(download my free “Perils of Puddles” Poster here!)
Just about anything can find its way into a puddle, from deadly antifreeze to fertilizers. In this post, I’ll share the risks associated with letting your pets drink from puddles and provide some tips on how to keep them safe!
We all want to keep our fur kids safe and healthy. One of the biggest ways to do this is through awareness and education, so let’s jump in and take a look at what might be lurking in puddles!
Puddles are a potential danger for your pets, so don’t see them as a convenient drinking source for your fur kids!
Drinking from puddles can expose your pets to harmful bacteria, parasites, and toxins that can cause a range of serious health issues, including diarrhea, dehydration, and even death.
- Puddles can be dangerous for pets due to harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, and toxins. Don’t let pets drink from questionable water sources.
- Puddles near roads or areas with chemicals may contain harmful substances toxic to pets. Be vigilant.
- To keep pets safe and healthy, provide access to clean water at all times.
That Puddle looks pretty, but it could be dangerous:
Puddles can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, viruses, or parasites that can cause a wide range of diseases. These microorganisms can come from various sources, such as contaminated soil, animal feces/urine, or other pollutants that have mixed with rainwater. Some common illnesses caused by bacteria, viruses, and parasites found in contaminated water sources include leptospirosis, giardiasis, and salmonella.
Leptospirosis is a serious bacterial infection that can affect both animals and humans. It is transmitted through urine and can remain infectious in soil for up to six months. Pets are exposed when they drink from contaminated water or when bacteria enters through a cut or break in the skin. Leptospirosis can cause serious illness, including jaundice, hepatitis, respiratory distress, and kidney failure (symptoms include fever, muscle pain, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, lethargy, depression, and blood in the urine).
Not all dogs become sick when exposed to Leptospirosis, but for those that do, the results can be devastating, so keep your fur kids safe and keep them away from questionable water sources.
Puddles may contain other harmful substances that can be toxic to pets. If the puddle is located near a road, it may contain chemicals from cars, such as antifreeze, oil, or gasoline, which can be highly toxic if ingested. Just a tiny amount of antifreeze, if ingested, can cause kidney failure.
Similarly, if the puddle is located in an area where fertilizers and pesticides or other chemicals have been used, it could easily contain harmful residues. These chemicals are often used in landscaping and agriculture, and can be found in runoff water that collects in puddles. Symptoms of pesticide poisoning in pets include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, tremors, seizures, and even death in severe cases.
How to keep your Fur Kids hydrated and safe?
Always provide clean and fresh water
The best way to keep your fur kids hydrated is to provide access to clean, fresh water at all times. Ensure that water bowls are always filled with fresh water, and clean the bowl regularly to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.
Bring water on walks
If you’re out for a walk with your pets, it’s always a good idea to bring water and a portable bowl with you. This way, you can ensure that your pets stays hydrated and possibly avoid the risk of them drinking from a puddle—although, I do think the extra pungent water in puddles and ponds is something dogs are attracted to and will try and drink from for a tasty treat! It may not be possible to prevent every lick from an enticing puddle, but just be aware of the dangers.
Avoid ALL questionable water sources
It’s important to avoid letting your fur kids drink from ALL questionable water sources, not just puddles. Pristine waters aside, ponds, streams, and stagnant water sources can contain harmful microorganisms and chemicals.
Preventing your pets from drinking from questionable water sources is the best way to protect them.
- Bring plenty of clean water and a portable bowl with you when you go on walks.
- Keep your pets on leash to prevent them from wandering off and drinking from questionable water sources.
- Train your pets to only drink from their own water bowl, and discourage them from drinking from puddles or other standing water.
- Be aware of your surroundings and avoid areas where chemicals or other pollutants may be present, such as near roads or agricultural fields.
- Clean up after your dog promptly and dispose of waste properly to avoid contaminating the environment and spreading more harmful bacteria.
In conclusion, while letting your fur kids drink from a puddle may seem harmless, it can expose them to a variety of health risks. By providing them with clean, fresh water and avoiding questionable water sources, like puddles, you can help keep them safe and healthy and avoid the potentially serious health problems associated with contaminated water sources. Be prepared, Be aware, Be safe, xoAmy
Afterthoughts: I often get backlash when I share something like the Perils of Puddles because many of us have had great adventures in the outdoors with our pets lapping up cold lake water and sipping from puddles without any problems! When I share a post like this, it is to raise awareness, not instill fear. If you’re walking your dog near a pristine lake or fresh rain puddle, you may have no issues, but if you’re walking your dog on the side of a busy road near a chemical plant, please don’t let your dog drink from a puddle :).
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I live out in the Country – Sumerduck VA. We have all kind of wild critters out here – when walking my little guys I have to steer them clear of the puddles – wildlife not only drink from them, but bathe also. I’ve seen fox & coyotes with mange roll around in them. 😪
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