Living on a farm means our dogs spend just as much time outdoors as they do indoors. There is too much fun to be had outside to stay in all day. While we do have a dog door, and the pets can come and go as they please, I have long lamented the fact that there are not many high-quality, heavy-duty outdoor water bowl options. Our dogs, for the most part, have to come in when they get thirsty. So I was thrilled to get the opportunity to test the Hydro Pet waterer.
The Hydropet connects to a hose bib, sprinkler system, or garden irrigation system, and it works with a timer (sold separately) to ensure your dog’s bowl is filled and cleaned at your chosen interval. As part of the clean/refill function, it spills water onto the roots of any plant that you place it near.
We set ours up using the hose bib connection and placed it near the base of our two fig trees. Figs like a lot of water, so the location was perfect for us. You will need to set your bowl up near a plant that your dogs will not bother and that will not be bothered by their traffic. In other words, not in your flower or vegetable garden. While we chose to go direct to hose, we also could have tapped into our garden’s drip irrigation system. It would tap into the wide, feeder tubes that all of the other individual lines do.
While you can use the system manually, in my opinion that totally defeats the point. The bowl is designed to be automated/self cleaning. Get yourself a timer and let the robot take care of all this. Set your time and length of watering session, and then just walk away. Be sure to check on it during its operation to make sure the length of watering time you have chosen is sending enough water to displace all the water in your bowl — that is how it cleans. Intervals will vary depending on your water pressure.
While I was skeptical at first, we have been running this system for a month now and the bowl is as clean as the day we set it up. No algae buildup, no residual dirt from Mama Dog’s nose because of her chronic vole hunting, no mosquito larvae. Just clean fresh water, daily. (The daily is our interval of choice.) And our fig trees look great with the regular watering. This bowl delivers on its promises, and we finally have a dependable outdoor source of clean, fresh water for our lap-running, pro-wrestling, hole-digging goofballs.
Quality: The bowl is very solidly made and stays where you place it, and it comes with stakes to reinforce that, though we have not had to use them. The tubing is standard and like all irrigation tubing will degrade over time in the sun, but is inexpensive to replace.
Style: It’s a workhorse, and its design is necessarily a little bulky, but it won’t be at all offensive in your landscape. It
Creativity: The idea is simple but effective. In short, an excellent and eco-friendly problem-solver.
Value: The bowl retails for $34.95 without the timer, an absolutely fair price. The timer will add another $30 or so, but it’s what makes this product really shine. Totally worth it.
The Hydro Pet has exceeded our expectations for an outdoor waterer. The self-cleaning feature makes one less yucky job on our farm, which is 100 percent appreciated. I would recommend this to anyone who has both dogs and plants to water. No plants? Maybe it’s time to add a tree.