Drinking water essential to life, but does source make a difference in health?
Water, essential to life, makes up about 70 percent of your dog’s body (the adult human is roughly 60 percent). Access to fresh, clean water is important in maintaining good health, and just a few days without water can lead to serious illness or death. Because water is so crucial to a dog’s well-being, many dog owners are concerned about their dog’s drinking water source.
There are several competing opinions about water sources, so scientifically examining this hotly debated issue could help shed some light on how water source affects health. Morris Animal Foundation’s Golden Retriever Lifetime Study is a part of that scientific examination.
In our dogs, and us, water serves a number of critical functions to keep them going:
- A vital nutrient to the life of every cell
- Internal body temperature regulation
- Transportation of nutrients in the bloodstream
- Flushing waste
- Acts as a shock absorber
- Forms saliva
- Lubricates joints
The Golden Retriever Lifetime Study asks for the study dog’s primary source of drinking water, but if a dog is an active swimmer, or hikes with the owner, they may come into contact with other water sources. Ultimately, the study will obtain a big picture of where dogs are getting their drinking water in the contiguous United States.
The study is one of the first large investigations to examine how water source influences canine health. Since the study represents a large number of different geographical regions, each with its own unique water supply, the results will give us greater knowledge of how regional differences in water source also might affect health.
Study baseline data shows that 65 percent of study dogs drink municipal water. Twenty-eight percent drink well water (either filtered or unfiltered) and a final 7 percent either drink bottled water or another source of water (for example, water from a pond). We might expect these percentages to shift a bit over time, as study participant families move to other locations, or their access to other water sources changes.
Regardless of the source, we all know that free access to clean water is important for our canine companion’s good health. So, make sure that water bowl is filled or that you grab a few extra water bottles when you’re ready to head out with your dog!