Thursday, June 6, 2013

So your pet drinks from the toilet? Really, it's okay if they do

Flickr photo by artgoeshere
Most of us who share life with dogs can attest to the all-to-familiar noise coming from the bathroom: the "slurp slurp slurp" from our pooch getting a refreshing drink from the toilet bowl.

Many people are aghast at the mere thought, and others, like some clients that I chat with on a meet and greet, sheepishly admit that their four-legged friends enjoy a few laps of cold water from the commode if they aren't careful about ensuring that the lid is closed.

Most of those in the latter group seem somewhat relieved when I tell that that not only do my pets do it if given the chance, but most of my charges — both canine and feline — do too.

In fact, a couple of them have stated, "I purposely leave the lid open, just as a backup."

I'm nonplussed when they say that. In fact, for some clients, it's probably not a bad idea.

Are you cringing, gagging, wrinkling up your nose at the notion that I don't have a problem with a dog drinking from the toilet? Considering all of the other stuff that I regularly see pets readily gobble up, spew, emit and do, I say that falls pretty low on the list of disgusting things.

I admit I would rather see them grab a drink from a commode than a dirty pond or an errant outdoor trash can lid that might get filled with rain water after it rains. In fact, after the experience of having owned a cleaning service for 18 years, I can tell you that with so much emphasis on making sure the toilet bowl is sanitary, It's likely one of the cleanest things in the bathroom. The most germ-laden? The flush handle on the toilet, and any toothbrushes in the room. (Kitchen sinks rank right up there, too -- think of all of the stuff that comes into contact with that surface.)

Quite honestly, I don't encourage the practice of drinking from the toilet, but, no, I don't freak out. I have yet to find a dog or cat that has decided to quench their thirst with dirty toilet water that someone has forgotten to flush, so that must say something!

I mean, to a companion animal, the prospect of having a content source of cold (thanks, porcelain), clean water in a ginormous bowl has to be terribly tempting. So if you forget to close the lid (I'm not pointing fingers), don't cringe too much when you hear that familiar sound coming from the other room. And although there is a risk for stomach upset should you use toilet cleaning tablets in your commode's tank, anything dangerous beyond that is rare.

Evidently, one veterinary professional shares my view on the topic. Patty Khuly, DVM recently addressed this topic on Vetstreet.

Lorrie Shaw is a blogger and owner of Professional Pet Sitting. Shoot her an email, contact her at 734-904-7279 or follow her adventures on Twitter.