Table of Contents
Everyone knows the importance of staying hydrated. You set a water goal for yourself every day. But what about your dog? How much water does your dog drink each day? Have you ever thought about it? Odds are your canines may not be getting enough water. If you’re struggling to meet their needs, consider swapping their water dishes for one of these automatic water bowls for dogs.
The Importance of Water
Often, dogs don’t get enough to drink each day. Their water bowls may contain water that’s grown too warm sitting in the sun. Giant breeds with jowls may carry pieces of food over that ends up floating in the bowl. (If it’s gross to you, it’s gross to them) Or they may drink more than the average dog bowl can hold, leaving them with nothing until you return home from work. Without a minimum intake of fluid every day, they balance on the verge of dehydration. And as temperatures climb, this can lead to concerns for lethargy or worse.
The lack of proper hydration stresses the kidneys in dogs. Over time, kidney disease develops as those organs suffer constant strain, leading to chronic kidney failure. Suddenly, your dog needs regular infusions of subcutaneous fluids (fluids administered under the skin) to help the kidneys limp along. All for want of proper water intake.
Enter the Fountain
Automatic water bowls for dogs step in to prevent such health concerns. Many feature fountains or bubbling water, both of which mimic the sound of running water. That natural sound is the key to getting your dog to drink.
Babbling brooks or streams tell wolves there’s a source of fresh water close by. Your dog retains that same instinct. They’ll seek out the sound, even if it’s only to head to the kitchen.
Automatic water bowls for dogs draw your dog, encouraging them to pause and take a swallow. Place one in your house, switch it on, and watch your pup gravitate toward it. They can’t help it! It’s a simple, elegant solution.
Choosing an Automatic Water Bowl for Dogs
There’s a wide array of automatic water bowls for dogs available. They come in different styles, feature various materials, and operate in different ways. You’ll want to choose one that suits your home, your dog’s drinking style, and your lifestyle. As you look through the options, keep the following in mind.
- Capacity: How large is your dog? Do you have several dogs in the household that will share the automatic water bowl? You want to make sure the size of the bowl works. Most dogs drink 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight every day (but erring on the high side won’t hurt).
- Materials: You’ll find automatic water bowls for dogs in everything from BPA-free plastic to ceramic to stainless steel. The choice is yours, but consider the ease of cleaning.
- Filters: Filters keep the water in an automatic water bowl for dogs fresh and clear of the hair and debris collected in a typical water dish. You’ll need to change them periodically, but it beats dirty water (and your canine will appreciate the freshness each time they drink).
- Noise: Automatic water bowls for dogs utilize a pump to circulate the water through the filter. Some are louder than others. If you have a dog that startles with noise, try to find a quieter option. (And keep the water level topped off – empty bowls equate to louder noise)
- Design: Automatic water bowls for dogs vary between gravity, fountains, and bubblers. Each has its pros and cons, and you’ll need to consider what works best for you and your pets.
Best Automatic Water Bowls for Dogs
Keeping fresh, aerated water on-hand at all times encourages your dog to drink. That’s hard to manage on your own (unless you want to leave a hose or the bathtub running). Automatic water bowls for dogs simplify that concern. You’ll be amazed at how often your four-legged friend drops by to snag a drink.
While we DO keep a ceramic bowl filled at all times, our dog often makes the extra trip around to stop at the fountain. She prefers that fresh, bubbling water. She’ll only drink out of the bowl if she feels she doesn’t have another option.
Best Fountain-Style Automatic Water Bowls for Dogs
The sound of running water makes the most difference in getting your dog to drink. It piques their interest and draws them to the automatic water bowl for dogs. Whether you choose a fountain or a bubbler, the soothing rush of water entices your dog to pause in their activity. (And, yes, the images usually have cats, but believe me when I assure you all of these fountains work for dogs, too)
Does your dog have trouble navigating the house at night to find their water? Lotus thought of their needs. Their automatic water bowl for dogs comes with a built-in nightlight! The BPA-free plastic basin holds 75 ounces of water. You can switch between a faucet mode, bubbler, or waterfall by adding the cute lotus flower on top. Two filtration systems keep the water fresh and clean.
Downsides? The light may or may not be beneficial. Some dogs find them frightening. You know your pup best and can decide to switch it on or not. There’s no anti-microbial coating, so you’ll need to clean the fountain weekly.
PetSafe made a name for themselves in automatic water bowls. Their Drinkwell Fountain still tops the list for a lot of people with its sleek, basic design. The BPA-free plastic can go onto the top shelf of your dishwasher for easy cleaning, and there’s a filter to keep the water cycling and clean. An adjustable knob gives you complete control over the strength of the waterfall. (I recommend keeping it low – the highest level WILL splash out of the basin) And the reservoir holds 50 ounces of water, making it perfect for cats and smaller dogs.
The downsides? The plastic doesn’t have an anti-microbial coating. If you don’t stay on top of cleaning, it builds up biofilm. Also, if you have particularly fluffy pets, hair clogs the filter. You need to clean it out at least once a month to prevent problems. And don’t let the water level drop unless you want to hear a horrible grinding sound from the motor. (It’s really awful)
The Stainless-Steel Fountain provides precisely what it sounds like – a coating of stainless steel on the basin. The reservoir holds a whopping 128 ounces, and you can customize the fountain in up to five different streams to accommodate multiple dogs at one time. The fountain’s dishwasher safe (always on the top shelf), and you can swap out the filters without a problem. If need be, the pump comes apart for thorough cleaning.
So what are the downsides? While coated in stainless steel, there are plastic clips around the side, and biofilm collects around them. You have to clean this automatic water bowl for dogs WEEKLY. Also, the water splashes out of the bowl when it’s full. But, if you keep the reservoir too low, the pump gets loud. It’s a delicate balance.
If you have a dog with arthritis or even a larger dog, the Multi-Tier Fountain provides one of the largest reservoir capacities at 100 ounces. Two waterfall heights ease the bending an older dog needs to do. You get the same top-row dishwasher cleaning, and the filters change out without a problem. You’re also able to adjust the water flow, easing the waterfall’s strength if it starts splashing out of the basins.
Downsides? The BPA-free plastic doesn’t have an anti-microbial coating. Make sure you clean your fountain regularly. The motor’s quiet, but it gets louder as the water level drops, so stay on top of refills.
If you’d rather not deal with plastic, the Pagoda Drinking Fountain offers an alternative. The ceramic bowl and fountain can go directly into the top rack of the dishwasher for cleaning. You can set this automatic water bowl for dogs as a fountain, bowl, or bubbler, depending on your dog’s preferences (or your tolerance). The reservoir holds 70 ounces of water, allowing for multiple dogs to share the fountain. And the filter and pump are easy to clean.
The downsides? The inside components are still plastic, so you need to keep up with your cleaning as you would with other automatic water bowls for dogs. The filters for this fountain are thicker than others, so they’re difficult to get in place.
For households with larger dogs, the Big Dog and Cat Fountain provides PLENTY of water. This automatic water bowl for dogs holds the most water of any fountain – TWO GALLONS! The bowls feature two tiers of waterfalls, and you can adjust the flow. You’ll need to change out two filters on this bowl (due to the size), but they’re the same kind. The BPA-free plastic can fit on the top shelf of the dishwasher, and those rounded corners make it easy to reach every part of the fountain.
So what are the downsides? Due to the size of this automatic water bowl for dogs, the pumps are on the loud side. You also need to purchase a special cleaning kit to tackle the pump and the fountain’s interior, as they can’t go in the dishwasher. And there’s no anti-microbial shield.
If you’d prefer to avoid falling water, Pioneer’s Raindrop Fountain offers a compromise. Their stainless-steel automatic water bowl for dogs bubbles up and cascades down the surface, minimizing the splash zone. The reservoir holds 96 ounces, providing plenty of water for a multiple dog household (or a large dog). You can safely wash the fountain on the top shelf of the dishwasher.
Downsides? Even Pioneer recommends cleaning the fountain weekly, which might irritate some people. You need to keep an eye on the power cord, as well. The design bends it at a 90-degree angle, which can strain the wire.
Zeus provides another bubbling option for owners that want to keep the splashing down. Their BPA-free plastic bowl holds 200 ounces that gurgle up from the center, providing the sound of flowing water without creating a mess. The elevated surface eases neck strain on older dogs. You get a single circular filter you change out monthly. And it’s easy to clean.
The downsides? You can’t adjust the water flow the way you can with other automatic water bowls for dogs. This power cord also features a sharp angle, so keep a close watch on it. And there’s no anti-microbial coating on the plastic.
Best Gravity-Style Automatic Water Bowls for Dogs
As water levels drop, all pumps on fountain-style automatic water bowls for dogs start to grind and make noise. It’s a great reminder to stay on top of refills, but not everyone wants to put up with the noise. If you’d rather skip the electronics, a gravity-style may suit you better. You fill the reservoir, and the automatic water bowl for dogs does the rest. You’ll need to keep an eye on the water level since there won’t be a reminder when things are getting low. But you won’t have to fuss with pumps, filters, or power cords.
AmazonBasics offers two size options for their gravity automatic water bowl for dogs: 1 gallon and 2.5 gallons. Non-skid rubber feet anchor the entire bowl in place while your dog drinks, and you get convenient side handles to aid you in carrying the reservoir around. The wide mouth on the BPA-free bottle makes cleaning a cinch.
Downsides? The valve on this automatic water bowl isn’t the smartest. You’ll often find the bowl filled to the brim (or higher), resulting in spills. Consider keeping towels underneath as a precaution. You can also end up with leaks between the bottle and bowl.
Do you want to avoid leaks? Aspen provides the perfect solution: their four-gallon bottle twists and locks into the bowl, preventing the water from spilling and leaking onto the floor. The valve won’t overflow the bowl, either, and a rim around the edge keeps the water from splashing over the sides. The BPA-free plastic keeps your dog safe, and you can scrub everything down.
The downsides? You need to wash this particular automatic water bowl for dogs a couple of times a week to prevent bacterial build-up. And it’s not the easiest to clean. Pay close attention to the underside of the lip, as debris likes to collect under there. When full, it’s difficult to get the bottle in place. Lift with your knees and move carefully.
Replendish holds FOUR GALLONS of water. The reservoir’s constructed from BPA-free PET plastic, and the basin features an anti-microbial coating. A filtration system keeps your dog’s water fresh and safe. As they drink, more water drops into the bowl. The basin has a wide mouth, making it easy for you to clean.
So what are the downsides? Carrying a full basin gets heavy. Lift with your legs and BE CAREFUL. Some people also found the seam between the basin and the bowl leaked. Keep a close eye on things.
“Water, Water Everywhere”
Hydration is key to keeping your dog healthy. When their drinking slips, potential problems crop up. Automatic water bowls for dogs make for a simple solution. The sound of flowing water works with their natural biology to encourage them to drink.
The soothing sound of water dancing in a bowl can help your mental well-being, too. It’s your Zen garden – in the kitchen!