Public Dog Water Bowls – Are They Safe?

Communal dog water bowls are a common sight these days, appearing in front of cafes and in the dog park. While these might seem like a good idea during a long walk for a thirsty doggo, it is important to understand the potential risks they pose.

First up, Hygiene…

Clean fresh drinking water is as important for dogs as it is for humans. What level of cleanliness is that public water bowl in the park? You can never really be sure!  Safe to say it is probably not being put through the dishwasher on a regular basis and the water in there might be being topped up rather than replaced, pair that with dog water bowls commonly sitting outside in the sun and you have a recipe for stagnant water and the potential for your dog to contract some icky diseases!


Giardia is an intestinal parasite that is spread through faecal contamination and can often be found in standing and stagnant water such as puddles or water bowls. Giardia most commonly causes diarrhea in dogs, as well as loss of appetite and vomiting. It can also be a pesky bug to get rid of which typically takes a couple of weeks.

Salmonella and E. coli

Salmonella and E. coli bacteria can survive for extended periods of time in water. Typically causing diarrhea and vomiting, these bugs can be passed to humans from their four-legged friends due to shedding bacteria while they are infected.

Intestinal Worm Parasites

Roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms can be found in contaminated water bowls and can cause mild irritation to serious illness. Luckily your dog’s monthly worming preventatives can help protect them against intestinal worms.


Like Giardia, the bacteria that causes Leptospirosis loves water! This bacteria can affect your dog’s liver and kidneys and in severe cases can be fatal (puppies, senior dogs and dogs with compromised immune systems are more at risk).

Canine Papilloma Virus

This virus often shows as warts on your dog’s lips, tongue, or gums. It can be spread through direct contact with saliva from an infected dog, like saliva left in the water in that park water bowl.

So, what’s the best way to avoid the risks?

The best way to protect your dog from potential public water bowl hazards is to carry a travel water bowl with you when out and about, you can fill it up via the water fountains at the park or carry a water bottle with you as well. Check out the Bisous Travel Water Bowl, it is collapsible, light weight and can be clipped onto your dog leash. It will certainly do the trick when you and your pooch are out on your next adventure!

Bisous dog travel water bowl being filled up at a park drinking water fountain

French Bulldogs drinking from travel water bowls after a dog walk in the park


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