3 Reasons Why Your Dog is Tipping Over his Food Bowl

Is your dog creating a mess during meal time by tipping over or kicking the food bowl? The good news is that this is a fairly common behavior among dogs. The bad news is the mess the dog will make as a result of tipping over the food bowl. Here are some reasons that may explain this behavior.

Your Dog is Uncomfortable with the Bowl

There might be a certain aspect of the food bowl that your dog is uncomfortable about. For example, the bowl might be too small for the dog’s face or the height of the bowl might lead to discomfort. Make sure the food bowl is positioned at a height where the dog doesn’t have to lower his neck too much.

In addition to the positioning of the dog food bowl, there might be other aspects to look at. For example, the food bowl might have an odor that your dog doesn’t like, which leads to the tipping and kicking action. Make sure the food bowl is cleaned on a regular basis. Stainless steel and ceramic bowls are better in this respect than plastic bowls.

Your Dog Doesn’t Like the Food in the Bowl

There might be something about the food that the dog doesn’t like. If your dog is a bit of a picky eater then consider switching out the kibbles with a different flavor to see how the dog reacts. You, however, don’t want to do this too often. The dog may view the changing of food as a reward for tipping over his food bowl.

When serving food in the dog bowl, we also suggest serving it in smaller quantities. This may reduce the dog’s instinct to “nose” through the bowl to investigate the food inside.

Your Dog Might be Sick

While unlikely, your dog might be tipping over his food bowl because he is sick. If the behavior of tipping over his food bowl has started fairly recently and your dog is also showing other concerning health symptoms then a trip to the vet is warranted.

When sick, your dog might be tipping over his food bowl because he no longer has an appetite or the sickness is making him more sensitive to certain types of food.

How to Stop a Dog from Tipping Over Food Bowls

Assuming it’s not related to a health issue, there are certain steps you can take to stop your dog from tipping over or kicking around his food and water bowl. First, we suggest spreading some old newspaper underneath the food bowl so that it makes it easier for you to clean any mess.

Next, you should teach your dog the “no” command. You should tell your dog “no” every time he is about to tip over his food bowl. This also means you should be supervising your dog closely whenever he is having his meal. Eventually, your dog will understand that the tipping over action is undesirable and will stop engaging such behaviors.

If all else fails then consider getting a food bowl that won’t tip over as easily. For example, some food and water bowls are designed to be bottom-heavy. You could also consider elevated bowls that are locked into a sturdy holder.

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.


  • Richie Tashjian | 02/08/2020

    It’s hard to say

  • Linda Seek | 10/05/2021

    I just rescued a dog from the Humane Society which got her from a puppy mill she is 7 years old her name is Ava and she’s a Havanese she is tipping her food dish and her food over after she eats a little bit of it what can I do? To stop this the vet said she’s in perfect health so it’s not a health issue

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