Nothing beats looking at your dog playfully jumping into a puddle of water after a rainstorm. The smell of rain is in the air, and you can watch your pup enjoying his time outdoors. From time to time, though, canines tend to lap up from the poodles. Can dogs drink rain water, or is this harmful for them?
As you already know, dogs have to stay hydrated, especially in summer. This might cause your dog to drink from the puddles on the street.
While this seems like a normal thing for your dog, many owners wonder is this safe. In this article, we’ll discuss can dogs drink rain water, or will this cause them some health issues.
Why Do Dogs Love Drinking Rainwater?
Before you learn can dogs drink rain water, you probably wonder why they love drinking it so much. Well, rain water tastes very differently from tap water you’re probably giving them.
Tap water contains chlorine or fluoride, which impacts the taste. While this difference isn’t very obvious for us, dogs have a stronger sense of taste.
They prefer the taste of rain puddles over the regular water they drink at home. Also, rain water has a stronger smell compared to tap water.
This makes dogs want not just to smell it, but to taste it, as well.
No matter what you might have heard, tap water is perfectly safe for canines. The percentage of chlorine isn’t high enough to have any effect on their or your health.
Strict guidelines control the quality of tap water, and chlorine and fluoride levels are highly monitored. When the water is safe for you, it is more than safe for your furry pets, as well.
However, dogs don’t really care about health in the same way as we do. Most of them will prefer drinking from a puddle than from their own water bowl. Rain water contains dirt and other elements dogs will love investigating.
Can Dogs Get Sick From Rain Water?
Now, we’re at the main question. Can dogs drink rain water? The answer isn’t exactly straightforward.
In most cases, dogs can drink rain water without any issues. The chances of them getting sick are rather slim.
However, it would be the best if you train your dog to stop drinking from puddles altogether. The reasons why you should stay cautious are many.
Dogs can get sick if they drink rain water from puddles on the sidewalk or in your garden. Unlike tap water, no one monitors tap water.
Puddles can contain many different contaminants. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Various chemicals
- Animal feces
- Dead insects
All of these can harm your dog, especially if he commonly drinks rain water.
If your dog simply laps occasionally from the puddles, he’ll probably be fine. Still, it would be wise if you monitor how much water he drinks.
Consuming too much rain water, or drinking it every day can be a health hazard. His main source of water should be his water bowl at home.
Despite what you might think, rain water is in no way healthier for dogs than tap water. In fact, most experts would recommend the water from your tap over natural water sources.
This is because it is heavily monitored and free of any microorganisms that can damage your dog’s health.
Of course, some dogs will love drinking rain water no matter what. In fact, you might feel sad about forbidding them to do activities they enjoy so much. Still, we wouldn’t recommend you to allow your dog to drink rain water regularly.
My Dog Drank Muddy Water – Should I Be Worried?
Of course, all dog owners want their pups to stay safe. Now that you know they can develop issues from rain water, you will probably panic when he drinks it.
This is especially the case if you see him drinking visibly unclean water. Pond water or dirty puddles look extremely dangerous.
Keep in mind that your pup will likely be fine if he drank a small amount of rain water. Still, if you are worried, you should inspect the puddle he drank from.
If you notice any blue-green algae, this might be a sign of concern. Some types of these algae can be very poisonous to canines.
They might even cause seizures or liver damage. It’s essential to take your pooch to the vet as soon as possible. They’ll run tests that will confirm whether or not your dog consumed some dangerous algae. If there is the slightest concern your dog might have ingested these algae, don’t hesitate. Without adequate care, the damage might be long-lasting.
At the same time, if you notice algae bloom in a local pond, act responsively. You should contact your local health department.
Their hotline is typically available on their website. Health departments keep track of algae blooms and warn people about them. If the situation is really bad, they will destroy the algae and keep the water clean.
Even if your dog drank water from a dirty puddle without algae, keep a close eye on him. As we’ve mentioned before, there are still some illnesses he might contract from rain water.
Make sure to contact your vet if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite
- Overall discomfort
It would be the best always to be cautious. Contact your vet if you are concerned. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Can Dogs Drink Rain Water in Small Amounts?
Even though his chances of getting sick are slim, you shouldn’t allow your dog to drink any rain water.
This might be difficult. If a dog is thirsty during a walk, he’ll do all he can to drink it. Unfortunately, outdoor water sources can be everything but sanitary, and puddles can be very dangerous.
If the rain has just fallen, the puddle water should be fresh, right? Well, even though the water itself might be clean, the ground likely isn’t.
As soon as the rain touches the ground, it collects leaves, dirt, and dead insects. The puddle can also stay on the ground for hours, sometimes even days, if the weather is moist or cold.
This immediately means you shouldn’t risk it.
Some of the bacteria and parasites puddles can contain include:
- Escherichia Coli
Leptospirosis is an especially dangerous bacterium. You can find it in most waters that other animals, especially mice, have urinated in.
This disease will cause abdominal pain in your dogs. On rare occasions, it can even cause kidney failure. Luckily, a veterinarian can vaccinate your dog for this disease.
This is extremely useful if your dog loves drinking from puddles or ponds.
Also, dogs can get lungworms from puddles. Lungworms are parasites commonly found in slugs. However, they can live in dirty water, as well.
If your dog drinks the water infested with lungworms, the parasite will then invade him. Signs of a lungworm infection include:
- Increased breathing rate
- Respiratory distress
- Intolerance to exercise
Some dogs might not show any symptoms of lungworm infection at all. It all depends on your dog’s immune system and the body’s reaction to the disease.
If you notice any of these dangerous symptoms, contact your local vet immediately.
Giardia is another dangerous parasite that lives in rain water. It causes a disease known as ‘traveler’s diarrhea’ or ‘beaver fever.’ Giardia will attach to the intestine’s wall and feed on it. As this continues, the wall becomes damaged and infectious cysts appear. Some signs of giardia infections include:
- Abdominal pain
Giardia can be fatal if you have a puppy or a dog with certain health issues.
Is the pH of Rain Water Harmful?
If you are worried about pH of rainwater, on most occasions, you really shouldn’t be. Regular rain has a pH value of 5.6. As neutral pH is 6, this makes it slightly acidic, but nothing to be worried about. For example, bananas are more acidic than rain. However, in large cities or places near power plants, acid rains are quite common.
These rains have a pH of 4.2 to 4.4 but can go as low as 4. This means they are around ten times more acidic than regular rains!
Still, there isn’t any proof that drinking small amounts of acid rain will harm your pooch.
While we would in no way recommend you test this, there are other, far more dangerous issues with rain water.
Still, if you were to ask us can dogs drink rain water that is acidic – our answer would be ‘No.’ It simply isn’t worth the risk.
What if My Dog Drinks Water while Swimming?
If your dog loves to swim, ensure you keep him away from ponds with blue-green algae. Also, don’t let him swim into ponds or canals you aren’t familiar with.
Not only can they be dangerous, but you never know what’s in them. After the swim, rinse your dog well. He might lick himself afterward and ingest any parasites on bacteria from the water.
You don’t want to let that happen. While you never know if he drank the water, contact your vet if you notice any unusual behaviors.
If you are one of the lucky people with a pool in his backyard, your dog probably loves it. This, of course, likely means he’ll try to take a sip from it. Is this safe, or should you train him not to drink it?
Pool water contains chlorine. Unlike tap water, the amount of chlorine in pool water is very high. This is to prevent bacteria and germs from contaminating the pool.
Sure, this makes it safe for swimming. However, such a high amount of chlorine isn’t safe to drink, especially if he does that often.
Too much pool water can cause nausea, but it won’t be as harmful as drinking pool water. Still, it would be best if you didn’t let the pool become a constant water source for your dog.
Is rain water safe for dogs to drink? While your dog likely won’t have any serious issues after lapping from a puddle, you shouldn’t risk it.
Puddles are filled with microbes and parasites that can cause serious harm to a dog’s health. No matter how much your dog enjoys drinking from them, you shouldn’t allow it.
Veterinarians are constantly having visits from owners who didn’t know can dogs drink rain water. Even though you shouldn’t panic if your dog took a sip from the poodle, monitor him.
If you see any symptoms of stomach problems, contact your vet immediately.