There’s nothing quite like a lovely long walk in the countryside with your dog. During the long walk, your dog is eventuality going to get thirsty. Unless you have packed a dog water bottle, your dog will probably look for the nearest puddle to quench their thirst. But is safe to drink rainwater? What harm can a puddle of rainwater do? Its always best to do your research first, so great to see you here. I will share the potential health risks of letting your dog drink rainwater. I successfully stopped my dog’s from drinking rainwater, and I will share how I managed to do it, but first let’s find out if they can.
Rainwater is pure whilst dropping from the sky. however, once it hits the ground and a puddle is formed, the rainwater directly gets contaminated, creating a mini-ecosystem. Your dog will be at risk from parasites, bacteria and even chemicals if consumed, making your dog sick.
Now we know that your dog will be at risk if you let them drink rainwater from a puddle, but let’s find out why they do it and how to stop it.
Why does my dog like to drink rainwater?
Your dog may just come across a puddle at the same time your dog feels thirsty, coincidence Maybe. Perhaps your dog watched their mother do the same when they were a puppy. You may find that they prefer to drink from puddles, rather than a bowl of water from the tap. We all know that dogs have a great sense of smell, and tap water contains fluoride and chlorine. Perhaps your dog prefers it and thinks it has an attractive scent. Whatever the reason is, you need to stop it and being a responsible dog owner; you should teach your dog to stop drinking rainwater.
Contaminated rainwater infection Symptoms
Infections in dogs from drinking rainwater don’t always show the tell-tell signs straight away and could spread bacteria and viruses around without you knowing. Below are some of the prominent characters to look out for if your dog has drank contaminated rainwater.
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Difficulty breathing
If your dog is showing any of the signs above please contact your veterinarian, they will request a stool sample. The stool sample will show them what type or types of potential contamination your dog has come into contact with from drinking rainwater.
How the vet will treat your dog
The vet will treat your dog depending on what they find from the stool sample. Most of the ordinary finds will be a parasite, and it will be treated by a course of antibiotics or a de-worming tablet.
Your health is at risk.
By letting your dog drink rainwater, you are also putting your health at risk as well as your families. It may sound extreme, but it’s highly possible if your dog has consumed contaminated rainwater, they can and will pass it on by contact. I kiss my dogs all the time and let them lick my face, so like me, you must be extra careful. Stop your dog from drinking any rainwater found outside, be it on the ground, in a bucket, container, lakes, rivers, and streams, all drinking from an unknown source outside should be avoided.
How to stop your dog
You can stop your dog drinking from a puddle by offering them water from a bottle or a bowl during a walk. If your dog goes to drink from a rainwater source, a firm command ‘leave it’ should be used.
If your dog isn’t familiar with the ‘leave it’ command, I have written up my simple how-to training guide that you can follow here.
How I stopped my dog drinking from puddles:
- Offering refreshments throughout the walk
- Keep them on a short leash
- Offer your dog a drink before leaving the house.
- Teach them the ‘Leave it’ command.
Another option in extreme cases only, and you have exhausted the above options, you may want to think about using a muzzle whilst outside, or during the training process. Of course, please try all the above first and leave this as the last possible solution.
Organisms found in a puddle
A team of microbiologists from SFAM conducted a study and they collected puddle water samples and found several living organisms:
As well as the above, puddles can have snails, tadpoles, plankton, oil, dead insects, faeces and litter, which all can bring sickness and diarrhoea and in extreme cases can be fatal. If your dog drinks from a puddle, many things can make your dog sick as you can see above. If you’re still thinking should I really stop my dog from drinking from a puddle, the answer is simple, and it’s a yes you should stop them.
Dogs drinking from a puddle comes with a risk so It’s important not to let your dog drink from a puddle. This also includes lakes, rivers, ponds, or random containers on the ground. These also pose a toxic risk to your dog. Not only your dog’s health is at risk, but yours is too. Good luck with the training, and hopefully buying a dog muzzle will not be needed. Lucky for my dogs they picked up pretty quickly that I wasn’t happy with them lapping up puddle juice.
Happy dog parenting!
About the Author
Teresa has been a pet lover since she was little. She currently lives with two dogs and two cats, and a hamster. Teresa is a qualified dog groomer and canine behaviourist; these days, she spends her time studying canine nutrition. Teresa is the founder of the Dog Friendly Scene and loves sharing her knowledge on pets.