How to Stop My Dog Flipping His Water Bowl

water bowl

It has happened many times. You come home and find your dog’s water bowl turned over and water everywhere. In fact, it has happened so many times that you may be wondering why your dog turns his water bowl over. You may wonder what avenues you should take to stop this from happening.

To prevent your dog from flipping his water bowl, you should use an anti-flip bowl or a bowl with more weight. Ceramic or marble bowls tend to be the best option for keeping your dog’s water bowl firmly upright.

From the material of the bowl to where the bowl is placed, you most likely have many questions you need answers to before you want to invest your time, effort, and money into stopping this problem. Continue reading to learn what you need to know about stopping your dog from flipping over his water bowl.

It is also important to realize that this habit usually occurs in young dogs, mostly puppies. Making them understand from an early age is essential for preventing this habit from occurring in older dogs too.


Buy a New Water Bowl

Your pup may be flipping the bowl because of the material. If you are using a stainless steel bowl, or another reflective material, your dog may believe something is inside the bowl from its own or another object’s reflection. Reflective bowls tend to be lighter so maybe you need a heavier one. Consider the following options:

  • Marble bowl
  • Ceramic bowl
  • Stoneware bowl
  • Automatic bowl

These types of bowls can be expensive as an initial cost and when compared to a bog-standard plastic or metal bowl they can be ten times the price. Remember that this bowl will be what they eat and drink from every day and you are probably unlikely to throw it away. Of course, it is entirely up to you and dependent on your financial budget, in addition to cost there is also function, let’s outline some of the bowl types above.

Automatic Water Bowls

An automatic water bowl can be useful for a variety of reasons. The weight of the water jug can make the bowl heavy and difficult for your dog to flip over.

These bowls also provide the advantage of making water available to your dog throughout the day. As this article will discuss later on, sometimes your dog may resort to flipping the bowl if it is empty. 

There can also be many grades of automatic water bowls or food dispensers. In some types, you will be able to connect to your phone and monitor your dog’s water levels wherever you are.

Ceramic, Stoneware, and Marble Bowls

Ceramic, stoneware, and marble water bowls are heavy in and of themselves, heavy enough to discourage your dog from trying to flip them over.

But some of these bowls can come with a downside. Be aware that ceramic bowls break easily and can harbor bacteria in small cracks. Be sure to handle them carefully and clean them often.

The advantage besides being super heavy and almost flip resistant, they look great. Your dog will also find it difficult to move his bowl around the kitchen while heat heats…come on you know what I’m talking about.

Non-Slip Bowls

There is something else you can consider if you buy a new bowl for your dog, and that is to buy a non-slip bowl. Non-slip bowls can be found in any of the materials that were mentioned above.

The great thing about adding a non-slip material to a heavily made bowl is that:

  • The material adds friction to weight
  • This combination makes it very difficult for your dog to flip it over

If you want to pinch some pennies, you can try gluing rubber material to the bottom of your existing dog bowl to see if that helps.

water bowl

Provide the Right Environment

Because dogs are sentient beings with their own sense of self-preservation and emotion, they can:

  • Feel bored
  • Feel lonely
  • Identify dirty water or a dirty bowl
  • Get frustrated by an empty water bowl

Their instincts can go a lot further than we think, so it is best to try to identify if something about the environment around the bowl, if not the bowl itself is triggering your dog’s desire to flip it over.

A Dirty or Empty Water Bowl

A dog’s water bowl is the easiest location for bacterial overgrowth. There is a good chance your dog finds the water too dirty to drink if:

  • There is grime around the rim of the bowl
  • Old food particles floating on top
  • Just the fact its been sitting out for a while

Dirty water bowls are an interesting concept. As an example, my dog will happily drink from dirty puddles or smelly rivers but when his bowls been sitting out for a while he refuses to drink it. As soon as I get him another bowl of freshwater he laps it up. There may also be a point within this process where he has learned that if he refuses to drink it I am guaranteed to change it for a freshwater…manipulative dog.

Also, one of the reasons your dog may flip over the water bowl is because it is empty. When faced with an empty water bowl dogs may try to flip it over out of frustration or because they think that water might be underneath it. There is also the possibility your dog is using the commotion of flipping the water bowl over to signify to you that it is empty, you may also find this happens with their food bowl too. Of course, it’s harder to adjust this behavior because you want your dog to let you know when their water is gone. As mentioned earlier, an automatic water bowl can help with this, or you can simply refill the water bowl regularly.

Acting Out When Lonely

If dogs are left alone for the majority of the day, there is a high chance that some may:

  • Become bored
  • Look for ways to entertain themselves
  • Become destructive
  • Become lazy and unwilling to play

Without a positive outlet to release energy, energetic dogs may look for any available outlet they can find. You will probably be able to lessen this negative behavior by spending time with your dog. Check out our article on managing your dog’s energy levels for more information on this subject. “Managing You Dogs Energy Levels”

When you get home from work you can:

  • Play with your dog
  • Take your dog to a dog park if there is one near you
  • Take your dog for a walk

You could also try starting the day out on a positive note by taking your dog for a walk first thing in the morning before you leave for work. have a look at our article on “Should You Walk Your Dog In The Morning”. This will give your dog outlets for energy and lessen destructive behavior when your dog is bored.

If you have read through some of our other articles you may have found that I am a huge advocate for off-lead walking. This type of exercise just doesn’t compare to lead walking and I understand why some people cannot do this. If you are lucky enough to live somewhere with off-lead dog walking areas then you should take advantage. Not only does the running about use up boundless amounts of energy but the mental stimulation your dog gets from freely sniffing wherever they please is second to none. Here is one of our articles on why your dog smells everything on walks and why it is so important. “Why Does my dog Smell Everything On Walks”

If it is within your budget, you can also hire a dog walker or sitter to come for a period in the middle of the day while you’re away at work. You can find reliable sitters via dog-sitting apps like Rover or Wag! Depending on who you hire to walk your dog, the price can range but always go with the best-reviewed even if they are more. Word of mouth is of course the best way to avoid any untrustworthy people and so ask friends or work colleagues who they use and anyone in the local community, even neighbors may want some extra cash. 

Change the Location of the Dog Bowl

Another helpful tip is to place the bowl in an entirely different location in your home. The current placement of the bowl may cause confusion or distraction. Perhaps the change of location will help your dog focus more on drinking water rather than spilling it.

Read the following list for ideas of where to place your dog’s water bowl:

  • If your dog’s water bowl is in the kitchen, try moving to the other side of the room
  • Move the water bowl out of tight areas where your dog may have difficulty accessing it
  • If it is in the backyard check throughout the day to see if the bowl is predominantly in the sun and move it to a place that is predominantly in the shade

It may require a little time and observation on your part to figure out if something in the area around the dog bowl is triggering your dog to flip over the bowl. Perhaps there is a reflective surface near the bowl or there is a noise that disturbs your dog. If something like this seems part of the problem then moving the bowl could be part of the solution.

If you are lucky enough to live in a warm climate or just spend lots of time in your garden. Don’t forget you can utilize a clean water feature in your garden, both as decoration and for your dog. if your water feature is pump through clean water then let your pooch drink. Dogs tend to enjoy running water more than they do sitting water, this comes from wild instincts where they know stagnant water contains bacteria and flowing water tends to not unless something has been deposited further upstream. Check out our guide on puppy-proofing your garden some that your pooch can enjoy the space and be safe too. “How To Puppy Proof Your Garden”

Puppy in the garden

Elevate the Dish on a Platform

To prevent the dish from being knocked over, make or purchase a raised platform to place the water bowl on. If you look at some examples of raised feeders you will see that they are constructed so the bowls fit inside the platform making it very difficult for your dog to flip them over. Make sure the elevation is the correct height for your dog, you don’t want them stretching upwards to reach it…that’s just uncomfortable.

Also, bear in mind that an elevated feeder may increase your dog’s eating and drinking speed. Be sure to research if your dog is at risk for:

  • Bloating
  • Other digestive issues

Have a discussion with your veterinarian to see if this kind of setup is right for your pet.

If you decide this works for you and your dog, there are plenty of raised feeders to purchase. You can also repurpose old household items for this but just be sure that they are sturdy and provide a stable setting for the bowl.

The same can be said for bowls inset into a structure, these are usually raised too and keep the bowl sturdy inside. Here is a great video on building your own DIY dog feeder/water bowl. You can of course suit this design to fit your own dog.

Place Non-Slip Material Beneath the Water Bowl

Consider placing a non-slip mat beneath the water bowl. They can help the cleanup process be a little easier since the majority of the mess would be on the mat instead of your floor. 

Once again, if pinching pennies is your thing, then you can get non-slip materials at craft and hobby stores and cut the material to the size you want it to be to fit your dog’s bowl. You can also try gluing this material to the bottom of the bowl as well.


Training can be a difficult one, as getting your dog to understand what you are telling them not to do whilst they are doing something they should is complex. You will most likely find they grow out of this habit and the best thing to do is try the solutions above so that they don’t get the result they want. Once your dog learns that they cant flip their bowl over they will generally stop attempting to do it.


So there you have it lots of great information on preventing your dog from flipping their water bowl over. if you enjoyed this post take a look at our homepage for more great articles on dogs and the crazy lives we share with them.

Dean Lissaman

As a child I grew up around dogs and have loved them ever since. I now have a beloved Golden Retriever who enjoys exploring the outside world. Being an outdoor enthusiast has inspired me to create the ultimate resource on relating both dogs and the outdoors. For more information on me check out my about page.

Recent Posts