The Best Dog Water Fountain and Waterer in 2020

Pioneer Pet Big Max Drinking Fountain Black 3Sometimes a simple dog bowl isn’t enough for our canine companions. Instead, we look to see what’s out there to make things easier. From simple, gravity-fed reservoirs to more advanced fountains, there are a ton of options. It’s finding the best that makes all the difference in the end, however. So, let’s pop right in with our favorite, and then we’ll help you figure out which is the best for your needs!

Our Top Pick

Veken Pet FountainVeken Pet Fountain Grey 1

In our estimation, this is the best and most reliable way to make sure that your pet has a continuous stream of clean water. Between the multi-stage filter and the multiple settings for flow… well, it’s hard to find anything better. 

With that out of the way, take a look at some of the other options if you don’t think it’s exactly what you’re looking for.

The 6 Top-Rated Dog Water Fountain and Waterer

Editor’s PicksBrandRating
Best OverallVeken Pet Fountain4.9
Best Gravity-Fed Dog WatererAmazonBasics Gravity Pet Food Waterer4.7
Best Automatic Dog WatererAutomatic Farm Grade Stainless Stock Waterer4.6
Deluxe Dog FountainPioneer Pet Big Max Drinking Fountain4.4
High Capacity Water FountainPetSafe Drinkwell Indoor/Outdoor Dog Fountain4.1
Budget Dog Water FountainZeus Fresh & Clear Elevated Dog and Cat Water Dispenser4.1

What Are the Advantages of a Water Fountain or Waterer?

Pioneer Pet Big Max Drinking Fountain Stainless 2

Automatic dog waterers are basically a bowl with a larger reservoir. They’re not a bad idea, especially if you have a dog which isn’t particularly dirty. We still recommend keeping them some distance from your dog’s water bowl when you’re setting things up.

Fountains, on the other hand, provide clean water for your dog even if they’re a bit sloppy. The best will have activated carbon filters to bring your dog clean water throughout the day. They’re also more appealing to your dog, mimicking their drinking from streams in the natural span of things.

How Big Should I Be Looking For?

Size is the main consideration for most people when they’re looking for a new waterer.

PetSafe Drinkwell Indoor Outdoor Dog Fountain 8A dog should, in general, be drinking about an ounce per pound of body weight each day. That’s with normal activity levels. Working dogs may require up to 50% more, and in hot weather, that number can also go up.

There are 128 ounces in a gallon or roughly 34 ounces in a liter.

You can extrapolate from that. Most people don’t want to fill their dog’s water tank every day, so shoot for at least a gallon or a gallon and a half even if you only have a single small dog. Automatic waterers can be trusted to keep your dog watered throughout the day.

Fountains, on the other hand, may have trouble running once the water level gets low. You may want to consider the workable amount of water in them to be a bit less than you’d think.

For a dedicated outdoor waterer, go automatic. These waterers utilize a float and water pressure to ensure a constant flow of water. The problem for most people is that you need to run a hose to them to work, but they’re readily available for those who have their dogs outdoors most of the time.

Are There Any Other Considerations?

As always, the above really isn’t all there is to it when you’re looking for a new water source for your canine.

The first thing you need to keep in mind is the overall quality of whichever option you’re looking at. Most are going to be made of plastic, and anything which is made with something better is worth a second look. Cheaper plastic tends to last for a shorter amount of time as well.

Cheap plastic may also contain BPAs. These harmful compounds aren’t good for us, and they’re not good for our pets either. Steer clear of any plastic which isn’t labeled as BPA-free.

You’ll also need to decide between a waterer and a fountain. It’s really just a matter of budget, in our opinion: fountains are the superior water source, but they’re also more expensive.

Pioneer Pet Big Max Drinking Fountain Stainless 6


Fountains have a few extra things to look out for. Among them are pump life, capacity, and filtration method. You may also want to make sure that you can replace the filters which go into them, the ability to change out filters is usually available, but it’s more a matter of

Individual Reviews Dog Water Fountains and Waterers

Best Overall

Veken Pet Fountain Grey 1Veken Pet Fountain

With the perfect combination of price, capacity, and durability, we strongly recommend the Veken Pet Fountain for anyone looking to get their dogs a source of clean, flowing water. It’s also quiet and has a low consumption pump.

The Veken has a 2.5L capacity, just a bit more than half of a gallon. It’s enough to last most dogs a few days and keep you from having to constantly refill the whole thing. It also allows you to pick the flow design that you’re aiming for rather than forcing you to just settle with what it has.

It’s a reliable way to ensure clean water and is one of the few we looked at that had triple filtration. Activated carbon is the norm, but the extra filters make sure water stays clean as long as it’s supplied.

The downsides? The pump seems relatively weak in the long run if online reviews are to be trusted. The filters are also rather expensive.

4.8/5
Our Opinion:

That said, this was our favorite dog water fountain of those we took a closer look at. Give it a shot, and you’ll see why. The options are hard to beat, and it cleans water better than any of the others we looked at.

  • Three flow options
  • Triple filtration
  • Adequate capacity
  • Excellent price for the value
  • Filters can be expensive
  • The pump is a bit weak

Best Gravity-Fed Dog Waterer

AmazonBasics Gravity Pet Food Waterer

AmazonBasics Gravity Feeder Small 1If you’re looking for a simple, cheap way to ensure your dogs get water, AmazonBasics has you covered. This is a simple, gravity-fed waterer that allows you to fill it up and forget about it until it’s time to clean and refill.

There are a few others out there that might have more durability, but the fact of the matter is that this one is cheap, easy to find, and will last for years if you don’t place it in direct sunlight. It comes in two sizes as well a 1 gallon and a 2.5-gallon model.

It doesn’t get any more basic than this. That said, they’re great for making sure your dog has water all day, just keep an eye on the level.

The disadvantages are mostly inherent to the design. The clear plastic allows sunlight to filter through, which can cause algae growth if it’s in direct sunlight, and it doesn’t clean water on its own.

4.5/5
Our Opinion:

That said, a gravity-fed waterer is the simplest solution. This was an exemplary model, and it'll help ensure your dog gets water throughout the day… it just requires more effort than most of the others.

  • Two sizes
  • Easy to use
  • Great overall durability
  • Excellent price
  • Takes more effort to use
  • Doesn’t clean water on its own

Best Automatic Dog Waterer

Automatic Farm Grade Stainless Stock Waterer 2Automatic Farm Grade Stainless Stock Waterer

Stainless steel and farm grade, this automatic waterer may be just what you’re looking for. Automatic dog waterers allow you to keep the bowl full at all times through the clever use of a float.

This one can be hooked to nearly any garden hose with its ½” fitting. After that, it’s just a matter of placement and occasional cleaning. In addition, the price is excellent compared to most on the market.

Stainless steel is remarkably resistant to bacterial growth. These are designed to be placed and left outside. Still, in hotter climates, you’ll need to make sure it’s in the shade, or the water may become precariously hot.

Automatic Farm Grade Stainless Stock Waterer 6

The only real downside is that it requires a bit more mechanical knowledge than electric fountains. If you’ve got the know-how, it’s a shoo-in for best, however.

4.5/5
Our Opinion:

If you're looking for the best automatic dog waterer on the market, then you're in good hands with this one. The price is right, it's made of stainless steel, and it'll last for years as long as you're able to make minor mechanical adjustments.

  • Stainless steel
  • Extremely durable
  • Adjustable float
  • Excellent price
  • A bit harder to use than others on the list
  • Can get very hot in the wrong climate

Deluxe Dog Fountain

Pioneer Pet Big Max Drinking Fountain White 3Pioneer Pet Big Max Drinking Fountain

If you’re willing to pay a bit more for a premium dog fountain, then look no further. While it’s high-priced, this ceramic dog fountain is fantastic for those who want something extra special.

This one has a 1-gallon capacity as well. You’ll be able to get away with not having to refill it for some time, and the water will remain clean as long as the pump is running. The charcoal filter helps remove microbes and chemicals from the water stream and lasts for some time.

Pioneer Pet Big Max Drinking Fountain Stainless 2It’s extremely easy to clean, you can exchange the pump if it’s not to your liking, and replacement filters are readily available.

The problem? It’s expensive, and so are the replacements. There seem to be some quality control issues with the pump as well, with some reviewers claiming it didn’t run for very long.

4.5/5
Our Opinion:

Still, the base system is the best on the market when it comes to a high-end dog fountain. Give this one a shot, and you're sure to love the end result.

  • Ceramic construction
  • Easy-to-clean
  • 1-gallon capacity
  • Great filter
  • Expensive
  • The pump may not have as much longevity as the price indicates

High Capacity Water Fountain

PetSafe Drinkwell Indoor Outdoor Dog Fountain 1PetSafe Drinkwell Indoor/Outdoor Dog Fountain

Looking for something for a large dog, or even multiple smaller ones? The PetSafe Drinkwell allows you a capacity of 450 ounces of clean, flowing water.

The fountain itself is BPA-free, and you can just stick it in the dishwasher if you don’t trust, or feel like, hand cleaning it. It also produces a free stream of water that most pets find very appealing.

PetSafe Drinkwell Indoor Outdoor Dog Fountain 8It’s well-engineered overall. It even has higher sides than a normal bowl to prevent them from spilling excessive amounts of water. Add in a great filtration system, and we have a wonderful overall fountain with a large capacity.

Unfortunately, it’s only single filtration, and the pump can be a bit noisy, especially if it’s not well-seated.

4.5/5
Our Opinion:

But for larger dogs, this is the best option around. With high-capacity and an excellent overall build, you’ll find it a fast fixture in your home in no time.

  • High-quality plastic
  • The free-streaming flow of water
  • Nice filter
  • Holds 450 ounces
  • The pump is a bit noisy
  • Only single filtration

Budget Dog Water Fountain

Zeus Fresh Clear Elevated Dog and Cat Water Dispenser 1Zeus Fresh & Clear Elevated Dog and Cat Water Dispenser

Just because you’re on a tight budget doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with a normal gravity-fed waterer. Instead, you can use this budget-priced dog fountain if you’re looking to keep their water clean for longer.

It actually has multi-stage filtration as well. The filters are reasonably priced to match the fountain’s lower price point, and they’re a standout feature. It even has a 200-ounce capacity.

It’s pretty much foolproof. Just pull it out of the box, fill it up, and give it a clean once in a while.

The problem is that the pump tends to get clogged quickly. If you’re not on top of it, then it may burn out, particularly if your dog is a messy eater.

4.9/5
Our Opinion:

That said, this low-priced dog fountain is an excellent way to get cleaner water for your dog. It just requires a little bit more maintenance than most.

  • 200-ounce capacity
  • Lowest priced fountain
  • Multi-stage filter
  • Requires a lot of maintenance
  • Lower lifespan than other fountains

Getting the Most Out of Your Fountain or Waterer

There’s not a lot to using these. As long as you have them set up correctly, there’s not a whole lot more to it. Maintenance is generally as easy as cleaning them out when you add more water.

That said, you should take heed of the following:

  • Keep any automatic waterers and fountains out of sunlight as much as possible. While you can use them outdoors with a bit of light, direct sunlight for more than an hour or so a day will rapidly produce algae growth.
  • Make sure to clean out both portions of automatic waterers. If your dog is a messy eater, then a biofilm will build over time in the bottom of the pan and can make your dog ill.
  • Always place them somewhere that your dog can get to them. While most aren’t suitable for placing inside crates, your dog needs access to water 24/7. Use a bowl inside their crate if you’re crate training your animal.
  • Pioneer Pet Big Max Drinking Fountain Stainless 3Check filters regularly. Often you can just unclog them, and they’ll continue to function fine. That said, you’ll only get about 50% more than the manufacturer’s recommendations out of carbon filters since the activated charcoal quits leaching harmful chemicals out of the water stream over time.

Keep those in mind, and you’ll have a much better experience. They’recommon sense, but sometimes a nudge is needed to keep people from oversights.

Dog Fountains and Waterers FAQ

While we’re sure that there aren’t many questions about dog fountains, we did anticipate a few of them. If we missed something, be sure to drop us a line below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

What can I do if my dog isn’t drinking water?short coated black and brown puppy in white and red polka 39317

Frankly? Get them to a vet as soon as possible. Dogs will drink from nearly any source of water once they get thirsty, and there’s a serious problem if your dog isn’t going for it. It’s not the kind of issue to sit on, even if it is just a scare.

How do I know if my dog is drinking enough water?

Mark off the dispenser or fountain supply in increments and extrapolate from there. In normal weather, with normal activity levels, your dog should be taking in an ounce of water per day. It may go up in hot weather or with working dogs.

How do I know if my dog is dehydrated?

adorable animal beautiful blur 573258 1There’s an easy way to check. Pinch your dog’s skin together at the base of the neck. It should spring back flat rapidly. If a “skin tent” forms, then your dog isn’t drinking enough water during the day, or they may have some other sort of problem. This is a hard test to perform on long-haired breeds, so you’ll want to make sure their nose and lips aren’t overly dry if your dog has a luxurious coat.

Why is my dog drinking more than usual?

If the weather is normal and they’re not particularly active, then your dog may be suffering from some sort of illness. Don’t jump to conclusions just yet, but it can be anything from a slight fever to diabetes. If the condition persists, then you’ll need to consult with a veterinarian.

Is the algae in my dog’s bowl toxic?

Not all variants are, but a couple of them are particularly nasty. In any case, it’s best to simply clean the bowl, but it’s not just a matter of your dog getting the runs. In extreme cases, Cyanobacteria can form. This slime-mold isn’t just unsightly and smelly: it can cause liver damage or neurotoxicity to your pet. Just clean the bowl, seriously.

How do I know when to change my activated carbon filter?

Pioneer Pet Big Max Drinking Fountain Black 5

As a general rule, the water will begin to change character. Any smells or an unpleasant texture are good indicators, but you’re likely to only see them with larger capacities. If you have to replace the water every two to five days, you may not know, and it’s best to just change them at least once a month.

How long can I keep water in a gravity-fed waterer?

We’d recommend no longer than a week. Bacteria and algae can build up over that period, and it’s best to just not take any chances. Your dog is likely to have found a way to get the water dirty before that anyways.

Keep the Cold Stuff Flowing!

 

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