Is Tap Water Bad For Dogs? How About Filtered Water?

It is no secret that tap water contains several toxins that are harmful to both humans and canines alike. Further below you'll find a shortlist of potentially toxic chemicals that can be found in tap water. This information is important in deciphering the answer to 'is tap water bad for dogs.'

Toxic Chemicals Found In Tap Water


It is possible for water to be contaminated with copper from old pipes. Excessive copper in water can cause copper accumulation in the liver and lead to a very dangerous disorder called Copper Storage Disease in dogs.


In large doses, lead can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms, such as vomiting and diarrhea. Long term exposure to lead can also result in neurological issues.


This chemical is added to drinking water to help keep it clean and safe of dangerous pathogens. However, in large quantities, this chemical is known to cause nasal and pulmonary allergic reactions in both humans and animals.

Synthetic Fluoride

It is well known in the veterinary world that ingestion of synthetic fluoride can result in rapid onset of restlessness, stiffness, anorexia, excessive salivation, nausea, vomiting and incontinence. Although it requires a great deal of ingestion to show signs of fluoride toxicosis, it's better to air on the side of caution and give water without synthetic fluoride.


Many dangerous strains of bacteria make their way to tap water. Bacteria can lead to systemic infections, gastrointestinal upset, lethargy and more.

Calcium and Magnesium

Tap water can contain calcium and magnesium. What most people don't know is that they can accumulate in a dog's urinary system... Leading to crystal formation. Urinary crystals can lead to urinary infections, cystitis, urethral blockages and more.

Is Tap Water Bad For Dogs - Long Term Impact

Truth be told, the risk of your pet ingesting large enough quantities of chemicals in their drinking water to manifest into a clinical medical problem is low. However, my rule of thumb is... If you won't drink it, why would you give it to your beloved four-legged companion?

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has compiled a tap water database from over 50,000 local utility reports - and it includes reports from every state. You simply can enter your zip code and find the information regarding toxic chemicals in your communities' drinking water. If you are concerned about the quality of your tap water you should visit the .

Whether you invest in a water bowl that filters tap water or you reach for bottled water - which can be problematic in a different way - give your dog filtered water! It is is the best way to keep your dog's health a top priority. To ensure optimum health check out these canine-specific water filters:

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About Madison Rose, DVM

In additional to being one of our experts, Dr. Madison Rose is a small animal veterinarian and owner of San Diego NeighborhoodVet and Peaceful Waters Aquamation. Dr. Rose founded both of her practices on the idea that pet health care should be a positive experience for both pet and pet parent. To learn more about Dr. Rose, visit her websites, San Diego NeighborhoodVet and Peaceful Waters Aquamation.

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