Filtered Pet Watering Bowl

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Introduction: Filtered Pet Watering Bowl

We have both dogs and cats in our house. The cats are finicky about their water and the dogs would drink out of any water bowl in the house. After the dogs had finished drinking, the cats didn't want anything to do with the water in the bowl. This self filtering bowl is a solution that keeps all of them with fresh clean water with minimal fuss.

The bonus is that this filtering water bowl is about half the price of some of the commercial filtering water bowls and will hold at least two gallons of water.

Step 1: Gather Materials

You will need the following:


  • Large water bowl (I prefer a 10 quart stainless steel) - (about $17.00 USD)

  • Small aquarium circulating water filter - (about $13.00 USD)

  • Plastic or wood pieces to shim the water filter - (free or very cheap)

Step 2: Assemble Water Filter

Assemble the aquarium water filter according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 3: Hang Filter Assembly on Water Bowl

Place the assembled water filter on the edge of the water bowl.

Step 4: Shim Filter

Use the shims to adjust the filter to be as level as possible.

Step 5: Add Water

Fill the bowl with fresh water. The water level needs to be at least to the bottom of the intake tube for the filter.

Step 6: Prime Filter

Add water to the filter to prime it so that water will flow once you plug it in.

Step 7: Enjoy the Flow

Now just sit back and listen to the soft flow of the water. Your pets will enjoy the fresher water and you will enjoy how easy it is to take care of.

You will need to change the water filter about every three weeks or so. It will depend on how how much your pets either shed or slobber into the bowl. Everytime I change the filter, the bowl and filter pump all get a good scrub down.

If you have curious cats, you may need to use some tape to secure the lid of the water filter. A couple of ice cubes floating in the water bowl can give your cats something to play with as well.

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    115 Comments

    This is BRILLIANT! Now I just need to find an instructable about adding a low water level cut off, since I am scatterbrained and have quite a few fountains around the house for my elderly (senile) cat, and sometimes forget to refill one until i hear that dry pump sound. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    I have some used filters, can I still use those?

    Absolutely love this idea, wish I would have done this a long time ago. I used a Penquin 75, stainless steel 10qt, now they have fresh water for outside. Under a covered porch, with a covered GFI outlet. Didn't use the bio wheel and can see the charcoal filters are going to be pricey, with 3 dogs. Anybody make their own?

    Hey there, I used your idea and made one, made a video talking about it as well:



    I realize the filter is overkill, it's just what they had at the shop for the right price... I'm thinking I'll do as deckard1 says and put it on a timer.

    Does anyone have any ideas about how to add a reservoir to a setup like this, maybe a 2 liter bottle?

    2 replies

    Does anyone know how to make our own charcoal filters for the Penquin(using for the water fountain) model 75

    Thank you for posting video!! Cute cats!!!

    What are shims? Where do you get them? How do you use them and what is their function?

    Did it!!! Great idea, our cats love it!!! Regards from Mexico city

    16 09:36 a.m..jpg

    Wish I had seen this before purchasing one at a store. It's a pain to clean & the water bottle warped after my brother suggested putting it in the dishwasher. This would be so much easier to wash.

    I can't wait to build this for my four cats.

    I purchased one of those expensive pet fountains at the pet store almost a month ago and had to return it within two weeks -- it leaked like a sieve and my male cats LOVED splashing the water everywhere. At least with your ingenious plan, I can use far less expensive items and get a better product.

    Oh, and as for the splashing, I'll have to grab one of those plastic trays with a lip that are made for going under washers. Then it'll be perfect. Thanks for sharing your idea!

    You, Sir or Madam, are a genius. Let me be your loyal servant as my cats and dogs sup of their flowing filtered water.

    The aquarium filters pull out the same thing a Brita filter does. They both work with a carbon filter. The Brita is a good idea, but those cartridges cost a lot more and you would still need to dump the bowl and refill it every time. This is basically an automated Brita.

    5 replies

    because we're (mainly) americans, nobody would actually do this (we're too snobby), but really, attaching an aquarium filter to a pitcher of water would probably get it more clean than a brita pitcher, because it keeps circulating it.

    ...and now I want my own circulating water fountain on my desk with a tap. If I could just have like a 20 gallon bucket of water that I keep circulating/filtering all the time with a faucet-like thing on the end for my cups... *bliss*

    I'm going to buy a three gallon car boy and drill a pull tap like a beer tap. Then set this type gravity system in! The new family water cooler!

    @condongolev. Good point!!! If the filter is new, why not? It is the same thing some under counter filters, the counter top filters and the existing commercial cat fountains.

    actually, waters filter like Britta do more than aquarium filters. they filter to reduce the level of Chlorine, lead, copper, cadmium and mercury. see bottom of this page: http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4675121_brita-water-filter-work.html but for a our pets, this instructible is still great, so i'm building one. to be extra lazy, i mean autonomous, i'm going to hook it into my water supply with a automated valve. so it auto-re-fills, and filters.

    dogs don't necessarily need 'potable' water. Puddles, rain water, muddy pools, toilets...the world is their watering hole! The acids in their stomach are many times more powerful than ours and kill most bacteria sand virii that would put us in abject misery. If the water is not an environment for certain kinds of parasites that effect dogs then really you are only providing sparkling clean water because it makes YOU. Feel better!

    I did it to! $2 dollar per pound 'healthy food', a jacket in the snow, three giant fluffy beds around our upstairs and two downstairs, chew toys that fit her dentia, teeth cleaning treats, obedience treats, makes daddy feel good to give her one treats....filtered dog water system....yeah..my guilt runeth over. All the while my wife rolls her eyes and says, "She's just a dog!" Yes..but WHAT A DOG!

    Very good idea, I created one of these a couple years ago for our dogs and cats. I used one of the 5 gal pet waterer's and put it on the side just like this. The shims are a good idea, it didn't take long for the cats to send the first pump out of the bowl. We used it for a couple years for an aging cat with two dogs and had no issues except one dog didn't like the noise so wouldn't drink out of it. Good indestructable and well written

    1 reply

    there are very quiet pumps that are stronger that can be placed several feet above or away from the bowl and then pump the water back through a silent filter.