Why is water important for health?
Water is vital and all animals need it to stay healthy. Water fulfills the following functions in the body:
- Lubrication of joints, eyes, and mucous membranes like in the mouth and genitals.
- Helps maintain healthy blood pressure – When an animal is dehydrated, it will go down.
- Allows cells to use their normal metabolic functions.
- Promotes skin elasticity – Animals that are dehydrated suffer from skin tension and wrinkling.
- Eliminates toxins in the body through urination and bowel movements. A lack of water prevents these processes from running properly.
On average, a dog needs one ounce of water per pound of bodyweight to keep hydrated. You might need more in warm weather or during vigorous exercise.
What is sparkling water?
Fizzy or carbonated water contains dissolved carbon dioxide that has been added under pressure and forms many small bubbles. This is why carbonated drinks make people burp – the gas in the drink has to come out somehow! Dogs don’t burp as easily as humans, however, and this gas can stay in their stomachs. Some sparkling waters may contain flavorings, sugar, or sweeteners.
Is Sparkling Water Safe For Dogs?
Yes and no – however, you may not be able to handle the gas in it. Sips of sparkling water are unlikely to harm, but if your dog has a large amount, you may see the following issues:
The bubbles in fizzy or carbonated water can cause gas and gas because the gas stays in your dog’s stomach. In mild cases, this can cause mild abdominal discomfort, but in more extreme cases, your dog may show the following signs:
- A swollen belly
- Diarrhea and/or vomiting
- Panting or breathing faster
- Distress and restlessness
- Lower abdominal pain
Flatulence (also known as stomach dilatation) can be very serious, so you need to see a veterinarian immediately. It is uncomfortable and, if you have severe flatulence (swelling), it can damage the stomach and its blood supply. This condition could potentially develop into a fatal disease called gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV).
Stomach Dilatation Volvulus (GDV)
In some cases of gas, the enlarged and swollen stomach turns, which can be fatal. This is known as Gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV). When the stomach twists, important blood vessels that supply oxygen to stomach tissues and neighboring organs become completely clogged so that they can no longer do their job. These tissues can die quickly if you don’t start treatment quickly.
Dogs with GDV show symptoms very similar to those with gas, except that the twisting of the stomach prevents them from vomiting. You may try to vomit but are unsuccessful and produce only small amounts of mucus or drool. Animals with GDV soon deteriorate and collapse. The condition is fatal without prompt treatment.
Some dogs are more prone to GDV than others, including large and deep-chested breeds such as Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds. Smaller Dachshunds and Basset Hounds can also be affected by this condition.
Treatment usually requires emergency surgery to correct the twist and remove any damaged tissues or organs. Despite best efforts, some dogs die after intensive care, usually because the damage is so great or because there are secondary problems like sepsis or Peritonitis from the dying body tissue.
A less serious side effect than GDV, but due to the acidic nature of carbonated drinks, you can see tooth enamel erosion on your dog’s teeth. This would normally affect animals that have been exposed to long-term acidic soda beverages. So definitely not give your dog bottled water on a regular basis. Tooth erosion can be painful and require dental surgery.
Do dogs actually like sparkling water?
Probably not. There are always exceptions to this rule, and your dog could be one of them, but the vast majority would prefer plain still water.
You should only ever offer sparkling water when you have no other option, and even then try to keep it down to a small amount until you can get plain still tap water. Never force your dog to drink something he doesn’t like.
Are Other Carbonated Drinks Safe?
Dogs should avoid:
Caffeine is a type of chemical known as methylxanthine that acts as a stimulant. In mild doses, it can help us wake up and give us a boost of energy, however very high doses can have many negative effects. Animals are much more susceptible to the effects of caffeine than humans. It can be toxic for them to consume high-caffeinated products like energy drinks, coffee, or some sodas.
In severe cases of caffeine toxicity, the following symptoms may be observed:
- Overexcitability (be more active and more attentive than normal)
- Vomit and or diarrhea
- Tachycardia (an increased heart rate)
- arrhythmia (e.g. an abnormal heart rhythm, skipping or missing heartbeats) tremors
Contact your veterinarian if you think your dog has consumed caffeine or if he is showing any of the clinical signs listed above.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener that is found in many other low-sugar and sugar-free products to give them a more pleasant, sweeter taste. It is found naturally in various plants but is extracted and made into a white powder that is used as an ingredient in many everyday products, including some low-calorie beverages and sodas.
Consuming xylitol causes your dog’s pancreas to release large amounts of insulin into the bloodstream, causing blood sugar levels to drop quickly. When these sugar levels get too low, they suffer from hypoglycemia, a condition that can have harmful side effects. In some cases, irreversible liver failure can also be observed, which can be fatal. The following symptoms may be seen in a dog with xylitol poisoning:
- Pale gums
- Increased pulse
Seek help from a veterinarian immediately after your dog has consumed a product containing xylitol. Smaller dogs are usually more affected than larger ones because it is dose-dependent toxin.
Sugar in beverages is not healthy for your dog. Even natural sugars, such as those found in fruits, can have potentially harmful effects. Things like erosion of your dog’s enamel and weight gain from extra calories can occur. Sugar does not provide any food other than energy (calories), so your pet should avoid excess.
When should I see my vet?
If your dog has been drinking anything other than normal tap water and then shows symptoms such as gas, abdominal pain, or distress, call a veterinarian immediately. If they show signs of caffeine or xylitol poisoning, call for help right away.
So what should I give my dog to drink?
Plain tap water is wonderful for dogs to drink, but many will enjoy puddles and streams too if given a chance! It’s believed that bottled water must be better for us than tap water, but if your dog is given a high-quality, complete diet (for his age), he is likely getting all of the nutrients he needs anyway.
Tap water is cleaned and filtered and can therefore contain fewer minerals than bottled mineral water. But the difference this makes to your dog’s health is likely to be negligible. You may also find that your dog thinks the water tastes different and won’t accept the change anyway. Plus, buying bottled water for your dog to drink on a daily basis will add up quickly!
Of course, if you travel to an area where tap water is of poor quality and there is a risk of contaminants such as parasites, you can give your pet bottled water.
If you’re in a desperate situation, giving your dog a few sips of sparkling water is okay, but otherwise, stick with plain tap water. Too much sparkling water can cause dangerous gas or even GDV in dogs. Other drinks can also carry the risk of potentially harmful ingredients such as xylitol or caffeine. Water is vital. Therefore, make sure that your dog always has enough fresh tap water available to drink and that he has something to take with him when traveling or going for a walk.