Best pet water fountains: Keep your pet hydrated and never refill a bowl again

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The best pet water fountains can help make getting your fur baby to drink their daily dose of fluids that much easier than just putting out a standard water bowl. While a fountain may seem like an unnecessary expense, they have some surprising benefits that make them well worth considering.

While it's true that the best dog food and best cat food does offer wet options that are high in moisture, most furkids will favor kibble because of it's crunchy texture. There's no denying that dry food is a delicious and nutritionally balanced option, but it's lack of water content can pose a problem for certain pets.

If your furkid is prone to kidney problems or urinary tract infections, ensuring they get enough water in their diet is crucial for their wellbeing. Fluid helps flush the system of toxins and keeps things running smoothly, so if they're not good at drinking from their water bowl, a pet water fountain can help.

The reason water fountains can entice pets to drink up in a way that a water bowl can't is because the fresh running water mimics the flowing streams and rivers that our furkids evolved to drink from. If you pop the fountain next to their food bowl, the clean flowing water acts as a great visual cue to remind them to take a few gulps after they've finished eating.

There are a few things you'll want to consider when choosing a water fountain, so let's briefly explore those. Firstly, to save your sanity, look for a model that's relatively quiet so you don't have a constant humming or vibrating noise echoing through your house all day. Check that it's easy to pull apart for cleaning and that the replaceable filters are widely available. Bear in mind too that while there are some great expensive options on the market, there are also many affordable fountains that get the job done just as well.

We love that just like the best automatic pet feeders, a water fountain can be refilled less frequently than a small bowl, making it great if you’re out and about a lot. They’re also sturdy, so you don’t have to worry about them tipping over, and unlike a regular water bowl, which can quickly get dirty, a fountain works 24/7 to remove dirt, debris, and pet hair.

In this guide, we’ve rounded up the best pet water fountains on the market right now, and don’t worry, you won’t have to splash too much cash because each of these little beauties comes in at under $70.

PetsRadar's pick of the best pet water fountainsBest large capacity pet water fountain: PetSafe Drinkwell 3.7 liter Pet FountainBest looking pet water fountain: PetSafe Drinkwell Butterfly Pet FountainBest affordable pet water fountain: Pioneer Pet Raindrop Plastic Pet Fountain - 1.8 litresBest quiet pet water fountain: PETKIT CYBERTAIL Pure Drink Water FountainBest water fountain for keeping water clean: PETKIT Smart Drinking FountainBest water fountain for multiple pets: PetSafe Current Pet Fountain SmallBest for dogs with mobility issues: Zeus Dog Drinking FountainPetSafe Drinkwell 3.7 litre Pet Fountain

Best for capacity

Mains powered?: Yes | Capacity: 3.7L | Designed for: Medium to large dogs | Filter: Carbon

One of the largest pet fountains availableUses both a carbon and sponge filterFiddly to cleanSome animals (and humans) could find the pump’s loud buzzing irritating

This fountain is ideal for both medium-to-large dogs and large (or big-boned, to avoid offense) cats, and although there are fountains with higher capacities, this one strikes the perfect balance – it’s big enough to keep your pet hydrated for hours on end, but compact enough to allow furry friends to rehydrate without the risk of an accidental dunking. As with all fountains, its main selling point is the constant stream of water – in this case, a flow that can be customized depending on the preferences of your pet. The smooth, molded interior is easy to clean, although the same can’t be said for the pump, which (like any water fountain pump) needs to be cleaned regularly to remove any build-ups of saliva or fur – we recommend using a small wire brush for this one. Luckily, the combination of a sponge and carbon filter (which should ideally replaced once a month) does a great job of keeping the water clean and clear.

PetSafe Drinkwell Butterfly Pet Fountain

Best for appearance

Mains powered?: Yes | Capacity: 1.5L | Designed for: Small dogs | Filter: Carbon

Attractive to look atEasy to cleanNot suitable for larger dogsLightweight design makes it easy for animals to move accidentally

A brilliant option for small dogs and cats, this day-glo water fountain is ideal for the style-savvy pet owner. To start with, its spout is topped with a model of a butterfly, and the retina-burning shade of turquoise offers a welcome alternative to the varying shades of grey used for many pet fountains. Four-legged friends won’t need to form an orderly queue, either – four water spouts make it easy for multiple animals to rehydrate simultaneously, although you can also pop off the butterfly topper to create a single water spout. Cleaning this fountain is also incredibly easy – simply take it apart and place the plastic pieces in the dishwasher. The pump needs a quick manual clean twice a month.

Pioneer Pet Raindrop Plastic Pet Fountain - 1.8 litres

Best affordable pet water fountain

Mains powered?: Yes | Capacity: 1.8L | Designed for: Small and medium-size dogs | Filter: Charcoal

A low profile means it won’t block cupboard doors or drawersA wide, gentle water spout means less messThe pump can become noisy if the water isn’t topped up regularlyThe angle of the water flow might make access tricky for smaller animals

Bring some harmony to your household with this pretty dog fountain, which has a yin and yang-inspired shape. The water spout is less like a fountain and more like a gentle trickle – instead of being ejected into the air, the water flows down a narrow channel into a generously-sized bowl. The downside is that the spout isn’t the most accessible one we’ve seen, especially for smaller dogs and cats. On the plus side, Pioneer Pet gets a gold star for the ease with which this can be assembled, as well as the super strong suction cups – nothing’s worse than a full-to-the-brim pet fountain sloshing its way across a kitchen floor.

PETKIT CYBERTAIL Pure Drink Water Fountain

Best quiet pet water fountain

Mains powered?: USB | Capacity: 1.85L | Designed for: Cats and small dogs | Filtration: Triple filtration system

AffordableTriple filtration systemUltra-quietRequires a USB cable

Say hello to the classy and quiet Pure Drink pet fountain from PETKIT. With an almost silent pump that stays below 30db and low energy consumption, it’s the best fountain for 24/7 use.

With a circulation system that provides maximum oxygenation for fresher, tastier water and triple filtration to ensure the water is always clean and drinkable, this simplistic and stylish water fountain will be a hit with both your furkids and you.

The LED indicator light gives you a visual reminder of the fountain’s working status and there’s a choice of smart or normal modes. Available in three colors and powered with a USB cable, this model offers outstanding value for money.

Petkit Smart Drinking Fountain

Best for keeping water clean

Mains powered?: Yes | Capacity: 2L | Designed for: Medium to large dogs | Filter: carbon

Timer functionDe-ionizing featureBulky profileUnforgiving color scheme

A brilliant option for discerning doggies and cosseted cats, this hi-tech water fountain does it all – there are multiple settings (the one you’re most likely to settle on is smart mode, which works on a five-minute cycle, welling up every three minutes before a two-minute rest), a noise-minimizing pump (it produces less than 40db per 50cm radius) and what’s known as an ion-exchange resin, which helps to de-ionize the water. Whether your pet will notice this particular benefit remains to be seen, but two features which definitely earn this fountain some brownie points are the alerts – the light which appears when the filter needs changing, and the alarm which sounds when the water needs topping up.

PetSafe Current Pet Fountain Small

Best for multiple pets

Mains powered?: Yes | Capacity: 1.2L | Designed for: Small dogs | Filter: Charcoal

An ultra-quiet pumpEasily accessibleNot the prettiest of pet fountainsWater pump positioning could be better

A great fountain for pets who need a little encouragement to drink enough water, but who might be unnerved by hi-tech fountains which flash, beep and vibrate, this minimalist model might not nab first place in the looks department, but it does what it says on the tin – ensuring your pet has an easily accessible, constant flow of filtered water. Its low profile and dog bowl-inspired shape are less likely to unsettle dogs and cats, although our one gripe is the positioning of the pump – despite the deepness of this fountain’s bowl, the hardware has been placed near the rim, which means you’ll need to keep a close eye on water levels to ensure it doesn’t run dry.

Zeus Dog Drinking Fountain

Best for dogs with mobility issues

Mains powered?: Yes | Capacity: 6L | Designed for: Large dogs | Filter: Carbon

Minimalistic stylingProvides an incredibly easily accessible water sourceNeeds to be perfectly flatHard to keep track of water level

This bucket-style fountain is great for larger dogs, especially ones with mobility issues. This is because the water isn’t emitted in the form of a vertical jet, but a gentle stream which swirls around the fountain’s raised platform, before draining away down the sides. In other words, there’s a constant, gently-swirling pool of water for pets to sip from, and with a six-liter capacity, you won’t need to refill it regularly. Which is especially handy with this model, because the one major downside is the inability to monitor water levels – unlike most water fountains, there’s no open bowl area, so you’ll only know when it’s time to refill once the water runs out.

How to choose the best pet water fountain

Although many water fountains for pets have similar features, our research proved that certain ones are invaluable – the best ones are easy to dismantle and clean, simply because it’s all too easy to underestimate the pump and filter-clogging capabilities of pet saliva, dander and fur.

A device designed to keep water levels topped up also needs some level of stability. With lighter models, grip patches on the base will often be enough to keep the water fountain in place, but with heavier fountains, nothing beats a set of suction cups.

It’s also important to bear in mind that the most common reason people invest in a pet fountain is because of the time it can save – constantly filling your pet’s bowl is thirsty work (excuse the pun). This is precisely why we suggest looking for features designed to save time and minimize stress levels, whether it’s an alarm which sounds when water levels need topping up, a light which indicates the need for a replacement filter, or design which can be easily broken down into dishwasher-proof pieces.

Tamara Hinson

Tamara Hinson is a freelance writer who grew up with huskies but unfortunately now has a husband who is allergic to dogs. Luckily she has a neighbour who lets her dog-sit her Maltese terrier and a nearby greyhound rescue centre where she can walk the residents.

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