Can garden hose water give dogs cancer?


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Our question this week was:

In reading your article on cancer in dogs, and having had 2 labs die of cancer a few years ago, I felt it important to let you know that garden hoses are finally being labeled as "not for drinking", unless otherwise printed on the label all garden hoses contain high levels of free carcinogens. I have told many friends, now you have the opportunity to tell thousands, stop watering your pets with the common garden hose, it may cost them their lives.

Jann Littleton


Hi Jann– thanks for your email. I have not heard of garden hoses defiantly causing problems in dogs or cats but your warning is appropriate. This is not an area that has been well examined or studied in pets however I believe problems are possible.

Garden hose dangers have been associated with cancer, lead toxicity and birth defects in humans. Many hoses now come with a warning in find print that say "do not drink water from this hose."

If you have an outdoor pet, fill the water from a regular faucet. I'd also recommend not using the garden hose to fill water bowls but instead also using a faucet. Thanks for your email and bringing this to our attention. I'll share your email with our users and add it to our database in hopes we spread the word.


Dr. Debra

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debra-primovic Dr. Debra Primovic

Debra A. Primovic, BSN, DVM, Editor-in-Chief, is a graduate of the Ohio State University School of Nursing and the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine. Following her veterinary medical training, Dr. Primovic practiced in general small animal practices as well as veterinary emergency practices. She was staff veterinarian at the Animal Emergency Clinic of St. Louis, Missouri, one of the busiest emergency/critical care practices in the United States as well as MedVet Columbus, winner of the AAHA Hospital of the year in 2014. She also spends time in general practice at the Granville Veterinary Clinic. Dr. Primovic divides her time among veterinary emergency and general practice, editing, writing, and updating articles for, and editing and indexing for veterinary publications. She loves both dogs and cats but has had extraordinary cats in her life, all of which have died over the past couple years. Special cats in her life were Kali, Sammy, Pepper and Beanie.