A dog drinking from the toilet – or a cat, for that matter – isn’t that uncommon. But why would your pet prefer the flowing water from a toilet bowl when they have a water dish? Is it even safe for your pet to drink water this way?
An Easy Answer
Turns out, the reason for a dog drinking from the toilet really isn’t a mystery. The water in a toilet bowl is often fresher than what your pet has in their water dish. The porcelain in the toilet keeps the water cool. And flushing keeps that cool water oxygenated.
As humans, we may think this dog behavior is gross. But your pet doesn’t see it that way. Even if your dog knew the true use of that toilet, they probably wouldn’t care. Also, the sound of flowing water is often times too much to resist!
It’s the same thing as when your cat jumps up on your kitchen counter when the sink is running – or when your dog goes crazy over water coming out of a garden hose. Dogs and cats are naturally attracted to flowing water.1
Another Potential Reason for the Toilet Bowl Attraction
While the urge to drink flowing water may be primal, there’s another possible reason your dog prefers drinking from a toilet bowl. Your household could be why.
If you have a lot of kids in your family, or other pets, your home might be chaotic. Your dog may actually prefer the solitude of the bathroom to a water dish in the middle of a busy kitchen.
So, Is It Safe?
Can drinking from a toilet bowl harm your dog’s health? Well, there are a couple of different viewpoints on this strange behavior. One says that the modern toilet bowl is actually very sanitary. Your kitchen, shower drain, or even your toothbrush contains a lot more bacteria than your toilet bowl.2
Many experts and pet parents feel otherwise.
Humans clean their toilet bowl with a lot of harsh chemicals.
While these chemicals are diluted in toilet water, they still exist. That can sometimes lead to problems when a pet decides to drink from the toilet.
In some areas of the country, people put antifreeze in their toilets during the winter. This helps keep the bathroom pipes from freezing.3 But ingesting antifreeze can be lethal for a pet.4
Water Quality and Other Potential Issues
Some people believe that water in a toilet is healthier than water in many other areas of the home. But it’s not the same as the water that comes from your tap. Despite what some may say, toilet water contains bacteria that might make your pet sick.
There is also an injury risk associated with a dog drinking from the toilet. This is especially true if your pet is very small. Your pup could actually fall in the bowl and become trapped. A larger dog could be injured if their paw slips on the side of the bowl.
How to Stop Your Dog Drinking from the Toilet
Water from the toilet bowl might taste fresh and delicious to your pet. But the potential dangers outweigh the benefits. Does your pup like to sip from the toilet bowl? There are some things you can do to stop this type of dog behavior.
- Restrict access to the toilet bowl. Keep the bathroom door shut, or at least keep the toilet seat lid down.
If you have a big family, and the toilet gets a lot of work during the day, consider installing a toilet lid lock. The toilet will stay closed when not in use.
- Keep fresh water in your dog’s water dish. Change it out four or five times a day, and put ice cubes in the water so it stays cool.
By keeping your dog’s water fresh and cool and limiting access to the toilet bowl, you might be able to break your dog’s habit.
What if Your Pet Just Has to Drink Water from the Toilet?
If your pet simply can’t stay away from the toilet bowl, try a different water dish. Get one made out of ceramic or plastic if the current bowl is metal. A pet fountain might be another option. Your dog will drink water that is continually fresh as a result.
If ice cubes and fresh water don’t get the job done, talk to your vet. They may have some other recommendations to help flush Fido’s toilet bowl drinking habit!
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