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Is It Safe For My Pet To Drink Out Of The Toilet?

Is it safe for my pets to drink out of the toilet?


In my role as a pet sitter I am amazed by the number of clients who allow their pets to use a waste elimination system as a water source. Do they drink out of the toilet, are their children permitted to do so?

There are several risks associated with allowing toilets to be used as a water source:

  1. The risk of bacterial infection
  2. The risk of poisoning from residue from cleaning products.
  3. The risk of small animals becoming trapped.


Examples of bacteria in toilets are:

  1. Shigellosis
  2. Staphylococcus
  3. Salmonella
  4. C. difficille

Scientists from Leeds University in England found unused toilets also contained high levels of bacteria. The highest levels were after flushing. To me, this suggests bacteria from other peoples waste is making it’s way into my toilet. Their advise is to keep the lid closed  to help control the spread of bacteria in the bathroom.


If you are using cleaning products you shouldn’t drink, there is a risk of poisoning to pets who use the toilet as a water source. Commercial cleaners and even most “natural” ones aren’t meant to be swallowed on a regular basis or at all.

Cleaning products and bacteria harbouring in toilets may cause gastrointestinal problems such as vomiting and diarrhea. If your pet is exhibiting these symptoms for more than a day,  contact your veterinarian.

The American Animal Hospital Association point out pets such as kittens, puppies, small dogs and cats who are curious and leaning into the toilet may fall and become trapped injuring themselves or drowning.

Keeping the toilet lid closed is a great way to avoid these problems, therefore trips to the vet. We all know how expensive veterinary care is especially in cities such as Toronto.

Some cats and dogs are able to raise the toilet lid by themselves. If your pet is this self sufficient, keep the bathroom door closed.

Why are some of our pets attracted to the toilet?

  1. The water is fresh.
  2. The water is cool.
  3. The water is well oxygenated if flushed frequently.
  4. Play factor. Feline Behaviour Consultant Pam Johnson-Bennett speculates toilets may be a form of stimulating play for some pets. After watching the antics of pets around toilets, I agree.


Now that the toilet if off limits, make sure a supply of clean fresh oxygenated water is available at all times. If the play factor is involved the following pet care needs to be offered:

  1. Interactive play with cats and long stimulating walks for dogs {make sure your vet knows about the  additional exercise in cases of pets with physical limitations and older pets}.
  2. Puzzles {there are many out there, go on line too see what’s available}.
  3. Toys pets can play with by themselves. Keep these rotated to avoid boredom.
  4. Cats benefit from the stimulation window perches offer.

Keeping your pets engaged is a great way to avoid boredom, frustration and therefore behaviour problems.Be creative stimulating your pet, the possibilities are endless.

Please visit my post “Tips On Supplying Nutrition’s Overlooked Component For Pets” for tips on your pet’s water source.

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