As most dog owners know, the sight of a dog with their head in a toilet bowl is not unusual. However, that doesn’t mean the sight won’t turn our stomachs or cause concern, especially if there’s toilet cleaner in the water. Understanding why your dog is so attracted to drinking toilet water, what the impacts of that indulgence can be, and how to curb such compulsions can help put your mind at ease.
Though the idea of drinking from a toilet might be confusing if not revolting to us humans, our dogs have a very different opinion. They don’t see the toilet as a waste receptacle but as a source of refreshment.
Dogs – like humans – prefer chilled water. So even if you make sure to keep their water bowls full, the odds of your pup drinking all of it at once are low. That means that the water will likely be closer to room temperature by the time they get back to it. The water in the toilet, on the other hand, is almost always cold, making it preferable to what they find in their bowls.
It can be a matter of taste, too. While metal bowls are often seen as more durable, they can transfer an unappealing taste to their contents. That metallic flavor can prompt dogs to seek out better tasting alternatives. A porcelain toilet can offer just that.
This preference may also be primal. Most animals in the wild, including canines, instinctively seek out running water. It is not only often cleaner than stagnant water but tastier, too.
Though our lovable pets may not be quite ready to run with the wolves, some of those natural instincts remain. The running water in your toilet might be triggering their attraction to the bowl.
When Can “Blue Toilet Water” Be Bad?
Some pet owners use antifreeze in their toilets during winter, which can also produce blue toilet water. Antifreeze appeals to pets because antifreeze usually tastes sweet. If your pet has consumed antifreeze, you need to get it to the vet right away. Antifreeze is very dangerous to both dogs and cats. If you use antifreeze in your toilets, you should always keep the toilet lid closed, and the bathroom door closed.
Many pets have been lost to antifreeze because, to them, it’s delicious. Other solutions are safer for those concerned about the potential freezing of their toilet lines — such as simply making sure that the toilet is flushed at intervals to keep the water moving in the pipes. Likewise, if your pet has a preference for drinking from toilets, you should be cautious when taking them to the homes of others. Others might have antifreeze or other potentially harmful chemicals in their toilet bowls that could be potentially dangerous.
But most blue toilet water isn’t anything like antifreeze and isn’t going to be as dangerous to your pup — as long as it isn’t concentrated. If your dog eats the concentrated version of practically any household cleaner, you should be more concerned, as these potent cleaners are much harsher on the system.
What Exactly is “Blue Toilet Water”?
Most dogs will be okay if they take a few laps of toiler water, but you shouldn’t just assume your dog will be okay. Blue toilet water can mean a lot of things. Many toilet cleaners are blue because blue is associated with cleanliness. Blue water can come from tablets that you put in your toilet tank, gels that you put inside of your toilet bowl, liquids that you pour directly in before cleaning, and so forth. Because there are so many different toilet cleaners, it’s not enough to assume that your dog will be fine.
Most toilet cleaners are relatively safe. They are very diluted, which means that your pet isn’t going to ingest a lot of it. The best thing you can do is look at the label for the toilet cleaner and call the 24/7 poison control line. If your pet seems to be in distress (throwing up, panting, or otherwise acting unusual), then you should call your vet (or an emergency vet) for advice. But if your pup seems fine and the toilet cleaner doesn’t appear to be toxic, you should be okay.
Understand that if you’re introduced a toilet cleaner into the water, that will be a higher concentration than passive cleaners (such as toilet tank discs). So, you should be more cautious when you’re actively cleaning your toilet.
Effects Of Drinking Toilet Water On Dogs
Everyone uses some kind of cleaning product in their toilet and if your dog drank toilet water with a cleaner, your first concern is whether that product is going to be poisonous for them.
Most dogs do not drink enough toilet water to experience the effect of any kind of toxicity.
It would take a big amount of water for the chemicals in it to be harmful, even if your dog drank toilet water with a bleach tablet.
In fact, these products are greatly diluted in water, which makes them mostly harmless. However, as with most inedible ingestions, drinking toilet water is not without risks.
Just because a product is diluted with water, doesn’t mean you should let your pet drink it or not take any precautions.
Cleaning products are full of chemicals like sodium perborate, sodium peroxide, sodium hypochlorite, and hypochlorite salts, along with many others.
Any kind of toxic chemical can be dangerous if ingested so your dog shouldn’t be allowed in the bathroom while you’re cleaning and make sure there have been a few flashes before your dog can get access to the bathroom again.
It would be better to avoid using those products that disinfect the toilet after every flush because they make it easier for your dog to become sick if they happen to drink toilet water.
Antifreeze is frequently used in winter for cars, driveways, hard surfaces in general, and also for toilet water.
If you live with pets, you need to be extra careful when using this product where your dog can have access to it, because antifreeze is lethal for pets.
It only takes around five tablespoons of antifreeze to kill a medium-size dog and if your dog drinks from the toilet bowl they could easily reach that amount in minutes.
Antifreeze poisoning is tricky because, in the first few hours, your pet will feel really sick, they will vomit, stagger, drink a lot of water, and urinate a lot too.
But after that, they may seem to be getting better. However, after only a day or two, they will experience kidney failure.
If you just suspect your dog may have ingested antifreeze in any way (either drinking toilet water or by walking on the driveway and licking their paws afterward), rush them to the nearest animal hospital.
While most of the time your toilet water is the same water you have in all the other facets of the house, depending on the local water system it may still not be healthy enough to drink.
Consider also that even if the water is clean, when it stagnates inside the toilet it comes in contact with whatever bacteria is in there, especially if the toilet is not cleaned very often.
Simply speaking, drinking toilet water is far from being a healthy choice.
When your dog drinks from the toilet bowl, they are at risk of developing Colibacillosis, which is brought by the bacterium Escherichia Coli.
This infection can lead to serious blood poisoning (septicemia), which means that a large amount of bacteria has entered your dog’s blood.
As their heart pumps the blood to all the main organs, bacteria spread through the body and may cause multi-organ failure.
Sometimes we may harm our dogs without knowing. In fact, our urine and feces carry a lot of bacteria, even more, when we’re sick ourselves.
All of these bacteria are poured into the toilet water your dog has drunk, and some human diseases can be passed to dogs as well.
If someone in the house is undergoing chemotherapy, the situation may be even worse because some medications used in chemotherapy are highly toxic for your dog.
This is why you should be careful even when you bring your dog to someone else’s house. Unless you know what cleaning products they use and what is their personal situation, do not let your dog run loose.
What happens if a dog drinks toilet water with cleaner in it?
What happens if a dog drinks blue toilet water?
These cleaners often turn the water blue and may seem unsafe for pets, but rest easy, that blue water is unlikely to harm your pet—although we don’t recommend letting them regularly drink the treated water.
Can toilet bowl cleaner hurt a dog?
What happens if a dog licks toilet bowl cleaner?