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Are galvanized steel tub and dish okay for my dogs to drink from?



An ongoing discussion from 2004 through 2015 . . .

(2004)

Q. A discussion came during a conversation with some friends on whether or not our new dog should be drinking out of a galvanized water dish my husband brought home from work. He works with galvanized steel products. Can this harm our dog?

Billi Acrie
animals - Las Vegas , Nevada, USA


(2004)

A. Hi Bill. Are you sure that what you are calling a "galvanized water dish" actually is one? If so, it's probably okay since galvanized feed troughs and watering troughs have been used on farms on decades. If you're not sure exactly what it is, it's generally a bad idea to use things for food or water service that weren't designed for it. Some galvanized metal gets a post treatment with hexavalent chromium, which would be bad to ingest, and if it were cadmium plated rather than galvanized, that's a toxin.

Ted Mooney   Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



October 21, 2008

Q. I have three dogs and I use a galvanized steel wash tub as their water bowl. I purchased it from the Home Depot. I have noticed changes in my dogs and this is the only thing in their environment that has changed. Any information would be great. Thank you in advance for your time.

Chablis Cummings
house wife - Boise, Idaho, USA


October 29, 2008

Hi, Chablis. It may be the only thing in their environment that you can think of that has changed, but that doesn't mean it is the only thing that has changed :-) Although galvanized is not considered a food-safe surface because of potential overdose from acidic foods dissolving it, galvanized watering troughs and feeders have been very widely used by farm animals around the world for many decades. Some areas of the country may even still have galvanized water pipes.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com   Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


November 1, 2008

For many decades many countries have used galvanized steel roofing material to catch rain water for drinking, and in many places storing that water in galvanized steel water tanks.
No adverse effects have been reported nor have restrictions on these materials been introduced.

Geoff Crowley Geoff Crowley
galvanizing &
   powder coating shop
Glasgow, Scotland



March 16, 2010

Q. I purchased a dog pan that was galvanized steel. After two days the pan turned black, so now I have black puppy pawprints all over my carpet! Why did this happen? The company I purchased it from referred me to you.

Julie Mercer
Buyer - Waverly, Ohio, USA


March 17, 2010

A. They referred you to us? What on earth did we have to do with it? :-)

I don't know exactly what a "dog pan" is. A drinking pan? Galvanizing can turn black from alkaline materials like dishwasher detergent. If you washed it in a dishwasher, that could be the problem. Scrubbing it with diluted vinegar and rubbing off any smut with a cloth or paper towel ought to help a lot. If you have a trained puppy and you're speaking of a litter box, galvanizing will prove entirely unsuitable. Good luck.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com   Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


March 19, 2010

A. Normally I would say you have the heat set too high and you are burning the pan but if the dog is still walking around you must not be cooking dogs. I have no idea what a "dog pan" is! I guess logically something must be reacting to the zinc that the pan is coated with. Food, water, dog or otherwise. Short of stopping contact with the above or contact with any other things that may be turning it black, I think the simple answer is to purchase a stainless steel or plastic dog pan! I suppose a pet shop, kennel supply or farm supply would be good places to start. Depending on the size, some sort of stainless kitchen pan would probably be cheaper. By sending you to us the people that sold it to you are obviously just trying to get rid of you. Personally I don't think I would give them any more of your money. I think if I had sold you said Dog pan, I would be replacing it for you with something different that actually did what it was supposed to do. As long as you are using your Dog pan, as a dog pan and not for a purpose other than what it was designed for.

Rod Henrickson
    gunsmith
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada




Dog is eating galvanized fence

June 28, 2013

Q. I have a question about "galvanized fencing" for a dog: is the fencing harmful to a dog that chews through the fence not once but 3 times -- and can that galvanization on the fencing cause cancer to a dog if ingested? Thank you.

Charise Hyde
- Chatt, Tennessee, USA


June 30, 2013

A. Hi Charise. I don't know if you are viewing the situation quite correctly...

Please consider, for example, that glass is probably the least toxic construction material in the history of the world, but you certainly wouldn't consider it safe for your dog to swallow glass shards. Galvanizing is essentially a zinc coating, and zinc is not a toxin. But what your dog is doing, possibly ingesting sharp bits of metal, sounds like it could be life threatening to him. Not to mention that if I had children playing on the other side of the fence, on the third occasion I might have insisted that the police shoot him :-)

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com   Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


June 30, 2013

A. Hose the fence with bitter apple or a good extreme hot-sauce. Worked great for getting my dogs to quit chewing on things.

Marc Banks
Blacksmith - Boone, North Carolina, USA


July 1, 2013

A. Zinc is actually an essential trace mineral, BUT the amount of it in the body is in an extremely small range. Too much is as bad or worse than too little. Fortunately, the bodies uptake of it is quite poor or people taking an excess of the zinc tabs for cold mitigation would be dead.

Galvanizing can be very adherent, so I suspect that the dog is tearing the fence up rather than eating it.

The invisible fence that shocks the dog might be an option, especially if you do not want the dog to injure himself.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida

The Merck Veterinary Manual:

Overview of Zinc Toxicosis

March 17, 2015

A. Zinc absolutely IS a toxin to dogs. While there are inherent hazards in ingesting sharp bits of anything, the zinc present in galvanized steel can absolutely be toxic. Zinc toxicosis is characterized by a Heinz body anemia (i.e., red blood cell destruction due to oxidative damage), which can necessitate blood product transfusion. So, if a galvanized item, such as a screw or nut, is ingested by a dog, it must be retrieved either endoscopically or surgically to prevent complications that may include death.

I do not know if there are any data regarding drinking from galvanized containers, but I personally would not use them for the aforementioned reasons.

I and other veterinarians cannot stress enough that any questions regarding the health of your pets need to be referred to your veterinarian, not unregulated internet forums.

Jonathan Gagnon
- Saco, Maine, USA


March 2015

thumbsup2Thanks Dr. Gagnon. You're right, of course, that information from professionals beats internet blather! I completely trust you that too much zinc ingestion is dangerous to a dog; metal finishers certainly don't go around challenging veterinarians on such subjects.

In our defense, one issue is that the writer specifically claimed that the manufacturer referred them to us. A second issue is probably the word "toxin". We metal finishers were trumped by the politicians and regulators who made the well-remembered legal point that: " 'Toxic' is a matter of statute, not opinion". To us, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, lead, and mercury are toxins -- because that's the law; and we wanted to make sure Billi's water dish was not made of cadmium, nor treated with hexavalent chrome. Metal finishers don't call micronutrient metals like trivalent chromium, iron and zinc "toxins" for legal reasons and reasons that are important to us ... but as you make clear, zinc certainly can be toxic if ingested (or inhaled as fumes by welders) in excess.

A third issue of course is that people -- whether concerned about their dog or their hot-dip galvanizing tank -- often seek free advice even if a paid consultation would be safer ... and sometimes just "unloading" is a component of why they write :-)

Once again, thanks for the reminder to ask a vet, not a metal finisher, what's good or bad for your dog!

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com   Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


April 22, 2015

A. Just as an addition to the toxicity of galvanized bowls and fencing. Animals that have these bowls or fencing where they may chew or lick ore getting an excess in zinc as stated before. This is more a dietary issue than a toxicity issue. Zinc interferes with the absorption of copper if enough is ingested. Typical symptoms include loss of hair color , loss of hair, decreased vigor and activity, ataxia and sometimes death. Unfortunately the symptoms can be similar to other ailments.

brian pole
- wichita falls, texas, usa



July 12, 2015

Q. I recently purchased a large galvanized tub (meant for livestock watering) to be used as dog pond/pool. They will be drinking out of it as well. I am concerned about rust, should I seal it? How long does it take for galvanized tubs to rust? Do I need to use a special sealant as the dogs will be drinking from the pond/tub?

Jim McBrair
- fremont, California usa


July 2015

A. Hi Jim. You've seen Dr. G's advice to ask your vet. A tub meant for livestock watering, and of proper quality, does not need further coatings to serve its purpose and probably should last at least several years. Good luck.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney   Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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