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Dog Drinking From Plant Saucer: Is it Safe for Pets?

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We all love dogs. We also love to have a few houseplants around. So, it can be a problem if your dog ends up drinking water from the saucer of your houseplant because of the potential risks. 

Dogs will drink from a plant saucer if they are thirsty. However, the soil and fertilizers used to grow plants can be dangerous to dogs when ingested. Also, the plant’s soil might have parasites and unsafe organic material that could make your dog sick. To be safe, you should take your dog to the vet if you see anything that causes you to worry.

In this article, I will discuss what could happen if your dog drinks plant drainage water, as well as what you could do to prevent it and what symptoms to look for if your dog gets sick drinking plant drainage.

I urge that you read this entire article thoroughly to get a better understanding of the situation.

Will Dogs Get Sick If It Drinks Plant Drainage Water or Stagnant Water?

Dog drinking from plant saucer

It feels as if there might be nothing wrong with dogs drinking from stagnant puddles or places like a plant saucer

But that might not always be the case. For example, plant saucers can have contaminants if the soil has any. Potting soil also often has fertilizers, which could be harmful when leached out into the plant’s drainage water.

Fertilizers, parasites, bacteria, any of these things from a puddle or a plant saucer can make your dog sick. It might not always be the case. 

Your plant saucer might be completely safe. But it is still a risk, and you should try to prevent your dog from drinking from such places.

Your dog can get sick, even if it has drunk once and not fallen ill yet. The sickness can be mild to heavy, depending on the contaminants in the water. See our article on why dogs like plants.

This is why it is generally a good idea to prevent your dog from drinking water from any stagnant water source.

I have used a simple turkey baster to remove excess water from my plant saucer, which is very cost-effective. You can find it by clicking here.

Norpro Plastic Nylon Baster

What Does the Water in A Plant Saucer Contain?

Potting soil contains fertilizers. Most probably your houseplant pots have fertilizers in their soil too. 

Fertilizers can cause fertilizer poisoning. You need to make sure what your pot soil contains to make sure whether or not your dog could get fertilizer poisoning. 

Fertilizers could easily just wash into the plant saucer through the leaching acting whenever the plant is watered.

Invisible to the naked eye, the soil contains a lot of bacteria. A lot of these bacteria are harmless, but some can be deadly to your dog. 

Which includes organisms for the disease Leptospirosis which can make dogs very sick.

Plant drainage water contains everything that gets washed from the soil, fertilizers, bacteria, algae, fungi, etc. Algae and fungi can also sometimes be harmful to dogs.

Chances are, your dog might not get sick at all. But it is always a good idea to keep an eye for any symptoms and contact the vet when necessary.

How to Prevent Dogs from Drinking Plant Water?

There are three things you can do to prevent your pets from drinking from the plant saucer or even eating the plant dirt.

  1. Reposition – Place on a height
  2. Use Barriers – Place stones inside saucer
  3. Do not over water

The easiest way to prevent dogs from drinking plant water is to put the plant somewhere the dog cannot reach. 

Maybe someplace high or maybe put it on top of a shelf or something. But that might not always be possible.

Another thing you could do is put a bunch of rocks on your plant saucer. The rocks are there to create an obstacle. As long as the dog cannot directly drink the water, it could be fine. 

You could in turn add obstacles around the whole plant pot itself if you feel that might keep your dog away from the plant saucer.

Another good idea is to not overwater so much. Plant saucers are there to manage if there is overwatering. 

If you do not overwater, nine out of ten times there will be no water on the plant saucer. This is a very good practice both for your dog and your plant. 

You could also try the alternative pet-safe methods I will discuss next.

For keeping my soil at the perfect moisture levels I use this soil moisture meter. It is both cost-effective and durable. Best of all, it also measures pH and light.

digital soil moisture meter

Plant Saucer Alternatives (Pet Safe Plant Drainage Methods)

There are planters available that make the drip tray part unreachable for pets. These can be a wonderful solution to prevent your dog from drinking plant drainage water. 

Some of these even hide the drip tray entirely. Such as this Sonder Planter Pot that hides the drip saucer that makes it unreachable for pets. 

Another good idea you could try is planting plants in hanging pots . Hanging pots don’t have a drip tray and are always out of reach of dogs so it can be a great idea for a pet-safe plant saucer alternative.

Additionally, adding a decorative fence around the houseplant also serves as a great way to prevent your pets from having a drink from the plant saucer.

This makes the water out of reach for the dogs while also not heaving to change the planting pot or relocating it. This can be especially handy if you have large houseplants.

Can Plant Drainage Water Contain Insects That Are Harmful to Pets?

Houseplant soil contains a lower number of insects than that of the outside. But they too have some insects living in the soil which can cause a few problems. 

Oftentimes plants can be potted with compost which will contain microorganisms (microbes) such as:

  • bacteria 
  • Fungi
  • protozoa 
  • nematodes 
  • micro arthropods

More often than not, the insects do not wash into the drainage water but some parasites might appear. Stagnant water also invites many insects from outside so that can be a threat.

It is a good idea to keep a lookout for these things. You should throw out the excess water from the plant saucer as soon as you can. 

Leaving stagnant water inside your household invites many parasites. Tapeworms, mosquitoes, and other parasites could take hold.

More often than not, the insects do not cause as much problem for your dog as much as the bacteria or fertilizer might. 

If it is anything to be worried about, you should be able to spot symptoms of sickness.

sick dog

Symptoms to Look for If Your Dog Drinks Plant Water

Bacteria and fertilizers could both cause problems for your dog through plant drainage water. Fertilizer poisoning can be more severe in puppies than in adult dogs. 

The bacteria found in plant saucer water most of the time does not make your dog sick, but you should go to the vet if you see symptoms in the wake of an illness.

The most prominent symptom can be seen in the stool of the dog. If any kind of poisoning or disease has taken hold you will notice it in the fecal matter. 

Signs of indigestion or diarrhea can be seen. Vomiting and gastric problems are also symptoms of fertilizer poisoning. 

You can also see the redness of the skin, eye tearing, and general unrest in the animal.

In other cases of diseases, you might see fever, dehydration, lethargy, and a loss of appetite. Again, these can be attributed to bacterial infections.

The most severe of these waterborne diseases is leptospirosis. If you see any of these symptoms, it is good to go to the vet immediately.


In this article, we discussed what might happen if your dog drinks plant drainage water out of the saucer, why it could be harmful, and what are symptoms you should look out for. 

We also discussed how to prevent your dog from drinking plant drainage water and also talked about some of the alternative methods that are safe for pets.

I hope this article was of some help to you. I tried to explain the details regarding dog drinking plant drainage water so you could have an easier time keeping your pet safe and healthy. Thanks for reading all the way through. 

Farewell for now, and I wish you, your dog, and your houseplant, good luck.

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