Most of us have probably been in this situation. You turn the light on in the bathroom only to find that your four-legged companion has beaten you there – and he’s enjoying your toilet as a drinking fountain! Or, maybe you hear a strange slurping sound coming from the bathroom and there’s your dog with his head in the toilet bowl. What are you to do? What makes a dog think that your porcelain throne is his personal water bowl?
Why dogs drink from toilet bowls
It’s actually not hard to understand why dogs like to drink from the toilet bowl. Dogs like fresh water and, despite our ideas about toilets, the water in the bowl is fresh and cool. The water is changed each time it’s flushed. Despite the care you may take with your dog’s water bowl and the clean water in it, after it sits in the bowl all day it may no longer be appealing to your dog. You could give your dog the best bottled water in the world in his water bowl but after it’s been sitting out all day it can be stagnant.
In some cases, your dog’s water bowl could be empty and your dog sees no reason not to avail himself of a good source of water in the house – in the bathroom.
Is toilet water safe for your dog to drink?
The answer to this question really depends on where you live and what kind of treatments and pipes are used for your water. In some communities and homes, there is a difference between the water used for toilets and tap water. This is especially true in places with older plumbing systems. However, many homes today use the same water for taps, toilets, showers, and any other plumbing. It’s all potable.
That’s not to say that it’s a good idea for your dog to drink out of the toilet. Most people use some fairly harsh cleaners and other chemicals to clean their toilets. These cleaners and chemicals can be harmful to your dog, even if they only leave a residue behind. There’s also the issue of potentially harmful bacteria that can be lurking in your toilet. Bacteria can be transmitted to your dog when he drinks from the toilet, causing gastrointestinal problems. These problems are likely to be mild if they occur, but you still don’t want your dog picking up any stomach bugs.
Stopping your dog from drinking out of the toilet bowl
Fortunately, it’s usually not too difficult to stop this behavior. Here are some tips that can help you convince your dog to leave the toilet water alone.
Keep the lid down
Perhaps the easiest way to keep your dog from drinking from the toilet is to simply keep the toilet lid down. This easy solution discourages many dogs, especially if lifting the lid is not easy for them. If your dog can’t get to the water, he can’t drink it. Make sure you remind everyone in your family to keep the lid down for this method to work.
Close the bathroom door
This is another simple solution. If you deny your dog access to the bathroom, he can’t get to the toilet. That means he can’t drink from the toilet bowl. For this method to work you have to make sure that all of your family members keep the door closed. Be sure to tell guests, too.
Install toilet lid locks
Toilet lid locks are often used to keep small children out of the toilet but they can be a great way to keep dogs from sticking their heads in the toilet, too. Check your local home improvement or hardware store. Lid locks don’t cost much and they are easy to install.
Keep your dog’s water bowl full of fresh water
Remember that some dogs go looking for water in the toilet bowl because their own bowl is empty or the water is yucky. Refill your dog’s water bowl several times every day to make sure he always has fresh water. Or, look into using an automatic water bowl or fountain for your dog.
Whether you’re horrified or you think it’s funny when your dog drinks from the toilet bowl, try some of these tips to change the behavior. It’s always important for your dog to have access to clean, fresh water and there are better sources than your toilet.