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Is The Water You Give Your Dog Safe?

There has been a lot of talk over the recent years about whether our dog food is safe or not. But what about your water? Portland, Ore. recently had an e-coli scare and were told to not drink any city water for almost 24 hours. And, there are many places throughout the United States where we never drink the tap water. But what about our pets? We drink filtered or bottled water, but we give our best friends water out of the sink without a thought.

 Tap Water Dangers

As many of you are probably aware, there is a LOT more in our drinking water then H20. Dr. Janice Elenbaas, Founder of Fluoride Alert and Lucky Dog Cuisine warns of the dangerous of too much fluoride in our water.

What people may not realize is that the additive fluoride (used to prevent tooth decay) is synthetic.

“It is a by-product of fluoride gas, which is found commonly used in the aluminum and nuclear industries. It is a waste product of these industries and contains dangerous heavy metals,” Dr.Elenbaas explains. “Most European countries have banned the addition of fluoride to the water supply due to research that shows that fluoride ingestion causes a myriad of diseases.”

Known Flouride Effects:

  • Bone cancer and osteosarcoma
  • Weakening of bones and degenerative conditions like arthritis
  • Kidney disease
  • Disruption of the endocrine system – effecting the thyroid, adrenals, pancreas, pineal gland and the pituitary gland
  • Distortion of brain cells, early dementia and decreased IQ in children Increase in free radical production in the brain

If you are thinking, well, there can’t be that much in each sip my dog drinks, so what’s the problem? The problem is, like lead, the effects are cumulative. AND IRREVERSIBLE. So, drinking a little of fluoride each day CAN cause problems. And, remember, water is in EVERYTHING.

“The EPA found significant levels of fluoride in 8 major brands of dog food. The major source of contamination is found in bone meal and in animal by-products,” Dr. Elenbaas says. “An average 10 pound puppy eating about 1 cup of dog food a day would consume 5 times the safe levels set by the US Department of Health and Human Services.”

Michael Cervin, a water expert and writer; senior editor at, and author of the forthcoming book, “Our World of Water: The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly of Earth’s Most Critical Resource,” as well as a new water blog,, adds hat our water has arsenic, lead, uranium and mercury for example, that occur naturally in our soil. What concerns him more, are the man-made toxins, such as pesticides and herbicides, pharmaceuticals, and the aforementioned fluoride are the three most widespread contaminants in our public water supply. (Of course compared to other countries, our water is exceptional).

Cervin’s research has led him to find the following concerning facts:

Regarding pesticides the Environmental Protection Agency states: “The health effects of pesticides depend on the type of pesticide. Some, such as the organophosphates and carbamates, affect the nervous system. Others may irritate the skin or eyes. Some pesticides may be carcinogens.”

Pharmaceuticals are known to be endocrine disruptors. According to the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, “Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that may interfere with the body’s endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, neurological, and immune effects in both humans and wildlife.”

And the there is excessive fluoride (which is both natural occurring and man made). About 70% of the public water supply in America is fluoridated and fluoride is known to effect bone health and bone stability. The Environmental Working Group has advised dog owners to, “avoid dog foods containing chicken by-product meal, poultry by-product meal, chicken meal, beef and bone meal, turkey meal and lamb meal. These ‘meal’ contain ground bone that is the source of fluoride that farmed animals accumulate.”

How Big Is The Threat?

You may not think much of it, but are you riddled with health issues? Is your dog? All those ailments could be caused by containments in your water (remember Erin Brockovich?).

“Chances are the amounts of containments in our water aren’t all that dangerous in small doses,” explains Cervin, “but the growing amount of them in our water is. There are about 60,000 different chemicals used in the U.S. currently, yet less than 1% of those are screened for public water testing. I am concerned with lack of funding for proper testing, lack of oversight, and lack of strict regulation (more to the point it’s about enforcement) concerning public water supplies, and the vast and growing amount of toxins in our water.”

Safe Water Tips

So how do the experts suggest you keep your dog (and you!) safe from the contentment’s in our water?  DON’T DRINK IT.

Dr. Elenbaas suggests using either distilled water or a reverse osmosis system. For dog foods and other times you can’t avoid consuming fluoride-ridden water, she recommends supplementing your diet with apple pectin, turmeric, parsley and cilantro—they are some of the natural ways to detoxify and remove fluoride from the body.

Your at-home filter may not be doing the job you think it is. The water tastes good, but might not be safe.
Your at-home filter may not be doing the job you think it is. The water tastes good, but might not be safe.

What About a Britta or Pur filter?

Cervin was able to answer our question on whether these mass market filters are really doing what we think they are.

“Many people don’t realize that basic home water filters deal with only basic contaminants, typically around 10-15 constituents, and many only reduce contaminants; they don’t necessarily remove all contaminants,” Cervin explains. “There are some very good but expensive filters on the market that will fully (99.99%) remove certain constituents, but you need to do your research to find out which ones. Basic filters like Britta are great for making water taste better and filtering out sediments, but do little else. Other more comprehensive filters tackle more substantial contaminants.”

Cervin uses bottled water for his own dogs, and suggests others do the same.

Choosing a Filter

“Ask for your Consumer Confidence Report/Water Quality Report from your municipal water supplier which will tell you what and how much of something is in your tap water,” Cervin advises. “Then use that information to tailor a home filter for you. It’s important to purchase a filter that is NSF certified, and not be brand loyal.”

He also notes that you if you hike or camp with your dog and they are often playing and/or drinking in rivers, lakes, and streams, you may want to get a portable filter that screens for giardia and cryptosporidium (bacteria from fecal matter often found in rivers and streams).

About the Author

Based in Tustin, Calif., animal lover Kristina N. Lotz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and works as a full time trainer. She also owns her own custom pet products company, A Fairytail House, where she makes personalized collars, leashes, beds, keepsake pillows and blankets, and anything else your imagine can think up. In her spare time, she trains and competes in herding, agility, obedience, rally, and conformation with her Shetland Sheepdogs. She smartly married a Veterinary Technician, who helps keep the fur kids happy and healthy, and provides a quick resource for articles


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Written by Kristina Lotz
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