Best Pet Fountains & Automatic Water Bowls

Keeping your pet hydrated is critical to their health. While dogs don’t need much coaxing to get them to drink, cats may need to be courted. Investing in the right water bowl will save you worry and protect your pets.

In this guide we will look at various models and features through our pet fountain reviews to help you choose the best pet fountain for you and your family.​

Top 10 Best Pet Water Fountains

ProductType Of PetFountain MaterialPower
Pioneer Pet RaindropCats & DogsStainless SteelElectric
PetSafe Drinkwell PlatinumCats & DogsPlasticElectric
Critter Concepts 5 GallonDogsPlasticGravity
Dogit Fresh & ClearLarge DogsPlasticElectric
PetSafe Drinkwell PagodaCats & DogsCeramicElectric
isYoung Pet FountainCats & DogsPlasticElectric
PetSafe Drinkwell Multi-TierCats & DogsPlasticElectric
Uniclife BasicSmall Cats & DogsPlasticElectric
QpetsSmall Cats & DogsPlasticBattery
Pioneer Pet RaindropCats & DogsCeramicElectric

Why Get An Automatic Water Bowl?

Investing in a source of clean, fresh water for your pets may reduce vet bills and keep your four-footed friends a lot happier and healthier.

Both indoor and outdoor pets can benefit from a consistent source of fresh water, and an automatic water dispenser can keep your animals hydrated any time of year.

Whether you’ve got a gravity fed water bowl that automatically fills the bowl when it’s drained or an electric water bowl (or pet fountain) that cycles the water, these units can save you a lot of mess and work.

When full, they are heavy and less likely to be tipped over by an excited puppy or leaping cat.

Best Cat Water Fountain

While dogs will generally be happy to drink from any dog waterer, puddle, bucket or toilet, cats generally need a bit of coaxing.

Additionally, cats can struggle with a condition known as feline acne, and plastic water and food dishes can contribute to this condition.

PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum

PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum Dog and Cat Water Fountain, Automatic Drinking Fountain for Pets, 168 oz.

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Get Their Attention

An ideal cat water fountain creates individual streams or drips of water for the cat to lap up and/or play with. The Catit Flower Fountain creates multiple streams for your cat to drink from without requiring them to settle their chin on the plastic edge.

Outdoor Options

If you need to set up an outdoor cat drinking fountain, consider investing in a self-filling water bowl made of metal that has a narrow lip. Cats can easily access this water from the outer edge of the bowl, and they’re less likely to develop skin irritations from the metal.

Best Dog Water Dispenser

As previously stated, most dogs aren’t picky. It is important to set up dog water bowls specific to your dog’s size and play activities.

Many puppies (and larger dogs) love water and are happy to splash and play in their water bowl. While this can be fun for a bit, it may lead to a lot of mopping and frustration.

Pioneer Pet Raindrop Stainless Steel Pet Drinking Fountain

Pioneer Pet Stainless Steel Fountain Raindrop Design

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Fountains With A Wide Base

The right automatic dog water bowl can save you a great deal of mess. PetSafe Drinkwell offers a wide variety of electrically powered automatic water feeders for pets of all shapes and sizes. These units cycle the water to keep it fresh and cool.

Additionally, many of these automatic water bowls come with a replaceable filter to remove bad flavors and odors.

Size Matters!

PetSafe offers pet drinking fountains in a variety of shapes.

Even tiny dogs and small cats can easily drink from the 360 Pet Fountain, which spreads water in an arc from a center pump.

These streams will encourage even the most reluctant pet to take in enough water to help avoid kidney and digestive issues. They also offer an extra-large size for big dogs!​

PetSafe Drinkwell 360

PetSafe Drinkwell 360 Pet Water Fountain, Filtered Water for Dogs and Cats, BPA-Free Plastic, 128 oz. Water Capacity

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Automatic Bowls: Electric Vs. Manual

If you’re going to invest in an automatic water fountain for indoor pets, an electric fountain is a great investment. Prices are generally comparable, and you can be assured that your pet has access to cool, filtered water whenever they need it.

Electric water bowls cycle the water to keep it fresh and cool. Depending on the watering tool you choose, the cycling process reduces the water to a cool stream or falling drops of water for your pet to easily drink.​

Gravity fed water bowls are automatically filled by the weight of the water in the reservoir.

There’s a lip around the bottom of the water bowl where your animals can drink, and the weight of the water in the reservoir forces more water into the drinking lip for a steady stream of freshwater.

However, gravity fed water bowls do not cycle the water.​

Gravity fed watering bowls are ideal for outdoor pets including farm animals like chickens. These units are generally round and have a center reservoir that feeds a lip around the outside edge.

Filters

Most filters in pet water fountains are a simple carbon square that can be pulled out, rinsed off, and reinserted. See 3 ways filtered water helps pets.

When cleaning the fountain, be sure to open the reservoir at the back or center of the water bowl and wipe out any residue, pet hair or debris that may have built up in the space.

Your automatic water bowl and filters should be drained and cleaned once a week to keep the machine working efficiently.​

Pumps

The noise of the pump in many fountains is very slight. If you notice the pump noise getting louder, check the reservoir and make sure you’re not over-working the pump by running it dry.

If you run the pump dry for too long, you can damage it.

In addition to the noise of the pump, you’ll have the noise of the running water. Should you notice a change in the flow of water, be sure to check the machine for blockages or a lack of water in the reservoir.

Maintenance

The maintenance requirements of an automatic water feeder are slight. Most of these units keep the pump sequestered; you may not even be able to see it from inside the reservoir.

By keeping the water level high enough to keep the pump from running dry, you’re doing what’s best for the motor.

If you notice debris or hair in the drinking bowl, unplug the machine and clean it thoroughly. Then fill it back up, plug it in and wait for the pump to start. If you notice odd noises or a decrease in water flow, unplug the machine and contact the manufacturer for suggestions on correcting the problem.​

Batteries

Some pet fountains require batteries to operate versus an electrical cord. It’s important to ensure that the battery is checked and operating properly.

A dead battery could lead to stagnant water and discourage your pet from drinking. Once they get used to something, it’s important to be consistent.

Potential Safety Issues​

Fire Hazard

If you run the pump while the water reservoir is dry, it will soldier on for a time, but you’ll burn it out eventually. If you’re lucky, it will just quit and you’ll need to replace it. However, any electric motor left to run without coolant can be a fire risk, so keep the reservoir full!

Chewing On Cords

If your pet loves to chew on cords and wires, an electric watering bowl is probably not a good idea. With the threat of being electrocuted, it’s better to not take any chances. A gravity fed water bowl would be more ideal in this situation.

Choking​

For gravity fed bowls, be sure to keep it filled on hot days, and consider adding ice to the reservoir as the day goes on. Don’t put ice directly in the watering lip; some dogs will try to chew ice or swallow it whole, which can lead to choking and vomiting.

During cold weather, you may need to add warm water to the watering bowl in the evening to keep it from freezing overnight.

Drowning

Consider the size and depth of the watering bowl. Kittens, puppies and other small pets might be inclined to bathe in the bowl. So there’s always the chance it could struggle and drown. Again, let’s not take any chances and avoid using such devices for younger pets.​

Open Water Outdoors

If you’re going to put out water for outdoor animals, take care not to leave large pans of open water on the ground. These may be turned into bird baths for wild birds in the area, and you don’t want your pet drinking from a bird bath as it may contain bird pests and fecal matter.

An elevated bird bath is lovely; a drinking bowl bird bath can be dangerous for your pet.​

Final Thoughts

Indoor and outdoor pets need consistent access to drinkable water. It may take time for some pets to adjust to an automatic water bowl, but most will surely overcome this once the curiosity of a new device in their space has settled.

Gravity fed watering bowls are easy to set up for your outdoor pets (or friendly strays) and need little maintenance beyond checking it to make sure it’s full.

Electric fountains and water cycling bowls are an excellent way to provide your indoor pets with fresh, clean water. The flow of the water will help entice them to drink which could lead to better health due to increased hydration.

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