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How to Build Your Own Pet Drinking Fountain
Did you know that water should make up 60-70% of an adult pet’s body weight?
But pets are hit-and-miss drinkers at the water bowl. They can leave more water on the floor than what goes in their mouths…
It takes careful observation to see if your pet is trying to tell you something about its health, so you need to learn to read the signs…
In the meantime, a pet drinking fountain can be a great way to keep them hydrated. They are attracted to the running water… and fountains, compared to stagnant (and stagnant) water dishes, harbor less of the bacteria that can cause serious health problems for your pets.
Not only that, they can be a pleasant feature in your home, one that you and your pets can enjoy…
Simple steps to make a pet drinking fountain
Wet pet food is up to 78% water, while dry kibble food only contributes about 10% to a pet’s water consumption. You must provide enough clean, fresh water according to the diet your pet follows.
Keep in mind that they may be trying to tell you something if they’re avoiding the water bowl altogether…or draining it more often than not.
Here’s a simple way to make your own pet fountain…
1. Choose your ship.
This can be a decorative ceramic dish on a small pedestal, or a glass fish bowl or tank. Make sure you choose a container that is between 1.5-5 gallons – depending on the size of your pet – that is not porous.
It should be easy to clean in your washing machine or dishwasher. Do not use plastic of any kind. Be sure that if you use ceramics that it is certified for food safety.
Something that isn’t too tippy will prevent spills and damage to the container or your floors! As you know, some puppies keep their paws right in the action…
2. Buy a fish tank pump with a filter.
Make sure the pump can handle the capacity of your tank or bowl.
It is best to tell the shop why you are buying the pump… you are looking for a fountain effect that comes from the top of the bowl and creates the sounds and sensation of a stream.
You also want to be able to adjust the water flow if it is too strong or too weak for your vessel and the quantity of water.
3. Use stones, glass beads or a bulb clip to stop the pump.
Lining your vessel with decorative rocks or glass beads from a craft or dollar store will allow debris to settle on the bottom of the dish.
Put them where your dog can’t get on one of it, and it will keep the filter at the right height.
Again, the beads and fastener should not be porous. You want something that is smooth and easy to clean.
4. Plug your pump into a surge protector.
When mixing electricity and water, it is wise to take precautions.
Leave a downward loop in the cord between the wall plug and the fountain and be sure that when water spills it does not splash or submerge the surge protector.
You don’t want the pump to short out, or give your pet an unwelcome blow to the nose or tongue! How eager do you think they will be to drink water after being hurt? Not so much.
Remember that hygiene is important for your pet drinking fountain
We cannot stress this enough.
There are bacteria in your pet’s mouth that are naturally harmless to them…but if it gets into their water source and has a chance to grow, it can make your pet very sick. It can even cause fatal diseases.
You should apply good hygiene practices to all toys and dishes that your pet regularly comes into contact with. This includes their food bowl – even if they have dry food. Bacteria in their saliva can transfer to their food bowl and grow in the right light and temperature conditions if it is not properly cleaned.
I hear so many people joke about their dog having an “iron gut”… but there are some bacteria that can do real damage if you don’t look for them. And they may not feel well and may not be able to communicate with you the reasons why…
Biofilm in a water dish is easy to manage. Be sure to clean the pet fountain every three days.
Change the filter and O-ring according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Remove any stones, glass beads, or anything else you may have placed in the fountain for decoration or to support the pump.
Wash all parts in a mild non-toxic soap solution. For tough biofilm residue, scrub the sides of the vessel with a baking soda paste, rinse well, then wash with warm water and mild soap.
Be sure to rinse all soap residue from the parts.
Dogs and cats and many other pets love access to fresh running water. Pet fountains can be expensive, but you can build your own for a fraction of the cost.
Just be sure that your pump is strong enough for the size of your pet and its water bowl, and that all parts can be cleaned properly.
And, if one of your pets starts behaving differently around their water bowl or food bowl, be sure to listen carefully…they may be trying to tell you that they are not well.
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