At SJ Water Softeners, we are frequently asked whether it is OK for dogs and cats to drink water after it’s gone through a water softener. 

After all, given that pets seem quite happy to suck up water from revolting looking ponds and puddles, you would think it would be an absolute luxury to be confronted with a bowl of softened water!

And, basically, you’d be right. 

But there are still a few things to take into account before filling their drinking vessels with soft water.

Firstly, in order to create soft water, water softeners remove the minerals from mains water which give rise to the hardness. But our pets rely on a healthy balance of minerals to supplement their diets. 

Next, soft water contains sodium and, for this reason, it can taste a little on the salty side. This doesn’t make it harmful and it is perfectly safe to drink. But sodium can be a little unpalatable. This is why many people who appreciate having soft water in the home steer clear of using it for drinking. For this reason, we recommend having a separate hard water drinking feed in your kitchen, which bypasses the softened water. 

The same goes for our pets.  

If they seem to be turning their noses up at drinking softened water and are drinking less water than normal as a result, then it would be advisable to switch them back to hard water, to ensure they maintain the correct intake of liquid and essential minerals. 

Also, as with humans, if you have pets that are on a restricted or sodium-free diet, then you shouldn’t give them softened water to drink at all.  

The other thing to consider is that higher sodium intake can lead to raised blood pressure and, given that some dog breeds can be susceptible to cardiovascular conditions, it is worth checking to see if your dogs has a history of heart complaints, before introducing them to softened water. 

What is the best way to introduce soft water to your pets? 

Assuming that your pets have no underlying health issues and you are happy to use soft water throughout your home for all purposes, it might be best to introduce soft water to them on a gradual basis where possible. Do this by mixing soft water with the hard water and then, over a period of days, phase out the hard water altogether, to ensure your pets are entirely happy with the new soft water format.  

This isn’t just because of any slight changes in the taste. For dogs especially, one of the main reasons for a gradual switch is so that they get used to the altered levels of minerals in the water. Sometimes, if the changeover is immediate, it has been known to cause diarrhoea. If you have any concerns about this, please check with your vet. 

So, in summary, this isn’t exactly one of those black and white situations. It really comes down to personal preference. We know of many customers who provide soft drinking water to their cats and dogs and are perfectly happy to do so. On the other hand, we quite understand that some owners may feel that, whilst they love soft water for a variety of reasons, it may be a step too far to put it in a drinking bowl for their favourite pooch or pussy cat. 

It is entirely down to personal choice. 

I’m Scott Jenkins and the company I founded, SJ Water Softeners, is now one of the leading suppliers of water softeners for West Sussex, Hampshire, Surrey and further afield across the south of England. For further information about our great range of soft water system products, call 01243 607494 or via email: