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Why Are Dogs Afraid of Water Bowls?

Dogs are funny and unpredictable creatures. Some of their behaviors are difficult to understand for the owners, especially new dog owners.

One of the commonly asked questions by dog owners is, why is my dog scared of the water bowl? Of course, there’s nothing to be scared of the water or its bowl, and many owners find it rather peculiar. Water is essential for our lives, and dogs frequently drink water to quench their thirst.

However, if your dog is scared to drink water in the water bowl, there can be many reasons for this odd behavior. Let’s discuss them in detail.

Why are dogs afraid of water bowls?

You first need to find out the exact reason to find its solution. Some common reasons are:

·        Sound:

Water bowls aren’t loud, then why are dogs afraid of them?

The same sound that is not loud for humans is very loud for dogs. Dogs have far better hearing than us, and some sounds can be ear-splitting for them. The reason is that dogs can hear sounds up to 50,000 Hz, while humans cannot listen to sounds over 20,000 Hz. So, they can hear sounds four times far away, differentiate between sounds, and determine the sound’s exact location.

Stainless steel and metal bowls very harsh ringing sound when placed on the floor or touched. These sounds feel very frightening to the dog, and it will not go near the bowl.

Dogs are even frightened by their collar’s metal striking the bowl and the sound of kibble crashing into the food bowl. These sounds are much louder for them, and they will suddenly get scared.

To minimize the bowl’s sound, you can choose another bowl made of ceramic or plastic instead of using the metal bowl. These bowls make much less sound when put on the ground or touched. The best option is to choose a bowl with sound-dampening properties as they reduce the clinging sound to the extent that it is bearable for the dog.

·        Negative Associations:

Dogs are good at ‘’single event learning’’, which is the ability to associate things with just one event. So, if your dog was drinking water one day and heard a loud thrilling noise, most likely, it will associate the sound with the water bowl. Thus, you will see your dog drinking water from other sources instead of the water bowl.

A water bowl is not something to be afraid of, but a dog always listens to its instincts. If they tell the dog that the bowl is not safe, it won’t go near the bowl.

Countering these negative associations require a lot of patience. Teach your dog that the water bowl is safe. However, changing the water bowl and replacing it with a new color or design is a much easier solution. Also, changing the location is a good choice.

·        Location:

If your dog is not drinking water in the water bowl, change the location and put the bowl in a quiet and different place when it hasn’t drunk water before. The chances are that your dog will happily drink water there and quench its thirst.

But what is the myth behind changing the location?

The fact is dogs like drinking water in a quiet place where they are free from other distractions. If there is noise, airflow, and bad smells around, the dog won’t focus on drinking.

So, change the location if your dog is afraid of drinking water in the water bowl. Check the smell and airflow because dogs have a very strong sense of smell, and a little smell can distract it.

·        Depth Perception:

This is a medical problem caused by vision issues. If the dog has poor depth perception, it will face trouble seeing the exact surface of the water keep plunging its nose into the water every time it drinks it.

Most dogs enjoy making bubbles in water with their nose. However, it can be a very frightening and painful experience if they are not used to the sensation of diving into pools.

The problem of poor depth perception usually develops in older dogs. They might have been happy when drinking water before, but such issues can build fear in the dog.

A good solution is to give the dog water in a shallow bowl, so it cannot dip its nose deep into the water. You can also try different bowls to see which one suits them best. Giving wet food with lots of water can also help to quench its thirst.

·        Pain:

Sometimes, dogs are in pain, and they associate the water bowl with it. This is often the reason when dogs are afraid of the bowl. They will be completely fine drinking water one day and suddenly be frightened the next day.

But what pain causes the dog to be afraid of the water bowl?

In most cases, it is neck pain. The dog feels pain in the neck when drinking water and think it is because of the bowl. In other cases, tooth and gum pain might restrain the dog from drinking water. There can be many other medical conditions also which include ear infection, throat infection, or sinus infection.

If your dog is in pain when drinking water, contact a veterinarian to diagnose the real cause. A proper plan of medication needs to be followed to overcome the issue.

·        They simply don’t like it:

A simple dislike is often hard to know because our dogs cannot talk. They won’t like the water and act as if they are afraid of the bowl.

But why would my dog dislike water?

Dogs need clean water to quench their thirst. If the water has soap remnants or other particles inside, the dog won’t drink it. Such particles can also cause health issues.

The solution is to give clean and fresh water to the dog every time it drinks it. Wash the bowl properly, or add a little flavoring to the water to encourage the dog.

Why does my Dog tip over the water bowl?

You may have seen your dog tipping into the water bowl when you give them water to drink. This is because the dog is too hot and wants to cool itself down. Dogs often wet their paws, play in the water, and even lay down in the dog. It is nothing to be afraid of as it gives a relaxed feeling to the dog. Providing a cool environment to your dog can help. Also, keep the dog in a comfortable position when inside.


Dogs being afraid of the water bowl is common. It is not something to be scared of and can be sorted out with simple techniques. Although dogs tipping over the water is not a big problem, it feels frustrating when you have specifically given it water to drink. Keeping the dog hydrated and cool is essential.