How to Prevent a Dog From Spilling Water

Flimsy plastic bowls tempt spillages.
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Your dog should have constant access to fresh, clean drinking water, making a full water bowl essential. Some dogs, though, seem to view their water container as also being a fabulous toy to chuck around the place or splash in, while others may just knock it over by accident. If you don’t especially enjoy mopping up water several times a day or constantly refilling the bowl, you have a few options, none complicated.

Containment Trays

If the spilled water is ruining your flooring, the first line of defense is to stop the water reaching the floor. Place a shallow-sided tray, such as a boot tray or even a salvaged catering tray, under Rover’s food or water bowls. You can also buy trays sold specifically to keep the area around pet feeders neat, called variously pet trays, butler rugs, doggie dinner mats or doggie feeding trays. These come in attractive colors and designs.


Another potential solution to flooring damage is simply moving the water bowl. If your dog has free access to a yard or garden, the bowl could go there in good weather. Or try the bathroom -- bathroom floors tend to be waterproof for obvious reasons -- or you might have a laundry room. Just remember to keep or wedge the appropriate doors open so your dog has constant access to his water.

Heavy Bowls

If tipping the bowl, rather than using it as a very small bath, is the main problem, a change of bowl should help. Options include solid ceramic bowls too heavy for your dog to move, those lightweight but supposedly spill-proof bowls sold in pet stores -- which should work for accidental tipping but perhaps not playing -- and raised bowls secured in a wooden frame. The first of these might be the most effective for exuberant dogs who regard the water bowl as a Frisbee.

Water Bottles

Water bottles aren’t only for rabbits and rodents. Most pet mammals can learn to use one, including dogs, and bottles happen to have the advantage of being impossible to splash about in. If your dog has a crate, buy a large pet water bottle -- ask for a large rabbit one in the pet store if it doesn’t have any specifically for dogs -- and attach it to the side of the crate. Wait until your dog has learned to use the bottle before removing the bowl, and bear in mind that you may need two or more bottles for a large, thirsty dog. Naturally, keep the bottle or bottles topped up and wash them once or twice a week. Give your dog additional water in a bowl after exercise sessions or when it’s hot, so he can drink faster.