The Difference Between a Dog and a Cat Drinking Water

The Difference Between a Dog and a Cat Drinking Water

Have you ever thought about the difference between a dog drinking water and a cat drinking water? It isn’t a widely popular brunch topic yet. However, for those who share a home with both a dog and a cat, there are observations about these two cute and furry specimens that may be helpful.

How Cats Drink Water

How is the Water Brought up by The Tongue?

Most cat owners admire the gravity-defying grace and excellent equilibrium displayed by their feline comrades. However, a little-known fact about cats is that these gravity-defying feats extends to how a cat drink.

First observed in 2010, researchers studied the way cats drank water, and what they found surprised them. They don’t scoop water out with their tongue the way dogs do. But instead, use inertia and the hard structures covering their tongue to scoop water out of a bowl at a remarkable rate.

Common knowledge among cat owners is that cats have little spine-like structures on their tongue, called papillae. Cats will spend over half of their waking day grooming themselves, and it is the papillae that act as a built-in hairbrush that keeps their fur so clean.

How Dogs Drink Water

Unlike cats, dogs drink how most people would think they do - at least, those who think about those sorts of things. If you do, you may want to consider becoming a writer.

Back to our four-legged friends though.

Dogs scoop up water with their tongue like a ladle. So basically, parched canines gulp much larger mouthfuls than thirsty cats.

Conclusion of the Differences

In short, cats drink water more gracefully than their silly dog counterparts. Not surprising since cats are so poised. Yet there could be more to consider. Can dogs and cats, who get along, share a water bowl?

Can Pets Share Water Bowls

Can cats and dogs share water bowls? Well, technically yes. However, experience has taught many owners that they will be more likely to share their unattended beverages before their cat shares with the dog.

Besides, cats have extremely sensitive whiskers and require a wide bowl to feel comfortable. And they tend to be a little territorial, so it’s best just to give them their personal water bowl.

Keep Pet Water Bowls Safer

Communal pet bowls share a few health concerns. Naturally, a public place like a dog park has its risks, but any two pets sharing dishes can pass along unwanted ailments.

Some contagious diseases that can be passed through communal water bowls are:


Giardia is a zoonotic intestinal parasite. Dogs, cats, and people can pass along this microscopic pest and cause extreme gastrointestinal discomforts.


Often shortened to just Lepto, Leptospirosis is a bacterium that affects your dog’s liver and kidneys.  The bacteria are frequently seen after heavy rainfalls and where standing water and moisture in the air is commonplace. In severe cases, Lepto can be fatal, and transfer to humans, but there is a vaccine. Speak with your veterinarian to inquire about your pet’s eligibility.

Intestinal Worm Parasites

If you have a pet, you will, inevitably, deal with intestinal worm parasites. These gross facts of life usually come from fecal-contaminated water. Communal water bowls are a hot spot, yes, but it doesn’t mean that your pet can’t quench his thirst. A bi-annual veterinary visit, and many monthly heartworms and flea preventions will keep these parasites from causing anything serious.

Canine Papilloma Virus

The canine papillomavirus is spread through direct contact with saliva. Communal water bowls are notorious for harboring the virus. Often it presents as warts around the mouth on the lips, tongue, or gums.  

Kennel Cough

Another infamous common infection spread by communal water bowls is kennel cough. Although pets with kennel cough should be quarantined, sometimes it’s still in public places. Symptoms are noted by a honking cough; however, pets can also develop a fever, and loss of appetite.  

Canine Parvovirus

The canine parvovirus spreads through saliva and other respiratory secretions. Often the virus is seen in immune-compromised and unvaccinated pets. Canine parvo is not the same as human parvo and is not zoonotic. Some puppies as young as 6 weeks can receive their first vaccine.

Talk with Your Pet’s Veterinarian

Most of these diseases can be prevented with annual vaccines, frequent deworming, and sanitary drinking conditions. Bring your pet’s own water bowl with you to the dog park and keep at-home dishes clean.

If your dog has a strong immune system, pets likely won’t contract a serious disease from a shared water bowl. However, puppies, senior dogs, and dogs with compromised immune systems are more at risk. Annual vaccines and bi-annual wellness exams with your trusted veterinarian will help keep your pet happy and healthy for a long, long time.

Tips to Avoid Sharing Cat and Dog Bowls

To avoid your pets from sharing bowls you’ll want to take each of their needs into consideration.

Frankly, dogs aren’t as picky as cats about drinking water. Often the toilet bowl works out great for them, albeit gross. Since we don’t want pets drinking water out of questionable sources it’s best to just try to accommodate their preferences.

Dog Water Bowl Requirements

  • Clean Bowl
  • Easy Access
  • Fresh Water

Cats are territorial, and they have exceptionally sensitive whiskers. Most cats enjoy a bowl that they don’t have to stick their whole face into to get to the water.

Cat Water Bowl Requirements

  • Clean Bowl
  • Shallow Depth
  • Wide Perimeter
  • Easy Access
  • Fresh Water

Some cat owners have turned to electronic pet water fountains to solve this little dilemma. However, the search isn’t always easy. You’ve got to know what your cat likes, and what will be sanitary.

For example, some fountains are hard to clean, which can lead to bacteria and mineral build-up.  Others are so loud many customers have complained of the noise disturbance. Furthermore, some are better suited for the way dogs drink, instead of the way cats drink.

Yet, other options have taken all of the research done within the past decade into consideration. Now many fountains, are easy to clean, quiet, and perfect for any pet.

However, not all fountains have UV light built into the water chamber. UV light will sanitize the water after it is exposed to air and contaminates and then filter through in a cycle. Meaning every time, a pet drinks water from a UV pet water fountain, it is drinking clean sanitized water. Minimizing the risk of illness.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published