Help Your Pets Make Better Choices

Almost everything animals do makes sense. So why is it pets drink from the toilet when they’ve got a perfectly good bowl of water at their disposal? It might just be instinct for choosing the freshest, coolest water available. Yet while the lavatory may meet their standards, there’s more we can do to help our pets make better choices and live longer, healthier lives.

One simple solution towards providing improved quality while minimizing effort is to aerate the water just like in a fish tank. Here’s all you need:
• 2W air pump
• Air stone
• Tubing
• Glass, porcelain, or stainless steel bowl

In our dog’s set-up, well water or tap water is dispensed from a water cooler we upcycled from the trash bin into a glass bowl which allows us to more easily keep it full and fresh. The air pump and air stone in the glass bowl do a couple of things in addition to make it more interesting for your pet; aeration, oxidation, and lower BOD.

Aeration scrubs gases from the water and removes any stale taste and odor. Furthermore, when air is mixed vigorously with water, impurities such as iron and manganese become oxidized and fall out of solution more easily. BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) is a measure of the amount of oxygen being consumed by organic and inorganic matter that accumulates from drool, food particles, and whatever else lands in the bowl. Aeration brings more oxygen into contact with this matter which in turn accelerates its decomposition and subsequent removal. Nonetheless, despite all the agitation and chemical reactions taking place, some matter remains suspended in the water which can't be removed by aeration alone.

All this is to say, it is necessary to monitor the set-up and clean everything once and awhile. When the water becomes turbid, discolored, or cloudy, it's a sure sign things need cleaning, so gauge the set-up and don't wait for it to happen. More testing is required to determine average numbers on how long a bowl of water can go before cleanings, explore the use of different food additives as coagulants that will help remove the remaining suspended particles mentioned earlier, and look for ways to incorporate filtration into the concept and extend the time between cleanings.

Meanwhile, our dogs and cats approve and I know they're getting a better quality of water throughout the day. They’re drinking more readily and seem to have given up on the bathroom as a source of water. What's more, you don't have to worry about sitting on drool in the middle of the night if you still haven't eschewed leaving the lid up!

On a side note - Quebecer's enjoy the third-lowest electricity rates (5.45¢/kWh) in all of North America and the air pump consumes 2W. So it only costs us about 0.95¢ per year to run continuously. The water cooler, however, consumes 100W and costs about $50 per year. Leave it unplugged, since the water in the bowl reaches room temperature quickly anyway.

If you’ve got some ideas for improvements, questions, or comments, I’d like to get your feedback.

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