How to Stop a Dog From Tipping Food Bowls

by Judith Willson
Try using heavier bowls.

Try using heavier bowls.

Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

A kitchen floor covered in dog kibble is not an especially pretty sight and neither is a yard with little bits of dog food all over the place. Aside from the nuisance factor of having to constantly sweep up dog food, the local rodent population, inside or outside, might well decide that you are feeding them. A combination of practical tricks with a bit of training should sort out your dog’s annoying habit pretty quickly.

Step 1

Spread old newspapers under the food and water bowls. This makes any accidents much easier to deal with and helps with training.

Step 2

Establish defined mealtimes rather than leaving a bowl of food out all day, so he can't tip the bowl when you are not looking. How often you feed depends primarily on your dog’s age. Puppies need about four meals a day while adult dogs just need two. If your dog is used to having free access to food, begin with frequent, small meals and gradually work towards fewer, larger ones.

Step 3

Feed your dog and remain in the same room, keeping a close eye on him. If he makes a move to tip the food bowl, say “no” or distract him. If he does tip it over, remove it and the food on the newspaper. Wait for about an hour before replacing it. After a while, he should learn that if he tips the bowl, he loses the food.

Step 4

Replace the food and water bowls with bottom-heavy, tip-proof ones or use a solid, raised bowl-holder. This avoids the tipping problem altogether.

Items You Will Need

  • Newspapers
  • Bottom-heavy bowls
  • Wooden bowl-holder

Tips

  • Water should always be available for your dog. The training tip on removing the bowl and food only applies to food. However, the newspaper should soak up any water spills.
  • Pregnant, elderly or ill dogs may need a different feeding regime. Consult your vet in these cases or if you are uncertain about how much or how often to feed your dog.

Warnings

  • Do not place rocks or stones in the bottom of either food or water bowls to weigh them down. These are dangerous to your pet -- they could chip his teeth or even constitute a choking hazard.
  • Don't punish your dog for tipping his food bowl. He won't understand and this will just engender anxiety in him.

Photo Credits

  • Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

About the Author

Judith Willson has been writing since 2009, specializing in environmental and scientific topics. She has written content for school websites and worked for a Glasgow newspaper. Willson has a Master of Arts in English from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland.

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