Why do dogs dig in their water bowls?

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Dogs can do some strange things at times. From howling and shaking toys to other really weird activities.

One thing that is really funny and often gets dog owners laughing is when their pet digs in their water dish, splashing the contents all over the place while getting drenched doing it.

So, why do dogs do this? Is it to cool off, get attention or simply because it’s fun?

Dogs dig in water bowls for several reasons. They do it to cool off by splashing water onto their faces. Digging is also fun for dogs and the noise and sensation of splashing water also makes the act of water bowl digging enjoyable too. Some dogs are just like children and, if you give them water, then the results can be messy.

Dogs dog in their water bowls to cool down

One popular reason dogs engage in this behaviour is to cool off.

When it’s hot outside and your dog is looking for a way to beat the heat, they may start digging in their water dish as a form of cooling down.

While it may not seem like the most effective method, for dogs, it does help them regulate their body temperature.

Dogs have a limited ability to control their body temperature and panting is their main way of cooling themselves down.

But, when it’s especially hot, they may need to resort to other means of finding relief from the heat.

Why do dogs dig in their water bowls

One way dogs can do this is by digging in their water bowl and splashing water all over themselves.

The evaporation of the water from their fur helps them regulate their body temperature and provides a refreshing sensation.

Dogs dig in water bowls because it’s fun

In addition to cooling off, dogs also dig in water bowls because it’s fun.

Dogs are naturally curious creatures and love to explore new things.

When they see water in their bowl, they may want to investigate it further by sticking their nose in it or, in some cases, digging their paws in it.

Why do dogs dig in their water bowls?
Splashing can be great fun for your dog

It can be playtime too

The act of dogs digging in water bowls can also be a form of play.

If your dog does it when you’re around, they may be trying to get your attention or invite you to join in on the fun.

Dogs can dig in their bowl to get your attention

Another reason dogs might dig in their water bowl has to do with attention seeking.

If your dog feels like they’re not getting enough attention from you, they may start acting out in different ways – including making a mess with their water bowl.

This is usually done in an attempt to get you to react, even if it is in a negative way.

There may be something in your dog’s dish too

In some cases, dogs may dig in their water bowl because there is something in it that they want.

If you’ve ever noticed your dog sniffing around their dish before starting to dig, this may be the reason why.

They may have smelled something – like a toy or treat – that fell into the water and are trying to get it out.

Even if it is under water your dog can probably smell food – his sense of smell is remarkable and he will dig his dish until he is satisfied and retrieved the item.

Perhaps your dog is just a nutcase!

Just like the ‘moon howlers’ that behave in strange ways that humans don’t understand, there are those dogs who just dig in their dishes because they like to make a mess.

For some dogs, the act of digging in their water bowl is simply fun and they don’t really have any other motive behind it.

If your dog falls into this category, the best thing you can do is provide them with a water dish that is difficult to tip over or one that has a heavy base.

This way, they can still enjoy themselves without creating too much havoc.

Why do dogs dig in their water bowls?
Dogs love water and their bowl can be a great plaything

Final Words

With most doggy behaviour it can be relatively simple to think things through and work out why they are doing what they do.

But, there are some things that we mere humans will never really understand properly – and that includes why your dog digs in his water dish.

It’s often worth remembering that dogs are like young children and, if you put a young human in front of a dish of water then there is a very good chance that it will be splashed everywhere.

My personal view is that dogs do it because it’s fun, it’s messy and it makes a noise but, if you are concerned and need an expert perspective, then speak to your vet, who will, most likely, be just as confused as the rest of us.

Read Next

Should dogs wear sweaters to bed?

Why do dogs bring you their toys?

Are dog bike trailers safe?