Why Do Dogs and Cats Drink out of the Toilet?

Posted by Katherine Ripley
Michael Himbeault/Flickr

Many dog and cat owners have repeatedly come upon their pets drinking out of the toilet.

The main question is: Why? If their water bowl is full, why would they prefer the water in the toilet bowl?

Firstly, you have to remember that dogs and cats do not view the toilet like we view it. They don't comprehend how we use the toilet, so it doesn't seem gross to them. They only see the water in the toilet for what it is: fresh and cold.

Here are three reasons why cats and dogs might prefer toilet water:

1. It's colder.

The water in the toilet bowl is quite cold because the toilet is made of porcelain, whereas the water in a plastic or metal bowl is probably room temperature.

We humans can sympathize with this preference. Plenty of us prefer drinking chilled water to room temperature water.

2. It's more oxygenated.

Because the toilet gets flushed often, the water in it is more oxygenated than the water that has been sitting in your pet's bowl for the whole day.

3. It's cleaner.

We might have trouble comprehending this one, but remember, pets see the toilet bowl water for its quality in a given moment. Water in a pet bowl often has hair and food particles floating in it, whereas water in the toilet bowl has no debris.

So how do you prevent your pet from drinking out of the toilet?

The most obvious solution is to put the lid down, but some dogs are strong enough to lift it themselves and might not be discouraged, so you should also try changing your pet's water more often, and putting it in a ceramic bowl out of the sunlight so it stays as cold as possible.

A better solution might be to give your pet a fountain rather than than a plain bowl of water. Pet fountains continuously circulate and filter the water so that it is more oxygenated and cleaner. This is a good solution if you are out of the house for a long time and cannot change the water.

A fountain can also help if you have a problem with your cat turning on the kitchen or bathroom faucet. Cats drink out of the faucet for the same reason they drink out of the toilet: the water is colder, fresher, and cleaner.

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Why Do Dogs and Cats Drink out of the Toilet?