What Makes Toilet Water Harmful to Dogs & Cats?

by Naomi Millburn
    If the lid is securely down, Wrigley can't drink from it.

    If the lid is securely down, Wrigley can't drink from it.

    Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    You may shudder at the mere notion of Wrigley and Whiskers drinking from a toilet, but many dogs and cats are pretty nonchalant about it, just as when you're making a simple stop at a water fountain. Although toilet water isn't necessarily harmful to pets, it can be.

    Fresh Water

    Author and canine expert Pam Johnson-Bennett thinks your pet wants to drink out of the toilet that it could be because it may seem fresher or colder than the other water available to them. Every time someone flushes the toilet, new water rushes in, with a little oxygenation to boot. Avoid the frustration of your pet drinking toilet water by replenishing his water bowl supply several times a day and by keeping the toilet lid down all of the time. Spread the word to all of the members of your household.


    Authors and doggie experts Veronika Gunter and Rain Newcomb say the commode water can have a nice "flavor" to it, simply because dogs can't taste as much as people. Human beings are equipped with a massive number of taste buds -- over 10,000 of them. Because of that, people have the ability to detect a lot of the things that are inside toilet water, including any chemicals. Dogs and cats alike have markedly fewer taste buds than people, which is why the flavoring of toilet water might seem clean to them.

    Harm From Bacteria

    Toilet bowls can house bacteria, a potential harm to pets. If a person who has a bacterial infection like salmonella or e. coli uses a toilet, the act could lead to transmission to any pet who ends up drinking the commode water. Many diseases can pass from humans to animals. Infection transmission can occur from stool matter and via urine, too.

    Harm From Toilet Bowl Cleaners

    The use of toilet bowl cleaners makes toilet water harmful to dogs and cats alike. Many of these cleaners come in tablet form. If you employ these chemical-based tablets exactly as the instructions indicate, putting them in the toilet creates a weaker version of the cleaner, after it blends in thoroughly with the water. If your pet drinks this mixture, he could suffer stomach distress, although usually not intense -- think diarrhea, throwing up and nausea. If your cutie drank toilet water with cleaner in it, consult your vet.

    Photo Credits

    • Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Naomi Millburn has been a freelance writer since 2011. Her areas of writing expertise include arts and crafts, literature, linguistics, traveling, fashion and European and East Asian cultures. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in American literature from Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo.

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