Friday, March 23, 2012

Drinkwell pet fountains -- a great way to keep fresh water available 24/7

I am often asked about products that I recommend for our puppy owners. I try to recommend items that are easily available via online shops and not too expensive. This is the first of a series of posts that I will share with you to let you know what works in our home and what we recommend. I invite comments and thoughts from readers about what works or doesn't for you, either way.

As breeders, we advise puppy owners to keep fresh water available 24/7. Sometimes this is easier said than done, especially when a hyperactive puppy can drain a water bowl in a couple of quick minutes. It can also be difficult to keep a water bowl full and fresh in a multiple dog household, such as ours. If you manage to keep enough water on-hand, it often develops that weird algae scum stuff and then you end up having to scrub water bowls every time you turn around.

I recommend the Drinkwell pet fountains for dog and cat households. We have used Drinkwell fountains for over six years (the same exact fountains, they last forever) and are delighted with them. I have tried three brands and find Drinkwell is the longest-lasting and best made of the water fountains available today.

As an added benefit, if you prefer your pets drink filtered water, the fountains have a carbon filter to purify the water they drink. You need to plug in your fountain for it to work, but they have fairly long cords, so you can stretch it around a corner if needed. It's a two-prong plug, so if you need to plug it into an extension cord, you can do that.

The Drinkwell fountains have a reservoir that you fill from the tap.Our main fountain is the "Big Dog" size, and it lasts two or three days in a 5-dog household, so it would last about a week for a smaller household. The reservoir bottle is inverted, so it keeps the water sealed and fresh until it is circulated through the fountain. When it enters the fountain, the water passes through a carbon filter to purify it, before cascading through the fountain opening into the bowl below. Many dogs and cats prefer to drink the "waterfall" and others prefer the bowl. You can adjust the flow of the fountain to make the stream faster or slower. We also keep the smaller "Original" sized fountains in the bedrooms where the dogs sleep at night. I usually end up refilling the smaller fountains every night before bed.

Maintenance of the Drinkwell is quite simple. Every 2 or 3 days, I unplug our fountains and take them into the kitchen. I dump all of the water out of the fountain and reservoir, and then spray the fountains out with the spray nozzle on my kitchen sink. The pressure of the spray dislodges any "water scum" that may have accumulated. I spray carefully around the moving parts, like the paddle that adjusts the flow speed. I put some fresh water in the reservoir bottle and shake it around to rinse. Usually that is all that is required to keep the fountains clean and working well. You can spray the carbon filter with your spray nozzle or firm pressure from the sink to rinse it thoroughly. I replace the carbon filters once a month. A refill pack is about $2 per filter.

Once a week I take the whole thing apart (which is easier than you would expect -- directions are included with the unit, and once you have done it you know how it goes together) and scrub with soap and water. I keep a scrubby sponge under my sink for the pet fountains. The whole scrubbing endeavor takes about five minutes from disassembly to final rinse. I rinse the whole unit with my sink spray nozzle. Fill the reservoir with water, pour it into the bowl, then plug in the base and allow it to circulate through the unit. Then fill the reservoir again and invert it in place. Ready to go!