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You probably don’t like to drink out of a water glass that’s been sitting around all day. Why should your dog be forced to do that? A dog water fountain is a great way to get pets to drink more water.
Water is crucial for your dog’s health, and they may not be drinking enough. Buying a pet fountain, or water dispenser, can be a great way to encourage your dog to drink more water.
Let’s talk about why a dog drinking fountain is important, what to look for in one, and other things to know. Then, we’ll talk about the best dog water fountains for large dogs.
Benefits of Using a Dog Water Fountain
A water fountain for pets is more important than you may realize. You should consider a pet fountain as a requirement rather than a luxury.
Out in nature, flat water is often stagnant and contains bacteria that can make animals sick. That’s why most animals prefer to drink running water, like from a stream. Since dogs descended from wolves, they have the same instinct to seek out running water.
Since dogs prefer to drink running water, they’re more likely to drink from a fountain and stay hydrated. Chronic dehydration can lead to a variety of health issues in pets. You want your dog to drink as much water as possible instead of dreading their bowl.
Flat water in a bowl is also more likely to breed bacteria, get slimy from drool, and collect debris.
These are great benefits for your dog, but what about you? Most dog water fountains hold a lot more water than a dog bowl. That means you don’t need to fill them as often, and it’s less likely your dog will run out of water.
All in all, a dog water dispenser is just a smarter choice for you and your dog than a bowl.
Types of Pet Fountains
Now that you’ve decided to buy a pet fountain let’s talk about the different types of drinking fountains. Each type has pros and cons, so you should decide which type is best for you. Then, you can decide which large pet fountain of that type is the best.
Gravity Dog Water Dispenser
These are the simplest, cheapest, most common dog water dispensers. Most often, you fill a jug with water and flip it upside down into the bowl. This maintains a constant water level as dogs drink from it.
A gravity water dispenser will help you fill your dog’s water bowl less often. However, it doesn’t qualify as running water. Therefore, it doesn’t have all the same benefits as other dog water fountains.
Gravity dispensers are a cheap option for ensuring your dog doesn’t run out of water. It’s a good choice if you fear your dog will empty their water bowl when you aren’t around.
Electric Dog Water Fountain
An electric dog fountain is the best choice to give your dog access to fresh running water. Not only do they keep water flowing, but they usually also have filters to keep the water clean.
Electric fountains tend to be the most expensive type. However, they offer the most benefits. There is a wide variety of styles and types to suit any home décor.
While electric dog water fountains are a great option, they aren’t always the best option. Since they need a power cord, they must be close to an electrical outlet. Additionally, the cord can be a chewing hazard for bored dogs or curious puppies.
Outdoor Dog Water Fountain
If your dog spends their days outside, and outdoor water fountain may be the best choice. Typically, outdoor dispensers are attached to a hose. They’re a lot more durable than electric pet fountains to handle the weather.
On the one hand, outdoor drinking fountains can be fun toys for water-loving dog breeds. On the other hand, water sitting in a hose can become very hot. That can be unpleasant at best and dangerous at worst.
You should keep an outdoor dispenser in the shade as much as possible. This prevents the fluid from getting too hot and reduces evaporation.
Best Dog Water Fountain
(Our Top Pick)
#1 – PetSafe Drinkwell Indoor/Outdoor Dog Fountain
This indoor/outdoor dog water fountain is our top pick. That’s thanks to its large water capacity, ability to be used indoors or outdoors, and big, deep bowl. It’s BPA-free and UV-resistant. Also, the bowl is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning.
- 450 oz water capacity
- Replaceable carbon water filter
- High sides reduce spills
- Can be used indoors or outdoors
User Reviews: There are some reports of the pump failing and some complaints about it being loud. However, most people love this fountain. Since it has 2 separate water jugs, it’s easier to fill than one large, heavy one. The large capacity is great for homes with several large dogs.
Bottom Line: This pet fountain is a little on the pricy side, but it’s worth the money if the noise doesn’t bother you. Regular cleaning and filter changing helps keep the pump working with consistent water flow. It should last for several years without a problem.
(Best Choice for Households with Multiple Large Dogs)
#2 – Critter Concepts Large Dog Water Dispenser
This water dispenser is designed for homes with multiple large dogs. With its 6.5 gallon capacity, you don’t need to worry about your dogs running out of water during the day. Since it’s on wheels, you can easily roll it where you want it.
- 5-gallon capacity
- Has locking wheels
- Made in the USA
- Fills from the top
User Reviews: There are a few complaints about various parts not working. However, there are multiple compliments about amazing customer service. Most people with multiple pets LOVE this dog water fountain. It’s easy to fill and requires no heavy lifting. The large capacity lasts a long time. And easily replaceable parts keep it functional for years.
Bottom Line: If you can afford it, you should invest in this fountain if you have multiple large dogs. Even if you have a problem with parts, the customer service team will send you what you need. This unit seems well worth the money.
(Best Outdoor Dog Water Fountain)
#3 – Trio Gato Outdoor Dog Pet Water Sprinkler
If you’re looking for a product that can provide fun, exercise, cooling, and drinking water, look no further. Since it attaches to a hose, this product provides endless water flow. For dogs who love to play in the water, it’s hard to beat this fountain toy.
- Attaches to a hose for unlimited clean water
- Helps your dog stay cool and have fun in addition to having access to clean drinking water
- Easy to install
- Easy to teach dogs to use
User Reviews: There are some complaints about pieces falling apart, rust, and hot water in the hose. However, most dogs love this fountain’s design, and owners love knowing their dog won’t run out of water.
Bottom Line: If your dog loves to play in the water, this is a great choice for an outdoor water fountain. Just be careful to keep the hose in the shade. You may also want to manually dump out hot water before letting your dog use it.
(Best Budget Pet Fountain)
#4 – PetSafe Healthy Pet Water Station
This is a good water dispenser at an affordable price. It’s a gravity water feeder designed with sizes as large as 320 ounces. That makes it perfect for homes with one or more large dogs.
- Available in sizes as large as 320 ounces
- Easy to clean
- Stainless steel bowl is dishwasher safe
- Doesn’t need electricity
User Reviews: Apparently, this fountain doesn’t work as well when you add filters, several reviews mention leaks. However, most people love how easy it is to clean and how long they can go between filling it.
Bottom Line: For the price point, this is one of the best pet water fountains you’ll find. As long as you don’t get a defective one that leaks, that is.
(Best Quiet Dog Water Fountain)
#5 – Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain
Some water dispensers for dogs have noisy motors or have a constant splashing sound. This design reduces the noise as much as possible for a quiet fountain you and your dog will both enjoy.
- 168-ounce capacity
- Ready to use right out of the box
- Ramp design reduces splashing and noise
- Dishwasher-safe reservoir
User Reviews: There are reports of this fountain leaking or the pump failing. Other complaints revolve around it being somewhat difficult to clean. Most people, though, swear by this fountain, saying it’s quiet and easy to use.
Bottom Line: If your dog loves drinking running water, but you want something quiet, you’ll love this fountain. Just be sure to keep the water tank full to prevent ruining the motor.
How to Choose the Best Dog Water Fountain
Now that you’ve identified which type of dog drinking fountain you’re looking for, what features should you look for? Here are some things you should consider when shopping for a pet water fountain.
Did you know that dogs need to drink around 1 ounce of water for each pound of their body weight? That means a pair of 70-pound Labrador Retrievers will drink around 140 ounces of water per day, for example.
Maybe you’re willing to refill the dog drinking fountain a couple of times a day to save some money. Maybe you’d rather spend money on a larger dispenser that will last all day. That’s something you should decide before buying a dog water fountain.
Size and Space
Beyond the water capacity, how large is the fountain? How much space does it take up on the floor? Do you need something with a small footprint, or is a bigger size better?
You should decide where you plan on putting a dog water dispenser before your purchase. You don’t want to buy a fountain with a size that won’t fit where you want it.
Bowl Width and Depth
Do you have multiple dogs that like to drink at once? You’ll want a wide bowl size to accommodate all their muzzles.
Does your dog love to snorkel when they drink? A deep bowl can keep them happy and make less of a mess for you to clean up.
Different types of dog water fountains have different types of filtration. Are you prepared to buy new filters and replace them as necessary? If not, a gravity dog water dispenser might be a better option.
When looking at fountains that require filters, research how often you need to replace them and how expensive they are. That way, you won’t be surprised by the extra, ongoing cost of new filters.
Does the sound of running water drive you bonkers? You may not want a loud fountain. On the other hand, if you have a blind dog, a loud fountain can help them find their water.
Either way, it’s something you should think about when buying a doggie water fountain.
Some types of plastic contain harmful chemicals like BPA. Even safe plastic is easy for dogs to chew on. However, it is often the cheapest and most widely available dog water fountain material.
Other types of materials used in dog drinking fountains include stainless steel and ceramic. Stainless steel is the easiest to clean. Heavy ceramic bowls are great for dogs who like to tip over their water bowl.
Are you looking to buy a product that is sturdy and will last for years? Or do you want something cheap you can replace later?
It will often pay off to invest more money in a dog water fountain that will last a long time. It can pay for itself compared to constantly buying new pet water dispensers.
A dog water fountain with too many nooks and crannies can be hard to clean. Look for dog water fountains that come apart into several pieces. Those will be the easiest to clean.
If it just holds liquid, does a dog fountain need to be cleaned? Yes! Water is a breeding ground for bacteria, and it isn’t enough just to rinse and refill the fountain.
While durable dispensers can pay for themselves over time, you may need to start with something cheaper. There’s nothing wrong with that as long as you know your budget before you buy something too expensive.
Are you looking for form over function? Or do you want something with a beautiful design as well as function?
A dog water fountain doesn’t need to be ugly. These days, there are a lot of stylishly designed dog water dispensers to choose from.
Why Is Water Important for My Dog?
Water is crucial for all animals. Without getting into much biology, cells need water to function. Cell function is responsible for nearly every process in the body.
In short, a lack of water will slow down or halt processes that your dog needs to survive and thrive. Even low levels of dehydration can cause health problems.
How to Get Your Dog to Drink More
Are you worried that your dog isn’t drinking enough water? If a dog water fountain isn’t enough, here are some other tips to get your dog to drink more water:
- Add ice cubes to the water
- Feed them wet food
- Keep water bowls or fountains in multiple places around your home
- Clean bowls or fountains often
- Add natural flavoring to the water (like chicken broth)
Things to Remember While Using a Dog Water Dispenser
Maintaining a dog water dispenser requires more than just keeping it full. Here are some things to remember while using a dog water fountain:
- Keep it on a stable, flat surface
- Clean and disinfect it at least every week or two
- Make sure you know which pieces are dishwasher safe
- Keep track of how much water your dog drinks, so you notice if they start drinking more or less
- Read the instruction manual
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about dog drinking fountains.
Are Dog Fountains Hard to Clean?
Some dog water dispensers are dishwasher safe, while others need to be hand-washed. Make sure you read and follow all the directions on the fountain for the best ways to clean it.
How Do Pet Water Fountains Work?
Different styles of dog water dispensers work in different ways. However, most work by recirculating water so that it is always flowing. Some have waterfall features to encourage your dog to drink water.
Do You Have to Attach a Dog Water Dispenser to a Hose?
While some outdoor dog fountains require a hose, most recirculate water that you add to a reservoir. These fountains don’t require a hose.
Does an Outdoor Dog Water Fountain Prevent Water from Freezing?
Unless the fountain specifically says that it prevents water from freezing, it probably won’t.
Wrapping Up: Which Is the Best Water Fountain for Dogs?
Only you can decide which pet water fountain is best for you and your dog. However, we hope we’ve given you some great choices here. There are hundreds to choose from, so this shortlist should speed up the process.