5 Best Spill Proof Dog Bowls for Sloppy Drinkers

Written By: Gemma Johnstone | Last Updated: April 24, 2020

Dogs can’t help but make a splash when they lap water, and certain breeds are messier than others. In this article, I’ve recommended five of the best spill proof dog bowls to reduce the amount of water splattered across your kitchen floor.

Dog drinking from a bowl
Dogs, with their large tongues and plunging technique, are messier than cats when lapping water. Size and breed can also affect how sloppy a dog is, with breeds like Newfoundlands and Bulldogs being particularly messy.

If you’re fed up with slippery surfaces and wet socks, a spill proof dog bowl could be the solution. While they don’t stop all splashing, these bowls greatly reduce the amount of water that ends up on the floor compared to regular dog bowls.

In this article, I’ll explain why dogs are such messy drinkers and how a no-spill bowl can help. I’ll also review five of the best spill proof dog bowls.

IMPORTANT: It’s essential to closely monitor your dog’s drinking habits when you get a new water bowl. If the design is confusing or worrying for your dog, they may not drink enough water, which can put them at risk of dehydration.

Our #1 Pick

UPSKY No-Spill Pet Water Bowl

UPSKY No-Spill Pet Water Bowl

Excellent spill-proof dog bowl for a great price

My top pick for a spill proof water bowl is the excellent UPSKY No-Spill. It has a floating disk design to slow down drinking and prevent droopy ears from getting wet. The UPSKY also has non-slip pads and provides great value for money.

5 Best Spill Proof Dog Bowls

The five bowls below can all reduce the amount of water your dog spreads across the floor. The best option depends on your dog’s size, breed, and how they interact with their bowl, so make sure you read each review carefully. 

1. UPSKY No-Spill Pet Water Bowl

UPSKY No-Spill Pet Water Bowl VIEW PRICE

The Upsky No-Spill Pet Water Bowl is my top pick. The floating disk design minimizes spills and slows down fast drinkers. It also has a decent capacity and wide surface area, making it suitable for both small and big dog breeds.

So, how does it work?

Unlike regular dog bowls, the Upsky has an internal floating disk. Only a small amount of water is released onto this disk when your dog drinks, which slows down drinking and reduces splashing. Less water is also absorbed into beards or floppy ears. 

Aside from reducing splashing, this design holds water more securely than a traditional bowl, so it’s a great choice for use in the car. The pool of water also isn’t visible, so you might find curious toddlers are less likely to play with it.

Holding up to 35 fluid ounces and with a wide surface area, this bowl works for dogs of most sizes. Giant breed owners, however, will likely need to top up the water levels throughout the day.

Along with the floating disk design, the Upsky is built with durable BPA-free plastic to ensure it’s safe and long-lasting. There are also non-slip pads to keep it steady when your dog is drinking.

The biggest drawback is that the two-part floating disk isn’t completely watertight. If it isn’t regularly cleaned and dried out, trapped water can cause a build-up of mold or bacteria. I recommend opening and cleaning the disk at least once a week to prevent this.

Another issue is that some smart dogs may learn to push the floating section down with their paw. The bowl also won’t hold water if it’s flipped, although the non-slip feet make this less likely to happen.

Despite these issues, I think the Upsky No-Spill Pet Water Bowl still comes out on top. It’s effective at reducing spilt water and provides great value for money. It’s also great for slowing down fast drinkers, which can reduce gagging or regurgitation.

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2. Slopper Stopper Dripless Water Bowl

Slopper Stopper Dripless Water Bowl VIEW PRICE

The Slopper Stopper Dripless Water Bowl is a perfect choice for giant breeds, as it can hold up to a gallon of water. The lidded design also slows your dog’s drinking speed and keeps droopy ears and long beards dry.

This bowl works by holding a pool of water at the base of the chamber. A lid then creates a tunnel to the water, slowing down your dog and containing water more efficiently than a traditional bowl.

Because the chamber is only designed to fit your dog’s tongue, their beard and ears won’t get drenched with water either.

The food-grade stainless steel bowls are all the same size for the Slopper Stopper and hold almost four times as much water as the Upsky bowl. You just need to select the right plastic lid size for your pet’s snout. Be careful when choosing, as the wrong size can either make it difficult for your dog to drink or allow water to escape.

Given the higher price point of the bowl, it’s great that you can buy replacement lids directly from the manufacturer. There are also raised stands (sold separately) if your dog has mobility issues or prefers to drink at an elevated level.

It’s probably not the best option for puppies though. The Slopper Stopper is relatively expensive, so you would need to replace the lid size as they grow. Small dogs may also find the high sides a challenge compared to regular bowls.

Keep in mind that some dogs may need some practice when using this bowl – and they might make more of a mess during the process. This is because dogs often try to fit their full snout in the chamber, rather than resting the muzzle on the lid and only using their tongue. 

On balance, the Slopper Stopper might not be quite as effective or offer the same value for money as the Upsky bowl. However, if you have a large breed dog, or you want a more generous water capacity, it could be an excellent choice. 

Tip: If your dog doesn’t take to the bowl, try smearing some peanut butter on the lid chamber to encourage them to get started.

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3. Petmate No Spill Dog Bowl

Petmate No Spill Bowl VIEW PRICE

If you’re on a tight budget, the Petmate No Spill Dog Bowl is a cheaper option that can still reduce splashing.

Unlike the Upsky and Slopper Stopper spill proof models, it’s better to describe this bowl as “splash proof.” The inner rim forces the dog to drink through a narrower gap, while containing most splashes.

Featuring a simple plastic design, this no-frills option is easy to use, assemble and clean. You don’t have to worry about tricky seals or problems with trapped water. Simply pull off the lid and chuck the whole thing in the dishwasher.

Aside from reducing splashing, the internal rim can stop moisture being absorbed into bushy beards or dangling ears. It also helps to contain some of the slobber created by untidy or overenthusiastic drinkers. 

With a bowl this cheap, however, there are naturally some compromises. Apart from being splash proof rather than fully spill proof, it’s also less sturdy. Mischievous dogs or bumpy car trips will result in the bowl being flipped over more easily. 

Also, although the bowl holds up to 48 fluid ounces, the hole in the lid isn’t that large. Bigger breeds or flat-faced dogs could struggle to get a satisfying drink.

If you’re looking for a simple, easy to clean bowl that can reduce splashing, the Petmate could tick the boxes. Just don’t expect it to be as durable or effective as some of the higher-priced options. 

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4. Road Refresher No Slobber Dog Water Bowl

Road Refresher No Slobber, No Spill Dog Water Bowl VIEW PRICE

The Road Refresher is a great choice for long road trips. With its Velcro attachments on the base and floating plate design, it’ll contain water on even the bumpiest of journeys.

Like the Upsky bowl, the Road Refresher uses a floating plate design to gradually release water and keep it contained. This design provides enough water for your dog to drink, but prevents jowls from getting wet. The lid also stops water from splashing if the bowl is moved or kicked.

Adding Velcro pads to the base of the bowl is a nice touch. Securing the bowl with these works well if your dog or toddler loves to scoot the bowl along the ground. It also keeps it from sliding around in a car or RV.

It’s handy that the pieces of this bowl come apart easily and you can pop it in the dishwasher to clean. Plus, it comes in two sizes, making it a good choice for small and medium dogs. The large bowl holds a generous 54 fluid ounces.

Unfortunately, the Road Refresher isn’t infallible. Cunning dogs may work out they can release more water by pressing the floating plate down. Giant dogs might also have trouble getting a satisfying drink, due to the relatively small opening.

The plate also isn’t as reliable as the disk on the Upsky bowl. Sometimes it can get a little stuck, and your dog will need to be confident enough to apply more pressure

In conclusion, the Road Refresher is effective at containing water and preventing spills. It’s also great for car journeys, due to the Velcro attachments. Keep an eye out for the plate sticking though.

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5. Kurgo No Spill Travel Dog Bowl

Kurgo No Spill Dog Travel Bowl VIEW PRICE

If you’re looking for a bowl to take on adventures, the Kurgo No Spill Travel Dog Bowl may be an attractive choice. The silicone design means it can be squashed to fit into luggage. Plus, the tapered lip and angled design help to minimize spillages.

Made from durable and food-grade silicone, this bowl can crush down, making it easier to squeeze into backpacks or luggage. It makes it a great option if you’re camping, hiking, road tripping or visiting a hotel.

With a lip on the rim and a wedged design, the bowl is designed to stay stable and flat during bumpy car journeys. The lip also helps to reduce the amount of slobber spread by messy drinkers.

Drips and dribbles aren’t contained as well as they are in other models though. It does reduce splashes, but the lack of a floating plate or drinking channel means it’s certainly not spill proof.

For big dogs, the 24 fluid ounce capacity and relatively narrow tapered rim could also prove limiting. 

If you have an excitable dog who is prone to bashing or sliding their bowl, they could end up spilling water from this model. If they stand on it, they could even squash down the sides of the silicone structure. It’s not the best choice for diggers!

Overall, the Kurgo No Spill Travel Bowl is a good choice for off-site adventures. The compact and flexible design makes it easy to pack, while the inner rim helps reduce splashing. Just don’t expect it to be as effective as the more advanced spill-proof designs.

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Do You Need a Spill Proof Water Bowl?

Spill proof dog bowls have lots of advantages, but they aren’t necessary or effective for every dog. Here’s an overview of which dogs may (or may not) benefit.

Messy Dogs

Your dog won’t care that they’re splashing water everywhere when drinking. Some might even see it as a bit of a game!

For us owners, however, the sloppy mess on our floors can be frustrating. Carpets get soaked and tiled floors become slippery. For your pooch, it can also be a problem if they have water in their crate and soak their bedding. 

A spill proof bowl reduces the water spilt when your dog is drinking. These bowls also contain slobber that escapes from your dog’s mouth and can prevent beards and ears from soaking up as much moisture.

Dogs Who Drink Too Fast

Some dogs can choke or gag when they drink too fast, which may lead to regurgitation. Spill proof bowls can force your pet to slow down.

In rare cases, fast drinking could even cause your dog to suffer from bloat. This is when the stomach distends and twists after too much air is ingested. If immediate treatment isn’t sought, bloat can be life-threatening.

It’s worth noting that only bowls that limit the amount of water available can slow down drinking. Simpler “splash proof” bowls probably won’t stop your dog gulping down a drink.

Spill Proof Bowls Aren’t a Solution to a Bored Dog Though

If your dog loves playing with water, or is determined to flip their bowl, a no-spill option isn’t going to solve the underlying problem. These bowls may reduce the amount of water on your floor, but won’t tackle the root cause of this type of behavior.

Instead, try to understand the motivation behind why your pet is playing with their water. Some examples include:

  • If a dog doesn’t get enough playtime, walks, or mental stimulation, they might be bored. Providing toys and other enrichment could help.
  • If your dog stands in the water, they might be too hot. Providing them with access to a shady spot, doggy-safe paddling pool, or a cooling mat could help.
  • Some dogs dig their bowl because they are bored, but there are several other potential reasons for dish digging. I’ve outlined a few of these in a seperate box below.

Families With Inquisitive Toddlers

If you have young kids or curious toddlers, non spill bowls can be a handy purchase. Toddlers will often drop toys or food into dog bowls or tip them over – soaking themselves and the floor.

Ideally, look for a spill proof bowl rather than a splash proof model. These bowls make it harder for toddlers to create a mess or leave hazardous items on the water surface. Also, picking a bowl with a non-slip base will make it more difficult to push it around.

Why Are (Most) Dogs Messy Drinkers?

Dogs and cats don’t have full cheeks like humans do. This means they aren’t able to create a suction action when drinking.

Instead, they have to lap water with their tongues. The quick lapping action draws up a line of water that they can snap their jaws shut on and swallow.

Cats have a neater, more elegant technique than dogs. They simply flick the tip of their tongue into the surface of the water and bring it to the upper side of their mouth. 

Dogs, on the other hand, plunge their larger tongues deep into the water using a faster, ladle-like motion to pull it into their mouths. The larger column of water is tossed about the mouth and, inevitably, more escapes as a result. 

Most dogs are messy drinkers, but giant breeds with larger tongues tend to be the worst culprits. Dogs with long and fluffy ears, jowly cheeks, a flat-face, or considerable facial hair can also drip more water across the floor after drinking.

Why Do Some Dogs Dig Their Water Dish?

Does your dog try to stand in their bowl or “dig” the water?

While this may seem odd, there can often be underlying reasons for this habit. By considering and addressing these issues, you may be able to reduce this frustrating behaviour. Some of the most common motivations for dish digging include:

  • Trying to cool down. If temperatures have soared and your dog is feeling too hot, they may dig at their dish in an attempt to keep cool. Make sure they have a shady spot to retreat to, out of the direct sunlight. You could also give them a frozen treat toy, use a cool mat, or provide them with a doggy-safe paddling pool to wallow in.
  • Boredom or attention-seeking. Excitable or under-stimulated dogs may dig at their bowl to relieve boredom or as a way to gain attention. Our 25 fun things to do with your dog article offers lots of great ideas for additional mental and physical enrichment. 
  • Preference for running water. Does your dog love drinking from a stream, a tap or a hose? Some dogs prefer to drink from a circulating water source. Introducing a dog water fountain could be a solution.
  • Bowl Type. Stainless steel bowls can cast reflections that your dog will try to catch. This can turn into an unhealthy obsession for some dogs, leading to stress or over-arousal. Changing to a ceramic or plastic bowl may be enough to stop the behavior.
  • Obsessive Behavior. While rare, some dogs dig at their bowl compulsively. Intense behavior like this isn’t healthy. If you have ruled out other reasons, it may be time to seek the advice of a qualified veterinary behaviorist to get to the root of the problem.

How to Choose a Spill Proof Dog Water Bowl

Although some spill-proof bowls are better than others, there isn’t one “best” bowl. The right option depends on the size, breed and personality of your dog.

Here are some of the key things to consider when selecting this type of bowl.

Types of “No Spill” Bowls

There are two broad categories of dog bowl to reduce spilt water:

  • Spill Proof Bowls. These are designed to minimize the amount of water spillages, sometimes even if they’re flipped over. They often have floating plates or smaller drinking tunnels, so your dog may need practice before feeling comfortable using them. Depending on the design, spill proof bowls could be a challenge for flat-faced breeds or those with a wide snout. These types of bowls can also minimize the amount of water soaked up by the ears or beard. 
  • Splash Proof Bowls. These bowls have a wide internal lip around the rim. This reduces the amount of splash that escapes when your dog is drinking. Although not as effective as spill proof bowls, they’re usually cheaper and easier to clean. Many dogs also find them easier to drink from.

There are many variations within these two categories. Spill proof models, in particular, employ a variety of mechanisms to prevent water escaping from the bowl.

Opening Size

For spill proof bowls with lips or lids, the opening can vary considerably in size. If you have a large breed dog, or one with a wide snout or flat face, you’ll need to consider whether it’ll be big enough for them to access the water comfortably. If it’s a squeeze, your dog may be less inclined to drink enough.

Water Capacity

The amount of drinking water a bowl can hold also varies a lot. If you have a large breed, or a particularly active dog, selecting a bigger bowl is going to be important. If the bowl has high sides, this could be a problem for toy dog breeds.

On a related note, make sure the bowl is easy to refill. Some spill proof bowls have fiddly designs that can make refilling difficult.

Material

Most no-spill water bowls are made from plastic, as the material is inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to mould into different shapes. A lot of plastic bowls can also be popped in the dishwasher.

If you have a dog that is a prolific chewer, however, you might want to look for a more durable stainless steel or ceramic splash-proof bowl.

A non-slip base can be useful, especially if your dog is a water digger or likes to play with their bowl.

Alternative: A Pet Bowl Mat

If you don’t want to invest in a no-spill bowl, or your dog doesn’t like to use one, you could try a waterproof mat underneath the bowl instead. These wipe clean or washable options can be particularly helpful in carpeted rooms. 

Some dogs, however, can trail watery slobber across the room after drinking and a mat might not be big enough to catch all the drips.

Conclusion

While no bowl will eliminate spillages entirely, spill proof designs can greatly reduce the amount of water that ends up on your floor.

Before making a selection, it’s important to take into account the size of your dog, their face shape, and general drinking habits.

My top recommendation is the Upsky No-Spill Pet Water Bowl. With a floating disk surface, it’s one of the most effective bowls for reducing spillages and keeping droopy ears or beards dry. 

I hope this article has helped you choose a spill proof dog bowl for your dog. If you have any feedback or queries, please get in touch using the comments form below.

Image of Gemma Johnstone

About The Author: Gemma Johnstone

Gemma is a freelance writer and official dog nut. With 15 years of experience in the pet industry, she is a passionate animal welfare advocate. She has worked for the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, ran her own specialist dog shop for ten years, has volunteered for her local rescue shelter, and is studying towards completing an Advanced Diploma in Canine Behaviour. Gemma is currently travelling around Europe with her wonderful rescue dog, Annie.