All animals need water to survive. Specifically, in the case of dogs, fresh water is needed on a daily basis. Oftentimes, this water comes from wells and city water, which contain hydrogen, oxygen and other minerals. This type of water is known as "hard water." Conversely, "soft water" is that which has been filtered to eliminate many of the minerals. Soft water is considered safe for dogs to drink as well, but there are things to consider before putting your animal on a soft water diet.
Soft water is said to have a salty taste. Although this doesn't impact its quality, one thing that pet owners should watch for if they're feeding such water to their dogs is a decrease in water consumption. Some dogs dislike the taste, and, in turn, tend to drink less of it. This can have a negative effect on a dog's health as the regular consumption of water is part of the foundation to a healthy life.
Soft water contains a greater concentration of sodium compared to hard water. While a little more sodium isn't typically a big deal in a dog's diet, it can be harmful for dogs whose breeds have a tendency to develop cardiovascular problems, or for dogs that have a history of cardiovascular issues. Generally speaking, the more sodium one consumes, the higher one's blood pressure gets and the more at-risk this person is for heart disease. Dogs are no exception.
Soft water can have an impact on a dog's life beyond consumption. For example, one benefit of soft water is in regard to bathing. Dogs who bathe in soft water tend to have healthier and cleaner looking coats of fur. This is because there are fewer minerals in soft water, compared to hard water, and thereby less mineral build-up on a dog's coat when you're giving him a bath. Even dog grooming services, such as Doggie Day Spaw (doggiedayspaw.net) in Meridian, Indiana offer bathing services with soft water.
If you're looking to make the switch from hard to soft water in your dog's diet, it's best to do it gradually. This is because a dog's stomach is used to hard water and the excess minerals and such it's made up of. A sudden change could upset the dog's stomach and cause diarrhea until the animal gets used to it. While all dogs are different, it's generally recommended that you begin the transition by mixing soft water in with hard water and gradually phasing the hard water out of the bowl.