Is It Safe for Pets to Drink Toilet Water?

Dog Drinking From Toilet BowlOur furry companions have some strange habits, including drinking from the toilet. Owners might be tempted to accept this as a harmless character flaw, especially if they keep their toilets clean. However, this practice could prove to be harmful or even deadly for your pet.

Why Are Pets Attracted to Toilet Water?

Some experts believe animals are drawn to running water in general, no matter the source. It’s common for a dog to lap up water from a hose when their owner washes their car, much like a cat will venture onto the bathroom sink to take a sip from the faucet. The fact that the toilet makes similar sounds to flowing water may appeal to one of their primal instincts.

Another commonly held theory is that dogs find the water refreshing. Unlike the water in their stagnant water bowls, toilet bowl water is often fresher due to frequent flushing and cooler because porcelain keeps it chilled.

Toilet Bowl Water Quality

Many people assume that toilet bowl water quality is identical to that of tap water. While this is often true, it is not always the case. Even in the cleanest of houses, the toilet is still a hotbed of bacterial activity rife with germs that could make your pet sick. Stagnant, bacteria-filled water can lead to serious cross-species infections like E. coli and Giardia.

Toxic Cleaning Products

Common household toilet cleaning products contain a litany of dangerous chemicals, including:

  • Bleach
  • Sodium hypochlorite
  • Sodium peroxide
  • Sodium perborate
  • And more

Although these chemicals will likely become highly diluted by the time you finish cleaning, the contaminated water could still cause chemical burns in your pet’s mouth and throat as well as significant problems during digestion. This is especially true if you use toilet cleaning gel stamps that stay in the toilet for a week or longer.

Symptoms of bleach poisoning in particular can include:

  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Redness in and around the mouth
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sore throat

How to Stop Your Pet From Drinking Toilet Water

Some pets are overly enthusiastic about drinking from the toilet bowl, so it might be difficult to break them of the habit. Luckily, there are several things you can do to accomplish the task.

Keep the Lid Closed

Not only will keeping the lid down protect members of the house from slipping in, but it will also prevent your pet from getting the chance to lap up some water. It may also be beneficial to try toilet lid locks. Although they’re technically designed to protect children, they’re just as effective against curious pets.

Keep It Clean

If you have children and can’t keep the lid closed, you should ensure that your toilet is cleaned regularly and flushed thoroughly to make sure any remaining chemicals are adequately diluted to protect your pet. You could also make the switch to environmentally friendly products, some of which are biodegradable and non-toxic.

Invest in a Pet Water Fountain

Your pet may prefer toilet water because it’s fresher and more oxygenated than the stagnant water that sits in their dish all day long. If you believe this may be the case for your furry friend, consider purchasing a pet water fountain which cycles the water in the dish. The running water will make it more appealing than the toilet and will taste fresher, much to your pet’s enjoyment.

Toilet Replacement and Repair in Seattle

South West Plumbing is dedicated to friendly, professional service that is performed with care and precision from the start. Our certified plumbers are available 24/7 to solve any plumbing problem you may face.

If your toilet isn’t operating at peak efficiency, we can promptly repair or replace your fixtures. Request your service appointment online or call 206-932-1777 today!