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Preventing Algae in Pet Water Bowls

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Keeping your pet's water fresh and their bowl clean is your first defense against algae growth. This page is about preventing algae in pet water bowls.


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Dogs, cats, and birds need a lot of water everyday. One of the worst things you can do for your pets health is to keep topping up the water in its bowl.

The bowl of water needs to be completely poured out and rinsed out and filled with fresh water every day OR every time you fill it up or pour new water into it. I do mine at least three times a day, because we have rather large dogs.

I have three different huge pots of water laying around in different places. They are cooking pots since I prefer metal bowls to plastic ones which can harbor germs that will get into tiny microscopic holes in the plastic.

The bowls need to be washed out at least every other day, completely, with warm soap and water, rinsed and refilled.

You can recycle the leftover water into plants or out in the garden.

By Robyn Fed from Hampton, TN

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

How do I keep my dog's outside water bowl from turning green? It is a plastic bowl, used for years, and the water turns green during the summer, not the winter. What can I do?


By Deborah Schmidt


August 8, 20122 found this helpful
Best Answer

During the hot summer months, I would clean the bowl every day and give the dog fresh water. To make it easy, just take a pail of fresh water and a cloth with you when you go out to feed the dog. Keep the dog food dish clean too. I'm sure the dog would notice and appreciate it.

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August 2, 2019

I know my dog has been drinking water out his water bowl with green algae. I noticed he hides away and seems sick when he drinks this water. Does anybody know if this is from drinking the water for certain?


August 2, 20190 found this helpful

Yes, it can make him sick. Clean out food and water dishes daily

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August 2, 20190 found this helpful

Yes it sure could be.

Different algae can release different micro organisms as it grows. Some are toxic to humans and can be fatal to animals, just depends on the "type of algae". Or, it can make animals sick, just like it can make a person sick if they were to drink icky algae water.


I don't know if you keep his water bowl outside or not, but outside, an algae called blue-green algae can be totally toxic just from ONE drink.

But just as much as it can grow in a bowl "outside" if your dog just happened to be anywhere the algae spores are, in the grass, (anywhere actually), then he could bring them back to his bowl on his fur on his face, and when he gets a drink (unknowingly) then all it takes is the introduction to water for the algae spores to take off growing.

Sometimes they're so microscopic you can't even see it. A person only sees the algae spore growths when something gets overgrown with it, like a bowl.

The truth is, your pet needs clean water every day just like me or you would too.

Their bodies aren't too much different from ours, as far as how the "insides work".

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August 2, 20190 found this helpful

I was also going to say, I have a bird fountain, and algae begins to grow in that it seems like every week, so I'm constantly scrubbing and spraying that out to keep that algae ick from even attaching, because I know I'd not want to drink it, (that's my rule of thumb) if it's not good enough for me, it's sure not for them either, even if it's for the outside birds.

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August 2, 20190 found this helpful

Blue/green algae is not only dangerous for dogs, too much can kill them.


I suggest asking the vet to check him over to make sure he has no issues that are serious after drinking tainted water.

I agree with Suz1230, if I won't drink it, I won't let any other creature drink it. It is a good rule of thumb.

If it is a plastic bowl, I suggest tossing it and starting over with a metal bowl that can withstand boiling water being used to clean at least daily or any time if it starts to look slimy or having things floating in it.

Post back with an update. Prayers for healing for your pup.

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August 2, 20190 found this helpful

Many vets recommend ceramic (or metal) bowls because these can be easily cleaned.
Do not just add fresh water; remove the bowl, scrub it thoroughly and add fresh water.
I use one of those green/blue scrubbers from Dollar Tree and this removes all the slimy stuff that is the beginning of algae.

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August 3, 20191 found this helpful

Just clean the damn bowl!

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August 5, 20190 found this helpful

Yes it can make them very sick. Stainless steel bowls are best for resisting algae growth. You can get them at discount stores for a dollar or two.


Buy a couple so you can put a used one in the dishwasher and put a fresh one out for your dog. Fill with fresh water daily.

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Pets AdviceAugust 8, 2012
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