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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What's the consensus on letting dogs drink from rivers and streams in the woods? I know humans shouldn't do it, but then again, we can't eat raw meat (for the most part) either but dogs can. I'm just wondering if I have to keep telling Harley to "leave it" whenever we come up a river. (There's also a river that borders our property that he loves to splash around in and sometimes he will indulge in a drink.)
 

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I've never bothered to try to make my dogs not drink from rivers, creeks, ponds, lakes, whatever. Haven't seen any negative results from it in 31 years. Mic used to appear to be trying to drink the perc ponds dry when he went there. It was there that he also ate a long dead fish, I was worried about that but his breeder wasn't, and nothing came of it.
 

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My guys have always drank from the streams we cross when out hiking. None have shown any negative effects. I will encourage them to drink because they usually get distracted by the animals that live by water and forget that they're thirsty.

My Vet thinks it's OK (I asked because I was wondering the same thing) and she said it's important to keep them current on their heart-worm preventitive.

The streams in our local mountains all look good to me, but I will filter the water before I drink it.

Around the house, the Dogs will drink from puddles and bird-baths, which look alot worse to me than the water we find in the mountains.
 

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I let Cole drink unless the water looks really bad. But, then again, if it is really bad, he doesn't even attempt to drink it. They are not drinking that much of it. Its not like you give it to them everyday. I would also be sure to have your lepto up to date if it is in your area.
 

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We don't let Bruno drink from lakes, streams, rivers etc from around here. Just because I wouldn't drink it, so I don't want him to drink it lol. There are some rivers up North tho that he's drank out of when camping. I have no problem with that.
 

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We have a pond and Jordan loves to drink out of the pond and the spitter fountain. There is one pond that I won't let him near, never mind drink from though. It is just nasty.
 

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Well Orson drinks from the toilette bowl even when his dish is full, fresh, and cold............so as long as he is on parasite control he drinks what he deems yummy, heh!
 

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lol Ive never thought about it...I always just naturally discourage them from drinking it...hmmm lol.
 

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that's exactly what i would be worried about. Is it really as large a threat to dogs as it is humans?

I would think it would be more of a threat for dogs than people since people don't generally drink for a creek or pond, etc without boiling the water first.
 

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I would say if its "moving" clear water like a river or a stream, go ahead, let them drink and have fun. However, if there is stagnant or still water, keep them away from that. Most bacteria and harmful junk live inside stagnant puddles and pools.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks everyone for the replies. I figured that it should be fine since wolves in nature don't have much access to bottled water, but I wanted to double-check here. It's a relief to know it's OK since he has really taken to the river. He used to be petrified of the water until I put on my waders and forced him in one day last month. Now he adores the river and splashes in it at every chance. It's a pain cleaning him up before bringing him in! I should have left well-enough alone. Serves me right...
 

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I would say if its "moving" clear water like a river or a stream, go ahead, let them drink and have fun. However, if there is stagnant or still water, keep them away from that. Most bacteria and harmful junk live inside stagnant puddles and pools.
I think that's a pretty good philosophy.
 

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Giardia can be found in running streams and rivers as well as stagnant nasty water, as long as there is a chance that infected feces have been introduced to the water.

That said, I don't like Lex to drink from small ponds, actually I don't even allow her in them. But she has a ball in running rivers, there is one we cross on one of our favorite hikes, and I let her drink while she plays even though there is a chance of infection.
 

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There are a variety of things that can be passed through water, not just giardia but leptospirosis, which can quickly kill a dog. However, it is not common in all areas of the US, so check with your vet. In my neck of the woods, lepto is becoming more and more common.
 

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I've got to where I don't let her go into water I wouldn't allow her to drink. It is too hard to stop her. She also sleeps in our bed. That said; most of the water in our favorite hiking spots is part of the local watershed so I'd like to think it is relatively safe. Though, I still try to discourage drinking.

When I was a kid, we never thought twice about where the dogs drank from. That has changed. One just never knows what is going on up stream.

No drink!
 

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When I was a kid, I never thought twice about where *I* drank.

We used to drink right from the same streams I won't drink from today without filtering.

Remember the "Sierra Cup", used for scooping a drink straight from the stream?
 

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Isn't anyone worried about giardia? We see this several times a year at the clinic I work at.
It's certainly what I'd be worried about. It depends on what part of the country you are talking about. The Pacific Northwest is terrible. In Oregon giardia infestations are known as beaver feaver.

There are virtually no waterways in Oregon that don't have giardia at least some of the time. Giardia survives just fine in both running and standing water--feces from wild animals deposited in water is the commonest way that giardia is transmitted. The cooler temperatures in the northwest account for the prevalence in northwest waters.

When I was doing a lot of tracking with one of my dogs I could count on him having giardia (clinical--causing diarrhea) at least three times a year. My vet finally just provided me with an ongong prescription of metronidazole and as soon as old iron gut turned up with diarrhea he'd go on a five day round of meds and it would clear up.

We see lots of giardia in the clinic where I work too. And almost 10 years ago a vet I know was involved in a study for one of the teaching schools and what it was looking like then and has been pretty well documented now is that a lot of animals (not just dogs) will have sub-clinical cases of giardia which become clinical under stress.

When I lived in Sacramento my dogs and I went often to both the American and Sacramento Rivers as well as the San Joaquin and no one ever came up with giardia.

Certainly hasn't been true since I moved back to the Northwest--the dog I tracked with drank water out of farm ponds, local rivers, local streams and farm drainage ditches--it's probably a wonder he didn't have much worse than giardia but even though I carried water for him (and he drank gallons of that too) it wasn't always feasable to get back to the truck for the water and sometimes he was off leash (the treat for successful tracks) and often the ditches were within his reach even on leash (tracking leashes are 40' and occasionally the dog is at the end of that 40').

So I finally gave up on keeping him out of water and resigned myself to treating for giardia periodically when he was symptomatic.

As far as I know none of the worming meds will kill giardia. But I could well be wrong about that--Kim? Metronidazole is what we treat with.
 
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