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Is Toilet Water Safe for My Dog?

Written by: Scott H
Scott Haiduc is the Director of Publishing for iHeartDogs, iHeartCats and The Hero Company. When not working, Scott spends his time on the farm, taking care of his animals and crops.Read more
| Published on January 17, 2014

shutterstock_169563386You’ve probably walked in on this scenario more than once, and you may have reacted with the utmost disgust and discomfort. The slobbery lips, the big puppy smile, and that cool, porcelain bowl…that’s right, we’re talking about toilet water. If you’ve had dogs, you’ve likely realized they can’t get enough of it.

We know you’re probably feeling a little better now that we’re all sharing the disdain together. But it’s not just that drinking toilet water seems inherently distasteful, it’s why it seems that way. Most of us would never dream of drinking the water from our toilet bowls, simply because their main use is to get rid of bodily waste. If it wasn’t waste…we wouldn’t need to expel it! But since that cool bowl of fresh water seems so enticing to our canine friends, we have to wonder if it’s actually safe for them to drink.

It goes against our gut instinct, but the truth is that it might actually be fairly fresh water. We humans are actually pretty good at keeping that toilet bowl particularly clean, and studies have shown this to be true. In fact, there are likely more bacteria hanging out on your doorknob that inside your toilet bowl! Yep – that means that your toilet water is pretty much up to par with your regular tap water. Just like your tap water, water suppliers are under much scrutiny to keep our toilet water free of any contaminants that are potentially harmful to humans and pets. So, assuming you flush regularly after use, the drinking will not likely harm your dog. We don’t blame you for passing on that wet kiss, though.

One thing to keep in mind is toilet cleaners. These actually pose a far greater risk to your dog than the actual toilet water itself. Disinfectants should be rinsed completely, or the lids kept down, if there is a chance your dog will drink it. Remember, things like disinfectants don’t sound appetizing to us, but they might smell scrumptious to our pets. Make sure to always keep the containers and the substance out of reach. If you use the disinfectant tablets, it’s best to prohibit your dog’s access to the toilet bowl, as ingesting these can be dangerous as well.

All in all, it’s probably something none of us would consider, but drinking toilet water typically poses no threats to our dogs. As long as we keep them clean, but make sure no disinfectants are left in our dogs’ reach, they can drink to their heart’s desire. We certainly aren’t surprised if you keep your pups from drinking that water, but it’s nice to know that it isn’t entirely as awful as we might imagine.

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About the Author

Katie is a professional dog trainer located in Southern California, with a background of experience as a veterinary assistant as well. She has trained and competed with multiple breeds in AKC Obedience and Rally, agility, herding, Schutzhund/IPO, French Ring and conformation. She has been involved in dogs since she was a child, and specializes in protection dogs, working dogs, and aggression issues. You can visit her website, Katie’s Dog Training, to find out more information about her training and accomplishments. When she’s not helping others and writing, she’s out on the field with her Belgian Malinois and Pembroke Welsh Corgi.

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