Toilet Bowl Water VS Lakes and Rivers

Dogs get their drinking water usually from what we provide them – a fresh clean water bowl.   But do you know where else? There are two other main sources:  a foreign body of water (puddle, river, lake, etc.) and the household toilet.


Is drinking from a TOILET BOWL safe for our dogs? 

Dogs prefer drinking from the toilet because the water is often quite cool.

If the water in the bowl is clean, then YES, drinking from the toilet bowl is safe and it is most likely that no harm will come of it.


POTENTIAL HAZARD: The only danger when drinking from the toilet bowl is when the residue of cleansing products and chemicals are left on the bowl.   There is another dangerous time during the routine weekly cleaning when you soak the bowl with a toilet bowl cleaner and the dog gets access to the water.


What about drinking from a Foreign Body of Water?


Lakes and rivers  pose danger for dogs because of the microscopic protozoan organisms that live in these waters. These protozoans, such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium, affect the gastrointestinal systems of dogs if they are ingested. These protozoans can cause severe diarrhea and intestinal bleeding especially when the dog has an underlying illness, is very old or very young, or has an impaired immune system.


It is undeniable that most of the bodies of water are already polluted with a wide mix of chemicals – from pesticides to liquid wastes.  These are toxins that are fatal; it can build up in the dogs’ system and slowly poison their body over a long period of time. The kidneys and liver can be particularly affected by these chemicals if they are exposed to these toxic water on a regular basis.


The danger is low but it is best that they do not drink from these sources. It is not always possible to completely stop an animal from drinking out of a lake or river, but in this case the less they drink the better.

What can I do about this?

  • Provide fresh cold water at all times (may need to change it 2-4x daily).
  • Always bring fresh water sources with you if your pets are going to be around a lake or river.


  • Make sure bowls are accessible to dogs, especially when they are old, young, or have mobility problems such as arthritis.
  • Add ice cubes to the water in the bowl or use an insulated bowl to help keep the water cold.


  • Close doors to bathrooms and keep toilet lids down.
  • One can even install childproof locks on the toilet lids for large, strong, or more determined dogs.


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