How to Pet-Proof Your Plumbing

Pet ownership in the United States has risen steadily in recent decades, with a higher percentage of households owning pets today compared to 40 years ago. An astounding 84.9 million (or 67% of American households) own at least one kind of pet. Of these households, over 63 million owned at least one dog according to a 2019/20 pet owner’s survey. Cats and freshwater fish ranked in second and third places, with around 42.7 million and 11.5 million households owning these pets, respectively.
There is no doubt about it… we love our pets! They are part of the family, and like any family member, sometimes they can cause a few issues with our plumbing if we are not aware. This happens because the effect they have on our system is not readily apparent. In order to keep our pipes and pets happy, we put together a list of tips to pet-proof your plumbing.

Keep the Toilet Lid Closed
Many pet owners unwittingly let their cats and dogs drink from the toilet bowl, either because they think it is cute or because it is an easier source of water than filling a tiny dish. But most pet owners are also unaware that this can be seriously harmful to your pet. Even if you keep your toilet bowl spotless, residues from the cleaning products you used and residual bacteria are probably floating in the water and are poisonous.
Although letting pets drink from the toilet will not necessarily damage your pipes, it is a piping system which needs to be pet-proofed in order to keep your pet safe. Keep your toilet bowl closed so your dog and cats do not have access to it and keep their own bowls full of fresh water so they do not look for a drink elsewhere. Smaller pets can even fall into the toilet causing a bit of a mess and a wet pet.

Keep Cabinets Locked
There are numerous hazards under your cabinet for pets. They can chew on pipes and then cause damage to themselves or the pipes. They can also get into cleaning chemicals that may be stored underneath sinks, and those can be potentially fatal if ingested. It is best practice to keep your cabinets locked or to use babyproofing materials to keep them out.

Bathe Pets Outside
Dog and cat fur can get muddy quickly, and washing all that mud and grime down your pipes can lead to a messy and costly clog. If washing them outside is a viable option, then make every effort to do the dirty work outside. If washing your pet outside is not a viable option, at least wipe or rinse them outside first to get rid of the bulk of the fur and muck, then use a drain stopper or strainer to catch the rest. Preventing a clog now will help you avoid costly plumbing repairs later.

Never Flush Cat Litter
Although numerous cat litter products claim to be flushable, many companies also made those claims about “flushable wipes,” the latter of which caused many homeowners problems in the past. While it is convenient to flush kitty litter down the toilet, no matter what the labeling says, do not ever do this. Litter can quickly clog your toilet and require damage control. Generally, avoid flushing anything that is not toilet paper or human waste.
Cat litter by nature is designed to clump up so it inevitably builds up over time and can clog and eventually damage your plumbing system.

Cover Floor Drains
Pets like hamsters, mice, kittens and even puppies can fall into floor drains, causing injury or requiring some of your plumbing to be dismantled to get them out. If this happens, retrieving your pet unharmed can be a costly undertaking. Make sure all drains in your home are securely covered to avoid such an accident.

Cover Exposed Pipes
A capricious dog that has chewed up and damaged an exposed pipe can really cause extension damage that will hit your bank account hard. This can cause rips and tears in the pipe resulting in unwanted leaks. The pipe itself can also be toxic for your pet. In order to prevent this kind of damage, talk to an expert about what kinds of materials can be used to cover the pipes without creating an eyesore.

Watch Where Your Dog Digs
Dogs love to dig; it is a natural behavior for them. However, you cannot ignore the fact that when the digging gets deep enough, it could affect your buried water line. Make sure to look out for your dogs when they are playing outside. A digging habit can lead to problems in your underground piping system, as certain water and sewer lines are a mere 18 inches beneath the ground. Any large dog can eventually tackle such a digging excursion and quickly find exposed pipes. To prevent your dogs from digging plumbing lines, let your plumber teach you of the plumbing locations outside. If your dog’s digging has already caused damage to your sewer line, get it fixed right away by calling a pro. Getting an early sewer line repair will prevent the problem from escalating and affect nearby plumbing components.

Know When to Give Best Plumbing a Call
So you’ve done everything you can and your pet still manages to cause a clog somewhere in your sewer/septic line. Do not let your favorite pet inadvertently hurt the bottom line. Keep them, and your budget safe by following our tips. If you do find yourself with plumbing problems, please feel free to call us for help!
If you need help with any other plumbing issue, call Best Plumbing Services at 951-788-1321 for professional drain cleaning methods. Located in Riverside, California we are family owned and operated with over 10 years of experience. We take pride in our service and expect each job to be completed as if it were our own home or business. Our Licensed Plumbers and Technicians will be professional, clean and polite.