Is It Bad for Dogs to Drink Toilet Water?

You might think it’s disgusting when you catch your dog drinking from the toilet, but there’s actually a reason they like to do it.

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Why do dogs drink from the toilet?

Even though you give your dog water in their bowl every day, the toilet water always seems a little more appealing to them. It’s a tempting treat for them because the water in the toilet is fresher and colder than the water in their bowl. “Dogs are also scavengers by nature so it’s inherent in their genes to seek out water and food—which is why they tend to love toilet water and garbage cans,” says Dr. Gary Richter, a veterinary health expert with Rover. Here are some other reasons behind your dog’s weird behavior.

Is it safe for dogs to drink from the toilet?

The water in your toilet is the same water that comes out of your faucet, so it is safe for your dog to drink toilet water. However, the cleaning products we use to clean toilets (such as bleach) can be extremely harmful to dogs. Dr. Richter says that if your dog likes to drink from the toilet you should always rinse down the bowl after cleaning it and keep the lid down and the bathroom door closed to avoid having them ingest anything toxic. Make sure to keep your dog away from these foods that can be toxic as well.

How can you get your dog to stop drinking from the toilet?

The obvious answer is to keep the toilet lid down or the bathroom door closed, but if you want to break the bad habit there are a few things you can do. The trick is to make their water bowl more appealing than the cold toilet water, says Dr. Richter. He recommends keeping it fresh and cool by changing it at least two times a day and adding in a few ice cubes. If your dog still turns their snout up at that and walks into the bathroom to get water you can try a dog water fountain that keeps their water circulating and fresh. If they don’t like that either, here’s how to figure out what your dog actually wants from you.

Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Assistant Digital Managing Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. When she’s not writing for rd.com or keeping the 650+ pieces of content our team produces every month organized, she likes watching HGTV, going on Target runs, and searching through Instagram to find new corgi accounts to follow.