Vet shares disgusting reason you should never flush dog or cat poo down toilet

By Staff 7 Min Read

A vet has warned dog and cat owners that they shouldn’t be flushing their pet’s faeces down their own toilet because it can cause a whole host of health issues

Although it may be tempting, there’s a crucial reason you should never flush your pet’s poo down the loo.

Owning a pet comes with many responsibilities, but they can bring huge amounts of joy to their owner’s lives and become a huge part of any family.

However, one thing any owner will be well accustomed to is taking care of their furry friend’s toilet waste, and however tempted you may be to flush it, one vet has warned this may be really dangerous and stated why owners should never do it despite people thinking it’s acceptable.

Ben the vet posted a video on TikTok, captioning it: “According to Anglian water, you shouldn’t flush your pet’s poo down the toilet! Have you ever done this?” Over the top of the video, he warned: “Don’t flush your cat or dog’s poo down the toilet.”

Pet owners spend months of their lives trying to train their dogs and cats to do tricks, where to eat, and arguably most importantly, where to poo but Ben explained that on the FAQ section of the Anglian Water website, they tell you that “no you cannot flush any type of animal faeces down the toilet.”

They say that this is due to the presence of “toxocara”. Which is a “parasite in animal faeces which is tolerant to the high temperatures and harsh conditions found in the final stage of processing used water.” Yuck.

Ben said: “The reason toxicara is a worry is because it’s zoonotic, so we can pick it up, and children, in particular, are susceptible. Humans are what is called an intermediate host for toxicara which means that we don’t develop the adult worms in our intestines, but what happens is that we accidentally swallow the eggs (in poo particles) which hatch into larvae and these move around in our bodies.

“One form of this in humans is called visceral lava migrans where the larvae move around inside internal organs like the liver. Another form is ocular lava migrans, where the larvae move to the eye and cause damage to the retina, potentially leading to sight loss. There’s also evidence that exposure to toxicara in childhood can reduce cognitive development and IQ.”

He continued: “These conditions are thankfully rare, but worming your cat or dog regularly will reduce the chance of them shedding these eggs.” He then ended the video by saying he was interested in whether anyone does this, and whether their mind has been changed after seeing the dangers of it.

In the comments, some people defiantly said that they did it, and would continue to. One puppy owner wrote: “Yes I do, my puppy isn’t house trained yet, I’m not putting it in the bin to stink out the house after I’ve picked it up with tissue.” Another said: “My cat’s litter says ‘flushable’.”

Someone else commented: “I’ve never thought of doing this and was really shocked to hear people do it regularly!” One TikToker even made a cheeky admission: “Mine gets flung over the fence in the old man’s garden next door I’ve told him it comes from the planes as we’re on Heathrow flight path.”

An earlier version of this story was published in October 2023.

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