With 3 Golden Retrievers and all being water lovers it was not surprising that we had a dog water bowls issue with 2 of them.
Our first male, Finlay, never had any issues. His water bowl was for drinking and that’s what he did. Drink. Accidentally he put a paw in and slopped the water once in a while. We increased the size of his bowl as he grew.
Our second male, Fletcher, came along and he thought the water bowl was a game. This puppy loved to drink his water by submerging his snout in the water and routing around a bit. He still does that today with the large water bucket and pool we have outside in summer, and loves to blow bubbles. Why does my dog put his nose in his water bowl? I believe for fun! It does not do any harm so not a behavior I need to stop, at least not outside. As a puppy, all this snout routing and bubble blowing was joined by paw splashing. It was a constant clean up!
First female, Makenzie, arrives and joins the concept of water bowls being a game. She wanted to put her paw in first, then drink. The paw comes out sopping wet and treads water everywhere. Maybe not as bad as male two, but my kitchen was hardwood floors and water and hardwood don’t really go well together. Learn more about the best floors for dogs.
How My Trainer Helped
As we started having water issues with puppy number two, and as we had the trainer come for a new puppy session, I asked him how to deal with playing with water in the house. You need to create boundaries he said, you have to control when they drink.
Of course you cannot instruct a puppy to only drink, at least not instantly. What he suggested, and we followed, was to present the water bowl for drinking throughout the day but not allow him to have permanent access.
Every time he ate he was offered the water bowl. After play outside he was offered the water bowl and throughout the day. At each offering we used the work drinkies. Slowly he started to drink and not play, but I think it’s more because he was growing up and watching what his brother did. They play in water outside all the time. Whether it’s the mini pool, hose or bucket of water, I have no issues.
Why does my dog put his paw in the water bowl? Again I think it’s for fun. I also have a cat that does the same before he drinks. He’ll actually have his paw in the bowl as he drinks. I am beginning to wonder if it’s because they cannot tell where the water starts in a shiny stainless bowl?
Dog number three was also taught to drink when offered and quickly picked up the word drinkies. Now I can tell all three pups to go and have drinkies outside when we are playing ball, and off they go to the bucket. Golden Retrievers are easy dogs to train and can get a command of many words. Having three makes it easier as they pick up clues from each other.
What are the best water bowls for sloppy drinkers? None! The bigger the dog the more they seem to dribble water out after finishing a drink. There are some breeds that slobber more that others. Golden Retrievers do not drool much but they are inefficient water drinkers, like most dogs. Our old Irish Setter was a good water drinker but a horrible drooler. Win some lose some.
I have 2 large water bowls in the house in my kitchen under which is a plastic winter boot mat to stop the water ending up on my hardwood floors. It’s better than nothing and catches the immediate water drops but not all. Dogs walk away as they finish drinking and drip around the house. It’s just part of owning dogs.
I have tried to come up with better ways to catch the water, in the end we just have a mop near the bowls and mop everytime we pass. My hardwood floors need replacing and have taken on some damage caused by water. For this reason I am weighing up the pros and cons of ceramic tiles or wood, simply because we’ll be selling this house in 3-4 years time. So I am thinking re-sale and water spillage mitigation at the same time.
Moving the place my dogs drink is not an option. If it was I would move them to the laundry room. However that’s where the cat litter box is so we taught the dogs it was off limits to them. They won’t go in there. Plus there’s not enough room for more things on the floor.
My Dogs Love Cold Water
We fill up the dog water bowls every morning with fresh cold water from the faucets. In the summer I’ll watch any one of my Golden Retrievers go to the bowl, sniff the water and walk away.
If I replenish the water, they’ll come back and drink right away. I have to assume they like it cold! How they know by sniffing, I have no idea! In the summer we put a big galvanized steel bucket of water outside for them. They love to drink from that and we often see three heads in at the same time. Our Golden Retrievers are not lovers of hot summers, they spend a few minutes and want to come back in. As the evenings cool down and they play more, providing water for them outside is an absolute must. A bucket is an easy way to provide enough for them and any friends that come to play.
The inside water gets refreshed 3 or 4 times a day or when I see the water level is very low. Ice cubes are often given as treats in summer.
My Preferred Dog Water Bowls
I prefer stainless water bowls over plastic. They are easier to wash, keep clean and free of germs. Once plastic is scratched it’s a haven for germs. Ceramic bowls are good too, but can be pricey for larger dogs especially when you need multiple bowls.
I also use stainless for food bowls. Again easy to clean, they can go in the dishwasher too. Stainless dog water and food bowls come in all sizes and are not bank breakers in pricing. I love the Yeti Boomer stainless steel bowl but for now they are on my wish list. They look solid and have an anti-slip bottom, making them a little more spill proof. They are available in a choice of colors.
We take our water bowls up an hour before our bedtime. It’s so routine now that our dogs seek water after their last trip outside to play, come in and go to sleep around 9pm. We take them out for a night time break before we go to bed and they never even look at the water bowls if we’ve left them down by mistake.
We are not lucky enough to have a swimming pool or a nearby lake for swimming. So we got a watermelon pool last year and they all enjoyed the pool for splashing and playing with the balls. Fletcher I believe would by the pup that would go swimming and when we move to Wyoming in 3-4 years time, he’ll have a huge lake to try out. (This does not look like much fun, they were just getting used to it. The front paws test first. ) This year we’ve bought a water trough, we use it for summer fun and summer bath time.
2019 – All my dogs have been in the trough which is deep enough for a nice cool down in the hot summer. This trough holds 40 gallons of water. See links above for more sizes.
Now you know what to do with puppies and dogs that like playing splash. Get dog water bowls for drinking and bigger dog “water bowls” for playing!