One 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.
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?