Gross! My Dog Drinks from the Toilet!
Does your dog have a potty mouth? Find out why he drinks out of the toilet and help him break his dirty habit.
Nicole Sipe |
Posted: June 11, 2014, 8 a.m. PST
You hear that familiar slurp-slurp-slurp of your dog drinking water ... except it’s not coming from the direction of your dog’s water bowl. Instinctively, you head toward the bathroom, peek inside and yes, that’s right: there is your dog happily lapping up water from the toilet like you purposely left it open for him as a treat.
Sigh. Life with dogs.
Sure, drinking from the toilet is kind of amusing. (I mean, come on! He’s drinking from the toilet!) And yes, it’s really disgusting. (I mean, come on. He’s drinking from the toilet.) So why do dogs do this peculiar behavior?
Why Do Dogs Drink from the Toilet?
Two words: fresh water. Ignore, for a moment, the pesky detail that this supposedly "fresh” water is coming from a place where humans -- well, you know. To your dog, a toilet is a convenient place where fresh, cool water is abundant and readily available. That bowl of water you just put out for your dog? Stagnant and old, according to your dog. When you think about it, it’s actually kind of smart to choose the seemingly fresher choice in the large porcelain bowl over the one in the small bowl that’s been sitting there who knows how long.
Another reason a dog might drink from the toilet: He finished the water in his water bowl, he’s still thirsty, and he’s in search of another source of water. Thirsty dog, meet toilet bowl.
Just How Bad is Toilet-drinking, Anyway?
According to the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center website, "bacterial-related gastrointestinal problems could occur from drinking stagnant toilet water, so it is a good idea to discourage your dog from imbibing from the commode.” Toilet water could also be filled with household-cleaner chemicals and other junk you don’t want your dog drinking, especially if you just cleaned the toilet, or if you use drop-in toilet bowl cleaning tablets.
Thankfully, if your dog drinks from a toilet that contains drop-in cleaners, it’s not likely to be a problem beyond stomach upset, assuming that you followed the cleaner label’s directions, according to the APCC. If your dog is showing signs of serious illness, contact your local veterinarian or call the APCC hotline at 888-426-4435.
How Can I Stop This Gross Behavior?
You don’t have to put up with potty drinking for long -- you just have to modify your behavior first.
1. Leave the toilet lid down. This is one of those duh things that some people don’t do because it’s just so easy to forget. If the toilet water is inaccessible, then your dog can’t drink it. Of course, there are always those crafty canines that somehow manage to lift up the toilet lid anyway, which brings us to No. 2 on the list.
2. Close the bathroom door. If leaving the toilet lid down doesn’t deter your dog from drinking from the toilet, then close the bathroom door. This gives you the added bonus of keeping your dog out of the bathroom altogether and away from potentially poisonous or harmful chemicals, medicines and toiletries.
3. Keep your dog’s water bowl filled. Make sure your dog always has easy access to fresh, clean water. A dog who turns up his nose at water that has been sitting stagnant for days (or even hours) will probably go in search of a fresher alternative (read: the toilet). Also, a dog who is a big drinker might finish his water before his thirst is quenched, so be on the lookout for an empty water bowl, and fill it accordingly.
4. Try a gadget or gizmo. If all else fails and your dog still craves a taste of the toilet, there are products available that might help, including automatic water bowls and fountains that keep the water circulating and fresh. You could also try installing a toilet-seat lid locks, which will let you easily use the toilet but fasten shut when not in use.
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