Pet water fountains vs bowls: The ultimate guide to pet hydration

It’s National Pet Hydration Awareness Month, and we’ve been busy sharing our top tips for keeping our little loved ones topped up with a healthy dose of H2O.

In our latest blog, we’re here to help you decide between pet water fountains and the traditional dog bowl, putting them head-to-head (or should we say snout to snout?). Let’s dive in!




It’s all about aqua!

Hydration is vital for our cats and dogs’ overall health and well-being. Just like us, they need access to fresh, clean water to support their vital bodily functions – including digestion, circulation and temperature regulation. Regular water intake also helps prevent health problems like urinary tract issues, which can be particularly common in cats.

Hydration is a hot topic in the human world at the moment. Hands up anyone who has a fancy water bottle with motivational markers or a stylish reusable bottle to stay hydrated on the move.

When providing water to cats or dogs though, the formula is rather more…simplistic, with the humble water bowl picking up the slack for decades. Until the pet water fountain arrived on the scene, that is.

But is an automatic pet water dispenser just what the vet ordered? Should your dog bowl be shaking in its boots or is it still a good option?

Let’s see how the two compare…


Pet water fountains: the pros and cons

There’s nothing quite like a lovely few laps of clean, fresh water for bright eyes and waggy tails. But have you ever noticed that your four-legged friend often makes a beeline for running water?

Perhaps your dog always dashes towards a stream when out on a walk? Or your kitchen regularly features a cat counter surfer, sliding in the direction of a dripping tap?

Well, there’s a reason why running water is a natural preference for your pet. Our cats may look like adorable fluffballs, but remember their ancestors are the big cats that roam the plains of Africa, getting most of their water from the fresh food they eat.

Our feline friends therefore don’t tend to have high thirst drives, but they can find running water most appealing – in the wild, this would mean it’s safer than still and stagnant pools. This primal instinct relates to dogs too. As anyone who’s tried to peacefully hose down their car can relate to, they absolutely love moving water.

So it stands to reason that a cat or dog drinking fountain is a great way to satisfy your pet’s craving.

These small devices feature a water bowl and pump mechanism that provides a source of clean running water – providing hydration, entertainment and stimulation for your furry friend. No plumbing is required, as indoor pet fountains are self-contained. They also don’t need refilling as often as water bowls, making them super convenient if you’re busy during the day.



Pros of pet water fountains

  • Provides a fresh water supply
  • Easy to clean
  • Running water attracts pet’s attention
  • Fountains with filters remove dirt, fur, chlorine and unpleasant odours
  • Can help keep water cool
  • Some fountains have multiple levels for different pet sizes

Cons of pet water fountains

  • Requires mains or battery power
  • Needs to be near a power outlet
  • More expensive to purchase
  • Filters are recommended to be replaced at regular intervals
  • Most can only be used indoors


What’s more, where still water bowls can be a breeding ground for bacteria, filtered water fountains remove dirt, fur and any other nasties, and the water movement stops scaling deposits building up, therefore improving the taste and even the smell for your pet’s sensitive nose.

If you’re wondering if cat water fountains use a lot of electricity, the good news is that they either run on batteries or a low-voltage supply, making them relatively cheap to run. However, for the electric variety of dog water dispensers, it’s worth noting that they’re limited by the nearest plug socket location.

So, which pet water dispenser is best? We might be biased, but our Closer Pets models bring together over 35 years of experience to bring you the best tried-and-tested pet water fountains on offer today. As well as having large water capacities and specially designed polymer-carbon filter cartridges, models like our Closer Pets Three-level Two-litre Pet Fountain also include multilevel drinking stations for a natural drinking height for different pets.


Pet water bowls: the pros and cons

This isn’t to say there’s not still room in your life for the humble water bowl, though.

Pros of pet water bowls

  • Readily available
  • Cheap to buy
  • Easy and quick to clean
  • Zero maintenance

Cons of pet water bowls

  • Needs to be refilled regularly
  • Instinct means pets may avoid standing water
  • Needs to be cleaned thoroughly to keep it hygienic

Whether you opt for a cute personalised dog or cat bowl or use an old cereal bowl, they’re a cheap and simple thirst-quencher. Dogs in particular know what’s what with a bowl, whereas they may need gentle encouragement to use a dog water fountain at first.

Bowls can be versatile too – you can raise them to cater to different size pets or companions with physical difficulties or older joints. They are also easy to pop outside – unlike electric water fountains.

As long as you regularly clean and refill your water bowl – after all, it’s not quite as inviting to sip water that’s been hanging around – there’s no reason why it can’t still be a handy option for pet owners.

Pet water bowl or water fountain?

As we’ve seen, pet water bowls and water fountains are both options for keeping your pets happy and hydrated. But which is more likely to be their favourite watering hole?

For us, it’s a clean sweep for the pet water fountain. It delivers exactly everything your cat or dog needs: fresh, clean, flowing water that piques their curiosity and encourages them to lap it up to their heart’s content.

If you’re wondering if it’s worth getting an automatic pet fountain – although they aren’t as cheap and cheerful as a water bowl – anyone who’s seen their cat side-eye a bowl that’s been left out for a few hours will be eager to upgrade their pet’s hydration station.

And, while water fountains are great for pets at home, remember to take some dog hydration solutions on walkies and day trips, especially in the summer!

It’s time to rethink our pets’ drink. At Closer Pets, our modern pet fountains are suitable for moggies and even small doggies. Form an orderly queue now…

View our pet water fountain range here.