Why Do Dogs Enjoy Drinking Rainwater?
Ensuring that your furry friend stays hydrated is crucial, especially during the scorching summer days. However, have you ever observed your dog gulping down rainwater from puddles or showing a peculiar interest in drinking from them, even when they are not thirsty? It raises the question – why do dogs like drinking rainwater? Can it harm them, and is there a way to prevent it? Let’s delve into the topic and find out!
The first reason why dogs tend to favor rainwater over tap water is that the former has a distinct taste as opposed to the latter, which may contain chemicals like fluoride or chlorine. To canines, the difference in flavor is more palpable in rainwater collected in puddles. Additionally, rainwater’s scent can be far more appealing to dogs than clean tap water, making them curious and eager to taste it.
Although we have given you the short answer, let us take a more in-depth look at the science behind why dogs have a fascination with drinking rainwater and whether it is hazardous or not.
✨ Why is my Pooch Attracted to Drinking Rainwater?
Despite what some unreliable websites may suggest, the truth is that tap water, which is chlorinated and fluoridated, is safe for dogs to consume, as strict regulations control the amount of fluoride and chlorine in the water supply.
But what do you do when your furry companion ignores their water bowl and opts to quench their thirst from a puddle in your yard or during your strolls together? The reason behind their behavior is that the water in stagnant pools carries an irresistible aroma and flavor, mainly because it contains dirt and other elements that catch their attention.
✨ Can Drinking Rainwater Make Your Dog Sick?
While it may seem harmless, letting your dog drink rainwater requires exercising caution. Though it’s true that in most cases, drinking rainwater won’t make your dog sick, it’s better to err on the side of caution and discourage them from lapping up puddles altogether. Here’s why:
Can dogs get sick from drinking rainwater? Unfortunately, yes. Drinking rainwater from puddles can expose your furry friend to various types of contamination, including dirt, chemicals, oil, animal excrement, dead insects, and litter – all of which can be toxic to them.
Although occasional sips from puddles are usually not harmful, letting your dog consume large quantities of outside water poses certain health risks. Bacteria, germs, and parasites living in the water can cause diarrhea and other illnesses, which can make your dog sick. That’s why tap water is the recommended option for your furry pal since it is treated to eliminate any microorganisms that could harm them if ingested.
For inquisitive dogs who enjoy drinking rainwater, this can become a significant issue, depending on where the puddle is located and what it’s been exposed to.
To sum up, it’s probably not worth the risk to let your dog regularly drink rainwater, as it can make them ill.
✨ My Dog Drank Contaminated Water: What to Do?
As a pet parent, your dog’s safety is a top priority. Therefore, discovering that your furry friend has quenched their thirst from an unsanitary water source like a stagnant pond or a puddle can be concerning. In most cases, a small amount of dirty rainwater shouldn’t harm your dog. However, various illnesses can be contracted by drinking contaminated water. So, what should you do if your dog has already consumed dirty water, and you’re anxious?
Suppose your dog has actively ingested blue-green algae; in that case, it’s advisable to contact your vet or seek immediate assistance from a 24/7 emergency pet clinic. Certain types of blue-green algae can be incredibly poisonous to dogs, causing liver damage and even seizures if left untreated. Your vet can run tests to determine if your dog has ingested harmful algae and administer treatment accordingly. The earlier the diagnosis, the better.
If you suspect an algae bloom, please contact your state’s department of health, which may have a hotline available on their website. This helps your state track and warn people of any harmful algae blooms in the area.
This is a rare occurrence, though. If your dog has consumed dirty water from a place without algae, keep a close eye on them for the next few days for any signs of illness, discomfort, vomiting, or diarrhea. These symptoms could indicate that the water was contaminated.
If you’re worried about your dog’s health after drinking contaminated water, contact your vet for further information and treatment. Personally, I would always err on the side of caution and call our vet for advice, even with minor concerns.
❂ More on the Risks of Drinking Rainwater
Like all creatures, dogs require water when thirsty, and when outdoors, they can drink from unsanitary places, such as puddles. Although the water may be clean when freshly fallen, the ground where puddles collect is not. It gathers dirt, leaves, and dead insects and can sit for hours to days, depending on the weather.
Contaminated water carries various bacteria, including E. coli, Giardia, and Campylobacter. Drinking from stagnant pools and puddles also puts your dog at risk of contracting leptospirosis, a bacterium found in water that other animals, such as rats, have urinated in. This disease causes abdominal pain and diarrhea and can lead to kidney failure in severe cases. However, a vaccine is available for your dog, recommended if they are a keen swimmer or insist on drinking rainwater from puddles or stagnant ponds.
✨ Help! My Dog Is Drinking from Stagnant Ponds
Stagnant ponds pose the same risks as puddles, but on a larger scale, as they do not evaporate and continue to collect all sorts of substances in the water.
If your furry friend enjoys swimming, ensure it is in a freshwater source that doesn’t contain large quantities of blue-green algae. It’s also crucial to avoid letting your dog swim in ponds and canals in areas you are unfamiliar with, both for their safety and the water quality.
After your dog has gone for a swim, it’s essential to rinse them off thoroughly, either in a bath or with a hose, to eliminate anything they may have picked up in their fur that they could ingest later when cleaning themselves.
If you notice any unusual behavior or signs of illness after swimming, take your dog to see a vet as soon as possible.
❂ The Dangers of Giardia
Giardia is a single-celled parasite that can affect both humans and animals, causing what is commonly known as “traveler’s diarrhea” or “beaver fever.” It’s found in rainwater.
Infected dogs can experience vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal pain, and humans can experience the same symptoms. The parasite attaches itself to the wall of the intestine to feed, and larger numbers of them cause clinical signs of damage to the wall before passing further infectious cysts into their stool to infect other animals.
If left untreated, Giardia can be fatal to both puppies and adult dogs if their immune system is immature or compromised.
If you notice your dog experiencing stomach upset, vomiting, or watery diarrhea after drinking rainwater, seeking a vet’s diagnosis and treatment is highly recommended.
✨ Can Dogs Safely Drink from Pools?
Many American homes have outside pools, particularly in warmer states, providing your furry friend with easy access to a vast water source. But is it safe to allow your dog to drink from a swimming pool?
The answer is no. Pool water contains chlorine, which is used to prevent bacterial and germ contamination. While this makes it safe for you and your family to swim in, allowing your dog to ingest significant amounts of chlorine can be incredibly harmful to them.
Although tap water may also contain chlorine, it is kept under strict restrictions to ensure that the amount present is not high enough to be harmful to people or animals. In contrast, pool water has a much higher concentration of chlorine.
Like people, drinking too much pool water can cause your dog to experience an upset stomach and nausea, depending on the pool’s chlorine levels. However, the occasional sip is unlikely to cause significant harm to your dog.
Nonetheless, if your furry companion consistently drinks pool water as their primary source of water, it can cause health issues. Therefore, it’s essential to discourage them from drinking large amounts of pool water and keep them away from the pool.
✨ How to Keep Dogs from Drinking Puddles
And lastly, how can you prevent your dog from drinking puddles and rainwater?
If you’re concerned about your furry friend’s habit of drinking outside water sources, there are a few ways to stop them.
Sometimes, your dog’s search for water is due to thirst, particularly on warmer days. You can address this by carrying water with you for your dog while on walks. Many dogs are content to drink straight from the bottle (although some may need to be trained not to need a bowl), which will quench their thirst and prevent them from seeking water elsewhere.
Your dog may also be curious about the water, fascinated by its scent and wanting to investigate it further. To prevent them from drinking rainwater, gently but firmly pull them away and train them not to drink from puddles.
Positive reinforcement is frequently the most effective approach to training, with dogs learning that refraining from drinking things like puddles earns them praise and rewards before it becomes a habit.
Furthermore, if you have outdoor water bowls, do not allow your dog to drink from them if they have collected rainwater during the day. When letting your dog outside, empty the water, rinse it off, and refill it with fresh water from the tap.
Many dogs have a penchant for drinking rainwater, and for the most part, it is safe. Nevertheless, there are dangers and risks involved, so my recommendation is to prevent them from drinking puddles altogether.
If you have any concerns, it’s best to seek professional advice.