The Best Dog Water Fountain - Automatic Drinking Bowl Review
Our #1 Pick
The Best Value for Money
PetSafe Drinkwell Dog 7.5 Litre Fountain
Have you ever been walking by a small brook and see your dog excitedly lap up the fresh, spring water? Running water is very attractive to dogs. It is the pinnacle of freshness and fascination to our pups.
So, you may be in the market for a dog water fountain to bring the rushing water effect home with you.
Far more interesting (and sometimes better looking) than the traditional dog bowl, dog water fountains are clean, convenient, and always a welcomed addition to your dog’s life.
Consider this your ultimate guide to automatic dog water dispensers. We’ll talk about their benefits, the factors you need to consider, some burning questions and full reviews of the best products on the market. Let’s begin.
Dog Drinking Fountains vs Water Bowls
So, you may be thinking that a dog water fountain is a bit of a vanity item. It could be seen as something we would buy because it looks cool rather than a fully functioning water dispenser for our dogs. Wouldn’t a water bowl be better and easier?
Well, yes and no! (1) Undeniably, water fountains can look very cool. Certainly, more akin to works of art in some ways than a standard water bowl could be, but dogs really enjoy running water.
Running water maintains its freshness, the motion is appealing to your pup and they come with filters that clean impurities from the water. All great reasons to have a fountain over a water bowl.
From a personal standpoint, I have written before about my rather elderly Flat-Coated Retriever. She has stiffer joints now so elevated dog bowls and water fountains are important adjustments to her everyday life so that she is more comfortable.
The drawback of water dispensers is that you have to regularly change the filters to keep it from being clogged with saliva (yuck). That can be a bit of a pain.
Water fountains are also only really of use indoors. Why? Well, for one, how many power outlets do you have outdoors? Secondly, because of their electronic nature, they don’t stand up to the weather particularly well.
How Large Do You Need Your Dog Water Dispenser To Be?
When we talk about size, we mean two things.
First the capacity. You want your water dispenser to be able to provide fresh water for your dog all day. So how much water does your dog need? Well, it depends on their activity level, age, and size.
“As a general rule, adult dogs need about one ounce of water per pound of body weight per day. But growing puppies, despite their smaller size, drink more than their adult counterparts. A lot depends, however, on your puppy’s age, size, and activity level.” - Jan Reisen from the American Kennel Club
The second part is to do with your dog’s size. A tiny fountain and a Great Dane do not go well together. You need to take into account your dog’s size when making the right purchase. Generally, the bigger the better unless you have a teacup breed or puppy that would find it difficult to access the water.
Will More Than One Pet Be Using The Automatic Dog Water Dispenser?
Do you have a multi-dog household? Or even a multi-pet household?
If you have a cat, they will loooove the water fountain! So, to avoid any flights, your water fountain must have ample space for all of your pets to use.
They may not use them at once but it’s fair to prepare for that possibility.
There are fountains with “dual streams” meaning that the waterfalls from two sides. That works well with two pets. If you have more than that, you probably need a fountain that has a more circular shape with water falling omnidirectionally.
You’ll also want to look out for a water fountain with a large-ish base bowl to allow all of your pets to drink from there at the same time.
What Is The Best Material For Your Purposes?
We’ve already discussed how most pet water fountains are meant for indoors, but the material you decide has more of an impact than just the indoor/outdoor decision. Let’s discuss.
We use stainless steel for household items because of its durability and ease of maintenance. It is relatively inexpensive, so a stainless-steel water fountain won’t break the bank. It is incredibly easy to clean because of the smooth, impenetrable surface.
Another pro (or con, depending on how you look at it) is that stainless steel has a classic look
The main issue with stainless steel bowls and water dispensers is that they have no grip. It’s important to find an option with rubber feet or to place the fountain on a rubber mat to stop it from sliding around.
Plastic water fountains are hard-wearing, lightweight, and easily portable. They can come in more exciting colours and patterns than the average ceramic or stainless-steel fountain. That may be important to you if you want your dog’s water fountain to be a fun colour.
There aren’t many cons to using a plastic fountain unless you want to reduce your plastic consumption. This is not necessarily significant to everyone. Do what feels right for you here.
Ceramic items just have a premium feel, don't they? They feel a cut above the rest simply by being a tough stone. It feels like a more luxurious and hardier product, even though out of the three materials mentioned, it is probably the most fragile of all of them.
Ceramic is naturally cool which keeps water fresh. They tend to be much heavier than stainless steel or plastic options. This is a drawback for portability but prevents your dog from excitedly flipping the entire apparatus if that run at it a little too fast.
The only issue with ceramic is that it can chip. The chips are also difficult to spot at times. If your dog accidentally ingests a ceramic chip, it could cause all kinds of problems. Do be careful to inspect the bowl if it takes any hard knocks just to check that it is still safe.
Does The Shape Of A Drinking Fountain Matter?
Yes! It does. Water fountains come in a huge range of shapes, but the form factor does matter.
Firstly, if the shape is too artsy and difficult, it may not suit your dog’s physiology. Does your dog have a flat face that needs a wide-open bowl to drink from? Does your dog have a big head and will therefore find it difficult to get into small corners? These are all important factors in choosing the right fountain for your dog.
The second part of this is how easy is it to clean? The smooth material will make it easier to clean but if there are many corners and textures to navigate as you scrub, it may just be a bit annoying to clean, if not dangerous for the harbouring of bacteria.
“Water and food bowls should be scrubbed with soap and water daily. Since these bowls are in contact with food and your pet’s saliva, they tend to be good places for bacteria to grow. Bowls should be smooth and easy to clean, without nooks and crannies or even scratches where bacteria can hide and survive.”– Dr. Jennifer Larsen from PetMD
That’s not to say you can’t have a dog fountain that looks fun or artsy. It’s just to be aware of how your dog will best access the water and if you have the patience to clean it. Sometimes beauty is pain.
Best Dog Water Fountains 2021 Reviewed
So, we’re clear on the multiple factors at play when it comes to water fountains and their benefits. Now we have rounded up the best dog water fountains in Australia for your perusal. We chose a selection with different materials and sizes so you can find the right one for your dog.
What sets this product apart from the rest?
The Drinkwell Fountain is a great all-rounder.
Firstly, there are 3 available sizes (small, medium, and large) so you can choose the one most fitting for your household. The largest size is perfect for dogs of all breeds. The capacity is excellent at 7.5litres and the bowl itself is a good size for large or flat faces. Multiple pets won’t struggle to use the fountain in tandem too which is a huge plus.
The fountain is easy to assemble and customise. There is a flow control knob that you can turn to slow the flow of water or switch off entirely.
The filter that Drinkwell uses to keep the water fresh is infused with charcoal. This improves the taste and charcoal is known for its ability to withdraw impurities from water.
“The use of special manufacturing techniques results in highly porous charcoals that have surface areas of 300–2,000 square metres per gram. These so-called active, or activated, charcoals are widely used to adsorb odorous or coloured substances from gases or liquids, as in the purification of drinking water, sugar, and many other products.” - Encylopedia Britannica (4)
On top of that, there is a foam filter that catches any large particles like dirt, food, or hair.
Lastly, the Drinkwell is very easy to clean. The bowl is dishwasher safe. It is a smooth, durable plastic so no hard corners that are difficult to scrub.
The con here is that it’s not the easiest on the list to assemble or disassemble to swap out the filters. Fountains are a little more labour-intensive after all. Not everyone will take to the grey design either.
If you are in want of a good-sized water dispenser that won’t break the bank, this is a fabulous option for you!
Verified Review - 4/12/2020
"Great for my Golden Retriever. Encourages him to drink more. Easy to clean."
If you’re after a more economical option than the other items on this list, the Veken will not let you down. This is another plastic water fountain that is durable and easy to clean. The plastic is BPA free and non-toxic.
The Veken has a three-tiered filtration system. The high-density cotton comes first which catches all of the larger particles like hair and dirt. Then lying beneath is the activated carbon filter for all of those smaller impurities. It also has an ion exchange resin that softens hard water.
Though it is relatively rare, dogs can develop bladder stones that are formed from over calcified water. (5) If you have hard water in your area, this may be a good product to use.
The best part of this fountain, I think, is the little clear window indicator that lets you know how much water you have left in the system. It is lit by an interior LED light that can be switched on or off. Not many fountains do that, so it is a very convenient system.
The Veken comes in four cool colours: teal, light blue, grey, and lime green.
Unfortunately, it only comes in one size. It measures 24.1 x 24.1 x 14.2 centimetres. It is suitable for a small to medium-sized dog, but large dogs may struggle here.
Despite the small size, it is not necessarily the worst option for more than one dog. This is because of the double-decker design. One dog can drink from the top and the other can drink from the bottom. That said, it’s still only suitable for small or teacup breeds in this scenario.
As for the capacity, the Veken can hold up to 3litres of water which is a decent supply. Best of all, the manufacturer offers a 2-year warranty on the product.
Overall, we are impressed! This little machine is packed with features that make your life easier. For the price point, this is definitely one to beat.
Onto the ceramic fountains and PetSafe’s option is an impressive one. This is a square design with plenty of class. It has a heavy base making it difficult for your dog to knock around. We also love the two-tone design which comes in blue or taupe. Both are stylish and blend beautifully with your home decor.
This is a pagoda-style fountain with two drinking streams at the top. This makes it ideal for multi-pet households if that’s what you need.
As for sizing, this is one of the smaller items on this list, measuring 27 x 31.1 x 21.3 centimetres. The construction makes it so that many dog breeds can drink from it easily, but I would say that extra-large breeds are excluded here.
The capacity is also smaller than others on this list. It holds 2 litres of water. This could be perfectly fine for your purposes.
This product has a dual filtration system with carbon filtering and foam, removing impurities large and small.
Because of the design, this is also one of the easier fountains on this list to assemble and clean.
Overall, this is a beautiful water fountain that will do everything you need it to do, just on a smaller scale.
Verified Review - 30/04/2021
So Far Cats Haven’t Knocked It Over!
"I bought this because I had a plastic one and I kept finding the lid off and water all over the floor. I’ve had this one going for a couple of weeks and so far no incidents! It’s noisier than the plastic one - water splashing noise, not pump motor noise - but it’s solid and easy to see when the water is getting low."
Onto stainless steel. We really like this pioneer option for stainless steel because of its clean and simple design. There are quite a few stainless-steel fountains on the market but they are all a little much. This one has a beautiful simplicity that helps it to blend into any home seamlessly.
This is one of the largest fountains on this list, measuring 34.3 x 30.5 x 11.4 centimetres as standard. It is incredibly simple to assemble and easy to clean. So easy, in fact, the main bowl is completely dishwasher safe. One less job for you!
The Pioneer has a single filtration system. A single carbon filter catches impurity small and large.
As for the capacity, this holds 3.78 litres of water which is an impressive amount. This fact and the overall sizing make it perfect for large and extra-large dogs, as well as multi-pet households.
One con could potentially be that the water flow here is quite gentle. It’s a slow, soft flow rather than a rushing stream. If your dog suffers from anxiety, then this is great. However, if you want a water fountain with a real waterfall vibe, this is not the product for you.
Again, the keyword is simplicity here. Simple to clean, simple to use and simple design. We have no complaints!
Verified Review - 29/03/2021
Great Product But One Of The Pumps Does'nt Work.
"I ordered two of these and over all my cats and dog and myself are very happy. One of them works perfectly, the second one not too swell/ It worked for a few minutes and then stopped. I checked everything, checked wires and pump again, reassembled it and still nothing. I even checked in multiple outlets too and double checked what sockets were half hot ones. The one working exceeds my satisfaction though and my babies love it."
So, this is the vanity option. The “beauty is pain” option. And sure, many of you will pass over this one as a pure inconvenience to clean, but for those like me who fill their homes with beautiful things at every level, read on!
This is a ceramic water fountain that is environmentally friendly and incredibly stylish. Both colours, the white and the blue, suit it perfectly. It has a multi filtration system for extra freshness and the pump is low noise. This is important so your dog doesn’t get scared when trying to use the fountain.
This drinking fountain is small, unfortunately. It measures 20.6x16.7x13.8cm and holds around 1.3 litres of water. Therefore, this is best suited for single dog households. Small dogs and puppies will be fine with this option, but medium and larger dogs will surely struggle.
This fountain is a work of art. It is craftsmanship. It is decadent. But for that very reason, it’s more of an effort to clean. If you can look past that, it could be a great addition to your home.
Verified Review - 8/05/2021
"I used this product as described. It was a bit too small for my cats big head to get in close enough. The pump is tiny but very powerful and the water flows quite fast. I think the piece that sits on top would benefit from a rubber stopper between the two pieces. Otherwise its a great product. Very pretty and my cat enjoys playing with the painted fish"
The Final Verdict: Best Water Fountain For Dogs
The Pet Safe fountains are well known for their quality and durability. Our favourite is the 7.5 litre fountain because it is so versatile for multi-pet households and dogs of all shapes and sizes. It’s tough to find a product that can tick all the boxes so elegantly as that one.
If you want a more economical option, the Veken is definitely a runner-up in this race. The handy LED display makes it a cut above the rest. The ion exchange resin is also a neat feature that few dog water dispensers have.
Want to check out more dog bowl guides? Check out the below:
They can be! The pump mechanism inside can be noisy but most manufacturers try to make it as quiet as possible. If you have a dog that is of nervous disposition, you may opt to buy a low flow fountain, like the Pioneer option we mentioned.
You are probably more used to seeing a cat run under a faucet to lap up fresh running water, but dogs love moving water too.
There are two theories to this. One is that moving water is simply more entertaining! It evokes a playfulness in your pup to see the water falling. They are more inclined to use a fountain because it’s almost like a toy.
The second theory is that the falling water is naturally more oxygenated and colder than still water would be. This improves the taste. Have you ever left a glass of water out all day and tasted it at the end of the day? It’s less appealing than the fresh stuff straight from the fridge. The same applies here. Fresher is better.
Outdoor dog water fountains are hard to come by. Why?
Well most of them run using mains electricity, so you’ll need a power outlet outside to enable the internal mechanisms to work. On this point, this is not safe to leave outside running unattended, particularly with bad weather. It is extremely rare for these machines to run on battery power.
Most people use water fountains to supply fresh water on a continuous basis whether they are home or not. So being unable to leave the fountain outside running for hours is a definite concern.
- Sutera, S. September 26, 2015. “Pros And Cons Of Continuous Water Fountains For Pets”. Pet Guide. Retrieved March 9, 2021. https://www.petguide.com/products/dishware/dog/pros-and-cons-of-continuous-water-fountains-for-pets/
- Reisen, J. March 21, 2019. “Is Your Puppy Drinking Enough Water?”. American Kennel Club. Retrieved March 9, 2021. https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/puppy-drinking-enough-water/
- Larsen, J. August 11, 2020. “How Much Water Should a Dog Drink?”. PetMD. Retrieved March 9, 2021. https://www.petmd.com/dog/nutrition/evr_dg_the_importance_of_water
- Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Charcoal". Encyclopedia Britannica, 21 May. 2020, Retrieved March 9, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/science/charcoal.
5. Hunter, T. and Ward, E. “Bladder Stones in Dogs”. VCA Hospitals. Retrieved March 9, 2021. https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/bladder-stones-in-dogs