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Water Bowls, Pros and Cons for Bearded Dogs


© Copyright © 2003 Kerry Blue Terrier Foundation

What's in a water bowl? The discussion popped up on the KB-List recently. One list member commented the good news is they all hold water. Challenge is, with our little bearded buddies water bowls and the water in them, can present some challenges. Every long time Kerry owner knows these challenges. Any new Kerry owner at some time will think oh, yuck! A dog is a dog is a dog. Kerry or not. My old lady of the yard, happily taught my new Kerry puppy, Celt, the wonders of mud puddles. Be they nature or, kid made. The dirt comes inside and accumulates in, you guessed it, the water bowl. My 3 year old made the comment the other day, "Mom, Telt face is wet." " Yes, isn't it wonderful sweetie, and you don't know if it's from his bowl or the toilet." The 8 and 10 year old yelled "oh gross" and went screaming from the room. I had blessed silence for a good half an hour.

There are so many out there. Self-watering, some with fancy bottles and some you use a recycled 2 liter bottle. Metal bowls, small, medium and large crock types. Plastic ones, doubles. Some with stands high enough for a Great Dane or low enough for a Kerry Blue. Which one for your Kerry? I found the whole discussion fascinating. Because, I haven' found the type of bowl I like. The heavy plastic ones that have little rubber stoppers on the bottom. They don't grow feet and tour the house. My little guy has been eating out of shoe boxes (I save them for dioramas, and have plenty). When he's done eating, he spends the rest of the day shredding it. His water bowl, for now, is my favorite small mixing bowl.

So, the discussion on the KB-List about water bowls was pretty informative. Comments on different types of bowls came pouring in. I'll break them down into types of bowls.

Bistro Bowls/self-watering

Not many people liked these. Matter of fact, no one did. They are the self-watering type that have the large water cooler type bottles. Or, the ones that you use a 2 liter soda bottle with. Some of the complaints were that the bowls are too shallow, and while they continually accumulated water, they also rapidly accumulated beard dirt. Causing a cleaning nightmare. An interesting comment was, it wasn't worth the mopping time. The dog (a water lover for sure) quickly learned getting water OUT of the little shallow bowl was possible. Once he got it out, it just keeps coming, to the amount of several liters. What fun! I had one once, gave it away. My dogs learned to topple it over. These self-waterers also seem to have a big drawback, stale water. Let's face it, if the water isn't as fresh and cold as the toilet bowl, they are not going to use it. Don't forget also, that these large bottles should be cleaned with a light bleach solution occasionally or algae will accumulate in them!

Standard Bowls

These would be the crock types you find at any large retail outlet store. They come in all sizes, shapes and weights. I personally have used the gripper feet ones for many years. The reasons I like these are two fold. They don't go anywhere, if you buy a really heavy one. You know those made for Danes and Irish Wolfhounds. They are easy to pick up and clean daily. Every animal,s bowl, water bottle, container, and bird bath gets a once a week run through my dishwasher. But the dirt from the beard does accumulate rapidly. At least, however, I know where the bowls are when I go to clean them and add fresh water.

High tech waterers

These are the "different" waterers. One is the Lik-it or Lickzit connector that you can find at any large retail store. I liked this thing. One list member didn,t because the water can rush out. Very true. You hook it to your outdoor water faucet and turn the faucet on low. It has its drawbacks though. First, there is teaching the dog how to use it. Then there is the weather. If you live in a climate that may go down below freezing, it has to be removed. If it's above 100 degrees, and your water faucet isn't shaded you have to remove it, a shaded water faucet is a must. Saying that, my dogs loved it outside. The Great Pyrenees drank from it and the Kerry Blue realized what fun it was, so he created mud puddles and came in to drink from the house water bowl, you guessed it, filling it with dirt. The second type of watering bowl in this category is the outdoor self-heating bowls. Out here in cattle country, ranchers have used the concept for years. Getting up at 5 a.m. to hammer ice out of water, is a bummer. They heat to just above freezing, keeping the bowls liquid. We have one here, but the Great Pyrenees loves to chew the cord and we can't bury it deep enough to keep it from him. Our last Pyrenees, who has passed on loved it. I'm back to my morning routine. Six feet of snow on the ground. Get up, let out the dogs, throw on my boots, coat and gloves grab the hammer off the top of the hall tree. Go out smash dog and bird bath ice, refill and recheck it every two hours. All this, while still in my nightgown, much to the amusement of the UPS delivery folks.

Buddy Bowls

Here was the clear winner. Many people were already using these bowls on the list. They are pretty much spill proof. It holds back most of the Kerry's fall when drinking. I may have to try one of these myself. The dog drinks through a funnel set up and, the water isn't really exposed in large quantities. A new buddy bowl user commented that her kids seem to think the dog loves the new bowl because it looks like the toilet. Hmmmm, they may be right. They are available at Petco, and one reader sent in this site which has a picture.

The bowls seem reasonably price, probably what I'd spend on a heavy grip foot bowl.

Well, regardless of your preferences in water bowls, we all know the importance of water in our dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles lives. It being fresh, clean, and pure is a good thing. My Kerry gets designer water. You know mountain spring water. Not because I'm that much of a fanatic, but our iron is so high in our house water I'm queasy about giving the animals the stuff. I won't drink it so why give it to them? So, until we get the whole house filter, Celt is living the life of Reilly, with what amounts to flat Perrier.

Special thanks to the contributors to the discussion. Cary Wells, Dorothy Brown, Kathie Adams, Bridget Greer, Paul D. Motzenbecker, Pat & Bruce Rudder, and especially Liath the Kerry Blue whose habits prompted the discussion. Special thanks to Children,s writers Susan Cooper and J.K. Rowling. Their use of the mythical Celtic creature called a "Boggart" explained why Kerries dump their water.

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