Is Reverse Osmosis Water Good for Dogs? The Definitive Answer

Is Reverse Osmosis Water Good for Dogs? The Definitive Answer

If you’re like most dog owners, you want to do everything possible to make sure your furry friend lives a long and healthy life. One of the things you may be wondering is whether or not reverse osmosis water is good for dogs.

Reverse osmosis filtered water is very good for dogs. It is free of heavy metals, disinfection byproducts, radioactive elements, and many other contaminants that can make your dog sick. Veterinarians and animal researchers overwhelmingly agree that RO water is safe and healthy for dogs.

Continue reading for the definitive answer on whether your dog should be drinking reverse osmosis treated water.

Read my related articles about water for dogs:
Is It Safe to Give My Dog Brita Filtered Water?
Is Water Softener Salt Safe for Dogs?
Can Dogs Drink Alkaline Water? The Surprising Answer

What Is Reverse Osmosisreverse osmosis filter under sink

Reverse osmosis is a water treatment method that removes contaminants from water by passing it through a semipermeable membrane. This process is often used to purify drinking water, as it can remove impurities like lead, fluoride, and chlorine.

How it works

Reverse osmosis, or RO as it is called, uses a semipermeable membrane to remove impurities from water. The water is forced through the membrane, leaving the impurities behind. The clean water is then collected on the other side of the membrane.

Most RO systems have a particle filter and an activated carbon filter to pre-treat the water. The particle filter removes any sediment or dirt from the water, while the activated carbon filter removes any chlorine.

A reverse osmosis system can be sized to treat all of the water that enters your house. This is known as a whole-house system. Some people refer to these as point-of-entry units.

You can also install a RO filter under your sink. Smaller systems like this, known as point-of-use filters, are very common.

Read my articles on whole house RO systems and under-sink reverse osmosis filters.

Contaminants removed by reverse osmosis

Reverse osmosis can remove a wide range of contaminants from drinking water. It can remove chlorine, disinfection byproducts, and fluoride. RO filters also remove pesticides, PFAS, pharmaceuticals, and arsenic. It is especially effective at removing dissolved solids like lead, copper, and chromium.

Here is a partial list of impurities that reverse osmosis can filter out of water at a rate of 90% or more:

  • Arsenic
  • Barium
  • Cadmium
  • Calcium
  • Chloride
  • Cyanide
  • Fluoride
  • Iron
  • Lead
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Mercury
  • Nickel
  • Phosphate
  • Potassium
  • Selenium
  • Sodium
  • Sulfate
  • Zinc

There are many more contaminants that reverse osmosis can remove.

Can Dogs Drink Reverse Osmosis Water?Reverse Osmosis Water for Dogs

As a pet owner, you want to give your dog the best possible drinking water. Most people give their dogs the same water that they drink. Their thinking is “if it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for my dog.”

While this seems logical, it’s important to remember that dogs aren’t people. Some foods that people eat, such as chocolate, aren’t safe for dogs.

So, the question remains – is reverse osmosis water safe for your dog?

Is RO water safe for dogs?

You may have heard that reverse osmosis water is the best kind of water to drink. But is RO water safe for dogs?

The answer is yes, reverse osmosis water is safe for dogs to drink! In fact, it’s probably the best type of water you could give them.

Reverse osmosis removes many of the contaminants that might be in your drinking water. By filtering your dog’s water, you are providing toxin-free H20 that contains no harmful chemicals.

Want more proof?

The Max Planck Animal Resource Center uses reverse osmosis treated water at their state-of-the-art animal facility. They describe RO water as the safest and best water for all animals.

Should I give my dog RO treated water?

If your municipality treats their water with chlorine or other disinfectants, then reverse osmosis can remove these impurities. This is important because chlorine and other disinfectants can be harmful to dogs.

In addition, chlorinated water has disinfection byproducts – these are chemicals that form when chlorine reacts with organic matter in the water. These byproducts can also be harmful to dogs.

Reverse osmosis systems can remove up to 99% of these impurities, making the water much safer for your dog to drink.

Concerns over minerals

Reverse osmosis systems remove the minerals that are present in your water. Many of these compounds, such as calcium and magnesium, are considered “essential minerals”.

Many people are concerned that their pet won’t get enough of these minerals if they aren’t in the water. Veterinarians tell me that dogs get the minerals they need from the foods they eat. (This is the case for humans too.)

According to Fetch by WebMD, your dog can get all the vitamins and minerals they need by eating a “balanced” dog food.

Plus, the mount of minerals in water is very small relative to the amount dogs need. They can’t get all of the essential minerals they just from drinking water. The food they eat is where they get them.

But, if you’re worried about giving your dog water that doesn’t have essential minerals like calcium and magnesium, you can add a remineralizer to your RO system. A remineralizer adds back these minerals – this also improves the taste for you! Read my article on how to re-mineralize your water.

What Type of Water Should My Dog Drink

Dogs need plenty of clean, pure water every day. Water is essential for their health and wellbeing. It cushions their joints, gives their coats a healthy sheen, and maintains health digestion.

The water our dogs drink must be clean and safe – just like ours. Our canine’s drinking water must not contain any of the following contaminants:

  • microorganisms: Bacteria, viruses, and parasites cause disease and illness.
  • organic chemicals: VOCs, solvents, pesticides and other man-made chemicals cause cancer, organ damage, and other health problems.
  • radioactive elements: Much of the drinking water in the US contains radioactive elements such as radium and uranium. The EPA considers these substances to be carcinogenic.
  • heavy metals: Compounds such as lead, chromium, and arsenic can make your dog sick.

Can my dog drink unfiltered tap water?Tap water for dogs

Tap water is generally safe for humans to drink. It is also acceptable for dogs. This is the general consensus among veterinarians, too.

However, tap water does have some issues you should consider.

It contains chlorine or other disinfectants. These anti-microbial compounds can cause gastrointestinal upset in some dogs. While this isn’t life threatening, it may cause your dog to drink less water, which is a risk factor for kidney issues.

It may also contain byproducts of the disinfection process. These chemicals, called trihalomethanes, have been linked to cancer. Reverse osmosis is very effective at removing THMs and other byproducts of disinfection.

Some municipalities add fluoride to their water supply. While fluoride is considered safe for humans, many people are concerned about consuming it. RO removes fluoride from water.

In some areas, public water has concentrations of contaminants that are a health concern. This is not typical, and most of the levels of these compounds are below drinking water standards. However, PFAS – the so-called forever chemicals, have been found to be in many public water supplies.

At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself – do you want to give your dog water that isn’t 100% pure and safe?

Should my dog drink well water?

If you get your drinking water from a well, you are responsible for its quality – the EPA does not regulate private drinking water wells.

Your well water may contain bacteria, viruses, and parasites. It could also have high levels of metals or chemicals. You can test your water to confirm that it’s safe for your dog – and your family – to drink.

If your drinking water well is “clean”, then it is perfectly fine to give it to your dog. It is also OK to drink it yourself.

Can I give my dog bottled water?Dog drinking bottled water

Many people give their dogs bottled water – especially when they’re hiking or traveling.

While bottled water is a safe option, it’s not the most environmentally friendly or economical choice.

I recommend getting a reusable water bottle and filling it with filtered water from your home. This way, you know your dog is getting clean, pure water – and you’re doing your part to reduce plastic waste.

One thing many people may not realize is that most bottled water is just tap water that has been treated using reverse osmosis. Read my article on reverse osmosis treated bottled water.

Benefits of reverse osmosis water for dogs

Reverse osmosis systems are the most effective way to remove most of the contaminants discussed in this article. If you want to make sure your dog is getting the best possible water, then an RO system is a great investment.

Some of the benefits of giving your dog RO treated water are:

  • No pollutants
  • No chemical odor or taste (I’m not sure my dog cares about taste or odor!)
  • Reduced microbial count

Under sink reverse osmosis filter

Here is the undersink reverse osmosis filter I installed in my kitchen. You may interested in something similar for your home.

Check Pricing on Amazon


Is it safe to use a carbon filter for my dog’s water?

Carbon filtered water is safe for dogs and other pets. Activated carbon filters are used to remove chlorine, VOCs, disinfection byproducts, and many other toxins from drinking water.

Is soft water good for my dog?

Water softeners remove hardness (calcium and magnesium) from drinking water using ion exchange. Dogs need these minerals for good overall health. However, dogs (and people) get these essential minerals from the food they eat. Soft water is good for your dog.

Can cats drink reverse osmosis water?

Reverse osmosis water is safe and healthy for cats. RO removes contaminants and impurities from water that can make your cat sick.

Final Take on Reverse Osmosis Water for Dogs

Reverse osmosis water is a great option for dogs – and humans! It’s important to make sure that your dog has access to clean, fresh water. RO systems are an effective way to remove contaminants from drinking water.

Reverse osmosis removes more contaminants than any other filtration method and leaves behind a high-quality product that is perfect for your pup. Not only will they be getting clean, fresh water, but you’ll also be doing your part to keep them healthy and hydrated.

Boch Richard

Richard Boch is a chemical engineer responsible for designing water filtration systems for industrial and residential customers. He has more than 20 years of experience with ion exchange, activated carbon, and reverse osmosis. Richard's expertise has made him a go-to source for municipalities and businesses looking to improve their water quality. When he's not working, Richard enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children. You can also follow him on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

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