Dogs and cats both love to drink water from anywhere except their bowls, with tap water and toilet water easily taking the two top spots on the list. The practice of drinking toilet water is so common in dogs that it’s clear it can’t be lethal for them or there would be thousands of accidental deaths every year.
However, when a dog drinks from the toilet they get in contact with bacteria and the chemicals from toilet cleaning products, which can easily make them sick in large amounts. If your dog drank toilet bowl cleaner and feels sick, bring them to the vet immediately.
What should you do if your dog drinks blue toilet water?
Try to make an estimate of how much water your dog possibly drank, because this is fundamental to know how to proceed. If your dog drank a lot, it would be safer to have them examined immediately. If you can’t bring them in, you can call the Pet Poison Helpline.
In many cases, the situation can be managed from home. Make sure your dog drinks a lot of water so they can dilute the chemicals of the toilet cleaner.
Most dogs would experience mild stomach ache upon drinking blue toilet water, so you can help them by withholding food for 12-24 hours and then introduce a bland diet of boiled white boneless chicken and white rice.
Feed them with a bland diet often and in small amounts, at least for a couple of days. If it seems that the stomach problems have died down, slowly reintroduce their normal diet.
If your dog keeps feeling discomfort for longer than that, it’s time for a medical examination. Look out for other symptoms such as:
- Vomiting on an empty stomach
- Recurrent diarrhea
- Lack of appetite
- Inability to drink water
- Vomiting water
These symptoms could start appearing right after your dog drank blue toilet water, or days later. The appearance of any of these symptoms could mean a medical emergency.
Generally speaking, if you’re concerned you should always ring up your veterinarian, whether your dog has drunk a lot of toilet water or simply got a taste of it. This is recommended because every dog and every situation is different.
What should you do if your dog ate toilet bowl cleaner tablets?
Tablets or any cleaning product that has yet to dissolve in water will put your dog’s life at risk.
These products are not so toxic anymore, but they are incredibly caustic. Dogs can have bad chewing habits and you may catch them chewing on these tablets.
When the cleaner is caustic, your dog will show symptoms right away because the product will start burning their mouth and throat. They could be drooling, coughing, and having trouble breathing.
If that’s the case, remove them immediately and bring your pet to the veterinarian because this is a medical emergency that requires prompt intervention.
There are many alternatives to these toilet bowl cleaning products and among them, you can also find a few pet-safe toilet bowl cleaners. If you need to keep using caustic products, make sure to store them away from your pet and lock the bathroom while you’re cleaning.
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.
Toxic Cleaning Products
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 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.
Why do dogs drink out of the toilet?
Dogs may drink out of the toilet simply because it’s comfortable. Especially for big dogs, finding the toilet open and ready for their head to dive in maybe the best feeling ever.
As with many other dogs’ behaviors, it is unclear what in toilet bowls attracts dogs so much, but experts and veterinarians around the world all have their hypotheses.
Dirty Water Bowl
How often do you clean your dog’s water bowl? Even though it is only used for liquids, it doesn’t mean it will stay clean forever in a self-cleaning loop due to the water.
Consider also that water in the dog bowl is stagnant, so dust, particles, and other things that fall on the surface stay there until you throw all of the water out and sometimes longer because they cling to the bowl.
If that’s the case for your dog, maybe they simply find the toilet bowl cleaner than their own water bowl.
Animals in the wild trust flowing water more than stagnant water. That’s because a river is usually fresher than a pond.
Whenever we flush our toilet, our pets are enchanted and may want to drink from that source rather than their bowl. This happens with tap water as well.
During summer, water in the bowl gets warm quickly and your dog may not want to drink it. Make sure to change your dog’s water every day or even several times per day if necessary.
Another solution is the water fountain for pets. These products keep the water in motion all day and are perfect to encourage our pets to drink.
Can dogs get sick from drinking toilet water?
Dogs can experience mild-to-severe symptoms after drinking toilet water, depending on how much they drank, what was inside the toilet bowl, and other factors.
Usually, most dogs may experience mild stomach aches that can turn into one or more episodes of vomiting and diarrhea. If these episodes persist for more than a day, you should call your veterinarian.
Cleaning products diluted in toilet water won’t be particularly harmful to your dog in small quantities, but chewing or eating these products directly is dangerous and requires an emergency visit.
Even if your dog gets lucky, do not let them drink from the toilet bowl because they’re at risk of serious bacterial infection which could turn lethal for your pet.
Make sure your dog always has fresh water available and discourage them from drinking toilet water by restricting access to your bathroom.