FOX 13: Contaminated water not good for pets either

TAMPA (FOX 13) – They give you their love, affection and their companionship. For many pets are an important part of the family.

During Tampa’s 48-hour boil water order veterinarians say keep those furry, four-legged friends away from the tap.

“The same precautions that owners are taking they should be taking for their pets,” explained John Gicking with Blue Pearl Veterinarian Partners. “Whether that be boiling water or [giving them] bottled water, just avoiding the tap until the boil order is lifted. Pets often times are susceptible to the same diseases that their owners are.”

He says even though you may have seen your dog or cat drinking from seemingly unhealthy water sources in the past, this boil order is nothing to play with.

“All it takes is them being exposed to one pathogen that was potentially released into water and becoming ill from it,” Gicking adds.

But if your pet does get sick, it’s not likely to be life-threatening.

“It could probably cause gastrointestinal upset,” Gicking says. “Some vomiting, some diarrhea chances are it would probably be self-limiting with a little bit of supportive care behind it.”

That said pet owners in and around Tampa aren’t taking any chances.

“We dumped out the bowls and immediately filled them with bottled water,” said Clement Van Westerob, who shares his home with six dogs.

Jennifer Prats is not taking any chances when it comes to her pets.

“I think I’m going to give him the Brita water that I already had,” she said Saturday.

Van Westerob says keeping them out of the vet’s office is extremely important to him, especially during the boil water notice.

“What’s good for me is good for the dog,” he says.

Experts say taking chances prior to the water being deemed safe for consumption is not worth the risk. Van Westerob concurs.

“If there’s a chance that they’re exposed to something and that one and a million chance, it doesn’t matter if it’s a million dogs if it’s your one dog then it’s 100% to you,” he said.

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