A Cold Drink From the Toilet: Uncouth Dog Behavior (Sometimes) Makes Sense

toilet waterWe not only allow, but wholeheartedly welcome dogs to share in all the trappings of modern living. Some dogs are invited to sleep with their owners on goose-down bedding; others hang out on the sofa for the latest binge-worthy TV. Indeed, dogs are veritable members of the family. That doesn’t mean, however, that we don’t collectively scratch our heads at certain canine codes of conduct. Dog behavior varies between individuals, but as a group, dogs seem to really enjoy slurping from the toilet bowl. But why?

Gag Reflex

The thought of refreshing oneself from the same source that recently flushed away yesterday’s carne asada can definitely trigger a gag reflex. That’s only natural. However, when you consider the possible reasons your pooch does this, it kind of – shockingly – makes sense.

Cold, Wet, and…Forbidden?

Dog behavior is often dictated by what tastes good. In the case of a toilet Slurpee, the water is just cold and, therefore, very enticing, refreshing, and delicious. Insulating porcelain is responsible for keeping that canine “trough” a nice crisp temperature. If you really think about it, is this dog behavior so different from your own inclinations toward an ice-cold beverage?

Dangerous Dog Behavior

Okay, so drinking from the bowl is completely normal, but is it safe? Not so much. The first reason for this is related to high levels of harmful bacteria that come from, well, you know where. Gastrointestinal problems can result from drinking contaminated water.

Foul-smelling toilet bowls or ones covered in stains can lead consumers to purchase toxic toilet bowl cleaners. Whether you drop in a blue disc or spray the bowl for a quick rinse, your dog could need a trip to the emergency room if he or she ingests any of these products. Know the signs of a pet poisoning, and never hesitate to call for help.

What to Do

Beyond simply closing the toilet lid (and keeping it closed), what can you do to keep this dog behavior at bay?

  • Keep the bathroom door closed.
  • Use toilet seat locks (you can find them in the baby aisle).
  • Purchase a fountain for your dog’s drinking fancy.
  • Keep other bowls of water fresh or chilled.

Above all, have patience with this singular dog behavior that almost every owner has witnessed at least once. If you have additional questions or concerns, we encourage you to reach out to our veterinarians and staff.

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posted in:  Training & Behavior