Stuff you don't need

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When it comes to dogs and their water-consumption habits, one word that doesn't leap readily to mind is "discernment."

But maybe that's just me. As it turns out, a number of companies are trying to capitalize on canine powers of discrimination, or at least their owners' perception of these powers. That's why they're trying to sell you bottled water for your dog.

Bottled. Water. For your dog.

This is no joke. A quick Google search brought up three companies, each of which would love to put a plastic bottle of their product into Rover's paws.

The K9 Water Co., Inc. offers chicken, beef, liver, and lamb flavors. "Try all four tasty flavors today," their website notes, "and your dog will rave that it is Rebarkably Refreshing!" A pack of four 16.9-ounce bottles costs $7.49.

Mollibrands offers "both unflavored water and a selection of subtle and sophisticated flavors" (that would be beef tenderloin, bacon, roasted turkey, and grilled chicken) for dogs and cats. Suggested retail price: $1.49 for a 20-ounce bottle.

But PetRefresh is the most ambitious of the three. It offers flavored water not just for dog and cat, but also for your bird, hamster, gerbil, mouse, rat, ferret, turtle, rabbit, snake, lizard, and your "lepidoptera" – the scientific name for butterflies and moths.

The company also offers bottled water for your freshwater fish.

Now I'm not a veterinarian, so I can't just say right out that there are no circumstances under which you'd possibly need to purchase a plastic bottle filled with synthetic beef-flavored water for your pet. Maybe there are.

But I can say this: If the bottles are made of the same plastic used for conventional bottles of water, don't reuse them too many times, as they can leach toxic chemicals. Best to recycle them, and hope that they don't leach those chemicals into the environment.

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