your companion isn’t consuming trace contaminants that were consumed from the feedstock. Healthy and clean water is just another way to truly provide a natural and healthy diet as well as natural and healthy lifestyle for your companions.
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