Can Pets Drink Softened Water?

Just like humans, our pets require clean, good-quality water to function and survive. Providing your pet with fresh and clean drinking water is essential not only to their health but their happiness as well. We are often asked, can pets drink softened water? And the answer is, in most cases, YES!

At a glance:

  • Pets should be safe to drink softened water.
  • Check with your vet if you have any concerns.
  • Softened water may not be suitable for exotic, ornamental or tropical fish. 
Dog drinking water from water softener.Dog drinking water from water softener.

Before we clarify the details of pets drinking softened water, it is worth explaining the difference between soft and hard water and how a water softener functions. 

What Is The Difference Between Soft And Hard Water?

The key difference between hard water and soft water is the mineral content contained within them. In hard water areas, the water collected in our reservoirs and freshwater reserves has passed through porous rock beds such as limestone, gypsum or chalk.  

When the water filters through this type of rock, it collects minerals like calcium and magnesium, which results in hard water. Some common problems that hard water can cause are:

  • Limescale 
  • Dry skin and hair 
  • Increased energy usage and household bills  

Approximately 60% of UK residents live in hard water areas, with 40% living in soft water areas. But what is soft water? Soft water simply doesn't contain the same mineral content levels as the surrounding rock beds consisting of non-porous rock, such as granite. 

If you don't live in a soft water area, you can still have softened water; you will require a water softener.

What Is A Water Softener How Does It Work?

A water softener works using a very simple chemical exchange called reverse osmosis. The hard water enters our flagship twin-tank water softener system, where resin beads attract the minerals from the water through an ion exchange. The magnesium and sodium ions are replaced with sodium ions, and the softened water is fed back into your household. 

You can refer to our extensive blog article for a more detailed explanation of how water softeners work.

Can Pets Drink Soft Water?

As we have stated above, softening water involves replacing mineral ions with sodium ions.All pet owners know that many animals can't consume large amounts of salt. 

However, water softening only raises the sodium level acutely; therefore, in most cases, your pet can drink softened water. Even so, we always recommend speaking to your vet to ensure that it’s appropriate to introduce softened water into your pet's diet. 

Can Dogs Drink Soft Water?

Many pets, particularly dogs, can have sensitive stomachs to changes in their diet. Therefore, it is recommended that you introduce softened water into their diet gradually like you would a change in food or treats. 

When the changeover is immediate, softened water has been known to cause a temporary upset stomach. However, this will stop when the dog gets used to the altered level of minerals in the water. 

You can gradually introduce softened water into their diet by mixing hard and softer water for the first week before phasing out the hard water altogether. 

Softened Water And Pets With Low-Sodium Diets 

Much like humans, if your pet has been prescribed a low-sodium diet, then it is best to avoid giving them softened water. In addition, if your pet is given any form of supplements or vitamins, it is important you check with a vet or animal specialist, as some supplements can have negative reactions to increased sodium levels.

Furthermore, some pets, just like people, prefer the taste of hard water as soft water can have a slightly salter taste than hard water. 

If this is the case for you and your pets, then we can install a filtered drinking water tap. This bypasses the water softener system and provides you with filtered hard water for drinking. This way, you can enjoy the benefits of softened water in your home, such as no more limescale and reduced energy bills. 

Can Small Pets Drink Softened Water?

The categories for lagomorphs and rodents cover most smaller pets, such as:

  1. Rabbits 
  2. Hamsters 
  3. Guinea pigs 
  4. Gerbils 
  5. Rats and mice 
  6. Chinchillas
Rabbit drinking water from a water softener.Rabbit drinking water from a water softener.

In general, these pets can drink the same water as us; however, it is worth noting that the high mineral content in hard water is not advisable for them to consume. This is even more vital if your small pet has a pre-existing condition such as kidney or bladder conditions. 

The best thing to provide these types of pets is filtered tap water. 

Can You Fill A Fish Tank With Soft Water?

The only exception when it comes to soft water and pets is fish. It is advised that you do not fill your indoor aquariums or outdoor ponds with softened water; this is because fish can be greatly affected by changing mineral contents in their habitat. 

We recommend consulting a specialist before making any changes to your fish habitat. 

For more information regarding water softeners and water filters, you can contact Kinetico today for a consultation and quote.

Buy a water softener. Buy a water softener.