Best Pet Fountains of 2018

Pet fountains are ideal for finicky pets that prefer clean, fresh, moving water at all times. Our shopping guide is here to help you find the best pet fountain to keep your pets happy and healthy.

Pamper Your Pet with the Best Pet Fountains

Providing clean, fresh drinking water for your pets is a must, but it can be hard when your cat will only drink from the dripping kitchen faucet and your dog turns up her nose at any H2O that's not icy cold and filtered. Pet fountains circulate water through a filtration system, so they're ideal for pets who prefer to drink moving water or only like the cleanest, freshest aqua around.

Now for the hard part—choosing the best pet fountain. With so many on the market, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by all the options. You'll need to consider the filtration system, the capacity, and the price to find the right pet fountain for your furry friends.

At BestReviews, our goal is to answer all your shopping questions. We come up with our top picks and compile our shopping guides through in-depth research, which includes testing products, consulting experts, and analyzing feedback from customers. Our advice is free from bias and marketing hype because we never accept products from manufacturers for review.

If you're ready to purchase a pet fountain, you'll find BestReviews' recommendations in the matrix above. For everything you need to know about pet fountains before you buy, you've come to the right place.

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Periodically Clean Your Pet Fountain's Pump

You may need to take apart your pet fountain intermittently to clean the pump, which will help avoid clogs.

Does Your Pet Need a Pet Fountain?

Perhaps you're still wondering if or why you should buy a pet fountain. There are several benefits for using one:

  • Pet fountains keep your pets properly hydrated. Some pets, particularly cats, don't drink enough from bowls and risk becoming dehydrated.
  • Because the water constantly circulates through a filter, it's always clean and never accumulates dust and bits of food that can be dribbled into a water bowl.
  • Most pet fountains feature the option of drinking from a running stream or the bowl.
  • Pets who usually drink from the tap tend to love pet fountains. If you often catch your kitty drinking his water straight from a dripping faucet, he's likely to take to a pet fountain.
  • Pet fountains provide your pets with healthier water. The filter removes any chemicals or other pollutants that may be lurking in tap water, leaving pure and healthy drinking water for your pets.

It's not uncommon for cats to get kidney stones and urinary tract infections due to insufficient hydration, but a pet fountain can help prevent this.

Types of Pet Fountains: Pros and Cons

Plastic Pet Fountains
Plastic is a durable and inexpensive material for a pet fountain. A plastic pet fountain won't shatter if it's knocked over and is easy to clean. However, they can absorb odors and flavors, so they need regular cleaning. Plus, they get scratched easily.

Stainless-Steel Pet Fountains
Shatter-proof and hard-wearing, stainless steel is an excellent material for pet fountains. Many people find stainless-steel pet fountains more attractive than plastic fountains. That said, despite the name, stainless-steel pet fountains can stain or tarnish with regular use.

Ceramic Pet Fountains
Ceramic pet fountains look great, and they don't absorb any colors, flavors, or odors. On the downside, not only are ceramic pet fountains heavy, they're also fragile and can break or chip if knocked over.

If you opt for a plastic pet fountain, ideally choose one that's BPA-free for the cleanest drinking water for your pet.

Features to Consider Before You Buy a Pet Fountain

Filtration System
A good pet fountain should feature a proper filtration system. Since the water in a pet fountain is recirculated, it would quickly get dirty without being filtered. Pet fountain filters are usually made of either carbon/charcoal or foam.

The terms "carbon" and "charcoal" can be used interchangeably because charcoal is carbon. Carbon filters are excellent at filtering out excessive minerals and chemical contaminants, which can be found in tap water.

Foam filters are better used as a pre-filter rather than the sole filter in your pet fountain. While they're good at removing large particles (such as hair and food) from your pet's water, foam filters won't filter out impurities, chemicals, or pollutants.

Height
Most pet fountains sit at ground level, but you can find elevated options, as well as some multi-level fountains. While most healthy dogs and cats are fine drinking from the floor, senior pets or pets with arthritis or other joint problems may find it easier to drink from a raised bowl. If you do choose a raised pet fountain, make sure it's not too tall for your pet to drink from, especially if you have a cat or a small dog.

Capacity
You can find compact pet fountains with capacities of 30 ounces or less, as well as much larger models with capacities over 200 ounces. As a rule, a pet fountain with a smaller capacity works best if you own a single cat or small dog rather than multiple pets or a large dog.

It's also worth thinking about how long you tend to be away. If your pet is home alone all day, make sure the pet fountain's capacity is large enough that she won't run out of water before you get home.

Smart Features
A handful of newer pet fountains come with smart features. These pet fountains connect to an app and work with tags that you attach to your pet's collar. Smart pet fountains can feed back a range of information, such as how much your pet is drinking, his activity, and calories burned.

Price
You can find pet fountains at a range of price points to suit most budgets. Basic pet fountains start between $20 and $30, but they tend to have small capacities and may not be the most durable fountains. You can find good-quality stainless-steel pet fountains for around $40 to $60. Large, high-end pet fountains can cost as much as $100. Pet fountains with smart features are the most expensive, ranging from $200 to $250.

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Select a Pet Fountain That Fits Your Lifestyle

When choosing a pet fountain, think about how easy it is to clean. If a pet fountain has lots of small parts or awkward nooks and crannies, you'll probably be better off with a simpler model.

Tips for Using Pet Fountains

  • Check how easy your chosen pet fountain is to use. It should be as simple as plugging in the pet fountain, filling it up, and turning it on.
  • Make sure you provide a backup source of water, especially while your pet is still getting used to his new pet fountain. You don't want him to be left without water if he decides not to use the pet fountain.
  • Some pet fountains are silent or near-silent, while other pet fountains can be quite loud due to the combined sound of the running water and the motor. If your pet is easily spooked, look for a quieter pet fountain.
  • Make sure you change the water regularly. BestReviews recommends replacing the water in your pet fountain daily.

Some pet fountain filters need to be cleaned and primed before use, so be sure to check the instructions before you get started.

FAQ

Q. Can I adjust the flow on my pet fountain?
A. Some pet fountains allow you to adjust the flow, so you can choose between a steady stream or a trickle. Some pet fountains even offer a range of flow styles, such as streams, bubbles, and waterfalls.

Q. How do I encourage my pet to use her pet fountain?
A. Not all dogs and cats take to their pet fountains right away. What should you do if your pet isn't interested? First, be patient. Most animals like routine, so anything new can seem daunting. Set up the pet fountain in a permanent spot, and let your furry friend discover it at her own pace. If your pet seems more intimidated than attracted to the pet fountain's running water, you can turn it off at first, allowing your pet to use the fountain as a regular bowl before getting the water flowing. You should also make sure you place it somewhere your pet regularly passes. If the pet fountain is tucked away in a room she rarely goes in, she's unlikely to start using it.

Q. Should I buy one pet fountain for each of my pets?
A. Some pets will squabble over anything, but most animals tend to be less territorial over water than over food and toys. As such, it's rarely necessary to buy multiple pet fountains if you have more than one pet. However, it's worth observing your pets' behavior around the pet fountain. If one pet is keeping the others away from the pet fountain, you may need to purchase another.

Completely empty and clean your pet fountain at least once a week.

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