From consuming garbage to eating their own feces, dog’s don’t exactly have refined taste buds from the perspective of their human parents. One shining example of this is a dog drinking toilet water.
Is this just another reason to laugh at our silly pups or something we should take seriously? In this article we’ll dive into why dogs drink from the toilet, what the potential risks are, and how what we can do to put an end to it!
Why Is Your Dog Drinking Toilet Water?
To us humans, toilet water is full of germs and downright disgusting. To our dogs, toilet water is some of the freshest around. Think about it! Your toilet likely gets flushed at least 5 times a day which replenishes and oxygenates the water. This occurs even more often when more people live in your house. Sounds much more appealing to dogs than the stagnant water that has been sitting in their bowl for hours.
The porcelain toilet bowl does a great job at keeping its contents cool. Dogs don’t like warm water any more than we do. Can we blame them for taking the chilled option?
Dogs can see bathrooms as a safe space. They tend to be smaller and enclosed like a cave, usually colder, and there’s less outside noises and stimulation. It’s like a spa for your pup!
Is Your Dog Drinking Toilet Water Safe?
In short, no. From contact with remnants of human feces, toilet water can contain harmful bacteria like E. coli and lead to diseases such as Giardia. This can be worse if you don’t clean it often. Even though dogs digestive systems are better than humans at killing harmful bacteria, why take the unnecessary risk?
There are a surprising number of people who make the argument that your dog drinking from the toilet bowl regularly is fine. They cite studies that claim your toilet bowl contains less bacteria than your toothbrush, shower drain, or even your dog’s water bowl. While that very well may be true, why would you choose the “lesser of two evils” versus doing the responsible thing and taking the time to make your dog’s water more sanitary? We’ll discuss this more in a bit!
Despite it not being encouraged, if your fluffy water connoisseur decides to drink from the toilet bowl every now and then it likely won’t hurt them. The one caveat to this is if your toilet bowl has cleaning products or other chemicals in it. Toilet cleaners are toxic and you should make sure your dog doesn’t have access to the water until a few hours after it has been cleaned and flushed a few times.
Sometimes despite best intentions and precautions, accidents and emergencies happen. For that reason, we always suggest investing in pet insurance. We recommend getting a free online quote from Healthy Paws Pet Insurance.
How To Stop a Dog Drinking Toilet Water
Clean Your Water Bowl
The solution to the lazy argument of “but your toilet bowl is cleaner than your dog’s water bowl!” Well, not anymore! Make sure you are thoroughly cleaning your dog’s water and food bowls regularly—ideally weekly or even more often. If it is dishwasher safe, that is the preferred method.
Related: 6 Things Dog Owners Should Be Cleaning Regularly (But Few Actually Do!)
Try a New Water Bowl
Sometimes materials like plastic or metal can make water taste like the bowl it’s in. Dog bowls come in a variety of different materials so try swapping them out and see if they’re more to your dog’s liking.
Refresh Water Often
At a bare minimum your dogs should be getting fresh water in their bowl every day. However, you should strive to chance the water out a few times daily to avoid bacteria build-up and to keep it tasting better. Bonus points if you add ice cubes so it’s colder!
Get a Dog Water Fountain
This is a fantastic option to mimic the benefits of your dog drinking toilet water. The fountain keeps the water fresh, oxygenated, and appealing to pups. However, this is not a replacement for changing your dog’s water at least daily and like regular bowls, the fountain must be cleaned regularly.
Close the Lid or Door
Finally, we arrive at the most obvious solution to your dog drinking toilet water. While not necessarily easy to remember, especially in a household with many people, the simplest solution is keeping the toilet lid shut or the bathroom door closed entirely.
Related: 8 Housekeeping Headaches All Dog Owners Can Sympathize With!
Use Organic Cleaning Products and No Chemicals
Even if you religiously keep the bathroom off-limits or the toilet lid shut, sometimes we’re forgetful. For those instances, it’s best to take backup precautions. Just in case, I’d recommend cleaning your toilet often and using only organic cleaning products. It’s still not healthy by any means, but if your pet happens to have a taste, it won’t be as big of a worry.