dog behaviorDog owners have the special privilege of witnessing various canine antics, some of which are downright off-putting. We’re talking about butt-sniffing, poop-eating, furniture-humping dog hijinks that evoke a lot of human head shaking. But we love dogs anyway, right? When the discussion of dog behavior comes up, The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center are commonly asked whether it’s normal – and safe – for a pup to drink from the toilet.

Yes, it’s Normal

Dogs love to take a long, slurpy drink from the toilet bowl for two main reasons. First, the water is colder than normal doggie water bowl temperature. Secondly, because the water is constantly being refreshed, it probably tastes good. While this dog behavior is extremely common across all breeds, ages, and sizes, it’s not considered the safest practice.

The Dangers of Cleaners

The Pet Experts are committed to raising awareness regarding the potential for pet poisonings around the home. Cleaning products are responsible for pet poisonings, and toilet bowl chemicals top the list.

Toxic chemicals in toilet cleaning tablets keep porcelain toilet bowls clean and clear from odor-causing germs. However, they can also make your dog incredibly ill after a big gulp of toilet water.

Don’t Make it a Habit

Some pets accustomed to this dog behavior won’t know the difference between a toilet that has recently been sprayed or soaked with a cleaning product. Chemical burns in the throat and mouth aren’t impossible, but it’s more likely a big stomach ache that results in vomiting will occur.

Without the Chemicals

Toilets are a natural breeding ground for bacteria. Of course, cleaning products kill those harmful germs; without them, bacteria can grow and flourish. For a dog who likes to indulge in a little “eau de toilette,” a bout of gastrointestinal upset is the result.

What’s the Answer?

So, you either expose your dog to chemicals or bacteria? No thanks! Try these options to curb this dog behavior:

  • Keep the seat down.
  • Use a toilet lock for toddlers.
  • Always close your bathroom door.
  • Use a pet-safe cleaner like baking soda and vinegar.
  • Provide a pet fountain that keeps the water running and freshly filtered.

When Dog Behavior Gets Scary

While the risks of poisoning associated with drinking from the toilet are high, there is another hazard. While this may not threaten great danes or German shepherds, smaller pets like to straddle the toilet seat in order to dip down for a drink. This can result in a dog falling in, getting injured or trapped, or even a potential drowning.

The Pet Experts Weigh In

Sure, this dog behavior can be just another head-scratcher. However, due to all the possible risks, it’s better to simply prevent your pet from developing an interest in drinking from the toilet. Keep that lid closed, establish a “no bathroom” rule, and only use pet-safe cleaning products in and around your home.

As always, The Pet Experts at Springbrook Animal Care Center are here to address your questions and concerns regarding this and other dog behaviors.