Water Borne Diseases in Dogs

For certain types of outdoor dogs like a Lab, it just doesn’t matter what they drink. When they’re hot and thirsty, they’re jumping in and drinking it up. Dogs need protection against contaminated water like humans do, even if the water looks clean. How to Keep Your Dog From Water-Borne Diseases

Keep your Dog from:

Drinking in lake, streams & puddles
Dog Parks
Places where dogs congregate
Keep fresh Filtered or Bottled Water available always
When Camping use a Dog Drinking H2O Fountain with an Auto-fill-Make it fun to drink there 
Watch for symptoms of Illness
H2O with Algae on top
Stagnant H2O

Water Filtration is a needed tool for your family’s protection against Water Borne Pathogens that are readily available in the outdoors. Even for the most popular family member, your Dog, certain precautions are needed to be taken.

How Contagious is Giardia in Dogs

Yes, a very familiar waterborne pathogen called Giardia can be transmitted from dog to dog through licking, but the most common source is water. Drinking from puddles, lakes, and streams is very common especially with families that enjoy camping this time of the year.

There is an increasing concern for people who enjoy the great outdoors of the risk posed by drinking water. Whether camping, hiking fishing or just an Outdoor enthusiast for any reason water filtration should be a part of the survival plan and needed tools that are packed away with the necessary gear.

The risk from disease is much higher in the outdoors than the risk from animal attach. Diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans, either through direct contact with the animal or a contaminated surface or water, through ingestion of animal products

If you bring your dog along for the trip then the dog will be also exposed to those higher risks.

Cryptosporidium is a microscopic parasite that causes the diarrheal disease cryptosporidiosis. Both the parasite and the disease are commonly known as “Crypto.”

There are many species of Cryptosporidium that infect animals, some of which also infect humans. The parasite is protected by an outer shell that allows it to survive outside the body for long periods of time and makes it very tolerant to chlorine disinfection.

While this parasite can be spread in several different ways, water (drinking water and recreational water) is the most common way to spread the parasite. Cryptosporidium is a leading cause of waterborne disease among humans in the US.

 E. Coli-is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and stomach pain in people and is the leading cause of the hemolytic uremic syndrome, a rare kidney disorder that can cause kidney failure. Many types of E. coli are harmless, but certain types can cause severe disease.

In Water Pollution Control,  E. Coli Bacteria are used as markers in Laboratory test and signal contaminated water. The pathogenic types of E. coli that can cause diarrhea can be transmitted through contaminated water or food, or through contact with animals or persons

Pythiosi-With a nickname like “swamp cancer,” you know it’s nothing good. Pythiosis is a rare but severe waterborne disease caused by a fungal-like organism called Pythium insidiosum. While more commonly known as a disease of plants, pythiosis can also infect animals—with terrible results. Found in warmer climates with plenty of standing water, pythiosis is most commonly seen in the Gulf States (TX, LA, FL, MS, AL), southeast Asia, and South American.

The organism attaches itself to small wounds in the skin or gastrointestinal tract and grows into large, often ulcerated lesions. If it starts in the skin, owners will notice large red itchy lumps. If it takes root in the GI tract, owners will notice signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. The disease is most commonly diagnosed in Labradors, a breed is known for their love of swimming.

Found in warmer climates with plenty of standing water, Pythiosis is most commonly seen in the Gulf States (TX, LA, FL, MS, AL), southeast Asia, and South American. The organism attaches itself to small wounds in the skin or gastrointestinal tract and grows into large, often ulcerated lesions.

If it starts in the skin, owners will notice large red itchy lumps. If it takes root in the GI tract, owners will notice signs such as vomiting, diarrhea, and weight loss. The disease is most commonly diagnosed in Labradors, a breed is known for their love of swimming.

 Drinking Stagnant Water Symptoms

Leptospirosis is caused by the Leptospira bacteria. The bacteria are found worldwide. Many species of both wildlife and domestic animals can spread leptospirosis. It is transmitted through an infected animal’s urine. Leptospirosis is a risk during any recreational activity that involves exposure to water in lakes, rivers, or ponds that could be contaminated by urine from infected animals – this includes camping, swimming, kayaking, canoeing, rafting, trail biking, etc.

Blue/Green Algae-Freshwater lakes and ponds are highly inviting to a water-loving dog, but beware of bodies of water with a dense buildup of Blue-Green-Algae Under specific environmental conditions, most often during the summer months, photosynthetic bacteria can build up—a condition known as a blue-green algae harmful algal bloom (HAB). These algae can produce toxins with severe effects on pets and people.

Algal toxins come in different forms and can affect many parts of the body like skin, GI tract, liver, and central nervous system. Depending on the type of toxin a pet is exposed to, symptoms can range from rashes, nausea and vomiting, respiratory failure, seizures, and death.

Dogs should be kept from swimming in lakes with visible algal blooms as it is impossible to tell just by looking if the algae are producing toxins. Any illness after swimming in a lake with an algal bloom should be immediately reported to your veterinarian, as death can occur in severe cases. Hab are a huge problem in the Florida coastline and especially in the last few years.

Schistosomiasis-Dog owners in Texas and Louisiana have an additional organism to look out for in their water loving dogs: Heterobilharzia Americana, a flatworm that is the causative agent of canine Schistosomiasis The organism penetrates the skin of the dog while swimming or wading in contaminated freshwater, then migrates through the lungs into the liver. The adults produce eggs that penetrate the GI tract, which are shed in the feces and infect the intermediate host, freshwater snails.

The clinical signs are associated with the inflammation caused by the eggs, and usually manifests as vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and lethargy. The eggs can be found in the feces, though treatment can be challenging due to the chronic nature of the inflammatory lesions.

While this organism does not live in humans, the parasites can burrow into the skin and cause a rash known as “swimmer’s itch.”

Prevent your Dog from Contacting Water Borne Disease

Dogs can contract leptospirosis by drinking from water sources contaminated with urine from an infected animal. Puddles that have formed from rain runoff certainly qualify as such a source. It’s almost impossible to keep your dog completely away from these invisible enemies but if the water looks muddy and dirty then it probably is.

Giardia organisms are microscopic protozoa that live within the intestinal tracts of a variety of domesticated and wild animals. Infectious and contagious forms are shed within the feces and readily contaminate water sources. This is one of the main reasons it is recommended that drinking hikers and backpackers drink only filtered water. A 2012 study documented that dogs who attend dog parks are more likely to test positive for giardia than those who do not attend dog parks2.

The most common symptom caused by giardiasis in dogs is diarrhea. Vomiting and loss of appetite may also occur. The diagnosis is made via stool sample testing. A handful of medications can be used to rid the intestinal tract of giardia. Metronidazole and fenbendazole are the two most commonly used


  •  Keep them from drinking in lake & streams
  • Keep Dog from Drinking Puddles in Dog Parks & places where other dogs congregate
  • Any Outdoor Activity-Keep fresh Filtered or Bottled Water available for the Dog
  • Keep the Dog away from stagnant water
  • When Camping use a Dog Drinking Water Fountain with an Autofill

Doggie Water Fountain

I’ve been looking for a water fountain for my dog to keep him hydrated and from doing all the things listed above in order to prevent him from being bored on our Camping trips and staying away from dirty puddles slurping up Cryptosporidium and Giardia. My lab will look for trouble and always find it.

This product is recommended by MyWaterEarth&Sky its made for the bigger dogs in mind and the family that loves to Camp. If your dog is afraid of water well maybe he/she won’t like it. Then again I think most dogs need to be introduced slowly to water before they are comfortable with it. This might be the tool to do just that. Its called TJMWL Pet Fountain Drinking Fountain Dog Outdoor Water Dispenser- It’s a Pressure Pedal Automatic Sprinkler Suitable for Travel Camping

This product is made to stimulate dogs and hydrate them at the same time. I found that a lot of dogs find dirty puddles or any kind of water to jump in is because they are bored.

On Camping trips with the chores, all the kids are doing your dog is going to be looking for trouble basically because of boredom. It’s a great product  and keeps your dog hydrating healthy!

This fountain will keep your mid-size to large dog busy and entertained. He/she won’t want to drink from the dirty stream or the lake, not with this outdoor drinking fountain around the campsite. I first tried the auto-fill plastic UV type Bowl that refills by itself but you need a good hose connection.

This water dispenses when my dog wants it to and makes the whole experience fun and simple. The benefit of using a Water Fountain is that I know the Water my dog is getting is always fresh clean water.


Or this Pet Fountain with Water Filtration filters Pet Smart Drinking Water Machine, Pet Fountain, Cat Bowl, Cat, and Dog Drinking Water Tank Circulation Filter, 5L Oxygen Storage Water Purifier Pet Partner, White Feeder Pet Feeder

With a silent pump, the water flow is well controlled, the water flow is gentle, stable and quiet this is better for RV or Cabin and for smaller dogs. The filter removes a few things but is mainly meant for Chlorine and Heavy Metals. (like lead)
2. Low-pressure water pump, power saving, safer; pump heads with different specifications, can be configured according to voltage and socket of each country
3. Water shortage protection: protection starts when water shortage occurs, no need to worry about the risk of dry burning, pets are safer to use, if not at home, owners do not have to worry
4. Circulating clean water should be filtered, only water should be kept without any dirt, hair impurities should be washed away, without any residue
(Spoke design: prevent pet hair from staying on the water and circulation of every drop of water.)
5. Activated carbon filtration principle: large air space, strong adsorption capacity, can filter harmful substances in water
6. Circulatory system, oxygenated tap water
Circulating water increases the oxygen content of the water, making pets prefer it.


It’s known fact water left out in the yard or at the Dog Park gets bad and depending on the temperature doesn’t last too long. Water filters used specifically for dogs aren’t very practical. For Outdoors Camping your dog needs fresh drinking water and plenty of it. If you are out on the trail then it should be Bottled water.

If you have a Water Filtration Unit like a Berkey Gravity Filter that you use for your family’s Camping trips that’s an excellent source for family and your dog. It’s more than good enough they are one of the best Water Filters made today.

Campsite Well water systems are checked once or twice a year. If the campsite has a decent record for their Private Well water source (and that’s information you can get from the Campsite) then Use a Pet Water Fountain Dispenser with a hose connection for an endless supply of fresh clean water for the dog. 

a Pet Water Fountain Dispenser is what your family needs to keep your dog happy hydrated and healthy. Try one of these Fountains out. I got to admit the Fountain with the pedal was my favorite!

Jim has worked over 30 years in the Water/Waste Water and Water Filtration Business as an Operating Consultant and has written over 300 articles on the Worldwide Water Situation


Author/Editor, MyWaterEarth&Sky

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