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Does your dog ever do things that gross you out? Drinking out of the toilet is a common canine behavior that tends to turn people’s stomachs. But while it may seem strange to us, dogs usually think it’s a perfectly acceptable habit.

Why Do Dogs Drink From the Toilet?

If given the opportunity, most dogs will take a drink from the toilet. Obviously, we can’t ask them why they are lapping at that particular bowl, but there are some common reasons why your dog might develop this habit.

First of all, it’s there—which for some inquisitive dogs is reason enough, especially if the water smells interesting or enticing. Dogs may also start drinking toilet water if their regular water bowl is empty or the water in it is too warm. Some dogs are pickier than others about the temperature and the freshness of their water. If your dog doesn’t have access to fresh water, it’s natural they would go looking for another source.

But even if they have access to fresh water in their bowl, the toilet water is still often appealing. Some dogs might be drawn to drink from the toilet because the water is cold and is continually refreshed every time it’s flushed. Additionally, the water is often in motion (if the toilet has been recently flushed) and moving water can be particularly appealing for dogs.

Why Drinking from the Toilet Can Be Dangerous for Dogs

Toilet cleaners aren’t intended to be consumed and some include toxic chemicals. There may be residue from those cleaners lingering in the toilet water your dog is drinking. Check with the specific manufacturer of the cleaning products you regularly use in your to determine if it includes chemicals that could be harmful to your pup. If your dog drinks toilet water that contains cleaning solution, call your dog’s vet or an emergency clinic to determine if they need immediate medical attention.

Miniature Poodle wrapped in toilet paper

How to Stop Dogs Drinking From Toilet

If you have a dog who has gotten a taste for toilet water, it can feel like a constant battle in the home to keep them out of the bathroom, but it doesn’t have to be. Like with many aspects of training, prevention is key. If you can stop your puppy or young dog from ever having a chance to drink from the toilet, it will prevent you from having to retrain this later.

Keep the Seat Down

The simplest way to keep your dog from drinking toilet water is to make sure that everyone in your family puts the toilet seat down after each use. Some persistent and clever dogs can figure out how to lift the toilet seat up, but very few succeed. If, for some reason, keeping the toilet seat down isn’t reasonable for your family, baby or dog gates or keeping the bathroom door closed are a great way to prevent your dog from accessing the toilet.

Make Their Water Bowl More Enticing

Once you’ve prevented your dog from being able to get access to the toilet, you’ll also want to address any underlying reasons they might have been attracted to the toilet water in the first place.

Make sure they always have access to fresh, cool, and plentiful water. To make your dog’s water bowl more enticing, it can be useful to have multiple water dishes spread throughout your home. You can also try giving them water in bowls made from different materials (metal, plastic, ceramic, etc.), and that are different heights (you can buy raised bowls or put them on low step stools). Replace the water in the bowls multiple times each day to keep them fresh and full, and be sure to scrub out and fully clean the bowls regularly. If your dog likes moving water, you can also replace one of their regular water bowls with a pet water fountain. These fountains plug in and continually recirculate water, which is attractive to dogs who prefer drinking from moving water.

Related article: Do Dogs Need Meat in Their Diets?
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