Q: I want to start using an automatic toilet bowl cleaner, but our dog drinks from the toilet and I don’t want him to get sick. Can you recommend a safe toilet bowl cleaner?
A: Most automatic toilet bowl cleaners are reasonably safe when diluted in toilet water. If your dog does develop a problem, the worst he will experience is mild stomach upset.
On the other hand, the tablets themselves and undiluted liquid toilet bowl cleaners are corrosive. Ingesting them will irritate your dog’s entire gastrointestinal tract, from his mouth and esophagus to his stomach and intestines, causing vomiting and diarrhea.
While the diluted automatic bowl cleaners are safe for pets, it’s still unwise to allow them to drink from the toilet. Humans may excrete fecal bacteria, parasites and medications that remain in the water after flushing and shouldn’t be ingested by pets.
Tip: Close the lid and offer your dog a big bowl of fresh water. Remember to wash and refill the bowl daily.
Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine in Pennsylvania. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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