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Don’t Let Your Dogs Drink Out of Communal Water Bowls!

Updated: Dec 5, 2023

It can be convenient to have communal water bowls, but sometimes they hold more than just water!


It can be very convenient to allow your dog to drink from a communal water bowl when walking your beloved canine friend at the local dog park. However, communal water bowls may contain bacteria, viruses, and even parasites that will be very harmful to your dog’s health.

Are Communal Water Bowls Safe For My Dog?

All public communal water bowls pose a potential health risk for your dog. Canines that have been exposed to different diseases can contaminate the water bowl and spread to your dog. It is always smart to bring your own separate water bowl or bottle for your dog. Check out Merci Collective’s Crystal Infused Urban Oasis Water Bottle. A stylish, on-the-go travel bottle that will keep your dog hydrated and relaxed at all times.

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How Do Diseases and Viruses Spread Through Communal Dog Bowls?

Communal water bowls can hold so many different types of diseases. Communal water bowls in public environments such as restaurants, beaches, dog parks, etc. can easily become contaminated through different methods. The most important fact to understand is that, you never know how often these communal bowls are cleaned, or how often the water is switched out. There can be environmental items such as leaves that hold bacteria and parasites that may fall into the water and contaminate it. Another important fact to note is that communal dog bowls have a high chance of being contaminated with fecal matter. Canines may touch the water with their paws or snout after stepping on poop or sniffing another dog’s butt. Rodents can also urinate or defecate in these bowls especially if these bowls have been left outside for an extended period of time.

What Are Some Diseases That Could Be Passed Through Communal Dog Bowls?

  • Salmonella - A contagious bacteria that can survive in water and infect dogs and humans.

  • Intestinal Worm Parasites - Fecally contaminated water can be home to many intestinal worm parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms. These intestinal worm parasites can cause irritation and if left untreated can lead to serious illnesses.

  • Giardia - Similar to intestinal worms, this parasite can spread through fecal contamination and is often found in standing water such as puddles or water bowls. It causes diarrhea and hurts your dog’s ability to absorb water and nutrients. It is contagious and will spread from dog to dog. It is especially dangerous for puppies, senior dogs, or dogs with weakened immune systems.

  • Leptospirosis - This bacteria often appears in late summer, fall, and after rainfalls. It can be found in standing waters, mud, and any area that may be damp. It affects your dog’s liver and kidneys. Leptospirosis can cause lethargy, fever, diarrhea, and vomiting in your dogs. If your dog has a weakened immune system, leptospirosis can be fatal.

  • Canine papillomavirus - This virus can be spread through the saliva of an infected dog. If a dog with this virus drinks in a communal bowl, it can spread to other dogs that also drink from the bowl. This virus often appears as warts around the mouth.

  • Kennel Cough - A common respiratory infection in dogs. It causes dogs to have a honking cough as well as a fever and loss of appetite. It is possible for a dog with kennel cough to spread the infection through communal dog bowls.

What’s The Safest Way to Avoid Diseases for My Dog?

The best way to protect your precious canine from communal water bowl hazards is to bring your own water bottle or bowl, along with a fresh source of water. If you do forget to bring a water bottle or water bowl, it is always smarter to go to a restaurant nearby and ask for a cup of water rather than allowing your dog to drink from a communal water bowl. It is also important to practice good hygiene at home as well. Always provide fresh water and clean your dog’s water bowl daily to avoid any bacteria or viruses from contaminating the water bowl. If you have multiple pets at home, provide each of them with their own water bowl to drink from.

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