Five Ways Pure Water Helps Vital Animals

WaterfallOne of the important “nutrients” that all creatures can’t live without is water. Animals share this need with us, though they often seek drinks from puddles, creeks, lakes, or swimming pools (gak!). The quality of the water we offer them impacts their health, for good or ill. I mentioned this as one piece of the puzzle in “Vital Animals Don’t Get Heartworms!”, my latest ebook on drug free heartworm prevention. Pure water is part of making any animal vital.

As a homeopathic veterinarian, I often ask my clients what water source they have available to them to mix homeopathic remedies in. We can “stretch” a single dose I’ve sent them, or one they get out of my emergency kit, by dissolving it first in a quantity of pure water, and then dosing a squirt with a syringe at a certain interval.

What I’m concerned about as I ask are a slew of chemicals that are harmful to both the subtle remedies and the animals that will consume them.

1. Chlorine: Out!

Municipal water sources usually use chlorine to kill bacteria in their water. Chlorine is a strong oxidizer, and clearly kills bacteria at a certain concentration. Depending on where you live, there may be enough chlorine in your water that it smells quite strongly, most noticeably when you shower.

This natural element has been associated with disease, most notably cancer, atherosclerosis, and birth defects.

Chickens drinking chlorinated water, compared to a group watered without chlorine, showed a remarkable drop in their health. They showed poor growth, poor resistance to cold, dropping of feathers, and heart and blood vessel plaque. [Source: JM Price, M.D.]

Since this study, poultry farmers see to it that chlorine is removed from the drinking water for their birds.

A Norwegian study compared large populations drinking either non-chlorinated mountain source water or chlorinated municipal water, and found significant birth defect risks associated with the chlorine group.

2. Fluoride: Ban This Phony “Boon”

Amazingly, fluoride was foisted on the public back in the 1930’s when the aluminum industry sought a solution to deal with a waste product from aluminum production. This was a clear case of “follow the money,” with “science” and greed coming together.

Fluoride has been documented to have adverse effects on bones, teeth, stomach, liver, kidneys and the thyroid gland.

Fluoride and chlorine compete with iodine, necessary for thyroid hormone production, and their presence in drinking water may be part of the reason we see so much thyroid disease in our pets. Oh, and in us.

3. Pesticides, Herbicides, and Carcinogens, Oh My!

Those water treatment plants in every city were made to do one thing, basically: they kill bacteria that can cause disease. Even before they came into existence, it was realized that separating sewage from drinking water prevented scourges like cholera and typhoid that killed countless people.

What these plants don’t do is remove chemicals.

The EPA in the U.S. sets standards for some 90 contaminants, but others put the numbers of chemical pollutants in our water supply in the thousands.

These are often banned herbicides right alongside approved ones. Heavy metals like lead, mercury and arsenic, waste products of industry, and even byproducts of drinking water disinfection. And yep, none of them good for you or your fur family.

4. Drinking Drugs?

The American Chemical Society held their national meeting in New Orleans two weeks ago, and several scientific papers focused on the emerging field of pharmaceuticals and other unconventional pollutants above and beyond what the EPA tracks:

…found measureable amounts of butylated hydroxyanisole, or BHA, a chemical used to preserve food; phthalates, a family of chemicals found in plastics; the common pain reliever ibuprofen; triclosan, an antibacterial compound commonly used in dishwashing liquids; and several chemicals used in sunscreens.

Another study presented tracked pharmaceuticals coming out of dormitories that spiked around final exam times.


Bottled Water a Good Answer?

Nope. Words on labels indicating “spring water” or “artesian well water” have zero regulation and may be worse than what’s coming from your tap.

And, it’s often in plastic bottles that leech another bad guy into the water: BPA. A hormone disrupter, bisphenol A is associated with breast cancer and other illnesses.

And don’t get me started on the landfill overflow from all these plastic babies. It’s Earth Day, c’mon!

Make it Vital: Fresh, at Home

The best answer I’ve found over the years to keep Spot and Puff out of trouble and deliver great tasting, inexpensive, pure water to you is a reverse osmosis system. You can get these quite reasonably and installation is relatively simple.

This is one that’s gotten consistently high reviews on Amazon:
(Click the image to read more about it)

You’ll notice it has carbon filters besides the R.O. (reverse osmosis) filter. The gives the water a “polished” taste, probably more important for the humans in the family than the pets.

R.O. water is what I drink, and it tastes really clean and fresh, while distilled water just tastes flat.

Is My Brita Just as Good?

I get this question a lot. They must be doing some good marketing! But no, it’s not much of a purifier. They used to be all about killing germs, but now it looks like they “trap sediment and reduce chlorine.” Not good enough.

A reverse osmosis membrane only lets through water molecules, so it takes out everything bigger than that, usually with the help of the carbon filters that are situated before and after the RO part of the unit. So, drugs, pesticides, herbicides, chlorine, fluoride, and most heavy metals don’t make it to the water dish (or your glass).

But, No Minerals!

A complaint some lodge against them is that RO filters also remove dissolved minerals from water. To me, that’s a small price to pay for the good job they do removing the rest of the contaminants I don’t want to be drinking! So, I salt my food with Himalayan salt, and try to eat organically, which should have plenty of mineral content.

Pets can have minerals added to their food, too. Rather than salt, I like Wysong’s AddLife, as I mention in my Missing Ingredient page. Minerals here come from sources like dried wheat and barley grass, kelp, meat and organ meat, etc. In other words, food sources. These sources are always more available than ground up rocks.

Just Do This

So, however you get pure water for your animal, just make it happen. Anything will be a step up from tap water (which, by the way, comes out of the hose that Spot loves to chase and drink from…).

Benefits include: organs that work, elimination that’s enhanced, cells being able to respire and reproduce, avoidance of cancer, thyroid disease, premature old age, this list could get pretty long!

Tell us in the comments what you do. There are many ways to make this happen, and likely you’ve got a favorite. And then there are the stories of old Shorty, who just loves the pool water, even though you offer the finest pure water in his dish. Any answers to that one?

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  1. Dawn on April 23, 2013 at 7:20 am

    That should be FIND that amazon link, sorry.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 23, 2013 at 9:57 am

      Okay, Dawn, it’s a bit clunky, as it takes you off the page and I couldn’t get the photo to show up, but it’s there now.

  2. Dawn on April 23, 2013 at 7:19 am

    Please let us know when you buy the Amazon link! I have a beagle that tears up the house when we leave. He was drinking Culligan water for many years, but still tore up the house. I thought it was from severe separation anxiety, but I’m not sure what’s going on!

  3. Angela on April 22, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    Great article, we have been using a RO System for 3yrs now, never would I go back to tap water, animals are all doing great on it as well 🙂

  4. Jane Mears on April 22, 2013 at 9:32 pm

    Hi Will- Interesting topic after Ibn’s adoration for your rain water. What was the link for the affordable RO system. Could not see. Hubby drinks water from plastic bottles-lots. Whats a safe way to get him enough RP water for a mobile job like UPS guy?
    Also is it ok to share your articles on FB? I have lots of friends that are interested in animal health. I see the share buttons but none the less don’t want to steal work/property of someone else . Cheers JM

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 22, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      Yes, he did go for the rain water, didn’t he?
      I like to port my water around in a stainless steel bottle. There are some really nice ones at Wheatsville, probably also at Whole Paycheck.
      The sharing buttons are there to spread the word, so yes, do so by all means. Might wait till tomorrow, though, as I can’t figure out how to get my link to work for the RO system I like, and my VA will look at it in the morning.

  5. Elle on April 22, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Clean water is hard to come by these days. We distill our water because the steaming process removes all unwanted and possibly dangerous things in the water. And although you are our hero, Dr. Falconer, we have to disagree about fresh-made distilled water tasting flat. Au contraire–it’s delicious.
    Of course if we’re talking about a gallon of distilled water purchased from the store in a plastic jug, probably meant for one’s ironing, then I would have to agree with you. Our distiller is a countertop model and we use it every day. It’s made by Pure Water a company out of Lincoln, NE and their distillers are made in America. Ours is called a mini-classic.
    Yes, they’re pricey, but sick people and sick pets is far pricier than a one-time investment in a water distiller. If you can install a reverse osmosis device for your drinking water, then I say go for it. That’s delicious, safe water, too.

    • Will Falconer, DVM on April 23, 2013 at 5:21 am

      Ah, yes, the bottle may have been the difference! Glad you found your “sweet spring,” Elle, and you’re very right: the initial price is small compared to prevention of costly illness. And that applies to the whole family, doesn’t it?

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