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.

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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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    113 Discussions

    I dont think that filtered water is that nesesary for a dog (I know you said they are picky...anyway). I mean, he just went outside to lick his balls, then he came in to lick the cat's balls...

    1 reply

    it may not be necessary for all dogs, like dogs that dont slobber an astonishing amount into their water bowl each time they drink BUT my dog (hes a 3y/o 207lb Great Dane) drinks like a voracious camel and is that dog that drools and slobers so much that by the 3rd time hes drank from his bucket, i empty it and as i pour it out it literally stretches from his bowl to the sink. so if this filtering system will help with the slobber infested water, even just a little bit, then for me and my dog yeah its necessary. oh and btw- my dog no longer has balls nor do we have a cat. you should try being more open minded.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I wish I had seen this before I bought the filtering system I have now. I am thinking I will sell mine on eBay and make this one. It is much simpler and won't take up as much space in my kitchen. Good job!

    1 reply

    Question 1 year ago on Introduction

    will this help with keeping my dogs water somewhat less slobbery? i have a 207lb great dane and he drinks like a camel.. after about the 3rd time he drinks out of his bucket, its as if hes drinking more slobber than water. if anyone has any ideas to remedy this problem ive been battling im fully open to suggestions! thank you!

    -stephanie darson


    2 years ago

    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!


    3 years ago

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


    3 years ago

    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?


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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

    Reply 3 years ago

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


    3 years ago

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


    3 years ago

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

    16 09:36 a.m..jpg

    4 years ago

    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.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    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!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    3 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Step 7

    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.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    ...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*


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    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!