by Doris Donnerman
(last updated February 17, 2009)
In movies and TV shows we always see the loveable (or not-so-loveable, depending on the story) family dog talking a refreshing drink of water out of the toilet. What if, however, the dog drinking toilet water isn't just a funny bit in a sitcom? What if the toilet-water-drinking dog is a reality in your home? If this describes your home, you know that the behavior can be annoying and sometimes embarrassing. There are ways you can stop and prevent your dog from drinking the toilet water, and once implemented you (and maybe even your dog) will be forever grateful!
While cats and dogs have notorious reputations for sticking their heads in the toilet for revitalizing draughts of flushing water, it's actually not very healthy for them. While the water is flushed and new water replaces the old water, if you use toilet bowl cleaner then the chemicals left over from the cleaner are not a good, healthful drink for your pet. (Cleaning products aren't good for anyone's health, and that includes pets.) The water may be tempting for your pets to drink because the cleaning fluids are often strongly alkaline, but it's definitely not healthy.
It's pretty easy to prevent your pets from drinking the toilet water. First, you can simply close the toilet lid. If the dog or cat can't get into the toilet bowl in the first place, then they won't be able to drink the toilet water. Some pets have skills when it comes to opening lids, and so simply shutting the lid may not do a whole lot. You should then go a step further and shut the bathroom door. I haven't actually ever encountered a pet that can open a fully closed door. If you can just get into the habit of shutting the door after you're finished, then you should have no problem keeping your pet's mouth out of the toilet bowl!
It's a fact that having a pet that drinks toilet water can be unhealthy, annoying, and embarrassing. The easiest way to go about changing this behavior is to change your own behavior. Prevent your pet from accessing an open toilet, and the problem goes away. Whether that can be accomplished through simply shutting the lid or through shutting the bathroom door all together, it can and should be done.
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