Should I Let My Dog Drink From the Toilet?

Should I Let My Dog Drink From the Toilet?


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I don’t know about you, but I’m personally grossed out that people let their dog drink from the toilet. It turns out though, that this is pretty common! Especially with Great Danes, because they drink a lot of water and the toilet is essentially a never-ended source.

So, is it safe to let a dog drink from the potty? Is it disgusting, or smart? Are there dog-safe toilet cleaners you can use? How do you stop a dog from drinking out of the toilet, anyways?

Let’s talk about it!

Should I let my dog drink from the toilet
Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on Pexels.com

Is It Safe to Let a Dog Drink From the Toilet?

Putting my personal feelings on this matter aside, let’s dig into this toilet-water drinking habit and see if it’s dangerous or not.

Toilet bowls can contain millions of germs and microbes, including e-coli and other bacteria which can cause digestive upset or even severe medical problems for your dog.

Humans who are on medications or chemotherapy and use the toilet contribute to this landscape of bacteria and microbes swimming around in what appears to be clean, clear, fresh water.

So yeah, drinking from the toilet can actually be a pretty nasty habit.

Keep in mind that most residential toilets also use a tank system. That tank sits on the back of the toilet and it’s rarely if ever cleaned out. If you’ve ever had to fix something in that tank, you’ve probably seen how gross they can get over time!

The water from that tank is dropped into the bowl when you flush, and that is what the dog is drinking.

border collie in the bathtub
Photo by Elina Volkova on Pexels.com

Can Dogs Drink Toilet Water?

Dogs do have a different gut microbiome than humans, so in general, it’s safer for them to drink toilet water than it is for humans to drink toilet water.

But, that doesn’t make it ideal, or even good, for your dog to do this.

Not only do we have the aforementioned dirty tank water + microbes situation at play, but toilet cleaners can hang out in the bowl and yes, those can be toxic to your pet.

Of course, dogs do all sorts of nasty things. They sniff butts, roll around on dead things in the grass, eat out of the trash can, drink slimy lake water, and may even eat poop from other dogs or wildlife.

All of those dirty dog habits can lead to gastrointestinal upset, parasites, disease (such as Leptospirosis), or blockages.

In other words, just because they do those gross things, doesn’t mean that we should allow or encourage it. This includes drinking out of the toilet.

Keep in mind that once they finish drinking, most Great Danes then also drip toilet water out all over the bathroom before rubbing their face on your couch or your knee.

If you aren’t willing to drink the water, why would you allow your dog to do it? Sorry folks, this is one nasty habit we just cannot get behind.

brown dog drinking water on the shallow part of the beach
Photo by Rayden Dsouza on Pexels.com

Are There Pet-Safe Toilet Bowl Cleaners?

I noticed (in online discussions about this topic) that people who intentionally allow their dog to drink from the toilet claim to use ‘non-toxic cleaners’.

Of course, chlorine-based cleaners (which actually work to kill bacteria) could absolutely be harmful to your pet. They do stick around in the toilet bowl and may take more than one flush to fully dilute. Not to mention the problems that could arise if you forget to flush the toilet after cleaning it (and the dog goes in for a drink).

A quick search online turned up several “pet safe” toilet cleaners and ideas, including products to purchase, and the popular “baking soda and vinegar” trick.

Did you know that mixing baking soda + vinegar together essentially creates salt water?
Cleaning your toilet with salt water is NOT getting it clean.

Don’t believe us? Read this fantastic article here, or take a look at this one. Both of these articles use science to dispel many common myths about using baking soda + vinegar to clean toilets. We’ve all been scammed. Baking soda and vinegar is NOT actually getting your home, or your potty clean.

Here is a fun TikTok on the topic, too. Please like and follow this amazing creator:

So what is a pet parent to do?

Many well formulated ‘natural’ toilet cleaners may bridge the gap here, but I would personally reach out to the company to confirm that they’ve done a study proving that their product is safe for pets to ingest, and also effective against bacteria.

Most toilet cleaners that are safe for dogs do not disinfect, they only clean the surface stains.

Those ‘non-toxic’ and ‘pet safe’ cleaners may make your home smell good, but you can bet that in most cases, E-coli and other little bugs and microbes deposited in there from human puke, spit, pee, poop, and period blood are still having a party in the toilet water!

Not to mention the goodies floating around in the standing tank on the back of the toilet.

Keep in mind that many essential oils are actually extremely toxic, especially to pets! Adding “Thieves” or whatever essential oil (that seems safe and natural) to try and disinfect things may actually do more harm than good.

crop person cleaning toilet rim with sponge
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

How Do I Stop My Dog From Drinking From the Toilet

Now that you know how a shiny toilet bowl can still actually be very disgusting and dirty, even if you use “non-toxic” toilet cleaners, it’s time to stop your dog from drinking the toilet water in there.

Just because your dog has always been fine, doesn’t mean that they always will be.
There is no reason in the world to allow or encourage this behavior.

Here are a few tips!

  • Provide clean, fresh water in a stainless bowl
  • Close the lid
  • Close the door

If your dog has developed a habit of nosing the lid open to get to the water, add a child lock! You can get one on Amazon HERE for less than $10.

When your dog is drinking clean, fresh, safe water, they are much cleaner and nicer to snuggle with, too. I don’t know about you, but knowing that many people let their dogs drink from the toilet at will has completely stopped me from EVER accepting snuggles and kisses from dogs I don’t know.

The AVMA, AKC, VCA Pet hospitals, and many manufacturers of toilet bowl cleaners discourage pet owners from allowing their pets to drink from the toilet.

Enough said.

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Hello Danes

Hello Danes

I'm a dog training, nutrition, and science fanatic that believes in ethical breeders, responsible rescue practices, veterinarians, and modern balanced LIMA dog training. Love the dog in front of you.

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