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Is Toilet Water Safe for Pets to Drink?

dog holding toilet bowl
dog drinking toilet water

The sight of a pet drinking from the toilet bowl can be concerning. Toilet bowls can harbor bacteria and contain toxic chemicals from household cleaners. Here's why pets might drink from the toilet, when to seek help, and how to prevent this behavior.

What Is in Toilet Water?

While the water in your toilet tank starts out clean, it doesn’t mean it’s safe for your pets. Toilet bowls can harbor bacteria and contain leftover chemicals from cleaners. The water mixes with bacteria and any cleaning chemicals you might use, making it unsafe for pets.

Is Toilet Water Clean?

Studies have shown that toilet seats can be cleaner than kitchen sponges, but the toilet bowl itself is far from clean. Bacteria and viruses that might be found in household toilet bowls include:

  • Escherichia coli (E. coli)

  • Salmonella

  • Staphylococcus (staph)

  • Giardia

  • Klebsiella

  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa

  • Campylobacter

Is Toilet Water Safe for Pets to Drink?

While most pets don’t experience issues drinking from the toilet, certain bacteria can cause vomiting and diarrhea. Additionally, medications or vitamins from human waste can end up in the toilet bowl, albeit in low concentrations.

Are Toilet Cleaning Products Dangerous to Pets?

If your pet drinks toilet water with diluted cleaning products, they might experience mild mouth irritation and an upset stomach. The risk of serious poisoning increases if your pet ingests undiluted cleaning products. Signs of ulceration include:

  • Loss of appetite

  • Pawing at the mouth

  • Excessive drooling

  • Lethargy

  • Pale gums

  • Weight loss

  • Stomach pain

  • Dark stool

  • Persistent vomiting and diarrhea

  • Fever

If you notice any of these signs, take your pet to an emergency veterinary hospital immediately.

Why Is My Pet Attracted to Toilet Water?

Several reasons might draw pets to toilet water:

  • Cooler and fresher: Toilet water might seem cooler and fresher than their water bowl.

  • Safe place: The bathroom can be a quiet place where pets feel secure.

  • Reinforcement: Pets might seek attention, and drinking from the toilet might have previously gotten a reaction from you.

  • Health issues: Seeking unusual water sources might indicate underlying health issues like diabetes or kidney disease.

How Can I Discourage My Pet From Drinking Toilet Water?

To keep your pet from drinking toilet water

, try these strategies:

  1. Keep the toilet lid closed: This is the simplest way to prevent access.

  2. Close the bathroom door: Ensure the bathroom is off-limits to your pet.

  3. Add a child safety lock: This can prevent your pet from lifting the toilet lid.

  4. Provide fresh water: Keep your pet's water bowl clean and filled with fresh water.

  5. Place water bowls in low-traffic areas: Consider placing a bowl in a quiet spot where your pet feels safe.

  6. Use a water fountain: Pets might prefer the fresh, running water from a fountain.

  7. Add ice cubes: Pets might be more inclined to drink water with ice cubes added to it.

  8. Rotate toys and treats: Keep your pet engaged with toys and treats to distract them from the toilet.

What to Do If Your Pet Drinks Toilet Water

If your pet drinks toilet water, monitor them for any signs of illness, such as vomiting, drooling, loss of appetite, or lethargy. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately.


My dog drank toilet water with a cleaning tablet in it. What should I do?

Monitor your dog for any signs of irritation or illness. If they show symptoms like vomiting, drooling, pawing at the mouth, lethargy, or blood in their stool, take them to the vet immediately.

Are there any automatic toilet bowl cleaners that are safe for pets?

While diluted automatic toilet bowl cleaners are generally not life-threatening, they can still pose risks. The safest option is to use non-toxic, pet-safe cleaners and keep the toilet lid closed.


While it's not uncommon for pets to drink from the toilet, it's not safe due to the presence of bacteria and cleaning chemicals. By taking steps to keep your pet's water fresh and accessible, and by keeping the toilet off-limits, you can ensure your pet stays healthy and hydrated.

For more information and products to help keep your pets safe and healthy, visit


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