November 18, 2021

Best Spill-Proof Dog Water Bowls in 2021 – Reviewed & Compared

Spill-Proof Dog Water Bowl

Vet Explains

What is a No-Spill Dog Water Bowl?

No-spill dog water bowls, also known as no-splash or no-mess bowls, are specifically designed to prevent spilling and splashing water when dogs are drinking from them. They come in various designs, shapes, and sizes, but they are constructed for the same purpose.

Bowls are designed to prevent spilling and splashing water when dogs are drinking from them.

Although relatively new on the pet market, no-mess bowls became instantly popular simply because many dog owners are tired of mopping and cleaning every time their dogs are thirsty. Also, any water that is left to sit on the floor may damage the floor material, and since you're not always there to clean up after your dog drinks, it's better to have a spill-proof bowl.

Types of Splash-Proof Dog Water Bowls

Although designed for the same purpose, there are three different types of no-mess water bowls for dogs.

1. Spill-proof bowls

As the name suggests, spill-proof bowls are designed to ensure minimum spillage and usually feature a water reservoir and a well-covering ring or top lid.

Basically, they feature several compartments for the water. Therefore, even if the bowl is tipped over, there will be no content spillage.

The lid feature has another perk – it keeps the water inside the bowl clean and fresh for longer and prevents contamination with bacteria, dirt, and dust. Plus, it helps keep track of your dog's exact water intake since there is no evaporation loss and no spillage loss.

no-spill dog water bowl

Splash-poof bowls

Splash-proof water bowls are designed specifically for sloppy drinkers. Based on the anti-splash mechanism, there are two varieties – bowls with narrow openings and bowls with little liquid dispensing.

In both cases, the bowl's design prevents unwanted splashing – the opening is small and allows the tongue to get in without letting the dog dunk its entire snout or head inside. Splash-proof bowls are also perfect for dogs with beards and long ears that tend to soak in regular bowls.

Spill-proof mats

The spill-proof mats are not actual bowls but mats that can be placed underneath the bowls to prevent uncontrolled spilling and splashing. They are convenient – all you need to do is just put them beneath your dog's food and water bowls.

If your dog is extra sloppy when it comes to drinking, you can combine the no-spill mat with spill-proof or splash-proof bowls, thus achieving double protection. Plus, the rugs are made of non-slip materials and feature molded sections for the bowl, thus ensuring it will stay in its place.

These mats are excellent for both messy drinkers and messy eaters. You can purchase the mats separately or together with bowls.

No-Spill Water Bowl for Dogs –
Buyer's Guide

Even water bowl shopping can be tricky unless you know what to look for. With so many different choices available on the pet market, picking the right one can be challenging.

To make an educated decision and choose the suitable no-spill water bowl for your dog, consider the following factors.

1. Material 

Basically, there are three water bowl materials –

  • plastic,
  • ceramic, and
  • stainless steel.

Plastic bowls are the most budget-friendly option, but they are not indicated for destructive dogs that can destroy them in a matter of minutes.

Additionally, if going for a plastic bowl, you need to be careful about the type of plastic – it must be high-quality and free from BPA, PVC, or phthalates. This is vital as low-quality plastic degrades after prolonged use and leaks harmful chemicals.

splash-proof dog bowl

Ceramic water bowls are a bit more expensive, but they are sturdier and more likely to withstand prolonged use and tenacious chewing. They are also safer as they do not leak potentially harmful chemicals.

However, they are also quite heavy. This feature can be considered a pro in terms of higher stability and fewer knocking accidents or as a con because it's heavier to handle when being filled, emptied, or washed.

Finally, stainless steel bowls come with higher price tags but also have longer lifespans. Most high-quality stainless steel water bowls are machine-washable and have non-slip bottoms to prevent slipping. Plus, their non-porous surface disables bacteria and dust buildup.

2. Design

As mentioned, when it comes to design, there are two basic bowl types (no-spill and no-splash) and mats. Mats are suited for all dogs regardless of breed and size, while the bowls need to be chosen by the dog's snout.

Generally speaking, flat-faced or short-snouted dogs don't usually need no-splash bowls – they would not be able to use the non-spill versions because of their unique facial anatomy. Long-snouted dogs can use both no-spill and no-splash bowls.

3. Capacity

The bowls' capacity is determined directly by your dog's size and water need. Obviously, large dogs need bigger bowls, while small dogs need smaller bowls.

If the water bowl is too small, your dog will not be able to use it, and if it is too big, your dog can play with the water, thus defeating the purpose of using a no-mess bowl in the first place. Plus, if your dog has a considerable water appetite and the bowl is too small, you will need to refill it frequently.

4. Ease of cleaning 

Practicality is something you must consider when choosing the perfect bowl – your dog will be using the bowl, but you will be cleaning it daily. Water bowls that can be machine-washed are particularly easy to maintain and clean.

If the bowl is not machine-washable, you will need to clean it by hand using warm water and a pet-friendly detergent. Plus, porous materials that tend to crack on the surface are tough to clean – bacteria will quickly build up in the cracks, possibly causing severe medical issues.

cleaning dog water bowl

5. Durability 

The durability of the bowl depends on two factors – the quality of the material and your dog's destructiveness. Generally speaking, stainless steel bowls can withstand a more prolonged use than plastic bowls.

However, a tenacious chewer can damage even the stainless bowl, while a dog that is not interested in chewing can use the simplest plastic bowls for long periods.

6. Price

More often than not, price is a good indicator of quality. No-mess water bowls with higher price tags tend to be of higher–quality and more durable, while cheaper options are likely to last for shorter periods.

In a nutshell, expensive, high-quality no-mess water bowls are more significant investments at first, but they pay off in the long run. On the other hand, if you decide on cheaper versions, you will need to purchase new bowls frequently.

7. Your dog's breed

Last but not least, before choosing the ideal no-mess water bowl for your dog, you need to consider its breed and needs. Simply put, there is no universal water bowl that can suit all dogs.

There is no universal water bowl that can suit all dogs.

The type of bowl you need is determined mainly by your dog's muzzle or snout – obviously, long-snouted dogs have different needs than short-snouted dogs. Before making the purchase, ensure the bowl is compatible with your dog – even the best no-mess water bowl will not work if your dog cannot drink from it.

Does a Non-Spill Dog Bowl Work?

Now that we have explained the key considerations when buying a no-mess water bowl, we say a word or two about their efficacy.

The answer is yes – non-slip water bowls work and are highly efficient. However, dogs that have never used this type of water bowl may need some time before getting used to them. However, this is just a minor issue, and most dogs adapt to these bowls in a few days.

Sadly, short-snouted brachycephalic dogs can have a hard time getting used to these bowls. After a while, some dogs will get the hang of it, but others are physically limited and cannot use a no-spill or no-splash bowls.

dog spilled water

Two tricks can help you limit the amount of spilled or splashed water in such cases.

1. Use elevated water bowls

Even if you raise the bowl for just a couple of inches, your dog's physical access to the water will be decreased, thus disabling splashing, spilling, and head dunking.

2. Control the water levels inside the bowl

In fact, many mess-free bowls are designed based on the principle of keeping the water levels shallow.

Simply put, the shallower the water, the lower the chances of splashing and spilling. However, you will have to keep adding water more frequently to ensure unlimited access to it.

Why Does Your Dog Need a No-Mess Dog Water Bowl?

Despite their unique design, no-mess water bowls can be used by any dog regardless of its drinking habits and messiness.

No-mess water bowls are perfect for dogs that spill and splash water so that the floor gets wet as a result.

However, if your dog is a tidy drinker or makes only a splash or two every once in a while, there is no need to invest in a unique no-mess bowl. The general rule of thumb is that no-mess water bowls are for dogs that spill and splash water so that the floor gets wet and possibly even damaged as a result.

Here are some examples of the type of dogs that will benefit from a no-mess water bowl.

1. Insatiable gulpers

Instead of slowly lapping small sips of water, some dogs prefer to chomp water and gulp down as much as possible and as fast as possible. These dogs behave like they have not seen water for days – with each sip, they take copious amounts of water.

Logically, such frantic behavior cannot go without splashing and spilling accidents. Plus, gulping water is risky and increases the chances of specific health problems like inhaling water and choking or gastric dilatation and volvulus.

2. Messy drinkers

For some dogs, there is no excuse – they simply like being messy. Messy drinkers are usually messy eaters too. In fact, more often than not, these dogs are messy in general.

Plus, some dog breeds like Mastiffs and Great Danes are prone to slobbering, increasing the overall messy effect.

However, in defense of the dogs of this group, we must mention that it is not easy to drink water using your mouth solely – ever tried to drink without using your hands? You would probably make a mess too.

excited dog

3. Overly excited dogs 

Overly excited or rambunctious dogs are prone to kicking and flipping over their bowls. This is because when feeling extremely excited, they do not care where they step or whether they are knocking things down – they are simply happy, and it just shows.

4. Paw splashers 

Paw splashers are dogs that like using their water bowls for more than just drinking – also for soaking their paws.

Interestingly, there are several reasons why dogs splash their feet inside water bowls – from hot ambient temperatures through boredom to reflection distraction. Regardless of what makes your dog splash with its paws, you will need to clean the mess.

5. Face dunkers

Face dunkers is the term used to describe dogs that like to dive inside their water bowls instead of using just the tongue.

The reasons why face dunkers dunk is unknown – perhaps some face dunkers are not aware there are more efficient (and cleaner) ways of drinking or simply find this method more refreshing.

6. Bearded and long-eared dogs 

Scottish terriers and Schnauzers have long beards, while Basset Hounds and Beagles have long ears. In these cases, even if the dog is a tidy and careful drinker, its beard or ears will get in the way and soak inside the water while drinking.

Having continuously moist beards or ears is not just an aesthetic concern but also a health hazard.

7. Playful puppies

Puppies are literally the synonym for messy. Because of their playful and adventurous nature, it is not uncommon for puppies to play with their water bowl out of fun. If the bowl is big enough, they may even sit inside or decide to take a bath.

With the different types of dogs that need no-mess bowls covered, it is worth mentioning that there are also people who will benefit from this type of feeding equipment in dog homes.

Namely, households with children and seniors should invest in no-spill bowls for dogs because a slippery wet floor can be dangerous. No-spill bowls are also practical for people with long working hours – these bowls ensure your dog will not spill or splash the water and then lack accessible drinking water during a long day.

No-Spill Water Bowl for Dogs – Summing Up

When you are a dog parent, one of the small joys in life is a clean drinking experience – and not having to mop the floor after your dog used its water bowl. Depending on your dog's breed and drinking habits, this may seem like a mission impossible unless you use a uniquely designed no-mess water bowl.

At first glance, no-mess water bowls may seem like luxurious and non-essential items. However, considering the time you spend cleaning after your dog spilling and splashing water drinking adventure, it is safe to assume that no-mess water bowls are helpful tools that keep your house clean and you and your family secure – it does not take much to slip on the spills and splashes.

Ivana Crnec doctor of veterinary medicine

Vet-Approved by
Dr. Ivana Crnec

DVM

Ivana Crnec is a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine specialized in domestic carnivores. She graduated from the University Sv. Kliment Ohridski, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bitola, Republic of Macedonia. Ivana is a certified canine nutritionist and also certified in HAACP food safety system implementation. She currently works as a veterinarian while completing her postgraduate studies. Her research has been published in international journals.

NOTE: Advice provided within this article by FeedingMyPet.com is not a substitute for veterinary advice. Please discuss your dog's specific dietary needs (based on his breed, weight, age, and health status) with a veterinarian.

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