Plumbing Tips for Pet Owners

plumbing tips pet owners

If you are a pet owner, you don’t need to be told that the object of your affection may not always live by the same rules that you do. When pets are at loose ends, it is not unusual to find they have chewed on a household item, or ripped a piece of clothing (or furniture) to shreds because after being kept inside too long.

It’s normal to keep an eye out for events such as these, and you probably have strategies for avoiding them. However, have you ever wondered how might having a pet could impact your plumbing system?

Bath Time

Do you bathe your pet in your bathtub? It’s important to make sure that a stopper or strainer is in place, to prevent a drain becoming clogged with pet hair. This is especially important if your pet is prone to shed excessively. You can further reduce the strain on the drain by giving your pet a good brushing before inviting it into the tub. Depending on the type of coat that your pet has, you may also remove a good bit of dirt, grass burrs or other surprises that you’d be happy to keep in the yard. After the bath, wipe down the sides and bottom of the tub with a paper towel or a wipe to collect remaining hair.

A pressure-balancing valve in your shower can prevent a sudden rush of scalding water if someone happens to flush a toilet while you are bathing your pet. (The humans in your home also benefit from this safeguard.)

Cat Litter

No matter what it says on the box for your preferred cat litter product, it’s not a good idea to flush this material down the toilet. Aside from the possibility of clogged drainage pipes, cat feces can contain harmful parasites that municipal water treatment systems are not designed to remove. Better options include:

  • A plastic bag inside another plastic bag – This prevents the spread of bacteria as well as containing odor.
  • Spread it around plants – If the litter you are using is biodegradable (e.g., wheat), you can spread litter around plants. Never use on vegetable gardens!
  • Throw it in the trash – This is the best plan – double-bagged and taken directly to the outdoor garbage can.


If you have a pet, make it a family policy to keep your toilet lids closed at all times. Aside from the obvious reasons it is upsetting to discover your pet drinking from the toilet bowl, don’t forget that there can be residues from the cleaners and chemicals that you are used to keep it sanitary that could harm your pet.

Of course, it’s always possible someone will forget to shut a lid. As a further step toward making the toilet the preferred destination for a thirsty pet, make sure to leave plenty of clean, fresh water out where they can find it.

Does Your Dog Love to Dig?

In some cases, a water or sewer line may be located less than two feet below the surface of the ground. If your dog is a frequent and aggressive dirt excavator, keep an eye on what it is up to. It’s not necessarily likely that it could put a hole in a sewer or water line, but it is possible.

If you keep these guidelines in mind, the odds are that you, your pets and your plumbing system will all get along just fine. However, if something comes up, at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Bay Area, our experienced plumbing technicians have seen it all! Call us in for tasks both big and small, from restoring the flow to clogged drains to making the switch to a tankless hot water heater, to re-piping your home.