Watermakers, Vitamins and . . . Dogs? Cats?

If you have a watermaker on your boat, you probably know that it makes very pure water.  So pure, in fact, that it doesn’t contain the usual trace minerals that tap water does.  And many of these trace minerals aren’t otherwise present in food.

And so, the generally accepted practice is to take a multi-vitamin every day if you’re using watermaker water, to make up for not getting the minerals in your water.  NOTE: I’m not a doctor, so check with your physician if you have questions.

But what about your dog (or, I presume, your cat)?  When we were cruising Mexico, Paz’s vet put her on supplemental vitamin drops a couple of times, but I never connected it to her drinking watermaker water.

Alice-McKenzieA recent email from Alice McKenzie on Puffin hit me like a ton of bricks.  I’d met Alice at LoretoFest earlier this year, and she had me sign her copy of The Boat Galley Cookbook.  She wrote to say that her dog, Cruiser, had become chronically ill this year and part of the treatment was putting her on a vitamin/mineral supplement, which Alice connected back to the lack of trace substances in the water — and Alice wanted to get the word out to other cruisers with pets.

Well, duh.  How stupid had I been? 

It only makes sense that if humans need to take supplements for substances that are missing in the water (and not in other food), the same holds true for our pets.  So, if you are on a extended cruise and using a watermaker, check with your vet about whether your dog or cat should be taking a daily multi-vitamin.

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  • Deb
    Posted at 29 July 2013 Reply

    I would never have thought about that for us let alone for my puppy. Thanks.

  • C
    Posted at 30 July 2013 Reply

    Great article, thank you for sharing!
    We just became an owner of a Hunter 40 we will have our 2 baby cats with us aboard we are wondering if anybody can share their experience with cats abord, litter box, litter box sand what kind,what do they use for littering in long distance, we were thinking to get a diaper genie with those bags inside that people use for baby diapers not to smell, but that will cost us a fortune in bags since we scoop the litter twice a day for our 2 cats….any comments, ideas, and thoughts are greatly appreacitated!

    • LaVonne
      Posted at 01 August 2013 Reply

      Check out photos of our cats on our website. http://www.SailTrekker.com

      We have one of those electric litter boxes which both cats use. We use the Arm & Hammer Essentials clumping litter. It is not perfect in that you do need to check the litter box to be sure all has been scraped out and they do make a bit of a mess. I see that there are covered electric boxes and I might get that kind next after this one breaks! We line the box where the dirty litter goes with a 17″X17″ garbage bag and just take that out to get rid of the mess. That way the holder stays clean! It took us a while to discover this but it has been a GREAT solution to the mess.

      We live on our boat and travel and have not had any problem at all with the cats. The cats have been on the boat now for 4 years and lived the first 8 years on land, and they adapted completely.

      BTW, if you plan to leave the US you need “papers”, I can let you know about that if you plan to need them. I also grow catnip and oat grass which they munch on daily.

      We use water maker water, for some months of the year but fill up our tanks whenever we can with land water so I think the cats are good with what the article talks about.

      Our cats are very healthy and we have not had any problems. Our vet did give us Clavamox, antibiotic ointment and eye infection ointment.

      Hope this helps, I did wish I could ask someone years ago about these “issues”!

      LaVonne & Don and “Rocket” & “Orbit”
      s/v “Cat’s Meow”
      www. SailTrekker.com

      • Claudia
        Posted at 14 August 2013 Reply

        hi guys,
        Thank you for your reply in regards to the littler box for our cats Charlie Warley and Maggie May, we looked over your blog as you recomended in your reply to The Boat Galley and we just remembered that we had seen your cat in the GT or in Nassau in Jan Feb March 2013, we love your boat! we are going to be in GT from nov to august hope to see you there look for our boat, we work for Navtours and we have a Hunter 40 now named Blatant Bahaviour but we will change it hopefully to Soul Mate, we will in the Emerald Bay Marina and of course a lot at the Chat and Chill eating those amazing ribs…num num…
        Any tips for cats we appreciate it as we are taking them away from their homewe pay the mortgage only hahahahha, and they are our babies as you well understand.
        Cheers and Fair winds!
        Claudia and Marc Auger

  • bill
    Posted at 26 November 2013 Reply

    I hate to be a spoilsport, but this is a TOTAL urban myth.

    What “minerals and vitamins” exactly is it that you are supposed to only get from water? You get NOTHING special from water that you do not get from your food. Really. Honest. Show me ONE scientific reference to this with real data…

    Humans can drink distilled water and be perfectly healthy.

    And… the idea that watermaker water is especially pure is bogus in the first place. The best watermaker membranes have a rejection rate of 99.4%, That means that over half a percent of the salts that are in seawater are actually in the “fresh water” made.

    The REAL issue actually is the other way round… Lets actually look at some numbers…
    Seawater contains about 1% sodium by weight. So a liter of seawater contains almost 10 grams of sodium. At a rejection rate of 99.5%, every liter of fresh water from a water maker contains 500 milligrams of sodium. That can be a very significant amount of sodium for someone on a low sodium diet.

    Science, it works.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 26 November 2013 Reply

      When we left to go cruising, three different doctors talked to us about this. Maybe there are more recent studies that show it’s not a problem, but we were told that there are certain trace minerals that you normally only get in water.

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