6 Reasons Your Dog Digs in Her Water Bowl — and How to Make Her Stop

While some dog behaviors seem confusing to us humans, they are often quite logical to the dog. Digging in the water dish is one of those baffling habits. Why would a dog splash water all over the place instead of drinking it? Thankfully, many dogs outgrow dish digging, but some continue the behavior beyond puppyhood.

Check out our photo gallery below to learn about six possible motivations for canine dish digging and what you can do to help curb the habit.

Reasons Your Dog Digs in Her Water Bowl

German Shepherd sitting in kiddie pool


Reason No. 1: She's hot.

Solution: If your dog is potentially dish-digging to cool off, provide her with an outdoor kiddie pool to wade in. If she's a good swimmer, you can also give her plenty of chances to swim at a dog-friendly pool or beach.

dog drinking water


Reason No. 2: She sees something.

Solution: Stainless steel dishes reflect light, and your dog may be trying to catch the reflection by pawing and digging at the dish. Change her dish to one that's a solid, non-reflective color or put her water in a spill-proof container.

Walking beagle in the fall


Reason No. 3: She's bored.

Solution: If you suspect your dog's digging out of boredom, provide her with activities that will stimulate her mentally and physically. Daily walks, food puzzles, doggy day care and fun activities, such as fetch, tug and hide-and-seek, are excellent boredom busters and great ways to expend her energy.

Dog drinking from water fountain


Reason No. 4: She prefers moving water.

Solution: Your dog may be digging in the bowl to create movement in the water. For pets partial to moving water, using a pet water fountain that creates a continual fresh stream of water may reduce her need to make waves of her own.

Dog digging in water bowl


Reason No. 5: She wants attention.

Solution: If digging in her bowl elicits a response from you, your dog may be repeating the behavior for attention. To get her to stop, ignore the behavior. Next time you see her splashing in her water dish, simply walk away.

  Small dog at veterinarian


Reason No. 6: She's exhibiting compulsive behavior.

Solution: In rare cases, digging in the water bowl may be a form of compulsive behavior. Talk to your veterinarian if you suspect this is the cause of her digging.

More on Vetstreet:


Join the Conversation

Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!