Pet ownership includes the rewards of companionship and the love of your furry friend. It also comes with a lot of work. The best pet water fountains take some of the work out of your hands by providing cats and dogs with clean, fresh water. These bubbly, burbling fountains are made in different styles, designs, and materials to meet the varying needs of different pet households. A gravity-fed, battery-powered, or standard electric model could help you keep your pets hydrated with purer water 24/7.
- Best dog water fountain: PetSafe Healthy Pet Gravity Food or Water Station
- Best cat water fountain: Eufy Water Fountain
- Easiest to clean: PetSafe Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain
- Best high-capacity water fountain: PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum
- Best budget: Wonder Creature Cat Water Fountain
What to consider when shopping for the best pet water fountain
Pet water fountains provide a set-it-and-forget-it watering option. Most, though not all, models have a built-in filtration system to remove hair and debris from drinking water. There are also different types and shapes to consider. Everything from the number of pets to the size of the animals using the fountain can also determine which model works best for your household. Take a look at the factors you’ll need to consider before making the final decision on these great pet supplies.
What type of water fountain do you want?
There are three basic fountains types—flower, faucet, and gravity-fed. The flower and faucet models are electric or battery-powered. They both continuously recycle water, filtering it as they do so. There’s not a lot of difference performance-wise between flower and faucet models. It often comes down to what you (and your pet) prefer.
The third option, a gravity-fed water fountain, features a large water container with a filter in the spout that feeds water into a basin via a valve. The valve and gravity do all of the work. It’s easy to see when the water container is ready for a refill, and these models come in larger sizes than the other two types.
A word of warning—sometimes pets refuse to use one type of water fountain for no other reason than they don’t like it, and you can’t always predict what a pet will like until they’ve tried it.
How hard is the water fountain to assemble and clean?
In general, the more pieces the water fountain has, the more difficult it is to take apart and clean. Models with at least a few dishwasher-safe pieces make cleaning easier.
Cleaning and maintenance also include monitoring and changing any filters. Some models feature multi-stage filtration, which offers cleaner water but also means more complicated (and expensive) filters. Models with easy access to simple, washable filters save time and work on the pet owner’s part.
How many pets will use the drinking fountain?
The more pounds of pet you have, the more water the fountain needs to produce. Cats and small dogs can get by with just about any pet water fountain. However, multi-pet homes or homes with large dog breeds may need a high-capacity water fountain that holds over 100 ounces of water at a time.
How well does the filter work, how often does it need replacing, and how much do replacement filters cost?
Filters remove hair and other debris that finds its way into the water. Keep in mind that pets can drink water that humans wouldn’t dare touch without suffering a single stomach cramp. Some have sponge filters that need little more than rinsing and squeezing out the water, and others feature multi-stage filtration with two to three-part filters that require more frequent replacement.
The cost of replacement filters can quickly add up, especially if they’re clogged by something as common as pet saliva. Check the price of replacement filters and how often the manufacturer recommends replacing them to get a better idea of the water fountain’s total lifetime cost.
What materials make up the drinking fountain?
Some people find the more expensive stainless steel and ceramic water fountains resist water deposits and clean better than plastic models. However, there’s no clear basis for those claims.
Stainless steel pet water fountains are more likely to be dishwasher safe and resist the wear and tear of a rambunctious pet. Ceramic fountains often look better aesthetically, but they’re more likely to chip than either stainless steel or plastic. BPA-free plastic works well for many homes. However, it may show nicks and scratches more readily than stainless steel and ceramic.
Will the drinking fountain be visible?
Pet water fountains come in fun designs and colors, adding a touch of personality to the room. Most of the time, they’ll be at least partially visible to guests. Generally, you want a model that isn’t an eyesore.
Many faucet and flower designs stand out with their gentle burble, while others, like modern plastic designs, are transparent and blend into the background. Others are basic and functional, looking like a giant upside-down water bottle attached to a basin. No matter what design you choose, it should fit in with the existing decor and meet your design goals—disappear into the back or add a fun water feature.
Some pets may find the water fountain a source of entertainment. Consequently, it’s best to place them on a waterproof mat or flooring that won’t be damaged by water exposure.
The best pet water fountains
Cat and dog water fountains have become popular pet supplies to keep your furry friends hydrated. The trick is determining which design—faucet, flower, gravity-fed, multi-basin, high-capacity—best fits your pet and lifestyle. Once you get an idea of the size you need and how you’d like the fountain to fit in with the rest of your home’s décor, the right fountain will likely present itself.
Best dog water fountain: PetSafe Healthy Pet Gravity Food or Water Station
Three sizes provide plenty of water for large and small dogs or multi-dog homes.
The PetSafe Healthy Pet Gravity Food or Water Station comes in three sizes—64-, 128-, or 320-ounce sizes. The manufacturer provides a chart that shows how long the water should last in each one based on the size of the pet using the water station. Even the smallest dog water fountain can last several days before it needs a refill. The entire water station comes apart for easy cleaning and includes a dishwasher-safe stainless steel basin. However, the water tank is hand wash only, though it doesn’t need cleaning as often as the basin. This model doesn’t come with a water filter, but the manufacturer sells one separately. This company also offers a matching food station in the same size options.
Best cat water fountain: Eufy Water Fountain
Five-step water filtration and a powerful but quiet pump combine with a sleek, understated design that looks as good as it functions.
The Eufy Water Fountain offers an attractive design that caters to the needs of a cat. A five-step water filtration system removes impurities and contaminants from the water, leaving clean water for the picky feline. The pump quietly circulates water through the filter and boasts a 2.5-year life cycle. A BPA-free ABS plastic basin resists scratches, bites, and drops up to 1.6 feet. An angled opening provides a splash guard to protect floors and fits the natural angles of a cat’s body. This cat water fountain must be plugged in and includes a braided cord to withstand pets that chew. The only downside—the electrical cord cannot disconnect from the main body, which means hand washing only.
Easiest to clean: PetSafe Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain
This model comes with a replaceable carbon water filter, allows you to adjust the stream, and is BPA-free. PetSafe
The PetSafe Drinkwell Original Pet Fountain has a 50-ounce capacity so your pet is never dehydrated. The bowl is top-shelf dishwasher safe, and the BPA-free fountain ensures your furry friend is always drinking fresh water. This fountain includes a 5.5-foot electrical cord connected to the water pump. The pump comes apart in a three-step process, granting access to all of the fountain’s components for thorough cleaning. Reassembly is intuitive.
Best high-capacity water fountain: PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum
A 168-ounce reservoir capacity reduces the number of times this faucet-style fountain needs refills. PetSafe
The PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum’s reservoir completely removes from the base for fast, easy filling. A faucet-style design provides two drinking options—the faucet or the basin. It also offers adjustable flow control. The carbon filter removes odors and strange flavors for picky pets but needs occasional changing. The BPA-free fountain is dishwasher-safe (top rack only) for easier maintenance and cleaning.
Best budget: Wonder Creature Cat Water Fountain
The Wonder Creature Cat Water Fountain’s affordable price tag might attract you, but the premium features will seal the deal. A window on the tank lets you see the water level, and there’s also a blue indicator light that turns red when water starts to run low. Additionally, an auto-shutoff feature turns the pump off if the tank runs dry, preventing burnouts. The stainless steel basin stays cleaner than average thanks to a design that keeps debris from collecting at the edges. As a bonus, it includes a silicone mat to protect the floor.
Q: Should I leave my water fountain on all the time?
You don’t have to leave pet water fountains running all of the time, but they are designed to do so. In some cases, you probably should, and there are a few reasons why you might want to. Electric and battery-powered pet water fountains use a pump to recycle water through a filter to keep it free of debris and bacteria. If you stop that pumping action, it takes extra effort on the pump’s part to start that circulation process again.
Turning the pump off also gives time for bacterial growth. The filter then has to play catch up. Second, an electric water fountain that’s constantly running often attracts pets. For animals that may not drink enough, the constant access to moving water can encourage them to drink more. However, if you let the water fountain run continuously, you must make sure it doesn’t run dry and burn out the pump.
Q: How often should the fountains be cleaned?
How often the fountain needs cleaning depends on a few factors, like how many animals use it and how much debris gets in the fountain. Fountains in single-pet homes probably need to be cleaned once every other week. However, if you live where it’s dusty or have several pets using the fountain, it might need cleaning once or twice a week.
Q: How often should you change the water in the fountain?
Change the water about every two days. At that rate, the water stays clean, and the fountain won’t run dry. However, if you have several animals using the fountain, you may need to change the water more often. More animals will drink more, spill more, and leave behind more hair and saliva in the water.
The final word on shopping for a pet water fountain
Pet water fountains are one of those pet supplies that can reduce the workload of pet ownership. You’ll still need to keep an eye on water levels, but your pet will have constant access to fresh, clean water. However, the pros may come with some cons, including filter replacements and general maintenance. Still, for many pet parents, the convenience of a fountain outweighs the price of replacing filters.>