Drinking from Fish Tank: A Good Idea?


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Q: Is it OK for Diego to drink from the fish tank? — C.H., via cyberspace

A: It’s a mystery as to whether Diego is a dog or cat, but emergency veterinarian Dr. Heather Loenser, of Lebanon, NJ, can offer advice because, for the most part, it doesn’t matter.

“A salt water tank might be more of an issue, depending on much water Diego is drinking,” she says. “There’s no nice way to say this, but there’s fish poop in there, and even filtered tanks will have some bacteria. Again, it depends on how much Diego drinks, but it’s certainly not like drinking bottled water.”

Loenser, a board member of the American Animal Hospital Association, also wonders about the welfare of the fish.

“While there’s likely nothing in the mouth of Diego that will cause harm to the fish, it’s got to be terrifying to watch a predator sink his mouth into the tank,” she says. “And maybe for good reason, unless you have piranha. And if you have piranha, I worry about Diego.”

There’s also a chance that Diego could accidentally (or not so accidentally) swallow a fish, or knock over the fish tank.

If Diego is attracted to the moving water, it would be far safer for all involved to buy him a drinking fountain for pets (available wherever pet products are sold).

©Steve Dale PetWorld, LLC; Tribune Content Agency

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