Forget our dogs, people love bottled water.
It is estimated that worldwide the market is worth about $217 billion and that in just seven years it will grow and be worth over $500 billion.
One of the biggest markets is the US, where it is thought to be worth almost $20 billion.
Americans now drink more bottled water than soft drinks.
And as I explain later on in this article, the growth in consumption compared to the 1970s has been truly staggering.
Lots of this growth can be explained because the water in these bottles isn’t just any old water.
These bottles are from springs or they have been purified or distilled or had electrolytes or vitamins added.
This all begs the question…
If people are drinking more bottled water, should their dogs be drinking it to?
And in this article, I want to start by looking at a specific brand of bottled water, Smart Water.
Should your dog be drinking Smart Water?
 What is Smart Water?
It can be quite easy to be confused by this when doing a Google search.
As well as being a brand of bottled water, Smart Water is also an anti theft technology.
And in this article, I will be discussing the former not the latter.
Smart Water (which is owned by Coca Cola) is a brand of vapour distilled bottled water.
Vapour distilled water is water that has been heated up until it turns into steam then as it cools down it turns back into water.
Distilled water is purer than tap water because most of the contaminants and minerals have been removed.
After the water has been distilled, electrolytes are added into the water.
The water used in Smart Water doesn’t come from the tap either.
It is drawn from a spring in the North of England- and many people consider Spring water to be pure!
Why are electrolytes added to bottled water?
Electrolytes are a fancy name for some chemicals that we have all heard of- sodium, chloride, potassium and calcium are some of the many electrolytes. .
Electrolytes are added because they help to perform certain critical functions in your body, including regulating your blood pressure.
But human and canine bodies should already have enough electrolytes in them to do everything that they need to do.
These electrolyte drinks are aimed at active people and athletes because electrolytes are lost as we sweat.
As well as existing in fancy bottled water, electrolytes are also in many of the everyday foods that we eat.
And much of our tap water also contains electrolytes.
 How might smart water benefit dogs?
In most dogs, it has to be said, any benefits from drinking Smart Water would be minimal.
But there are specific instances in which giving your dog smart water might help.
Although dogs don’t sweat in the same way that humans do, they do lose electrolytes when they become dehydrated.
And if your dog becomes too dehydrated then one way to get them rehydrated is to get them to drink electrolyte water.
How to make your own drink with added electrolytes
If the thought of boosting your dog’s consumption of electrolytes has piqued your interest, then you might be glad to hear that you don’t need to go out and buy it in bottles.
If you have some time and a few simple ingredients, you can make a homemade electrolyte drink.
Now bear in mind that this recipe was created to be drunk by people not dogs.
But I have looked at the ingredients and it doesn’t contain anything that is toxic to your dog.
It contains water, lemon, salt and honey.
Referring to our earlier list of electrolytes, salt is an excellent source of sodium and lemons are an excellent source of calcium.
Now, whether or not they will drink it is another matter!
Smart water isn’t the only distilled water
I have already mentioned just how huge the public’s appetite around the world is for bottled water.
And Smart Water is only one of many brands of distilled water (with added electrolytes) on the market.
Another very famous brand is Pedialyte.
Many vitamin added bottled waters also have electrolytes added into them.
 Why don’t we just give our dogs tap water?
Tap water is by far the cheapest form of clean water that is available to most of us and so why are we so obsessed with bottled water?
Americans are obsessed by drinking bottled water.
In 2019, the average American drank 43 gallons of the stuff every year.
In 2008 it was 30 gallons and in 1976 it was just over a gallon.
which was an increase of 5 gallons from 2016.
90% of Americans say that they drink bottled water because it is safer and it is better quality than tap water.
Which simply isn’t true.
70% of bottled water sold in the US isn’t subject to FDA regulation.
Whereas the organisation in America that is responsible for maintaining the standards of tap water sets legal limits on 90 different contaminants.
However, this recent report estimated that up to 30 million Americans didn’t have access to safe tap water at the beginning of 2019.
Why is water so important to dogs?
I have just had one of those moments where I have remembered that I should have covered some basics earlier on in this article.
I should have explained to you how and why water is so important to dogs.
Water is so important to a dog because their body is made up of approximately 80% water.
Water is essential to all of the functions within a dog’s body.
Dogs lose water (for instance by peeing) and so it is critical that they replace this lost water through the food that they eat or the water that they drink.
It is thought that a loss of between 10- 15% of water can lead an adult dog to become very sick.
That isn’t much, is it?
And for puppies the role of water is even more important.
They are still growing and so for their size they tend to drink more than an adult dog and they are much more at risk of dehydration.
How much water should a dog drink?
There are a couple of guidelines or rules of thumb if you will to help you decide how much water to give your dog a day.
The easiest guide to follow is that your dog should drink 1 fluid oz per pound of body weight.
And so my sixty pound Golden Retriever should be drinking around 60 fluid ounces (which is 1.8 litres per day.)
Now not all 60 lb dogs are the same which is why this should only be a rough guide.
Three other important factors are:
- How active your dog is
- Whether they are eating dry or wet food
- Whether it is summer, autumn, winter or spring.
What is most important about your dog’s water?
It is easy to get distracted by lots of fancy options when it comes to getting our dog to drink water.
I’m not sure sure if it matters whether your dog is drinking Smart Water, spring water or just water from the tap.
When all is said and done, apart from a slight difference in flavours any real differences in how healthy the water is are very small indeed.
What is far more important is how clean the bowl is that they are drinking the water from.
And that is really what we, as concerned dog owners should be focusing on.
A 2011 study found that a pet dish (one that is used to drink or eat from) was the fourth most germ infested item found in a typical American home.
Can you believe that?
Not only are dog bowls full of germs but the germs are potential killers- for the dogs or their owners.
We are talking about E-coli, salmonella and MRSA, here.
And it is a simple fix, with a bit of hot soapy water and a brush.
Just make sure that you do it everyday!
Can dogs drink Smart Water?
If you want to let your dog drink a sophisticated type of bottled water, such as Smart Water, then go for it.
The bottles don’t contain any substances that are harmful to your dog or that will make them sick.
But just bear in mind that your dog won’t gain any benefits from drinking bottled water than they would from drinking clean and fresh tap water, drunk out of a clean bowl.
As long as your tap water is safe that is.
Although bottles of Smart Water do contain added ingredients such as electrolytes, if your dog is eating a healthy diet then it won’t really need any more electrolytes than it is already getting.
If you are living in an area that doesn’t have access to safe drinking water then buying bottled water for you and your dog to drink is perhaps the best way to go.
But buying bottles of Smart Water is the equivalent of buying a Ferrari when all you need is to car to get you from A to B.
There are other forms of bottled water which are more reasonably priced!