Is Your Garden Hose a Danger for Your Dog?

Animal experts have been advising against pets drinking from hoses for several years. This includes humans and pets alike. Hoses can contain lead and other toxins, depending on what the hose is made of and what type of fittings it uses. However, no one seems to listen to experts. The hose is a convenient way to fill an outdoor water bowl, bathe your furbaby, or hook up a sprinkler and let your pup play, but is it safe?

While it is recommended that a “safe for drinking” hose be used, there is more to it than just purchasing a labeled rubber hose. Understanding that your hose acts as an insulation device, and that the water within it can permanently damage your dog should be an immediate concern.


A garden hose sitting in the sun heats any residual water to well over 120 degrees. When turning the hose on, the water that is immediately released is a safety hazard to your pet (and yourself). This water can cause permanent damage to the skin, requiring immediate vet assistance. 

Aspiration Pneumonia

Your dog can inhale the water from the hose and potentially develop aspiration pneumonia, a condition caused when water gets into the lungs. If the water contains bacteria, it can spread quickly and cause a serious infection.

When dogs play in hoses and sprinklers, the pressurized flow of the water puts them at risk of inhaling the water. This pressure means that both water and air are pumped through the sprinkler or water sprayer - and your dog is taking in both.

In addition to simply running through the sprinkler, most dogs will try to stalk, hunt, and pounce the water, particularly on a moving sprinkler or hose. While this is entertaining to watch, the process or biting and leaping head-on into the spray means that it’s pretty easy for a dog to inhale some of the water.

Some dogs may be more prone to aspirating water, such as English Bulldogs, Boston terriers, Pugs, or dogs with nerve or muscle disorders.

According to The Local Bark:

When playing in water, you should keep a look out for:

• If your dog coughs, gags or regurgitates water after playing, he may have aspirated some of it.

• Watch for signs of troubled or noisy breathing, depression, loss of appetite, and a blue tint to the lips and gums within 24-48 hours after exposure to water.

 How to avoid aspirating:

• Employ safety measures to keep your dog from falling in a swimming pool or hot tub.

• Use a safety vest on a dog that is just learning to swim or can’t keep his mouth above water. Dogs will often bite at or drink copious amounts of water until they get the hang of swimming.

• Don’t allow your dog to take long drinks out of the swimming pool; the improper posture they must use can cause them to aspirate water.

• Don’t allow your dog to play with hoses, sprinklers, faucets or any other pressurized water source.

• Manage your dog’s time in the water and give him lots of breaks.