Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Dogs who drink out of the toilet ( No Answer,   7 Comments )
Subject: Dogs who drink out of the toilet
Category: Family and Home > Pets
Asked by: stupidsexyflanders-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 26 Mar 2003 11:42 PST
Expires: 28 Mar 2003 11:04 PST
Question ID: 181270
Why does my dog drink out of the toilet? He's got his bowl of clean water
right there. And why does he seem to prefer the toilet be unflushed
(pee)? And can this hurt him? It's killing me.

Request for Question Clarification by digsalot-ga on 26 Mar 2003 15:42 PST
When I have guests coming over, I clean the house thoroughly.

I throw the dirty clothes in the dryer, the dirty dishes in the oven,
put the cat litter box in the bathtub and place the vacuum cleaner in
the middle of the living room so it will look like I've been
interrupted halfway through my work.

Now my question to you is, why do you leave the toilet unflushed in
the first place?

This bit of information may assist one of our fine researchers in
their composition of a meaningful answer.

Clarification of Question by stupidsexyflanders-ga on 26 Mar 2003 19:52 PST
Because in the middle of the night if I get up to pee, I don't want to
flush because the baby's room is right next to the bathroom and the
flush is loud, and he might wake up. If any blame lies with me it is
forgetting to lower the lid, and I might venture that even this is
understandable at 3 a.m., 3/4 asleep.

I can't possibly imagine why this information could be useful to your
answering this question. But there it is.

Request for Question Clarification by digsalot-ga on 26 Mar 2003 20:54 PST
Hi again - - I see you are getting some good information in the
comments.  I tried to make my RFC on the humorous side because in its
way the question irself contains a great deal of humor.  However, does
have a reason for being asked.

As urine remains in the bowl, it does go through chemical changes
producing ammonia among other things.  Several years ago, one of my
cats always wanted to lick the kitchen and bath floor after it had
been cleaned.

At the time I was cleaning with an ammonia based product.  The cats
vet suggested the desire to lick an ammoniated surface may have
something to do with a craving caused by a lack of something in the
cat's diet.

It turned out there was.  I had been preparing my own cat food rather
than using commercially prepared diets.  After further investigation,
the vet told me the cat was lacking a substance called "taurine,"
which is added to commercial preparations but is often lacking in home
prepared foods.

I switched to commercial food and with time the cravings for the
ammonia vanished.  If you had told me the bowl remained unflushed for
fairly long periods of time for whatever reason, it may have been a
clue that the craving for this type of water may be caused by some
kind of dietary lack.

Aceresearcher came close to this sort of reasoning when mentioning a
possible craving for sodium cloride.

Sorry if the clarification request sounded flippant, it was meant to
for the reason I mentioned above.  But the reason I posted it as a
clarification request rather than as a comment, is that an answer
demonstrating long periods of not flushing may have legitimate bearing
on a final answer.


Clarification of Question by stupidsexyflanders-ga on 27 Mar 2003 01:56 PST
No offense taken, digsalot. I appreciate your thoughts. I have gotten
some good theories and leads in the comments, and I consider this
question answered.
There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Dogs who drink out of the toilet
From: pinkfreud-ga on 26 Mar 2003 13:00 PST
Several years ago I asked my veterinarian "Why do my dogs drink out of
the toilet?" She shrugged and said "Because it's there." The old
Everest explanation. She also said that drinking diluted human urine
is not likely to harm the dog, although it certainly won't improve his

This comes from an "advice column" for dogs:

"Dear Aunt Tattle Tail:

Why do I find drinking out of the toilet so irresistible?

Signed, Flushed

Dear Flushed:

Because you don't have the same aversion to germs and odors that
people do. You eat and drink a lot of things that humans find
unpleasant or downright disgusting. Toilet drinking can be one of

Looking at it from your point of view: water in the toilet bowl is
cold; it's fresh (following a flush); it's at dog-level for a great
many dogs; and it's available. If you really think it is a bad habit,
ask your owner to keep the lid down.

Signed, Aunt Tattle Tail."

Cached file from

I think Aunt Tattle Tail is onto something here. Water in the toilet
bowl of an average household is often cooler, and likely "fresher" (in
the sense of having come from the pipes recently) than water in the
typical doggie bowl.

Regarding the matter of drinking the pee-enhanced water, my own theory
is that some dogs find all of their owners' bodily odors and flavors
to be indescribably delicious. There's no accounting for taste. After
all, we're talking about creatures who enjoy nosing through the kitty
litter box, looking for snacks.

I wish I could find an authoritative answer to your question, but
conjecture is all I've seen online. Where is "The Pet Psychic" when we
need her? ;-)


(One last note: if a contest were held for "Best Google Answers
Username," you'd have my vote.)
Subject: Re: Dogs who drink out of the toilet
From: stupidsexyflanders-ga on 26 Mar 2003 13:16 PST
thanks for helping me understand my dog better, your answer makes sense to me.
Subject: Re: Dogs who drink out of the toilet
From: pinkfreud-ga on 26 Mar 2003 13:22 PST
One important thing I forgot to mention: although a bit of urine won't
harm your dog, those toilet fresheners that turn the water blue can be
quite toxic, according to my vet. They definitely won't freshen the
dog, and they may make him ill.
Subject: Re: Dogs who drink out of the toilet
From: probonopublico-ga on 26 Mar 2003 13:55 PST
Is it perhaps because the lid is left in the open position?

My dog, Daisy, tries absolutely everything but, being a small
Yorkshire Terrier, she is unable to reach into the toilet bowl.

But, if she could, I am sure she would.
Subject: Re: Dogs who drink out of the toilet
From: aceresearcher-ga on 26 Mar 2003 14:51 PST
Greetings, stupidsexyflanders!

In addition to the reasons postulated by the Mistress of Pink, it is
my belief that, because urine is so salty, a dog who is deficient in
sodium chloride may seek it out in this manner.


Subject: Re: Dogs who drink out of the toilet
From: pocoloco-ga on 26 Mar 2003 20:27 PST
Dear stupidsexyflanders-ga,

Congratulations on coming up with one of those questions that
captivates researchers!

The proper question (from a dog point of view) is not why dogs drink
out of their water bowls, but why humans pee into theirs.

Anyway, I did a search on this subject and found various interesting
links and hypotheses, as follows:

1.  The PurePro Hypothesis
(Scroll down the page to the paragraph titled "Doggie's Choice") 

PurePro (a company that sells water softeners) suggests testing its
product on your dog by giving the dog a choice between tap water and
their treated water.  They say that the dog will almost always choose
the treated water, because . . . "they can smell the fact that it has
no chlorine.  This is the reason why many dogs and cats drink out of
the toilet bowl, toilet water has sat in the bowl long enough for the
chlorine to dissipate."

I would have thought that water in a toilet bowl would be refreshed
more often than water in a pet's bowl, but what do I know?

2.  The Veterinary School Hypothesis 

The Program for Companion Animal Behavior at the School of Veterinary
Medicine at U.C. Davis stresses that dogs and cats both prefer fresh
water.  They say "Lack of water or only offering stale water can lead
to dehydration and diseases associated with the kidneys or urinary
system."  This write-up says that pet owners should empty and CLEAN
water bowls daily, and that you should not use "leave-in" toilet bowl
cleaners for animals who like to drink out of the toilet.  (In reading
this article, it seems to me that they are not worried about dogs or
cats drinking out of the toilet bowl, as long as the water in the
toilet bowl is clean and has no toilet bowl cleaners of any kind or
color in it.)

3.  Preventing Infections from Pets

This CDC publication is a guide for people with HIV infection, who of
course have severely compromised immune systems.  It says "Don't let
your pets drink from toilet bowls or get into garbage."  It then goes
on to say "Don't let your pets hunt or eat another animal's stool
(droppings).  (Either the person who wrote this never owned a dog, or
else they must be advocating turning the pets of HIV-infected people
into indoor pets.  I mean, when I take my dogs for a walk, nothing
interests them more than stool, with the exception of an actual dead

4.  There is a book on this subject!

For only $3.45 (used), you may buy the book "Why Does My Dog Drink Out
of the Toilet: Answers and Advice for All Kinds of Dog Dilemmas" by
John Ross and Barbara McKinney.

Best wishes,


P.S.  I wish I could take credit for my opening joke, but I found it
in "Cat Funnies"

Search Engine: 

Search Strategy:
why do dogs drink out of toilet bowls?
Subject: Re: Dogs who drink out of the toilet
From: techtor-ga on 26 Mar 2003 22:51 PST
Perhaps cartoonist Mike Peters might know something. He created that
wacky dog Grimmy who loves drinking toilet substance in "Mother Goose
and Grimm".

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy