Why Do Some Dogs Drink Toilet Water?


To us, just the thought of slurping toilet water sounds disgusting. Ew! But, to your canine cutie, the cool water in the toilet bowl is as refreshing as a luxurious drink at the spa.

Think about it from Fido’s perspective. On one hand, you set out a bowl of water for him in the morning. Throughout the day, that water gets warm, becomes infused with saliva, and doesn’t taste as fresh. Then, on the other hand, you have this beautiful shiny, white, porcelain bowl with clean, fresh, water (hopefully). And get this … it’s flushed and changed multiple times throughout the day, enticing your pooch to view it as a much more refreshing choice! So, as gross as drinking from the toilet bowl is to us, it’s pretty appealing to your canine kids.


Is Drinking Toilet Water Harmful To My Dog?

As long as you have a clean toilet bowl, experts say a slurp or two of toilet water normally won’t harm your pooch. A dog’s digestive system can kill bacteria much more efficiently than a human’s. But, I would still discourage the behavior because you truly never know what germs are lingering in there.

The biggest danger from Fido drinking out of a clean toilet is the chemicals used to clean the bowl. Commercial cleaning agents contain toxins that can be harmful to your pooch. This includes chemical-laden cleaning wands, disinfectant tablets that turn the water blue, and deodorizers that you cling onto the side of the bowl.


Below, I share tips to help stop your dog from drinking toilet water. But, before we dive into that, if your pooch does manage to sneak into the bathroom from time to time then you may want to start using non-toxic cleaners.

A cheap and easy remedy is to clean the toilet with white distilled vinegar. Yes, the same white vinegar you have in your pantry. The acidity in the vinegar helps break down stains, deodorizes, disinfects various germs, and will have your toilet bowl sparkling. The best part? No toxic chemical residue left behind like when you use commercial cleaning products!


How To Clean Your Toilet The Non-Toxic Way

  • Pour a 1/2 cup of white vinegar into the water, swishy it around, let it sit for about 30 minutes, swish again, and flush. Viola! You’ve just cleaned the toilet.
  • If you have hard water then it will take a little longer – use a full cup and leave the vinegar in for about an hour. Then swish and flush.
  • If need a bit more muscle to your cleaner, you may want to try this recipe from the AKC.
    • “Pour half a cup of baking soda in your toilet bowl… Follow with one cup of vinegar and then stand back and enjoy the volcano effect. Let it sit for ten minutes to break down dirt, grime, and odors before following up with a scrub brush.”
  • For quick touch-ups, fill a spray bottle with white vinegar and spray the bowl – let sit for 10 minutes – swish and flush. You can also spray the outside of the toilet and then wipe it down. No need to rinse.
  • If you don’t like the smell of vinegar – no worries – it dissipates in no time!

Do You Have A Rusty-Looking Toilet Tank?

Those reddish/rusty stains that can accumulate on the sides and bottom of your toilet tank are actually an accumulation of minerals in hard water. Over time, if not cleaned, they will just continue to build up. If this describes your toilet tank, then once again, white vinegar to the rescue.

  • Remove the tank cover
  • Add a quart of white distilled vinegar
  • Let it sit 24 hours to do its magic
  • Scrub with your toilet brush until all the mineral deposits come off.
  • For stubborn stains – Repeat!

How To Stop Your Dog From Drinking Toilet Water

  • Keep the bathroom door closed. If he can’t get in, he can’t drink the water. It doesn’t get any easier than this!
  • Close the lid on the toilet.
  • Make his water more tempting by making sure it’s cold and fresh. Sometimes I even add a couple of ice cubes when I fill the bowl.
  • Change the water daily – twice a day is even better!
  • Wash your dog’s water bowl every day. I can’t stress this enough! Water bowls build up a filmy slime called biofilm. It’s not healthy and makes the water less appealing. Your pooch knows the difference.
    • FYI: According to NSF International, whose microbiologists conducted an International Household Germ Study in 2011, found that pet bowls were one of the top four dirtiest places in the home. Be diligent and wash them daily.

If You Do Have A Dog Who Does Occasionally Manage To Sneak A Drink From The Toilet …

  • NEVER use any of those disinfecting tablets in your toilet tank. You know the ones I mean. The ones that turn the water blue. Some of them don’t turn color and are clear. They fill your bowl with every flush and they are toxic! Even when the tablet has melted away – residue can be left behind in the toilet tank. Remember the tank is where the clean water comes from that fills the toilet bowl.
  • NEVER use any commercial deodorizers in the water or hang them on the side of the toilet. They are toxic!