A water fountain provides continuous fresh water to your canine friend. It's important to buy a high-quality fountain though, as the worst models are overpriced and unreliable. In this article, we've listed four of the best dog water fountains to help you make the right choice for your pet.
The Bottom Line...
Zeus Fresh and Clear
My top pick for a dog water fountain is the excellent Zeus Design Fresh and Clear. It has a large capacity, is easy to clean, and filters debris to keep water fresh. The raised design is also more comfortable for medium or large dogs. If you want your pet to have clean water throughout the day, the Zeus is a great choice.
Are you worried your pet isn't drinking enough water?
If so, a water fountain could be an easy (and relatively cheap) solution. Fountains provide fresh and filtered water throughout the day, so your pup never goes thirsty.
I know what you're thinking though...do dogs really need a fountain? We all love to pamper our pets, but surely a drinking fountain is a luxury-too-far?
Admittedly, I thought the same when I first heard about fountains. But fountains have a number of benefits - for both dogs and owners.
Firstly, dogs often drink more from fountains. Hydration is essential for your dog's health - especially for the kidneys. While "still" water in a bowl or dish usually does the job, animals find moving water more appealing as it's likely to be fresher.
For this reason, dog fountains are a great way to encourage your dog to drink more. Many models also provide filtered water that tastes better. They are relatively cheap too - which is always a bonus!
The only problem is there are lots of low-quality drinking fountains on the market. Some have unreliable motors, others are difficult to clean or even have issues with overflowing. This can make it hard to choose the right one for your home and pet.
To help you decide, I've compiled a list of the best drinking fountains for dogs. Along with the recommendations, I've provided mini reviews of each model to help you make the best choice for your doggy friend.
Benefits of Flowing Drinking Water
Before we get to the top-rated picks, let's talk about why you may want to buy a fountain. Some of the advantages include:
- Help Keep Your Dog Hydrated. Bubbling cold water is more appealing to thirsty dogs, so they are more likely to drink. This helps keep your dog hydrated. While all dogs can benefit from drinking plenty of water, it's even more important in hot weather conditions, or if the dog is reluctant to drink (this should always be discussed with your vet.)
- Cleaner Water. Many dog fountains have built-in filters or charcoal pads. These remove impurities from the water which can make it taste better. You'll still need to clean the fountain though.
- Reduced Bacteria. Stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria, which can potentially be dangerous for your pet. A fountain water dispenser keeps the fluid moving which makes it more difficult for bacteria to spread. Fountains still need to be cleaned, but are usually more hygienic.
- Large Water Containers. Some of the biggest water fountains can hold up to 400oz of fluid. This means you won't need to refill them as often as a regular water bowl. Automatic fountains also don't need to be cleaned as often.
Symptoms of Dehydration
Fountains can encourage your dog to drink more, which can prevent dehydration. Even if you have a fountain, however, it's vital to know the symptoms of dehydration. If you notice these signs, you should immediately contact a vet.
- Dry gums
- Lethargic behaviour
- Weakness or difficulty walking
- Sunken eyes
- Reduced skin elasticity
- Loss of appetite
Any dog can become dehydrated if they don't consume enough water. Dogs with an illness, such as fever or heat stroke, may refuse to drink and so are more likely to get dehydrated. Pain or nausea can also prevent a dog from drinking enough.
A dog can also become dehydrated if they lose too much water in a short time. Vomiting, excessive panting or diarrhoea can all lead to dehydration. Diabetes and kidney failure may also cause a dog to urinate more. Never take chances with dehydration; contact your vet immediately.
How to Choose a Drinking Fountain
Choosing a dog water dispenser might seem straightforward, as most fountains do essentially the same thing. There are some important features to look for though:
- Type. Electric watering fountains are the most common. These continuously circulate water to keep it fresh, but need to be plugged in at all times. Gravity fountains, on the other hand, allow water to flow into the bowl as your dog drinks. They are cheaper but don't provide the same level of water circulation. In most cases, I recommend choosing an electric dog fountain. On a side note, you can also buy step-on fountains, which require your dog to press a pedal with their paw to self-serve water.
- Water Capacity. Dog fountain capacities vary from mini 50 ounce models up to 500+ ounces. The greater the capacity, the less you'll need to refill the reservoir. If you have a large dog breed, or multiple pets, it's vital to get a big fountain so the water doesn't run out too quickly.
- Filtration. As I mentioned earlier, many dog fountains have a filter - but not all. If you want your pup to drink cleaner water, look for a carbon filter that removes small particles from the flow. The downside to a filter is that they need to be maintained and occasionally replaced.
- Cleaning. Even though fountains keep water in continuous motion, they still need to be cleaned regularly. Some fountains are fiddly and difficult to clean, which often means they aren't used for long. The best dog drinking fountains are easy to take apart, simple to clean and even have dishwasher-safe components. Please Note: The pump of a fountain should never be washed in a dishwasher unless specifically stated in the manufacturer instructions.
- Water Flow. Some models allow you to adjust the amount or speed or water released by the fountain. This is a useful option for small or nervous dogs. You should also check the height of the water flow, as a small puppy is obviously going to feel comfortable drinking at a different height to a Great Dane.
- Noise. Loud water fountains are unlikely to be tolerated by humans for long. Some fountains also get louder as the water gets low, because the pump starts to burn out.
- Bowl Material. The most common materials for a fountain are plastic, stainless steel and ceramic. Ceramic and steel bowls look fantastic, but are usually more expensive.
- Physical Size and Appearance. A water fountain is going to be on display in your home, so it's worth considering how it looks. Some fountains have a functional design, while others are made from stylish stainless steel or ceramics. Remember to check the physical dimensions and cord length before you buy. There's also the option of a battery-operated fountain should you want a cordless model.
- Indoors or Outdoors. All water fountains can be operated indoors, but most are not suitable for outdoor use. If you want your pet to have access to clean water when in the garden or backyard, make sure the fountain is weather resistant and safe to use outdoors.
- Warranty. Many pet water fountains come with a warranty, but the length and details vary greatly. If you buy from an online store, such as Amazon, Petco, Target or Walmart, make sure you check whether the model is still covered by a warranty.
One thing to note about water fountain pumps is that they may burn out if the container isn't filled to a certain level. This is because the water isn't able to circulate properly. The more water a container holds, the less likely this is to happen.
Reliability is another important factor. The best models can be relied on to provide your pet with continuous water, which is vital for their health. Poor-quality models are more likely to breakdown. This is also why I don't recommend making a DIY or homemade fountain.
Tip: If your dog prefers cold drinking water, you may want to read our guide to dog cooler bowls. These bowls don't circulate water, but keep it cool and fresh for longer than regular bowls.
How We Picked
All of the criteria above are important when buying water dispensers - but not all are essential. When choosing the best water fountains, I mainly focus on water capacity, filtration, ease of cleaning and noise. I still considered other factors, such as aesthetics and bowl material, but these had less impact on my reviews.
Top 4 Best Pet Water Fountains
Listed below are four of the best pet water fountains. Make sure you read each review closely, as the right option depends on your dog's breed, size and drinking habits.
1. Zeus Fresh and Clear
One of the best fountains for large dogs is the Zeus Fresh and Clear (previously called the DogIt Fresh & Clear.) The relatively big 200oz capacity means you won't need to fill it as often, while the filtration system does a good job of getting rid of impurities.
How exactly does it work though? The Zeus filters water before delivering cool water through a spout at the top. This "vertical" and elevated water flow makes it good choice for larger breeds or those with arthritis, as your pet won't need to bend down as much to drink.
It's relatively easy to disassemble and clean, which is important for any dog fountain. The instructions don't mention using a dishwasher, but hand washing is simple due to the smooth plastic. Dirt and grime also easily wipes away from the material without the need for hard scrubbing.
The filtration system uses multiple layers to remove impurities, which can improve hygiene and taste. The downside is that Zeus recommends changing the filter cartridges once per month, which can add to the lifetime cost of the machine. If you have multiple pets, the cartridge may need to be washed as often as once per week.
With a 200oz capacity, the Zeus is one of the larger fountains on the market. It can hold enough water to last around a week for a large dog, and even longer for smaller breeds. The minimum water level is also an acceptable 24oz, but if the level goes below this the pump starts to struggle and becomes relatively loud. The good news is that during regular use the Zeus is a quiet water fountain.
It isn't perfect though. There's no option to adjust the pump speed, which is a shame as this option could be useful for smaller breeds. The 200oz capacity, while larger than most, may not be enough for the very biggest breeds.
Additionally, while cleaning is easy, grime tends to build-up in the reservoir. It's a good idea to clean the container every few times you refill it, as this puts less strain on the filter and prevents the build-up from becoming unsightly.
Even if you keep the container clean, one of the biggest drawbacks of the Zeus is how quickly the filter clogs. This partly depends on how many dogs are using it, but for heavy usage be prepared to clean the filter regularly.
If you want to see the Zeus in action, check out the video below of the previous "Dogit" model. A cat is using it, but you get the idea!
Quick Summary: The Zeus is an excellent water fountain for large doggie companions. It has a big capacity, easy-to-clean design and a raised water flow for easier drinking. The filter and water container need to be cleaned regularly though.
- Water Tank: 200 oz
- Price Range: $
- Raised water flow with a slight angle for easier drinking
- Large water capacity which is great for medium or big dogs
- One of the easiest to disassemble and clean
- Loud when water gets low (quiet during regular operation though)
- Filter quickly becomes clogged and needs to be cleaned or replaced
2. Pioneer Pet Raindrop Stainless Steel
If you're looking for a more stylish dog water fountain, the Pioneer Pet Raindrop could be a great choice. With its stainless steel exterior and curved design, it's one of the most attractive fountains.
The Pioneer Pet isn't just style over substance though. It's an effective filter that does a great job of providing fresh water throughout the day.
It features a charcoal filter to remove impurities along with a 60oz capacity. Water is continuously circulated to keep it fresh and help encourage your pet to stay hydrated, while the 1.82 metre power cord allows you more freedom when placing it.
The filter is made from charcoal to remove impurities and bad tastes, and does a decent job of removing most debris. I don't think it's quite as effective as the Zeus at keeping the water clean though - especially if you have multiple dogs drinking from it. You'll also need to replace it regularly, which can add to the lifetime cost of the model.
Cleaning the Pioneer is straightforward. It's easy to take apart the individual pieces, and most can be washed in a dishwasher. It's a little fiddly to wash by hand though, especially around the edges. The Pioneer can also be difficult to reassemble after cleaning - although not so difficult that it's a deal breaker.
One of the advantages of the stainless steel design is that the Pioneer is heavier than alternatives. If your dog is clumsy, this may stop him moving it around when drinking.
The Pioneer isn't the quietest fountain on the market, but it's not loud either. There is a consistent hum, which increases as the water runs lower. It's never loud enough to be a real nuisance, although it's certainly noticeable.
The biggest downside to the Pioneer is the price. It's a relatively small fountain, yet costs considerably more than similar-sized plastic models. This is understandable, as stainless steel is a pricier material, but is worth keeping in mind.
Note: There are also ceramic and "Max" versions available.
Quick Summary: If you're willing to pay more for a stylish fountain, the Pioneer Raindrop is a great choice. It's not the quietest or largest fountain on the market, but does a good job at providing continuously fresh water to your pet.
- Water Tank: 60 oz
- Price Range: $$
- Stylish stainless steel design (ceramic version also available)
- Easy to disassemble and some dishwasher safe parts
- Heavy so it's more difficult for your dog to move it
- More expensive than plastic models with a similar size
- Small capacity
- Consistent hum
3. Petsafe Drinkwell Outdoor Fountain
The Drinkwell Outdoor Pet Fountain is one of the best options for providing flowing water in your garden or yard. It has a huge capacity compared to indoor fountains, so you won't need to fill it as often, and has a UV resistant coating so it won't fade in the sun.
Water flows from the dual containers into a high-sided drinking bowl. Your dog can either drink directly from the stream or the bowl, but either way the tall sides reduce splashing.
One of the major selling points of this model is the large capacity. It can hold up to 450oz, which is plenty for even the largest dog breeds. There's a replaceable carbon filter, which helps to keep the water clean and tasty, along with a foam filter to catch larger debris.
Even though the Drinkwell has been designed with outdoor usage in mind, it's an excellent indoor fountain too. The large 450oz capacity makes it a good choice for the biggest dog breeds or if you have multiple pets. It's also relatively quick and easy to clean - which is important as you'll need to clean it regularly.
It's not the quietest on the market, but it's quieter than most. The pump is also adjustable. This allows you to reduce the pump speed which also reduces noise output.
There are some drawbacks though. The water flow isn't as raised as some of the other models on the market, so it may be more difficult for larger dogs to drink. It's also surprisingly awkward to refill the tanks, which is a shame.
Note: PetSafe also sells the Drinkwell Everflow, which is also suitable for outdoor use. It's much smaller though, which is why I prefer the Drinkwell Outdoor.
Quick Summary: If you need a water fountain for outdoors or big dogs, the Drinkwell Outdoor is a great choice. It has two big reservoirs, along with a decent filtration system and UV resistant design.
- Water Tank: 450 oz
- Price Range: $$$
- Huge capacity
- Two layers of filtration
- Easy to clean
- May be difficult for big dogs or those with arthritis to drink from
- Awkward to refill the tanks
4. PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain
One of the larger indoor pet fountains is the Petsafe Drinkwell Platinum. It's a stylish model with a carbon filter, 168oz capacity and BPA-Free plastic design - plus it's one of the most popular fountains on the market at the moment.
Like most of the fountains on this list, the Platinum has an activated carbon filter to help keep water fresh. This needs to be replaced on a regular basis, but the replacement filters are easy to find online. It also has a pre-filter for larger debris, and it does a reasonable job of keeping water clean. The pre-filter also prevents larger objects from reaching the pump.
Like the Drinkwell Outdoor, the Platinum has a waterfall system. This provides an attractive drink for your pet while oxygenating water and preventing bacteria growth. It's not as heavy as a stainless steel fountain, but has rubber feet to reduce the chance of your dog pushing it around.
As you would expect, the indoor-only Platinum has a considerably smaller reservoir capacity than PetSafe's outdoor model. At 168oz it's still one of the largest on the market though, so you won't need to refill it as often. The reservoir is transparent and simple to refill.
The biggest drawback of the Drinkwell Platinum is that it's very difficult to clean. There are lots of small parts that can become covered with grime and dirt, which is why it's only #4 on this list rather than higher.
On the plus side, it's relatively quiet for a drinking fountain. It buzzes and vibrates when water runs low though, so this could wake you up if it's placed near a bedroom.
Quick Summary: If you don't mind the fiddly cleaning process, the PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum is a great fountain for your canine friend. It has a relatively large reservoir, is quiet in operation and looks great. The multitude of different parts and small spaces make it a nightmare to maintain though.
- Water Tank: 168 oz
- Price Range: $$
- Quiet in normal operation
- Large reservoir for an indoor fountain
- Attractive design
- Very difficult to clean
- Loud when water runs low
There are a number of other fountains on the market from brands such as Pagoda, Pawslife, Pet Mate and Harmony. While I recommend sticking with the four models above, others might be worth considering if you have specific requirements these don't meet.
- Animal Planet Automatic Flow. Not a bad fountain, but expensive considering it has no filter and water tends to splash outside of the product. Has a relatively large 180oz tank though.
- PetKit Eversweet Waterer. The Eversweet has a number of advanced features, including a near-silent pump, automatic shut-off when the sensor detects water is low, and a "smart" mode to save energy. It's expensive though - so it's only worth buying if you're desperate to get an ultra-quiet model.
- PetSafe Drinkwell 360. I featured two Drinkwell fountains in our top four models, but the 360 misses out due to its difficult-to-assemble design and fiddly cleaning process.
- Etna Electronic Pet Fountain. The Etna is a simple model, but it's let down by a small reservoir (62oz total). The low price means it might be worth considering for small dogs though.
- NatureSPA Premium. The Nature Spa is a pricey model, but comes with UV light purification to kill microorganisms and bacteria, along with a charcoal filter and low water shut off. It's worth considering if you want purified water for your pet and don't mind paying extra. Nature Spa also produces a cheaper "Deluxe" version.
Looking for an Automatic Pet Feeder?
This page is all about water fountains for pets, but you can also get automated feeders. These dispense food at pre-set times so your dog never misses a meal - even when you're not at home. For more information, check out our automatic feeders page.
A dog water fountain can be a great way to encourage your pet to stay hydrated. The fresh flow of water makes drinking more attractive, while filtration systems remove debris and bad tastes.
My top recommendation for a pet fountain is the Zeus Fresh and Clear. It's an excellent model for both small and large dogs, due to its elevated water flow and large capacity.
I hope this article has helped you choose the best dog water fountain for your home. If you have any questions, comments or feedback, please let me know in the comments section.