Is It Safe For Pets to Drink Soft Water?

Your four-legged friends likely have a water bowl sitting out so that they have constant access to water. But have you ever wondered if the soft water you provide them is safe?

Hard water has a high level of dissolved minerals, mainly magnesium and calcium, and while these minerals are harmless, they can build up on appliances in your home. They can also give your water a chalky texture and may even give your water a chemical taste. Your water softener eliminates this problem by eliminating the excess minerals and replacing them with salt.

This brings about the question, is it safe for my pet to drink soft water? This article will discuss soft and hard water and let you know if soft water is safe for pets.

Soft Water vs. Hard Water


Soft water is safe for people as well as pets. It has the same standards as hard water, only your water softener removes the excess minerals. An ion-exchange system is the most effective system as it replaces mineral ions with sodium or potassium ions, which are softer.

The only time you would need to worry about soft water affecting your pet’s health is if you have a breed that has an increased chance of cardiovascular problems or if your vet has placed them on a low-sodium diet. Soft water can cause an increase in blood pressure. If your pet doesn’t have these risks, soft water is entirely safe for them.

The minerals in hard water also cause no known health risks. However, your veterinarian may advise you to avoid giving your pet tap water that is untreated.

This recommendation isn’t because of the minerals in the water. Instead, it is due to chemicals that some water treatment plants use to disinfect the water. Some of these chemicals include fluoride, chlorine, and chloramine. While these chemicals effectively kill bacteria and germs, they can affect your pet’s health.

There can also be a danger if you get your water from a well. That’s why it’s a good idea to have your water tested twice a year.


Due to the use of salt in the softening process, your water may have a slightly salty taste. Because of this, your pet may not want to drink as much water as they need to. Therefore, it’s essential to monitor your pet when you give them soft water to ensure they consume an adequate amount of water.


The main disadvantage of giving your pets soft water to drink is the sodium content. While the sodium content isn’t dramatically increased when using a water softener, some additional salt is added. So if your pet is on a sodium-free diet, soft water may not be the best solution for them. Instead, you could use a potassium-based softener salt instead of one with a sodium base. Potassium salt isn’t harsh like sodium, but it is more expensive.

On the other hand, hard water holds the disadvantage of the additional chemicals added by treatment plants. A reverse osmosis (RO) system can remove those chemicals, leaving you with clean, filtered water.

Other Benefits of Soft Water for Your Pet

Bathing your pets in soft water can benefit their skin and fur. By removing the minerals found in hard water, soft water eliminates mineral buildup and can help moisturize your pet’s skin and give them a softer coat.

Making the Switch to Soft Water

Switching your pets from drinking hard to soft water should be done gradually. When making the transition, you should begin filling most of their bowl with hard water, then fill the rest of the bowl with soft water. You should decrease the hard water you put in their bowl over several weeks. 

By transitioning your pet to drinking soft water over a period of time, you can avoid any adverse effects on their digestive system. While you are transitioning, you should monitor their intake to ensure that the taste isn’t bothering them, causing them to drink less. If you notice that they are drinking less, gradually switch back to hard water.

Turn to the EcoWater Experts to Perfect Your Water

In a nutshell, yes, soft water is safe for your pets to drink, and it can also be beneficial for their skin and their coat. If you’re ready to make the switch, Independent Water Service, Inc. can help. We have been perfecting the water of clients throughout Central Washington since 1986.

Our expert technicians will perform a water analysis to recommend the best system for your home or commercial space. And after installation, you can rest easy knowing that our team will be there for any maintenance and repairs on your system with one phone call.
Contact us today for a FREE water analysis.