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17 Tips To Stop Your Dog From Turning Over The Water Bowl

Why Does My Dog Tip The Water Bowl Over

Your dog’s drinking area looks like a hurricane just dropped by. 

Their bowls are flipped over. With their water all over the place. 


And now everyone’s slipping and sliding.

Because of your pooch’s crazy bowl-flippin’ habit.

How can you stop this?

Keep reading to find out: 

  • What are the health risks of this habit?
  • 17 tips to stop your dog from turning over the water bowl.
  • 11 reasons why your dog likes to tip over bowls and spill water.
  • And much much more…

Why does my dog tip the water bowl over?

The most common reason why your dog tips the water bowl over is having a reflective bowl. It could also be they’re seeking attention, feeling hot, preferring moving water, being bored, or having the wrong bowl size.

Other reasons include: 

  • Playing.
  • Teething.
  • Being territorial.
  • Having too much water.

How do I stop my dog from tipping the water bowl? 17 tips

#1: Use a dog bowl that cannot be tipped over

“Guys, look at my new trick. Bowls awaaay!”

The easiest way to limit your dog’s water bowl flipping tricks is to give them one that’s difficult to turn over.

Such as an untippable dog water bowl

These kinds of bowls have a non-skid lining around them. So that when your pooch spills water, it won’t move. Therefore, they won’t be able to tip it over.

So, what do you think will happen if your dog always tips over their water bowls? I mean, aside from you slipping and falling on your butt.

WebMD says your dog may experience dehydration if they don’t drink enough water. Here are the signs you should look out for: 

  • Little energy. 
  • Sunken eyes.
  • Dry mouth and gums.
  • Lack of interest in eating. 
  • Skin doesn’t bounce back when pressed. 

#2: Change their bowls

Change Your Dog's Bowl To Stop Him From Tipping It

There are several reasons why your dog will dig and turn over their bows. The first is if it’s made of stainless steel and they can see reflections on it. 

Maybe they see their face. Or an insect flies by above them and they see its mirror in the water. 

Because they think that they’re seeing something, they’d paw it. 

And then turn over the bowl to hopefully make the ‘thing’ come out. Which will then lead to a big mess. 

If this is the case for your dog, you have to change their stainless water bowl to something less reflective. Like one that’s made of ceramic. 

Another reason is if their plastic bowl is too light and it slides as they drink. That’s why they’d paw on it to stop it from moving. 

#3: Put non-skid pads under their bowl

To stop your dog from turning over the water bowl, put pads or mats under it. 

By doing this, your pooch will find it a bit more difficult to move. Thus lessening the chances of them flipping it like pancakes.

“But what if my dog can still turn their bowls over?”

Well, if they do, at least there’s an absorbent mat. No more little puddles on the floor! 

It’s like hitting two birds with one stone, right?

#4: Elevate their water bowl

Did you know that some dogs like putting their paw in their water bowl while they drink?

I remember seeing this big Mountain Bernese Dog who likes to drink from her bowl with her one paw in it. And when she’s done, she flips the bowl with her snout. 

(It looks pretty badass.) 

She’s an outdoor dog though. So even if she flips the bowl, the water dries in no time. 

But even though she’s outside, it’s still important that she has an untippable water bowl. If you’re not always there to watch her, this could lead to dehydration.

What if you have an indoor pooch? Now that’s one messy trick to do. 

If your dog does the same habit, stop them by putting their bowl in an elevated stand

Since their bowls will be higher, they won’t be able to put their paws in. And because it’s already mounted in the hole, they won’t be able to turn it over. 

However, an elevated water bowl isn’t meant for large dog breeds. 

According to PetMD, large dogs who drink and dine from elevated food bowls are at risk of bloating. So you might want to skip this tip if you have a big pooch. 

This is because they have more room for gas in their stomach compared to small dogs. 

#5: Put ice cubes or ice water in their bowl

A study shows that most dogs prefer cold over warm water. So when it gets too hot, your dog will turn over their water bowl to make the water cooler.


Your pooch will intentionally create a puddle on the floor. Because your floor is making their drinking water cooler. (More so if you have tile flooring.) 

So to stop them from doing this, provide them with cold water. Do this by putting ice cubes in their bowl. 

Drinking this will prevent them from overheating. Especially during summers or after a long walk. 

One of the most common signs that your dog is hot is panting. 

Learn about other reasons for your dog’s sudden panting by reading this article.

#6: Don’t put too much water in their bowl

Too Much Water In The Bowl

If your dog turns over their water bowl because they want to play with it, you need to give them less water.

This prevents the bowl from tipping. 

And at the same time, there won’t be much water spilled if they succeed in turning it over. 

But if you always fill their water halfway, they may need refills more often. So if you do this, always check if their bowls have drinking water. 

You can also try using slow water dispensers

This works by releasing small amounts of water at a time when they’re pressed. 

And because it doesn’t release much water, your pooch won’t see it as something fun to play around with. 

#7: Place their water bowl in their preferred location

Your dog will turn over their water bowls when it’s located in a place they don’t like. So to stop this behavior, try to put their bowl in a place that they prefer. 

Here’s a scenario.

Your pooch is scared of your other dog who’s territorial. And they perceive your pooch as a threat

So because your pooch is scared of them, they turn over their water bowl. They do this as an act of submission to the other dog.

To solve this, keep their bowls away from each other. By separating them, everyone will be more comfortable. 

It’ll also avoid any fights that could happen in case the dogs drink or eat from the wrong bowls. 

A study conducted in an animal shelter shows that 15% of dogs show resource guarding. If you have a rescued pooch, you may find yourself in a similar situation. 

Warning: You should turn to a dog behaviorist if your dog is showing extreme signs of aggression.

#8: Switch their water

It may come as a surprise to you. But dogs can be choosy, too. 

“Mom/Dad, I don’t like the taste of this new water. Change it for me, please.”

If you have a picky dog, they’ll turn over their bowl if they don’t like their water’s taste. In this case, you have to give them the water that they’re used to.

For example.

Your pooch is used to drinking tap, and then you change it to a mineral one. 

Because of your dog’s smelling abilities, they’d be able to tell the difference in the water’s smell.

“My dog still refuses to drink. They’re still tipping over the water bowl.”

You can try switching it up.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to buy bottled or expensive ones like Evian.

And no. You don’t need to go on a special quest to get water from the Fountain of Youth for them. (So put down your travel bags.)

What you can do is try giving them different kinds of water. Just make sure it’s safe to drink!

Whether it’s distilled, mineral, tap, iced, warm, or broth mixed with water. I’m sure your doggo will be able to choose one from those. 

#9: Always check if they have water

Trivia: Based on research, heatstroke is one of the main causes of death in military working dogs. And a factor why this happens is dehydration. 

“Look, hooman. No more water.”

Whenever the water in your dog’s bowl is half-empty, they turn it over. And carry the bowl with their mouth to show it to you. 

There’s no denying that this is a clever trick they do.

But it’s dangerous. What if someone slips from the water they’ve spilled? 

So to avoid this from happening, always refill their bowls. 

Make sure that they have access to clean water. So that they won’t have to remind you for refills. 

It’s recommended that your dog’s water intake should be 1 oz (29 ml) = 1 pound (.45 kg) a day. So it’s important that their bowl can hold water that can last 24 hours. 

Because if you often forget, your poor pooch may get dehydrated. Especially when they’re working dogs and it’s too hot in your location. 

Also read: Why Does My Dog Drink So Much Water At Night? 

#10: Provide them with teething toys

Puppies see everything as chew toys when they’re teething. 

Especially their plastic bowls because it’s soft and their teeth sink on it. So they always turn it over to nibble on it. 

When my previous dog was still a pup, he also used to chew on his bowls. Thus, resulting in puddles of water all over our house. Sigh…

Do you have the same situation?

If yes, what you can do is provide them with their own chew toys. And to prevent them from biting on their bowls, give them a stainless one instead. (This worked well for my dog.)

It’s no fun biting on cold metal. So your pooch will stop chewing on their bowl from then on. 

#11: Give them the correct bowl size

If your dog is turning over the bowl every time they drink, perhaps it’s the wrong size. 

It could be too deep or the rim is too small for them. And they can’t drink from it properly. 

So what they do instead is they tip it over. This way they’d be able to drink the water that spilled from it. 

For Pete’s sake…

By giving them the right kind of bowl, they’d be more comfortable using it. They won’t have to paw at their water to drink. 

Your dog’s bowl should be able to fit their snout properly. And it shouldn’t be too deep that their tongue won’t be able to lap the water. 

Use the table below as a bowl size guide:

Bowl sizeDog’s shoulder width
XS25 cm 
S35 cm
M45 cm
L55 cm
XL65 cm
XXLover 65 cm

#12: Put their bowl in another bowl

Another tip to prevent your dog from tipping over the water bowl is by putting it inside a bigger bowl. 

This way, it’ll be hard for them to paw and flip it over. Because of the other layer that’s now protecting it.

Aside from that, the bigger one could also act as a water catch-basin. 

This works best if you have a pooch who gulps water so fast it spills everywhere. 

#13: Ignore them

Does your doggo see water bowl tipping as a trick that they want to show everyone?

And they’re doing this because they’re waiting to see your reaction?

If this is your case, then you just have to ignore them when they do this. 

Pretend that you don’t see anything. Even if there’s water everywhere and they’re already slipping, try your best not to laugh at them. 

Because if they succeed in getting your attention, they’ll continue doing this habit. 

#14: Keep their water bowl clean

If your dog’s water bowl is dirty, there would be floating food bits in there. 

And not only! 

What if you leave your dog outside in the yard during the day? 

Then you could also find insects, small pebbles, and even little white worms at the bottom of their bowl. 


So they’d paw at their water bowl. They would also turn it over just to get or have a taste of all that.

To avoid this from happening, you need to regularly clean your dog’s bowls. Do this by washing it with a mild soap mixed with warm water. 

This eliminates all their food debris. As well as parasites that might contaminate it.

#15: Correct them while they’re still young

To stop your dog from always turning over the water bowls, start unteaching them while they’re still young. 

This way, they won’t continue with this habit as they grow older. 

“But what if my dog’s already old? Can they still be corrected?” 

Of course! 

Research says dogs are intelligent animals that can be trained whatever their age is. But they learn faster when they’re still young.

Do this by saying a firm ‘No’ or ‘Leave it’ every time they attempt to try and tip their water bowl over. Once they stop, give them a treat. 

Here’s how to teach your dog this command.

#16: Put their water bowl in a quiet area

Your puppy could also be turning over the water bowl to invite playtime with children or other dogs. 

If this happens, put their drinking station away from the others. Preferably in a much quieter area. 

This prevents them from showing off their skills. And if they don’t have anyone to impress, they’d eventually lose interest in tipping over the water bowls. 

#17: Give them a water fountain

“But what about me? My stubborn pooch won’t stop tipping over the water bowls whatever I do?”

Don’t fret, I got you.

If your dog’s the pickiest drinker in the face of the Earth, give them a water fountain instead. 

It provides your dog with constantly moving water. 

And it gives them the impression of drinking from a little stream, river, or even raindrops. (If they like drinking rainwater, that is.)

And because some water fountains are higher than regular water bowls, your pooch will find it more difficult to turn over. Problem solved!

People also ask: 

Why does my dog put his paw in the water bowl?

Your dog puts his paw in the water bowl because he’s struggling to drink from his bowl. 

The rim of your pooch’s bowl must be too small for his head. Or it’s too deep and he can’t reach the water on its bottom.

So he paws on his water to spill some of it on the floor. Once he’s created a puddle, he’d drink from it instead. 

Another reason is his paw is feeling hot. 

For instance, he just went for a walk on a sunny day. 

And because the gravel or cement road is too hot for his paw pads, they need to cool it down when he gets home. 

It could also be because he has a stainless water bowl. 

It’s too reflective, so your furbaby could be seeing a reflection of something. (It’s also possible that the water is just dirty.) So he tries to take it out by pawing at it. 

Lastly, your dog might prefer moving water. And by pawing as he drinks, he creates movements with it. 

Why does my dog stick his whole nose in the water bowl?

Your dog sticks his whole nose in the water bowl because he thinks of it as a fun activity to do.

Is he practicing for the Olympics’ synchronized swimming? Or is he like Narcissus who’s fallen in love with himself and he’s trying to kiss his reflection?


The answer’s none of the above. Sorry to break it to you, but he’s doing this because he thinks of it as play. 

He must’ve liked the tiny little water bubbles that are coming out of his nose. As well as the laughing reaction you’re giving him every time he does this. 

How to keep a puppy from playing in the water bowl?

If you want to keep your pup from playing in the water bowl, you just need to distract them when they do this. And then redirect their attention to something else.

You can also stop this misbehavior by ignoring them. More so if they’re bored and they’re doing this to get attention. 

Saying ‘No’ also helps. But do this in a stern voice and not in a friendly tone. Or else your pup will think you’re not being serious.