Dogs love water! But it can seem a little boring to us. So you might be wondering whether they can try anything else to drink? Or maybe you’re out to dinner, and they offer you sparkling water to drink and want to share with your furry friend. Sparkling water seems like a logical next step, but do dogs like it, and is it safe? In this article, we explore these questions and much more.
- 1 Why Is Water Important For Health?
- 2 What Is Sparkling Water?
- 3 Is Sparkling Water Safe For Dogs?
- 4 Do Dogs Actually Like Sparkling Water?
- 5 Are Other Carbonated Drinks Safe?
- 6 When Should I See My Vet?
- 7 So What Should I Give My Dog to Drink?
- 8 Final Thoughts
Why Is Water Important For Health?
Water is essential to life, with all animals needing it to stay healthy. Water performs the following functions in the body:
- Lubrication of joints, eyes, and mucous membranes like those in the mouth and genitals.
- Helps maintain healthy blood pressure – if an animal is dehydrated, this will drop.
- Allows cells to perform their normal metabolic functions.
- Promotes skin elasticity – animals that are dehydrated suffer from skin tenting and wrinkling.
- Eliminates toxins in the body via urination and defecation. A lack of water keeps these processes from occurring properly.
On average, a dog needs an ounce of water per pound of body weight to maintain hydration. They could require more than this in warm weather or if exercising heavily.
What Is Sparkling Water?
Sparkling, or carbonated, water contains dissolved carbon dioxide that has been added under pressure, forming lots of tiny bubbles. This is the reason why fizzy drinks make people burp — the gas in the drink needs to come out somehow! However, dogs don’t burp as readily as people, and this gas can stay within their stomachs. Some sparkling waters may have added flavorings, sugars, or sweeteners.
Is Sparkling Water Safe For Dogs?
Yes and no – However, they may not be able to handle the gas contained within it. A few licks of sparkling water are unlikely to do any harm, but if your dog has a large amount, then you could see the following problems:
The bubbles in sparkling or carbonated water could cause bloating, as the gas stays in your dog’s stomach. In mild cases, this could cause some minor tummy discomfort, but in more extreme cases, your dog may show the following signs:
- A swollen stomach
- Diarrhea and/or vomiting
- Panting or more rapid breathing
- Distress and restlessness
- Pain in the abdomen
Bloat (also known as gastric dilation) can be extremely serious, so you must contact a veterinarian immediately. It is uncomfortable and could damage the stomach and its blood supply if there is severe distension (swelling). This condition could potentially evolve into a fatal ailment called gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV).
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)
In some cases of bloat, the enlarged and swollen stomach twists, which can be fatal. This is referred to as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). When the stomach twists, major blood vessels supplying stomach tissue and nearby organs with oxygen become wholly obstructed, meaning they can no longer do their job. These tissues can quickly die if you don’t start treatment rapidly.
Dogs with GDV will show very similar symptoms to those with bloat, with the exception that the twist in the stomach prevents them from being able to vomit. They may attempt to vomit but are unsuccessful, bringing up only small amounts of phlegm or drool. Animals with GDV soon deteriorate and collapse. The condition is fatal without rapid treatment.
Some dogs are more prone to GDV than others, including large and deep-chested breeds like Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds. Smaller Dachshunds and Basset Hounds can also be afflicted with this condition.
Treatment usually requires emergency surgery to correct the twist and remove any damaged tissues or organs. Despite best efforts, some dogs still die following intensive care, usually because the damage is so significant or because there are secondary issues like sepsis or peritonitis from the dying body tissue.
A less severe side effect than GDV, but due to the acidic nature of carbonated drinks, you may see enamel erosion on your dog’s teeth. This would usually affect animals that have long-term exposure to acidic fizzy drinks, so definitely don’t give your dog sparkling water regularly. Enamel erosion can be painful and could require dental surgery.
Do Dogs Actually Like Sparkling Water?
Probably not. There are always exceptions to this rule, and your dog might be one of them, but the vast majority would prefer normal still water.
You should only ever offer sparkling water if you have no other options, and even then, try and limit it to a small amount until you can get hold of some normal still tap water. Never force your dog to drink something that he doesn’t like.
Are Other Carbonated Drinks Safe?
Dogs should avoid the following:
Caffeine is a type of chemical known as methylxanthine, which acts as a stimulant. In mild doses, it can help make us more alert and give us an energy boost, but 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 highly caffeinated products like energy drinks, coffee, or some sodas.
In severe cases of caffeine toxicity, the following symptoms may be seen:
- Hyperexcitability (being more active and alert than normal)
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
- Tachycardia (an elevated heart rate)
- Arrhythmia (an abnormal heart rhythm, skipping or missing heartbeats, for example)Tremoring
Contact your veterinarian if you think your dog has consumed caffeine or if they are showing any of the above clinical signs.
Xylitol is an artificial sweetener found in many other low-sugar or sugar-free items to give them a more enjoyable, sweeter taste. It occurs naturally in several different plants but is extracted and processed into a white powder that is used as an ingredient in many everyday products, including some low-calorie drinks and sodas.
The consumption of xylitol causes your dog’s pancreas to release large amounts of insulin into their bloodstream, creating a rapid decrease in their blood sugar levels. If these sugar levels become too low, they start to suffer from hypoglycemia, a condition that can cause harmful side effects. Irreversible liver failure can also be seen in some cases and is potentially fatal. The following symptoms may be seen in a dog suffering from xylitol poisoning:
- Pale gums
- Increased heart rate
Seek immediate help from a veterinarian if your dog has consumed a product containing xylitol. Smaller dogs tend to be affected more severely than larger ones, as it is a dose-dependent toxin.
Sugar in drinks is not healthy for your dog to consume. Even natural sugars like those found in fruit could cause potentially harmful effects. Things like erosion of your dog’s tooth enamel and weight gain from extra calories can occur. Sugar does not provide any nutrition other than energy (calories), so your pet should avoid it in excess.
When Should I See My Vet?
If your dog has had a drink other than regular tap water and then starts showing symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, or distress, then you must call a veterinarian right away. Similarly, if they show any of the signs of caffeine or xylitol poisoning, call for help immediately.
So What Should I Give My Dog to Drink?
Plain tap water is wonderful for dogs to drink, though many will also enjoy puddles and streams given a chance! There is a belief that bottled mineral water must be better for us than tap water, but if your dog is on a good-quality complete diet (appropriate for their age), they are likely to be getting all of the nutrients they need from that anyway.
Tap water is cleaned and filtered and may therefore contain fewer minerals than bottled mineral water. But the difference this makes to your dog’s health is likely negligible. You may also find that your dog thinks the water tastes different and won’t accept the change anyway. Plus purchasing bottled mineral water for your dog to drink daily will add up quickly!
Of course, if you are traveling to an area that has poor-quality tap water with the risk of contaminants like parasites, then you may consider giving bottled water to your pet.
If you are in a desperate fix, it would be okay to give your dog a few sips of sparkling water, but otherwise, you should stick to plain tap water. Too much sparkling water could cause dangerous bloating or even GDV in dogs. Other drinks could also carry the risk of potentially harmful ingredients like xylitol or caffeine. Water is essential to life, so make sure your dog has plenty of fresh tap water available to drink at all times and carry some when you are traveling or out walking.