Why Does My Dog Flip His Water Bowl? [Fixes]

A puppy flipping his water bowl can be cute and funny, but this behavior can quickly become a nuisance. If your dog keeps flipping his water bowl, you need to figure out what is causing the behavior so you can find a solution.

why does my dog flip his water bowl
Why does my dog flip his water bowl? [Fixes]

Why Does My Dog Flip His Water Bowl? Three Possible Causes

Paying attention to when and how your dog flips his water bowl can provide you with some clues.

There Is Something Wrong with the Water or the Bowl

Your dog might spill his water because there is an issue with the water or the bowl. Because pets can’t talk, they have to find other ways of letting you know there is an issue.

Don’t forget that dogs are sensitive to smells. They have a sense of smell that is 100,000 times stronger than ours, which means they can easily detect small changes in the composition of the water in their bowl.

Because dogs like routines, they can become upset if their water has a slightly different smell. Plus, the slightly metallic taste that can result from old plumping pipes can be unpleasant to them.

Your pooch might also flip his bowl to express discontent regarding the water bowl itself, especially if you recently replaced his old bowl or changed its location.

Your dog might also be upset because something has changed in their environment. A small detail like the noise from a new kitchen appliance near the water bowl can cause your dog to feel stressed. Your four-legged companion might also feel unsafe because the water bowl is too close to the drinking spot of another pet, especially if you recently adopted a new animal.

dog bowl
A waterbowl on dog’s head.

Your Dog Is in Pain

Pain when drinking and eating can cause your dog to lash out. Pets don’t understand what is causing the pain they’re experiencing, and they might react as if something or someone is hurting them.

Dogs can experience dental issues, from gum disease to broken teeth. For instance, if your dog has an infected tooth, drinking cool water might cause sharp pain.

If there is a dental issue, your dog will probably eat less or have difficulties chewing. They might flinch or even growl when you attempt to touch their face. Schedule a vet appointment to rule out dental pain.  

tooth pain or dental problems
Tooth Pain or Dental Problems

Flipping the Water Bowl Is a Game or a Way to Get Attention

Why does my dog flip his water bowl? Undesirable behaviors are often a way for bored pooches to get attention. Dogs are smart and crave attention and affection.

If you don’t provide your pet with the attention they need, they will find a way to get it.

Dogs can develop behaviors like barking, begging, jumping on people, or even stealing things because they notice that these things cause their owners to react.

Teach your dog which behaviors are acceptable and which ones are not. It can be challenging, especially for new dog owners. Don’t hesitate to sign up for obedience classes if you struggle with training.

A common mistake is to respond to these behaviors by giving your dog attention. It reinforces that this behavior is a good way to get your attention.

Keep in mind that dogs are playful animals. Flipping over a water bowl can be fun for your dog, especially if your dog enjoys the noise the water bowl makes or likes playing with water.

dog feeding bowl
Dog holds feeding bowl through his mouth.

What to Do If Your Dog Flips His Water Bowl?

There are a few strategies you can explore to address this behavioral problem.

Rule Out Dental Issues

Your priority should be to make sure your pet isn’t suffering from a dental health issue. Dental issues can be painful and potentially turn into serious medical problems if left untreated.

Pry your dog’s mouth open gently to look for signs of inflammation or redness on the gums. Look for broken or loose teeth. If your dog resists, it’s a good sign that he is experiencing pain.

Pets tend to develop gum disease as they get older, but there are a few things you can do to manage this condition. You can brush your dog’s teeth, offer dental treats, and schedule dental cleanings at the vet every two years.

pitbull smiling
What a smile! (Wanna learn how to teach your dog to smile?)

Get a New Water Bowl

Making the bowl harder to flip over can help address this issue. It is harder for your dog to spill water if you get a raised dog feeder. Plus, raised dog feeders help your canine companion adopt a better posture when they eat or drink.  

A water bowl with a weighted bottom or an anti-slip pad can also be more difficult to flip. If you think your pooch sees their water bowl as a toy, replace it with a stainless-steel bowl since plastic bowls can look and smell like the toys your pup is used to.

raised feeding bowl
A dog drinks and eats at raised feeding bowls.

Create a Safe Space for Your Dog

Dogs can feel vulnerable when they eat and drink since they can’t pay attention to their surroundings. Your dog must have a spot where he can feel safe when eating or drinking.

Pick a spot away from high-traffic areas, if possible in a corner. Make sure everyone in your household understands that they should leave your pet alone when he is eating or drinking.

Crate training can be a good option for nervous pups. As your dog spends more time in their crate, he will come to see it as a safe space where he can sleep, eat, and drink in peace.

Pay Attention to Water Quality

Your dog might not like drinking water with debris in it or might smell that there is something different about the water.

You should clean your dog’s bowl every day. Because dogs drool, their water bowls will often get a slimy coating that can affect the way the water smells and tastes. Plus, debris can end up in water that you let sit out for too long.

While you can’t control fluctuations in how the water tastes or smells if you give your dog tap water, you can use a filter to achieve a more consistent taste. Remember that dogs have a much more developed sense of smell and taste and something like a slight metallic taste in the tap water can be extremely unpleasant for them.

dog drinks
A dog drinks a clean running water.

Give Your Pet Enough Attention

A dog who isn’t getting enough attention will often turn to mischief to get you to react and talk to them. The best way to address this behavior is to make sure your pet gets the attention they need.

Make time for a daily walk so your dog can spend quality time with you while getting some exercise. Ideally, you should also plan daily playtime sessions and training sessions with your pup.

It’s also important to help your pet understand how they can ask for attention. For instance, you can reward your pet by giving them the attention he wants when he brings you a toy.

However, if your pooch just flipped his water bowl, the best way to react is to say ‘no!’ in a firm tone and ignore your dog for a while. If you repeat this behavior every time your dog flips his water bowl, your pet will understand that it’s not a good way to get your attention.

Boston Terrier running on a leash
A Boston Terrier on a leash running with her owner.


Why does my dog flip his water bowl? Spilling water can be a reaction to a stressful environment or dental pain. It can also be a game or a way to get your attention. You should rule out dental problems, create a safe space where your dog can drink in peace, and focus on training and positive reinforcement to discourage this behavior.