I don’t know about you, but I’m personally grossed out that people let their dogs 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-ending source of it. If you let your dog drink from the toilet, you might want to read this post.
Here are a few topics I’d like to flush out…
- If toilet water is safe for dogs
- How to keep a dog from drinking out of the toilet
- How to clean toilets properly and safety for dogs that DO partake in the liquid of the throne…
Let’s talk about it!
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. Here is a simple fact (and no, it doesn’t matter how much vinegar and baking soda you dump in there):
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.
I hate to tell you, but letting a pet guzzle H20 from the toilet can be a pretty nasty habit.
Where does toilet water come from?
Toilet water in most homes comes from a fresh, clean water supply. However, it enters the toilet and is stored in a tank, waiting for the next flush to refill the bowl.
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! THIS is the water coming into the bowl of your toilet, that your pet is happily slurping away at.
Can Dogs Drink Toilet Water and Not Get Sick?
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.
Don’t forget that when dogs finish drinking (especially those with big jowls like Great Danes), the dog will drip toilet water out all over the bathroom and your hallway. This is before they come over and rub 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.
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’. The belief here is that toilet cleaners without chemicals will sanitize the bowl and be safe for the pet to drink.
Of course, chlorine-based cleaners (which work to kill bacteria) could 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).
But what about “natural” cleaners, are they safe?
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.
Does Baking Soda and Vinegar Clean Toilets?
Nope. Get this. If you speak to a chemist, they will tell you that when you mix vinegar with baking soda, you create SALT WATER.
Saltwater folks. You are cleaning your toilets with…water.
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 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 extremely toxic, especially to pets! Adding “Thieves” or whatever essential oil (that seems safe and natural) to try and disinfect things may do more harm than good.
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.