Top 3 Reasons Why Dogs Dig in their Water Bowl

While the behavior of digging in the water bowl is harmless, it could mean you are having to change the dog’s water bowl more frequently due to all the dirt and debris that gets into the water. Here are the most common reasons for dogs that may start digging in their water bowl.

1. Dog is bored or anxious

Some dogs will start trying to dig at all sorts of things if they are bored or anxious. Some dogs may find it interesting to dig in their water bowl due to the rippling and movement the water surface. Other dogs may also dig into the water bowl if the bowl has a reflective surface. They may see their reflection and start digging to investigate.

2. When dogs feel hot and exhausted

Some dogs may start to dig into their water bowl during a hot summer day. They may feel hot. They are digging in order to keep their feet cool or to splash the cool water onto their body. You may notice other signs of heat exhaustion such as excessive panting, drooling, and uncoordinated movements.

3. Getting your attention

Some dogs that feel like they don’t get enough attention may have learned that digging in their water bowl gets a positive reaction from their owners. Think back to the first few times your dog started to dig into their water bowl. Did you laugh, give them a few pats, or give any other positive cues? Your dog may have learned over time it’s a “good” behavior to dig into their water bowl because of this.

How to stop a dog from digging into their water bowl

The first step is to use a water bowl that doesn’t distract the dog. Anything shiny and reflective like a stainless steel bowl might be too much of a distraction for some dogs. A slow-feeding water bowl may work better in this instance. You can also try reducing the amount of water in the bowl so that there isn’t enough water for the dog to splash around in.

Some dogs may also dig into their water bowl because they prefer “moving” water. It might be a natural instinct as dogs may think that moving water is “fresher” and less dangerous. In this case, a water fountain might help stop the digging behavior.

Disclaimer: The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian when in doubt.


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