Can Dogs Drink Distilled Water? Let’s Find Out

  • By: Andrew
  • Time to read: 8 min.

Every pet owner knows dogs need to have a steady water supply, but deciding what type of water to give your dog can be a challenge. There are many options, and there are numerous contrasting claims about which option is best. However, there is one type of water you should avoid. 

Dogs can drink distilled water every once in a while, but it should never be the primary type of water you give your dog. Distilled water doesn’t include any of the vitamins and minerals dogs need to stay healthy, and without them, your dog could get sick. 

So, let’s get into the details and look at the science behind the type of water you should give your dog. I’ll tell you why distilled water isn’t a good choice for dogs, and I’ll let you know the types of water that will support your dog’s health, helping them stay healthy and live longer. 

Is Distilled Water Bad for Dogs?

We all know that dogs and other pets require fresh, clean drinking water every day. This water gives dogs the H2O they need for their bodies to keep running healthily and also gives them some of the essential minerals they need to keep their bodies healthy. 

Distilled water isn’t inherently bad for dogs since it is just very clean, demineralized water. However, dogs should be given other types of water more frequently than distilled water to ensure that they get the natural minerals they need.  

Distilled water is the cleanest water you can come by, making it an attractive option for drinking. However, the cleanliness of the water doesn’t necessarily mean that it is better. 

During the water distillation process, it is first turned into steam. The steam rises and is funneled into another container, where it is then cooled until it becomes water again. 

As the water evaporates, it leaves behind water additives and minerals such as calcium, sodium, fluoride, magnesium, chlorine, copper, iron, potassium, etc. 

People who sell distilled water and distillation machines may claim that distilled water is healthier for you and your pets, but this isn’t the case. Distilled water may not have any contaminants, but it doesn’t have the beneficial nutrients either. 

All of the minerals extracted from water during the distillation process are essential for dogs to have healthy circulatory and renal systems.

You’ll find them in many dog foods and canine vitamins that support overall health. So, by giving your dog distilled water, you are taking away many of the benefits of drinking water in the first place. 

Additionally, most dog foods don’t have enough minerals to make up for their water. So, when you give your dog distilled water, you can expect to see some adverse side effects on your dog’s health. 

What Happens If You Only Give Dogs Distilled Water? 

Distilled water every once in a while won’t harm your dog, especially if it’s the only option available to you and your pet. However, if you only give your dog distilled water for an extended period, your dog could suffer from some severe ailments

If you only give your dog distilled water, they won’t get many minerals they need to regulate their electrolyte levels. Since distilled water lacks essential minerals, dogs who only have access to this type of water may lose electrolytes, causing potentially fatal illnesses. 

Depending on how long you have provided your dog with distilled water alone, your dog could develop severe electrolyte imbalance and hydration-related health problems. The longer you give your dog only distilled water, the more likely they are to fall ill. 

Some of the most common issues related to distilled water for dogs are:

  • Imbalances in sodium and chloride levels in the bloodstream
  • Kidney atrophy
  • Water toxicity or edema
  • Increased water consumption and excessive urination
  • Decreased red blood cell production
  • Dizziness or nausea
  • Heart palpitations
  • Low blood pressure

You can address these issues early by offering your dog a healthy dose of minerals every day. However, if you let them progress for too long, you risk permanent injury to your pet and even death. So, you should always ensure that your dog gets a mineral-rich water source.

The Facts About Distilled Water for Dogs

If you do a quick search on distilled water for any pet, you’ll find many contrasting opinions. However, it’s essential to understand why distilled water could be good and bad for your pet. 

The question of whether distilled water is a healthy option for dogs is highly contested by pet owners. However, most veterinarians and researchers agree that distilled water is not a sustainable water source for dogs, humans, or any other mammal. 

So, let’s talk about these points of controversy and examine the facts. 

Distilled Water Is Clean

The biggest pro of distilled water is that it does not include chemicals from water treatment, bacteria, viruses, fungi, or other contaminants. Distilled water is up to 99% sanitized, and it will hardly ever harbor illness-causing organisms, unhealthy chemicals, or mildew. 

Because it is so clean, some people recommend distilled water for immunocompromised dogs and people.

However, when you drink distilled water, you will still have to find another source for all of the minerals you’re missing out on. If you are in a situation where you can only give your dog distilled water, be sure to provide them with a daily vitamin and a mineral-rich diet to try and make up for the inadequacies in their water supply. 

Distilled Water Is Not Proven To Prevent Kidney Disease or Bladder Stones

Some people also claim that distilled water is good for the prevention of kidney disease or bladder stones. 

However, this claim is unsubstantiated, and there is no evidence to prove it. 

In fact, evidence suggests that distilled water does not prevent these conditions in humans. It is the quantity, not necessarily the quality, of the water someone drinks that wards off kidney disease and bladder stones. 

So, unless more studies are completed to test this claim, you shouldn’t trust it. 

Distilled Water May Alleviate Staining From Runny Eyes

People also claim that distilled water can help alleviate tear stains in dogs. Tear stains can be unsightly, but they’re a sign that your dog has a healthy immune system, and using distilled water as a cure could have some adverse side effects. 

If your dog has rust-colored stains around their eyes, distilled water could get rid of them, but at a high cost. 

The staining around your dog’s eyes is caused by minerals present in their bodily fluids. These minerals and tear stains are signs that your dog is healthy since eye discharge removes dust, hair, and dirt from your dog’s eyes.

In addition, that gunky brown color means that your dog is getting the minerals they need to balance their electrolytes and produce a healthy amount of red blood cells. 

Without these minerals, your dog could suffer from serious health issues. If you want to treat tear stains without distilled water, contact your vet for help. There are some treatment options, but they’re dependent on the cause of the tear stains, which can range from allergies and infections to genetic conditions.  

Distilled Water Is a Commercial Product

Another critical distinction between tap water and distilled water is that distilled water is commercially produced. As a marketable product, many water distilleries make claims to sell more water or distillation machines. 

Most of the sources that claim distilled water should be an essential part of your dog’s diet are water distillers. 

These claims should not be taken as the final word since they are essentially advertisements that frequently bend the truth in order to increase profits. When it comes to your dog’s health, always keep a critical eye on the claims that commercial companies make. Distilled water might be clean, but it won’t make your dog any healthier. 

What Kind of Water Is Best for Dogs?

So, if distilled water is not a healthy choice for your dog, what is? Let’s talk about it. 

The best types of water for dogs are spring water, filtered water, and tap water. These waters still have plenty of minerals in them, which can keep your dog’s electrolytes balanced. 

At the top of the list, we have spring water. Springwater is collected from the earth’s crust, where rainwater, glacial melts, or other freshwater sources spurt up from the ground. 

Springwater is one of the healthiest waters available. When it works through underground stone tunnels and channels, it is naturally filtered through porous stones full of minerals. Then, it is pushed up from the earth. Thus, it has all of the necessary minerals, and it is exceedingly clean. 

The next best water type is filtered tap water. Filtration systems don’t remove all minerals from your water, but they remove bacteria, sediment, and excessive chemicals from unsafe tap water. So, if you suspect that your municipal water is unclean or laden with chemicals, using a filter is an excellent option. 

However, if your city’s tap water is safe enough for you to drink, giving it to your dog can ensure that they get what they need from their water. Water treatment officials carefully balance tap water to ensure that it is clean and safe to drink, so you and your dog can both benefit from the minerals that your tap water has to offer. 

Ultimately, giving your dog the same type of water that you drink is usually the best choice. However, if your dog isn’t drinking enough water, you can try switching between one of these three other mineral-rich water options to see if your dog has a taste preference. 

Final Thoughts

Distilled water may be clean, but it is never the best option for your dog. It lacks the minerals your dog needs to maintain a healthy circulatory and renal system, and your pup could become ill if you only give them distilled water. Try filling up your dog’s bowl with spring, filtered, or tap water instead to ensure that they stay healthy and live for as long as possible. 

Related Articles