Many dogs drink from the toilet even when discouraged by their owners. But what happens if they drink it when it has toilet bowl cleaner in it?
Most dogs are going to be perfectly fine after drinking toilet water, but there are some exceptions. If you want to know whether your dog needs to see a vet, you need to know what you’ve been using to clean your toilet. If your pet shows any signs of distress, call the vet immediately.
Some things that are safe for humans are toxic to pets, and they aren’t always easy to spot. Something as simple as a grape can be fatal to a dog. Because of this, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry when they eat or drink anything unusual.
What Exactly is “Blue Toilet Water”?
Most dogs will be okay if they take a few laps of toiler water, but you shouldn’t just assume your dog will be okay. Blue toilet water can mean a lot of things. Many toilet cleaners are blue because blue is associated with cleanliness. Blue water can come from tablets that you put in your toilet tank, gels that you put inside of your toilet bowl, liquids that you pour directly in before cleaning, and so forth. Because there are so many different toilet cleaners, it’s not enough to assume that your dog will be fine.
Most toilet cleaners are relatively safe. They are very diluted, which means that your pet isn’t going to ingest a lot of it. The best thing you can do is look at the label for the toilet cleaner and call the 24/7 poison control line. If your pet seems to be in distress (throwing up, panting, or otherwise acting unusual), then you should call your vet (or an emergency vet) for advice. But if your pup seems fine and the toilet cleaner doesn’t appear to be toxic, you should be okay.
Understand that if you’re introduced a toilet cleaner into the water, that will be a higher concentration than passive cleaners (such as toilet tank discs). So, you should be more cautious when you’re actively cleaning your toilet.
When Can “Blue Toilet Water” Be Bad?
Some pet owners use antifreeze in their toilets during winter, which can also produce blue toilet water. Antifreeze appeals to pets because antifreeze usually tastes sweet. If your pet has consumed antifreeze, you need to get it to the vet right away. Antifreeze is very dangerous to both dogs and cats. If you use antifreeze in your toilets, you should always keep the toilet lid closed, and the bathroom door closed.
Many pets have been lost to antifreeze because, to them, it’s delicious. Other solutions are safer for those concerned about the potential freezing of their toilet lines — such as simply making sure that the toilet is flushed at intervals to keep the water moving in the pipes. Likewise, if your pet has a preference for drinking from toilets, you should be cautious when taking them to the homes of others. Others might have antifreeze or other potentially harmful chemicals in their toilet bowls that could be potentially dangerous.
But most blue toilet water isn’t anything like antifreeze and isn’t going to be as dangerous to your pup — as long as it isn’t concentrated. If your dog eats the concentrated version of practically any household cleaner, you should be more concerned, as these potent cleaners are much harsher on the system.
What If Your Dog Has a Bad Reaction to Toilet Water?
Because there are so many different types of “blue toilet water,” it is always possible that a dog may drink something that upsets its stomach. You can give them water and fresh milk if it doesn’t seem to be serious, but if they exhibit poisoning symptoms, you should call the vet. Poisoning can look like this:
- Vomiting or diarrhea: can be dangerous in itself, as it dehydrates your dog and makes it more difficult for it to recover.
- Drooling from the mouth: can indicate either poisoning (ingestion) or chemical burns (which can happen if they lick a toxic chemical).
- Unfocused eyes or confusion: generally means that a dog has experienced poisoning and should immediately go to the vet.
- Discoloration of the mouth: undiluted products may cause physical, chemical burns, which you can see by inspecting your dog’s mouth.
- Lethargy: a dog that is atypically tired and will not move may be experiencing the symptoms of poisoning or, later, organ failure.
In general, any time your pet is acting very different from how they normally do, it’s a sign that they may need veterinary help. You can call a poison control hotline if your pet is only exhibiting light symptoms or an emergency vet to bring them in. You can also administer activated charcoal from a vet to reduce the amount of poison they may take in, but this is only to be done while you’re taking your pet to the vet rather than as a replacement for it.
You should bring your toilet bowl cleaner with you to the vet if you end up going to the vet, so the vet immediately knows what type of poison your dog ingested. They may need to pump your dog’s stomach to get rid of the poison, or they may need to provide fluids to your dog while your dog recovers. Either way, they may also need to look for organ failure in the days to come.
- Are there safe toilet cleaners for dogs? If you have pets and you’re concerned about them drinking blue water, you might be wondering whether there are safer toilet cleaners for pets. There are natural types of cleaners that you can use, such as mixes of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar.
- What if your dog eats toilet tablets or drinks the liquid directly? Blue toilet water is generally safe for pets because it is so diluted. But if your pet eats the tablets directly or drinks the liquid directly, it’s far more likely that they might get ill. Take your pet to the vet if they show signs of gastric distress and call the 24/7 poison line on the label for more information.
- How can you keep dogs from drinking toilet bowl water? The easiest way is to make sure the lid is always closed on the toilet bowl. If your dog is large enough to open the bowl, you can get a childproofed latch that will keep it shut. This will also prevent them from making a mess every time they drink from the toilet.
- Are there other unsafe chemicals in the bathroom? Dogs may try to drink other cleaning solutions, such as bleach or Windex. Most diluted products are safe (such as Windex), but most undiluted products (such as bleach) are dangerous.
- What can happen if dogs eat toilet cleaners? If a dog does have a negative reaction to a toilet cleaner, it will usually be indigestion or nausea. However, if the cleaner is undiluted the dog may also experience chemical burns or, worse, organ failure.