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Home > Dogs > Why Does My Dog Flip His Food Bowl? 15 Common Reasons

Why Does My Dog Flip His Food Bowl? 15 Common Reasons

belgian malinois food bowl eating patient

You may be wondering why your dog flips their food bowl. There are many reasons why this may happen, and we will go over 15 of them in this blog post. Some of the most common reasons include burying their food, getting a better view of their surroundings, and feeling uncomfortable in their environment. If your dog is flipping their food bowl frequently, it’s important to figure out the root cause so you can address it. In some cases, it may be a sign that something is wrong and needs to be addressed.

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The 15 Reasons Why Your Dog Flips His Food Bowl

1. Burying Food

Dogs may flip their food bowl because they’re trying to bury their food. This instinctual behavior is often seen in wild dogs and wolves who will bury food to save it for later. If your dog is doing this, it’s a good idea to provide them with a digging area in the yard where they can safely bury their food.

small dog digging
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2. Viewing Surroundings

Some dogs may flip their food bowl because they’re trying to get a better view of their surroundings.


3. “Escaping” Something

If your dog feels like they’re being cornered or trapped, flipping their bowl may be a way to escape. This is usually seen in dogs who are fearful or anxious.

two scared or afraid puppy dogs wrapped with a curtain
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4. Discomfort With Their Environment

Dogs may also flip their food bowl if they’re uncomfortable with their environment. This could be due to a change in the home, such as a new baby or pet, or something as simple as a new piece of furniture being added to the room. If your dog is flipping their bowl because of environmental changes, it’s important to make sure they have a safe and comfortable place to eat.


5. Showing Dominance

Some dogs may flip their bowls because they’re trying to show dominance over other animals in the home. This is usually seen in multi-dog households where there is a hierarchy among the dogs. If your dog is flipping their bowl to show dominance, it’s important to provide them with separate eating areas so they don’t feel threatened by other animals.

angry dog protecting food plate dog growling by steel plate
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6. Lifestyle Changes

If there’s been a change in the family dynamics, such as a divorce or death, this can also cause dogs to flip their food bowl. This is because they may be feeling insecure and anxious about the change. If your dog is flipping their bowl due to changes in the family, it’s important to provide them with extra love and attention to help them feel secure.


7. Boredom or Frustration

Dogs may also flip their food bowl if they’re bored or frustrated. This is often seen in dogs who are left alone for long periods of time or who don’t have enough mental stimulation. If your dog is flipping their bowl out of boredom, it’s important to provide them with more toys and enrichment activities to keep them engaged.

labradoodle puppy with dog bowl
Image Credit: litthouse, Pixabay

8. Learning to Eat

Puppies may flip their food bowl because they’re still learning how to eat. This is normal behavior for puppies and usually goes away as they get older and more experienced with eating. If your puppy is flipping their bowl, it’s important to be patient and give them time to learn.


9. Teething

Puppies may also flip their food bowl because they’re teething. This is because they may be in pain and trying to soothe their gums. If your puppy is flipping their bowl due to teething, it’s important to provide them with chew toys and plenty of opportunities to gnaw on appropriate things.

Dog Chattering Teeth
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10. They’re Ready to Eat

Your dog might flip their bowl to show you they’re ready for their dinner. It’s a way of telling you they’re hungry.


11. Welcoming

If you’ve been away from home and they haven’t seen you in a while, they may flip their bowl as a way of welcoming you back.

labrador retriever dog holding feeding bowl in his mouth
Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

12. Attention Seeking

Some dogs may do it to get attention. It could be a sign of excitement or happiness. Or they may do it because they’re seeking your attention and want you to pet them or play with them.


13. Motivation

Dogs may also flip their bowl because they’re trying to get a treat or toy that’s inside. This is often seen in dogs who are food motivated or who have a strong prey drive.

Hungry pug dog with food bowl ready to eat
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14. Clumsiness

Your dog may just be clumsy. Some dogs are more uncoordinated than others and may accidentally flip their bowl while they’re eating. If your dog is flipping their bowl due to clumsiness, there’s usually no need to worry.


15. Medical Issues

In some cases, flipping a food bowl may be a medical condition. This is often seen in older dogs who have arthritis or other joint problems. If your dog is flipping their bowl due to a medical condition, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian to find the best way to address the problem.

divider-dog Getting to the Root of the Problem

As you can see, there are a variety of reasons why your dog may flip their food bowl. If you’re concerned about your dog’s behavior, it’s always best to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist to get to the root of the problem.

In most cases, flipping a food bowl is nothing to worry about and is simply a quirk of your dog’s personality. However, if it’s causing problems or is disruptive to your home, there are ways to address the behavior.

dog eating
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Training Your Dog Not to Flip Their Bowl

If your dog is flipping their bowl and you want to stop it, there are a few things you can do.

  • First, make sure they have a comfortable and safe place to eat. This means providing them with an elevated food bowl or placing their bowl on a non-slip surface.
  • You can also try training your dog not to flip their bowl. This can be done by teaching them a cue such as “leave it” or “drop it”.
  • Whenever they start to flip their bowl, give the cue and immediately provide them with a treat when they stop.

With patience and consistency, you should be able to train your dog not to flip their bowl.

Choosing Healthy Treats for Training

When training your dog not to flip their bowl, it’s important to choose healthy treats that are low in calories. This is because you’ll be giving them a lot of treats during the training process.

Some good options for low-calorie treats include freeze-dried liver, chicken, or cheese. You can also use small pieces of hot dog or sausage.

When choosing treats for your dog, it’s important to avoid giving them anything that’s high in fat or sugar. This can cause weight gain and other health problems.

If you’re not sure what kind of treats to give your dog, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian or professional trainer. They can help.

Yorkshire Terrier dog eats a treat
Image Credit: Valerie Nik, Shutterstock

Do I Need to Hire a Behaviorist?

If you’ve tried to train your dog not to flip their bowl and you’re still having trouble, you may want to consider hiring a certified animal behaviorist.

A behaviorist can help you identify the root cause of the problem and come up with a customized plan to address it.

If flipping their bowl is due to a medical condition, a behaviorist can also help you manage the problem and make sure your dog is comfortable.

Is It Okay if I Think It’s Cute or Funny?

If your dog is flipping their bowl and you think it’s cute or funny, that’s okay! There’s nothing wrong with finding amusement in your dog’s quirks.

However, if you’re concerned about the behavior or it’s causing problems, it’s best to consult with a professional to get help.

While flipping their food bowl may not be a cause for concern, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and consult with a professional if you’re unsure.

This is because there are a variety of reasons why your dog may flip their food bowl and some of them can be serious.

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If your dog is flipping their food bowl, it’s important to figure out the root cause so you can address it. In many cases, the issue can be corrected with behavioral changes, but in some cases, it may be a sign that something is wrong and needs to be addressed by a veterinarian. If you’re worried, it’s always best to reach out to your vet. They want to help you make your pet’s life as comfortable as possible.


Featured Image Credit: BoJack, Shutterstock

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