If your dog drank toilet water with a bleach tablet, the first thing you should do is contact your vet ASAP. Bleach can be toxic to dogs. The vet may recommend bringing your dog in for a checkup, or they may recommend forcing your dog to drink clean water to dilute the unsafe water in their system.
Look. It happens. Sometimes, your dog will drink your toilet water. There are a few reasons your dog might engage in this type of behavior.
It’s never an ideal situation, especially if that water is treated with chemicals. If your dog ingests toilet water that has been treated with a bleach tablet, this article will cover exactly what you should do.
Is Toilet Water Safe?
The short answer: Yes.
Many countries filter their toilet water, so after you flush, the water that fills the bowl is purified and perfectly safe to drink. However, that doesn’t mean you should.
The long answer: No.
Even if the water itself is safe to drink, the area might not be safe to drink from. Think about it, if someone poured you a glass of fresh, purified spring water into a cup they fished out of a public garbage, would you still drink it? Even if the water was technically safe? I doubt it.
Drinking out of the toilet is dangerous for several reasons. Unless you are thoroughly cleaning the bowl after every use, the water is floating in an area that has been exposed to many bodily fluids, all of which contain parasites, toxins, and bacteria that would make you sick if you ingested them.
If the bowl is clean, it still poses a risk. Cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that are toxic to humans and dogs alike.
These chemicals—such as sodium peroxide and chlorine bleach—can result in anything from internal irritations to chemical burns or poisoning.
Depending on the amount of chemicals and the amount of water ingested, this could be toxic for your pet.
Identifying Signs of Toxicity
The Most Common Symptoms
Stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy are the most prominent symptoms your dog will show if they experience chemical poisoning.
Agitation, tremors, weak limbs, drooling, ulcerations on the paws or in their mouths, and seizures.
If your dog exhibits any of these symptoms, it must be taken to the veterinarian right away. The quicker the medical professional can identify the problem, the quicker they can treat it.
Your vet might induce vomiting or proceed with an internal examination to assess the extent of the damage.
What to Do If Your Dog Drinks Toilet Water With a Bleach Tablet
Stop Them Immediately
If you catch them in the act, don’t wait for them to finish—the less water they ingest, the better. Try to see how much water is left in the toilet to gauge how much they drank.
Of course, you should be concerned, but don’t immediately assume that your dog is going to die. Just like with people, some dogs have more sensitive stomachs than others.
Some dogs might ingest a whole toilet full of treated water and not miss a beat, and some might only have a sip and experience discomfort. If you know your dog, you’ll know how sensitive they can be.
The size of your dog matters, too. What is harmful to a Yorkie might not be as harmful to a Great Dane.
Dilute The Water In Their System
Regardless of their size and sensitivity levels, you still shouldn’t let the treated water just sit in their system.
It is recommended by the ASPCA that your dog be encouraged to drink milk or fresh water after drinking toilet water to rinse any residual chemicals off of their mouths and intestinal tracts.
If vomiting occurs, refrain from letting your dog eat or drink for a few hours to let their stomachs rest.
Check Their Mouth
If the water is strong with chemicals, there might be chemical burns on their lips, tongue, or throat.
Check these areas periodically to ensure that no burns or irritations are developing.
Call Your Vet
There is a good chance your dog will be just fine after ingesting bleach water. Sure, they might be feeling a little under the weather for a while, but with proper attention, it should pass.
Still, even if everything seems fine, it’s best to alert your vet of the situation. They might want you to come in for an examination, or they might instruct you to stay the course and monitor your pooch at home.
Regardless, always consult a professional in matters of your pup’s health.
How to Stop Your Dog from Drinking Toilet Water
Close The Lid
Sometimes the best fix is the simplest. If your dog is exceptionally cunning, invest in a toilet lid lock so they can’t work the lid open by themselves.
Take it one step further and leave the bathroom door closed at all times, at least until your dog exhibits a change in behavior.
Make Their Water More Appealing
Change their water regularly so that it’s always fresh and cool. Try leaving some ice cubes in the bowl to keep it cooler longer.
Make sure nothing is floating in the water that would make drinking it aversive.
You could also change the location of the water bowl to an area your dog likes, such as by their bed or in an area that they find comfortable.
Invest in a Luxurious Option
Remember earlier when I said that dogs are biologically inclined to seek running water? I have three words for you: Doggy Water Fountain.
Yes, it seems a bit much, but it might just be what you need to get your dog to forget about the porcelain throne once and for all. There are multiple fountain bowl options available, most of them under $50.
Reward Your Dog
Dogs only respond to positive reinforcement. Bring them to their water bowl and encourage them to take a sip. When they do, reward them with words of encouragement or a small treat.
Do this consistently, so they come to associate drinking from their water bowl with positivity. This will most likely take a few days or weeks of consistent training, but if you are dedicated to it, they will soon learn that this is the right thing to do.
Why Do Dogs Drink Toilet Water?
The main reason dogs drink toilet water is because they aren’t getting water anywhere else. Your dog should always have access to water throughout the day, especially if they’re physically active and the weather is hot.
Dogs should not just be given water when they’re eating. If your dog is drinking out of the toilet, it might be because they’re finding their water bowl empty too often.
They Like it
Simply put, toilet water is refreshing!
It’s fresh and cool, and it might be a pleasant change for them if they’re used to drinking warm, stagnant water. Make sure you are changing your dog’s water throughout the day.
It’s in Their Nature
Dogs are naturally inclined to seek running water. It’s biologically ingrained in them to know that running water is safer than still water.
Think about it—would you rather drink from a river or a puddle? Some dogs are naturally drawn to water that rushes into the toilet or out of the sink.
They Like to Test Boundaries
Some dogs have a sense of humor. My dog loves to steal our socks, but only when we’re watching. If no one is around, he could be surrounded by socks and not have a care in the world.
He only steals socks to see our reactions, to be chased around and played with. If you make a big deal about your dog drinking out of the toilet, they might just be continuing the behavior to get attention from you.
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Bryan Harkins is an avid dog lover and the proud owner of dogdorable.com, a website dedicated to all things canine. With years of experience working with dogs, Bryan is passionate about providing valuable information, tips, and resources to help pet owners provide the best possible care for their furry companions.