dog drinking from water bowl outside

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Ever walked into your kitchen, only to find your dog has flipped his water bowl, leaving a mini flood on the floor?

If you are wondering why your dog gets the urge to tip over his water bowl, then this article is for you!

A Look at the Dog Bowl

Before we get to the possible reasons your dog might flip his water bowl, let’s consider the bowl itself.

There are different types of bowls, and your dog might not like the one you’ve chosen. Material and size matter a lot to our furry friends. A bowl could be too small or too large, making your dog uncomfortable.

Also, a heavier, more sturdy bowl would be harder for your dog to tip over, compared to a lighter one.

On another note, where you set the water bowl can also matter. Is the bowl too close to the wall or food bowl? Your dog may be trying to make some room.

If the bowl is dirty, your dog could be protesting a clean-up!

Reasons Your Dog May Flip His Water Bowl

Playing in the Water Bowl

Your pooch might just be having a blast, treating his water bowl like his own personal splash pad. Dogs can be pretty playful, and they love exploring their surroundings. Water sloshing around can be a fascinating thing. Pawing at the water and tipping the water bowl can turn into quite the entertainment!

Reflection in the Water

Something in the water might be intriguing to your dog. Reflections on the water’s surface can catch your dog’s attention. It could be their own reflection or maybe the glimmering of the overhead lights that they’re trying to catch.

The Water Isn’t Fresh

Dogs, just like us, prefer cool, fresh water. Your dog may resort to flipping the bowl if they don’t like the taste or freshness of the water in their bowl. Keep your dog’s water fresh, by replacing it regularly throughout the day.

The Dog’s Bowl Is Empty

Another simple reason could be that the bowl is empty. When your dog’s water bowl runs dry, they might flip it as a way to tell you, “Hey, I need more water!”

Running Water Preference

Have you noticed that your dog likes drinking from a hose or a running tap more than their water bowl? Some dogs prefer moving water. A pet water fountain could be the solution here.

puppy drinking from water bowl

How Can I Stop My Dog From Flipping the Water Bowl?

Great, you now understand why your dog tips his water bowl, but how do you stop your dog from doing it?

Get a Different Bowl

Buy a new bowl, preferably a heavier one. Your dog won’t be able to tip it over as easily.

Also, consider getting a bowl that’s the right size and height for your dog.

Regularly Clean and Refill the Bowl

Regularly cleaning the bowl ensures that your dog has clean, fresh water to drink.

You can also consider getting a water dispenser or pet water fountain that provides a constant supply of filtered water.

Redirect Their Energy

If your dog is flipping his water bowl out of boredom or to get your attention, try to give your dog more mental and physical exercise.

A well-exercised dog will be less likely to engage in destructive behaviors.

Train Your Dog

Train your dog to stop flipping their water bowl. Each time they attempt to, say “no” in a firm voice. When they listen, reward them. This can help deter them from repeating the behavior.


To wrap it up, dogs have their reasons for flipping their water bowls – from something as simple as an empty bowl or a fascination with moving water, to not liking their bowl or its location. But with a little patience, some detective work, and maybe a new type of bowl, we can solve this watery mystery.

How about you? Do you have any tips to prevent your dog from tipping their water bowl? Do share your experience below. Let’s get a conversation going. After all, as dog owners, we’re in this together!

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I use a food or water bowl for my dog?

It’s best to have separate bowls for water and food. This helps prevent cross-contamination and keeps your dog’s water as clean as possible.

Why does my dog spill water out of his bowl?

If your dog is spilling water out of its bowl, it could be because the bowl is too full or placed on an uneven surface. Alternatively, your dog may just enjoy playing in the water.

Should I give my dog tap water or bottled water?

Generally, tap water is perfectly fine for dogs to drink. However, if your dog has a sensitive stomach or you’re worried about the quality of your tap water, you can give them bottled water instead.

How can I help my dog if he’s trying to tip his water bowl over?

If your dog seems intent on tipping over its water bowl, you can try distracting them with a toy or treat. Additionally, you can offer them smaller amounts of water at a time so that they’re less likely to spill it.

Is there a right type of bowl to use for my dog’s water?

Dogs may prefer certain types of bowls. Some dogs prefer cool water, so a ceramic or metal bowl may be a better choice than plastic. Additionally, some dogs may prefer a bowl that is wider or deeper so that they can drink more comfortably.

Will a larger bowl prevent my dog from flipping it over?

A larger bowl may help prevent your dog from tipping over their water bowl, but it’s not a guarantee. Additionally, some dogs may prefer smaller bowls or may simply enjoy playing with the water.

What should I do if my dog is constantly playing in his water bowl?

If your dog spends a lot of time playing in their water bowl, try offering them water in smaller amounts so that they’re less likely to spill it. Additionally, you can try distracting them with a toy or treat to redirect their attention.

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Written by Tom Cashman

I have grown up with pets for almost fifty years. My family has strong ties to the animal shelter community in Chicago. Currently I have two cats: an orange tabby named Zelda, and a gray mixed named Zander. Like all of my pets, they were adopted from a local animal shelter. Pet Zone represents my passion for sharing with the pet community.

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