Everybody knows that our pets should have access to clean, fresh water at all times. But to help support true health, you have to go one step further: clean, pure water. What do I mean by that? We’ll go into detail in this post, but essentially, if you drink filtered water, give your pet the same.

Isn’t tap water OK for my dog?

Short answer? No. The tap water in most places in America contains:

  • Chlorine
  • Fluoride
  • Chlorides
  • Sulfates
  • Bicarbonates
  • Aluminum
  • Nitrates
  • Insecticides
  • Herbicides
  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-convulsants
  • Mood stabilizers
  • Sex hormones
  • And more

There is no required testing for drugs in our water supply, so it is difficult to know exactly what is present and in what amounts, but researchers regularly find the above-listed minerals and chemicals in our water.

Chlorine

Chlorine bleach (in the form of chlorine dioxide) is added to almost all of America’s public water supply as a disinfectant. This started in the early 1900s, when the dangers and long-term effects of chlorine weren’t known, but the practice has continued because it is cheap. It is not safe, however. One of the things that chlorine does is neutralize oxygen. That means once it’s inside the body—whether it’s our pet’s body or ours—it depletes the body’s oxygen, which makes the body more acidic. This disrupts the immune system. And that can lead to various illnesses and diseases, and even cause allergy symptoms. It’s interesting: water that occurs in nature has small amounts of hydrogen peroxide, which makes the body more basic. Natural water helps support the correct oxygen levels and pH balance in our pets’ bodies, as well as ours, and therefore support the immune system.

The ill-effects of chlorine don’t end there. When chlorine products come into contact with organic proteins, they produce byproducts called trihalomethanes (THMs).  One example of a THM is chloroform. Chloroform is a carcinogen. With 1 in 4 dogs getting cancer, this is a concern. Studies have shown an association between THMs and:

  • Liver cancer
  • Kidney cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney stones

Chlorine also damages enzymes; when it’s ingested (through the water), it causes further havoc to the immune system.  It can also decrease absorption of calcium while increasing calcium and phosphorous excretion.

Fluoride

Fluoride is also added to the water supply all across America, under the guise that it’s good for dental health.  However, there’s evidence that shows fluoride is dangerous. Fluoride is used in pesticides, insecticides, and fungicides, as well as being the main ingredient in many rat poisons.  It is worth noting that fluoride is cumulative in its effect upon the body, so each time you or your pet drink fluoridated water, its effects increase. Some of the most common known effects of fluoride ingestion include cancer, brittle teeth, heart disease, and arthritis.

Other toxins

There’s much more in our public water supply than just chlorine and fluoride.  It is interesting to look at a list (in alphabetical order) of the top 100 most common toxins found in the US public water supply:

Top 100 Common U.S. Water Toxins

1) 1,1,1,2-Tetrachloroethane
2) 1,1,2-Trichloroethane
3) 1,1-Dichloroethane
4) 1,1-Dichloropropene
5) 1,2 Dibromo-3-chloropropane (DBCP)
6) 1,2,3-Trichloropropane
7) 1,2,4-Trichlorobenzene
8) 1,2-Dibromoethylene
9) 1,2-Dichloroethane
10) 1,3,5-Trimethylbenzene
11) 1,3-Dichloropropane
12) 1,4-Dioxane
13) 2,2-Dichloropropane
14) 2,4,5-T
15) 2,4,5-TP (Silvex)
16) 2,4-D
17) 2-Hexanone
18) 2-Nitropropane
19) Acetochlor
20) Aldicarb
21) Aldicarb sulfone
22) Aldicarb sulfoxide
23) Alpha-Lindane
24) Aluminum
25) Ammonia
26) Aniline
27) Anthracene
28) Antimony
29) Arsenic
30) Atrazine
31) Barium
32) Benzene
33) Benzo[a]pyrene
34) Beryllium
35) Bromate
36) Bromide
37) Bromobenzene
38) Bromodichloromethane
39) Bromoform
40) Bromomethane
41) Cadmium (total)
42) Carbaryl
43) Carbon tetrachloride
44) Chloroethane
45) Chloroform
46) Chloromethane
47) Chromium
48) cis-1,2-Dichloroethylene
49) Cyanide
50) Dalapon
51) Di(2-Ethylhexyl) adipate
52) Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate
53) Dibromochloromethane
54) Dibromomethane
55) Dicamba
56) Dichlorodifluoromethane
57) Dichloromethane (methylene chloride)
58) Dieldrin
59) Dinoseb
60) Endrin
61) Ethylbenzene
62) Ethylene dibromide (EDB)
63) Heptachlor
64) Heptachlor epoxide
65) Hexachloro-cyclopentadiene
66) Isopropylbenzene
67) Lindane
68) m-Dichlorobenzene
69) Manganese
70) Mercury
71) Metolachlor
72) Monochlorobenzene (Chlorobenzene)
73) n-Butylbenzene
74) n-Propylbenzene
75) Naphthalene
76) Nitrate
77) Nitrates & nitrites
78) o-Chlorotoluene
79) o-Dichlorobenzene
80) Oxamyl (Vydate)
81) p-Chlorotoluene
82) p-Dichlorobenzene
83) p-Isopropyltoluene
84) Pentachlorophenol
85) Picloram
86) Radium-226 & Radium-228
87) sec-Butylbenzene
88) Simazine
89) Styrene
90) Sulfates
91) tert-Butylbenzene
92) Tetrachloroethylene
93) Thallium
94) Toluene
95) Total haloacetic acids
96) Total trihalomethanes (THMs)
97) Toxaphene
98) Trichloroethylene
99) Trichlorofluoromethane
100) Vinyl chloride

What to do?

So how do you make sure you’re providing your pets with clean, pure water? The best way to do this is to provide them with filtered water.  Unfortunately, not all filters are created equal, nor are all bottled waters truly pure. Many are actually just tap water that has been bottled, and some of them contain fluoride and various minerals. Check the label to see if chlorine or fluoride has been added back in. Also, note that Brita water filters often do not completely remove chlorine and fluoride. Reverse osmosis filtration systems and the Berkey filter (with the optional fluoride filters) are good alternatives. They’re more expensive, but if you can get them, they’re a good option. You can get bottled spring water that is in a safe plastic bottle; well water is also a great option if you have access to a well.

If you haven’t already, invest in a stainless steel bowl for your pets to drink out of. Just like with their food dishes, plastic bowls can harbor bacteria and leach chemicals out. Make sure you clean and refill the water dish daily, or whenever it gets low.

Clean, pure water makes a big difference!

It’s vitally important that you provide your pets with clean, pure water. Doing so helps keep all of their systems, including their immune system, healthy. It supports their bodies in maintaining balance and health, and may even encourage them to drink more.Doing this is part of the total approach to helping your pets achieve and maintain true, lasting health, so they can thrive throughout all your years together.

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