To people, a dog who drinks from the toilet is just gross. But to a dog, the toilet is a constantly freshened source of good water. This is completely understandable. Just think back before dogs had people laying out their food and water every day – they had to provide their own refreshments.
They developed a knack for choosing the cleanest, freshest water from the sources they had available. Those who didn’t were sure to get parasites or other water-borne diseases. With no veterinarians or medications in sight, these dogs passed away. Those who learned the ropes, on the other hand, lived to reproduce, and their puppies instinctively knew what they should and shouldn’t drink.
While their judgment certainly isn’t perfect, dogs have good reasons for choosing the toilet bowl over their water dishes. Consider how people like their water: cool, freshly poured, and out of a clean glass. The toilet is probably in the coolest room in the house. The water in the toilet gets changed more often than the water in their bowls. And porcelain make a nice goblet that doesn’t alter the taste of water like metal or plastic bowls may.
Dogs Love Bathrooms
People tend to be squeamish about bathrooms. We worry about germs. We scour and scrub to eliminate every last scent. We shut and lock the doors and demand total privacy. We do everything we can, in short, to keep our bathrooms separate from the rest of our lives.
Dogs, on the other hand, aren’t squeamish at all. Consider their usual habits. These are animals who will eagerly sniff, roll on, and devour month-old roadkill, who view cat boxes as convenient sources of takeout, and who greet each other (and people) by sniffing backsides. From their point of view, the bathroom is just an extension of their naturally earthy tastes. They don’t think about off-putting odors when they drink from the toilet. If anything, they probably like the smell.
There’s no question that toilets environments that do contain germs, but so does most everything else around us. Even an immaculate, freshly scrubbed bowl contains thousands, if not millions, of bacteria. But dogs don’t care. After all, they didn’t evolve in the dining room at the Plaza Hotel.
For most of their evolutionary history, they lived in pretty rough surroundings. As a result, their immune systems are remarkably sturdy. Toilets may not be clean by our standards, but for dogs they’re almost as hygienic as Perrier.