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Drinking from Toilet

8 Reasons Puppies Drink from Toilets

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Drinking from Toilet

Magic loves running water and plays "hose tag" with water squirts.

Image © Amy Shojai, CABC

New puppy owners often feel disgusted but also curious and wonder why toilet dogs drink from toilets. After all, that’s not the cleanest place to find water, and with the puppy’s acute sense of smell you’d think that he’d realize that!

With tiny puppies, there’s also a danger of them falling into the toilet and being unable to get out. Puppies can drowned in very little water so just be aware of taking safety precautions if this is an issue. It may be as simple as remembering to latch the bathroom door.

Puppies and adult dogs are creatures of habit, so once they find a “drinking fountain” they like, chances are they’ll make a beeline for the commode whenever possible. But exactly why do they like it?

Why Dogs Drink from Toilets

  • Smells Good. Part of the attraction may be the scent. After all, your own personal signature odor identifies you as the love-of-his-life, and nothing is more personal to you than the scent of elimination. What’s nasty to us offers the puppy lots of important information so surrounding himself with “eau de YOU” when he dips his head into the tank may be the thrill of a puppy lifetime.
  • Cool Drink. The commode also keeps water cool. The porcelain container insulates and the larger water surface compared to a tiny puppy bowl also helps so it doesn’t heat up as quickly. On hot summer days, water in the toilet may be more tempting just from a temperature standpoint. You may wish to invest in a water bowl that keeps the contents cool, like the FrostyBowlz.
  • Cool Room. It’s not only the water that’s cooler. Human bathrooms tend to stay cooler than any other part of the house, because of the tile on the floors. For a hot, panting pup on a warm summer day this may be the best snooze spot ever. And he doesn’t want to range too far from the cool nap zone to get a drink, so he just nips over a few paw-steps to take a slurp from the commode. It’s not unusual for cats to follow you to the toilet, either, and puppies have some of the same reasons.
  • Fresh Drink. Water that sets in the puppy’s bowl not only can become warm, it can get stale quickly. Every time you flush the toilet, a fresh flood of water—aerated for even better taste—floods into the holding area. Yum!
  • Tastes Good. Some kinds of water bowls hold odor or flavors, too. Plastic and metal containers may be off-putting to the pup, but the toilet container doesn’t absorb these odors and the water stays clean tasting.
  • Oxygenation. Each time you flush, the water is refreshed, and the motion of the water churns oxygen into the liquid. That also improves the flavor. If this appeals to your puppy, why not invest in a doggy water fountain?
  • Cleaner Water. From the puppy’s standpoint, water in the toilet may be cleaner than that found in his bowl. My dog Magic uses his water bowl to wash out his mouth after he’s played tackle-the-ball in the grass and dirt. That means his first gulps of water leave grass and dirt in the water. The commode is a continual source of clean, debris-free water.
  • Instinctive Choice. Some experts speculate that drinking from constantly refreshed water instead of a bowl may hearken back to how dogs evolved to survive. Moving water—as in a rushing mountain stream—prevents the dangers of stagnation where all kinds of bugs like mosquitoes or molds and parasites like coccidia and giardia may be found. So dogs may be instinctively drawn to prefer “toilet water” to that in the bowl.

Of course, the “stuff” that ends up in the toilet (when puppy isn’t drinking) doesn’t provide the best water-fountain option. Aside from it being unappealing from a human standpoint, the cleansers we use in the toilet can be quite dangerous of the puppy ingests these toxic substances and could poison your puppy.

We have a rule at our house. When the human has finished—the lid goes down. Of course, that gives the CAT a great perch, as well.

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