Top 4 Reasons Why Your Dog Pees In Its Water Bowl

From dancing around the food through peeing on you to knocking over the food and water bowls – dogs have some unusual eating and drinking rituals. However, one particular ritual is intriguing to owners worldwide – the habit of peeing inside the water bowl. As surprisingly as it sounds, there is a method behind this madness. 

So, why does my dog pee in his water bowl? A dog peeing in its water bowl can mean various things, but in most cases, the dog is trying to communicate something – either with you or with the other dogs or pets in the household. More often than not, peeing in the water bowl is a way of preventing other dogs from using it. 

In this article, we will talk about the different reasons dogs pee or sometimes even poop in their food and water bowls. We will give instructions on how to stop or manage the behavior. Finally, we will answer some popular questions about dogs and their unusual peeing habits and behaviors. 


This is a rather unpleasant topic but parenting a dog often involves dealing with unusual (read repulsive) situations. However, as unusual as the behavior seems, from the dog’s point of view, there is a reason behind the seemingly mad behavior. Here are the top causes why dogs pee in their water bowls. 

Cause number 1: Poor house training

House training is a long and challenging task that requires patience and effort on both sides. While some dogs tend to pick up on the house training really fast, others are not so keen on these habits. 

Namely, there are certain dog breeds notorious for their lack of understanding of house training. Such dog breeds include American Foxhounds, Beagles, Bichon Frises, Biewer terriers, Brussels Griffon, Chihuahuas, Chinese Crested dogs, Cocker Spaniels, Coton du Tulears, Dachshunds, English Bulldogs, Italian Greyhounds, Jack Russel terriers, Lakeland terriers, Lhasa Apsos, Lowchens, Norfolk terriers, Norwich terriers, Pekingese dogs, Pomeranians, Pugs, Sealyham terriers, Shih Tzus, West Highland terriers, and Yorkshire terriers. 

In these breeds, there is no way of concluding the house training process as finished. A dog with poor house training can do its business everywhere, including its eating area – food and water bowls. 

Cause number 2: Fear and anxiety

When a fully housebroken dog starts peeing inside its water bowl, it is time you get proactive and start investigating the situation. Sudden changes in any behavior are almost always indicative of an underlying issue. In this case, the first thing that needs to be considered is the presence of fear or anxiety. 

To determine whether your dog is stressed or anxious, pay attention to its overall behavior and try determining when did the peeing problem started. Is there an event or situation that might have been a trigger – for example, buying a new dog or moving to a different house? Anxious or stressed dogs are prone to acting out. 

Once you determine what is making your dog anxious, stressed, or fearful, it is time to work on eliminating the trigger. In cases the trigger cannot be eliminated, you should focus on minimizing the exposure or desensitizing your dog. 

Cause number 3: Marking behaviors

It is not a secret that dogs are territorial creatures and protective of their belongings. By belongings, we also refer to the food and water bowl. In fact, dogs are particularly fond of these items as they represent basic sources. 

A dog living with other dogs and pets is likely to pee inside its water bowl in order to mark the bowl as its own and deter other dogs from using it. In fact, a dog might be purposely urinating not in its own bowl but in the other dog’s bowl. 

A dog peeing in its bowl due to marking behaviors is likely to exhibit other signs of territorial aggression. As a multiple-dog parent, aggression and jealousy are things you need to avoid and work hard to prevent before escalating beyond the management point. 

Cause number 4: Urinary tract infections

It is not always about behavioral issues – peeing in the water bowl can be the result of a physical problem like, for example, urinary tract infections. Urinary tract infections are not a life-threatening condition, but they are fastidious and challenging to manage. 

A dog with a urinary tract infection is incapable of holding the pee for too long and is willing to relieve itself anywhere. Plus, some of the meds used to control the infection increase the dog’s thirst, which results in more frequent urination. 

If your dog has urinary tract infections talk to your vet about potential treatment options. Some dogs are more likely to experience recurring urinary tract infections than others. 


Yes, just like peeing in the water bowl, peeing in the food bowl is a possibility. Some dogs choose to pee in the water and others in the food bowls. Finally, there are dogs that pee in all bowls regardless of whether there is food or water inside them. 

Generally speaking, the reasons for peeing in the food bowl are the same as the reasons for peeing in the water bowl and include anxiety or fear, marking, and communication.   

Are there medical reasons for peeing in the food bowl?

Yes, peeing inside the food bowl can be caused by medical issues that make the dog pee in unusual places. 

Medical reason number 1: Urinary tract infections

The first medical issue that needs to be considered is urinary tract infections. Urinary tract infections can occur in all dogs regardless of age, breed, and sex. They can occur as a result of bacteria or the presence of uroliths (urinary stones). 

A dog with a urinary tract infection is incapable of holding the urine and needs to relieve itself frequently but usually in smaller quantities. Frequent urination is scientifically called pollakiuria. In such cases, the urine puts too much pressure on the bladder and makes the dog pee regardless of where it is. 

Urinary tract infections are treatable but require time and prompt use of the prescribed medications. Some dogs are more prone to such infections and need to be regularly supplemented with products boosting their immune health. 

Medical reason number 2: Canine cognitive dysfunction

Canine cognitive dysfunction in dogs is the equivalent of Alzheimer’s disease in people. As dogs get older, their cognitive function declines, and they start losing their mental sharpness. This is a relatively expected scenario, and it cannot be stopped only slowed down. 

Senior dogs with cognitive dysfunction are generally confused and prone to stress and anxiety. They are also likely to be forgetful in terms of training. Therefore, such a dog may pee in its food bowl because of two reasons – it forgot the food bowl is not an acceptable toilet area, or it simply is not fully aware of what it is doing. 

As noted, there is no way of preventing or treating canine cognitive dysfunction. However, there are things you can do to delay the decline onset and keep your dog’s mind sharp for as long as possible – like, for example, playing mind-stimulating games and using mind-boosting supplements. 


Some dogs pee inside the water bowl after they finish using it. Suppose your dog drank most of the water from the bowl and then decided to relieve itself into the leftover water. There are several reasons explaining this scenario. 

Reason number 1: Your dog is anxious 

An anxious dog can pee inside its water bowl after drinking. Maybe your dog associates the end of the water drinking session with something stressful and feels the urge to relieve itself before the trigger occurs. 

Reason number 2: Your dog is marking

This is perhaps the most probable reason. As already mentioned and explained, dogs are territorial and relatively jealous creatures that do not like to share their territories, belongings, or even human family members. In such cases, peeing inside the bowl after drinking can be the equivalent of you putting a sticky note with your name on it on your favorite mug. 

Reason number 3: Your dog is full

Your dog peeing inside the water bowl can be your fault. Overfeeding your dog and giving too much water can make your dog extra full. In such cases, the urge to pee can be stronger than the willingness to respect the house training. Make sure you offer your dog the right amounts of food and water suited for its age, size, and activity levels. 


From a human standpoint, peeing in the water bowl is disgusting and has a repulsive effect. However, it is efficient – same as you are repulsed by the mixture of water and urine, so are other dogs. Basically, the main reason a dog pees inside a water bowl is to prevent other dogs from using it. 

This is the most common reason for peeing inside the water bowl, but it is not the only one. If your dog suddenly starts using the bowl as a toilet, we recommend scheduling a vet visit to rule out potential medical problems and then talking to a canine behaviorist. 


Why do dogs suddenly pee indoors?

If a fully house-trained dog starts peeing indoors, the first thing you need to do is schedule an appointment. More often than not, there will be an underlying medical condition. In case there in physical issues, the vet is likely to recommend seeing a canine behaviorist. 

Do dogs pee where they eat?

Generally speaking, dogs are clean animals and tend not to pee or poop where they eat. However, there are various physical and behavioral issues that can make dogs less picky regarding their hygiene habits and prone to soil the areas where they eat or sleep. 

Why do dogs poop in their food bowl?

A dog pooping in its food bowl is trying to communicate with other dogs. This phenomenon occurs in households with two or more dogs. Pooping is a primal yet efficient way of marking – the dog’s way of letting other dogs know the food bowl has an owner. 

Does putting your dog’s nose in pee work?

It is prohibited to push your dog’s nose in pee or punish it for making accidents. Although popular, this method is inefficient and likely to make your dog fearful, which will result in more accidents but in hidden places. Dogs are instinctively inclined not to pee where they eat and sleep; they are not aware they need to pee outside. It is your job to invest time and patience in the house training process. 

Do dogs pee in the house for attention?

Yes, it is possible. Some dog breeds prefer being in the center of attention and do not like to have their owners’ eyes on something or someone else. For example, if there is a new baby in the house, a dog might start peeing inside to get attention, even if it is just for the scolding. 

What smells do dogs hate to pee on?

Marking by peeing is a common issue, especially in non-fixed dogs living in multi-dog households. To prevent urine marking, you can use a mixture of vinegar and oranges or other citrus fruits as dogs feel repulsed by these two scents. 

Do dogs pee out of spite?

There is no scientific study suggesting that dogs pee out of spite or intentionally cause harm. However, it is a well-established fact that dogs can pee due to fear, anxiety, or as a form of seeking attention. 

Why does my dog pee in puddles?

A dog peeing in puddles needs prompt veterinary attention. Peeing in puddles is a telltale sign something wrong is going on in the dog’s urinary tract. The most common culprit is lower urinary tract infections. Luckily, these infections are treatable but might require prolonged administration of prescription medications. 

Why does my dog pee after eating?

Some dogs can get really excited by small things – like, for example seeing the owners fill their water bowls after having a nice meal. In such cases, the extreme excitement can make the dog submissively relieve itself. 


  • Brad

    Hi I'm Brad, the founder of Having been a vet of 6 years I work alongside our team to provide valuable insight into your dog's health. I have a frenchie myself named Senzu who is my pride and joy!

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