Should Your Dog Be Drinking Out of Communal Water Bowls at Dog Parks?

dog park

Can dog park communal water bowls really be dangerous for Fido?

One of the first things a fur parent looks for before visiting a dog park is whether or not they have a clean water source.

Although the availability of a water supply makes things easier, some fur parents still wonder if it’s safe to let Fido drink at the dog park communal water bowl.

Before we can talk about whether or not it’s safe for dogs to drink from public water sources, we need to learn more about dog dehydration first.

What is dehydration?

Dehydration in dogs happens when they lose more water than they take in.

The Memphis Veterinary Specialists & Emergency website explains that dehydration can reduce blood flow, affecting oxygen delivery to organs and tissues.

Dehydration can also lead to loss of electrolytes. In turn, this can affect muscle function and the regulation of nerve activities.

What causes dehydration?

Lack of water intake can cause dehydration in dogs. 

Illnesses, vomiting, diarrhea, and heatstroke can also cause dog dehydration. 

What are the signs of dehydration in dogs?

Look for these signs listed on the American Kennel Club website if you suspect that your dog may be dehydrated:

1) Loss of skin elasticity

To test for loss of skin elasticity, gently hold the skin near your dog’s should blades. Then, raise it, let it go, and check if it instantly springs back to its original position. 

If it does, your dog is well-hydrated. A dehydrated dog’s skin will take longer to fall back into place. 

2) Loss of appetite

Several things can cause dogs to lose their appetite. They could be suffering from dehydration, dental problems, or stress, to name a few.

Other signs of dehydration include panting, dry nose, dry, sticky gums, lethargy, and sunken eyes. 

Bring Fido to a veterinarian immediately if you suspect he is suffering from dehydration. 

How to prevent dog dehydration

Prevention is better than cure. That’s why you need to be very particular when it comes to your dog’s water intake.

You can do many things to ensure your dog doesn’t get dehydrated.

For one, always make sure your dog has access to clean water. You also have to make sure you regularly clean Fido’s water bowl. 

Always bring water bottles with you when you go on walks or trips to the park. 

What if you could not bring water with you to the dog park? Is it okay to let your fur baby drink from the dog park water bowl?

Is the water in the dog park water bowl safe for dog consumption?

Experts say contagious diseases in dogs commonly spread through coughing and sneezing. 

However, it can also be possible to expose your fur baby to diseases and parasites through contaminated dog park water bowls.

It’s hard to know how often these public water bowls get cleaned. As a result, communal water bowls often have stagnant water contaminated with bacteria and parasites.

Is it okay for dogs to share dog park water bowls?

It will be hard to tell dogs which water bowl to drink from especially if you’re somewhere public. It’s very common to see dogs prefer one bowl over another.

So to keep your fur baby safe from any parasites or diseases, best to use travel bowls instead or the collapsible ones that you can hold in your  hand.

What diseases can dogs get from dog park water bowls?

1) Intestinal Worms

Communal water bowls contaminated with feces are a breeding ground for common intestinal worm parasites like roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.

These parasites can cause diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, lethargy, and a swollen abdomen. In worst cases, your dog can get coughs, blocked intestines, and pneumonia. 

2) Coccidiosis

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, coccidiosis is an intestinal tract infection caused by coccidia. 

Coccidiosis commonly leads to diarrhea, although most infected dogs do not show any signs. 

The infection can also cause dehydration, vomiting, and abdominal distress. Severe cases of coccidiosis can lead to death. 

3) Giardia

Fido can get Giardia from water soiled with feces. The parasite can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and weight loss.

How to prevent getting diseases from dog park water bowls

There are plenty of ways to save your dog from diseases that may come from dog park water bowls. Here are a few: 

1) Bring your dog’s bowl and water

Although it’s convenient to just let your dog drink from the communal water bowls at the dog park, it’s still best to bring your dog’s bowl. 

2) Check if the dog park water bowls are clean

If you could not bring your dog’s water and bowl, check the one available at the park before you let your dog drink. 

Don’t let your dog drink if the water in the bowl is cloudy or if it has anything floating in it like leaves, dirt, poop, or insects.

3) Ask for water from nearby establishments

In case the water at the park is dirty, or you did not bring your own, you can stop by nearby establishments to ask for a cup of water.

4) Choose the dog fountain over dog park water bowls

Invest in a good brand of collapsible dog water bowls. This way, you don’t have to carry bulky bowls with you.

You can opt to get clean and fresh water from the dog fountain instead of letting your god drink the stagnant water from the bowls in the area.

Good water bowl hygiene is key

dog park communal water bowl

It’s not enough to be particular when it comes to what your pet is drinking at the park. You also have to practice good water bowl hygiene at home.

Wash your dog’s food and water bowl daily, especially if you have several dogs sharing a bowl.

Choose the right kind of water bowl for your dog, too. 

Stainless steel bowls are a great choice as they’re the least likely to harbor germs. These bowls are also easy to clean. 

Glass dog bowls are also a great choice because they’re much like stainless bowls. The only difference is that they’re prone to chipping and breaking. 

Experts say it’s best to avoid dog park water bowls altogether—just to be on the safe side.

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