Bowls

7 Tricks To Baby Proofing Your Dog’s Food & Water Bowl

Last Updated: September 25, 2023 | 6 min read | Leave a Comment

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Baby trying to steal food from dog bowl

So, you think you completely baby-proofed your house, huh?

Let’s see…

  • Electrical outlets… Check
  • Bathtub… Check
  • Stove… Check
  • Dog bowl…

Dog bowl…?

Yep, I know it sounds strange, but your dog’s bowl is dangerous. Well, to your child anyway.

But don’t worry! I’m here to help.

Today, I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about baby proofing your dog’s bowl to keep your little bundle of joy safe and happy.

Why do you need to baby proof your dog bowls?

It’s a fact: Your dog needs to eat and drink.

Because of this, you likely leave bowls of food and water on the floor, within easy reach of your dog.

Just one problem…

If your dog can reach it, then so can your baby!

And trust me, that’s something you don’t want.

As you will soon learn: Both your dog’s food and water bowls are dangerous to babies, but for very different reasons.

Food bowls

Dog eating dry kibble from his stainless steel dog bowl

It doesn’t matter what it is. If it’s small, then it’s going to end up in your baby’s mouth. This is normal behavior – it’s how young children test new things.

And that’s exactly where those pieces of kibble are going to end up if you are not careful.

But it’s not the ingredients that will hurt your baby – at worst, those will give your little one a tummy ache.[1]

It’s the size and shape of the pellets that make kibble so dangerous. Larger pellets, those aimed at big breeds of dogs, are a choking hazard.[2]

Not only that, but dry dog food poses a serious salmonella risk.

But even an empty dog bowl can be deadly to your baby.

A study conducted by NSF International found that pet food dishes are the 4th germiest product found in the average home.[3]

During eating, bacteria from your dog’s saliva is transferred to the bowl, creating a perfect environment for harmful bacteria to build up.[4] This is why you should regularly clean your dog bowls.

If your baby touches the dog bowl and sucks on his fingers, then that bacteria could make your little one sick.

Those are compelling reasons for baby proofing your dog’s food bowl, right?

Well, your dog’s water bowl is just as dangerous…

Water bowls

Yellow Labrador Retriever drinking water from stainless steel dog bowl

Water is like a magnet to babies, who love to splash around and make a mess. Unfortunately, the two don’t mix.

You see, your baby can drown in less than 2 inches of water.[5]

Have a look at how much water is currently sitting in your dog’s water dish. Go on! I’ll wait…

Too much for a baby, right? Well, that’s why you need to baby proof it!

If you’re thinking:

That will never happen to my baby

Then please, reconsider. There are many reported incidents of babies drowning in the shallow waters of dog bowls all over the world.[6][7]

In fact, the last reported incident happened just this year![8]

As you see, baby proofing your dog’s water bowl is extremely important.

7 simple tricks to baby proofing dog bowls

Does your baby have an odd obsession with dog food?

Maybe you are sick and tired of cleaning up after your toddler splashes in the water bowl.

These simple baby-proofing tricks are just what you need – tried, tested and approved by moms across the world!

1. Say no!

Mom warning baby not to play with dog bowls

I’m going to start with the most obvious solution:

Teaching your baby not to go near the dog bowls.

Every time your baby speeds toward the dog bowl, remind him that those are not toys, pick him up and move him to another area.

Be mindful that this method requires a lot of patience. Your little baby will probably think it’s a game at first – every time he goes near the dog bowls, he gets a free ride!

You need to be attentive and expect to repeat this hundreds of times, and even then, your baby may not listen.

But if you can teach your little one that mommy or daddy doesn’t approve of him playing with the dog’s bowl and he stays clear on his own accord, then the battle is won.

If you don’t have the patience, or your cheeky little toddler just won’t listen, then don’t despair – I have plenty more solutions for you…

2. Separate your baby from the dog bowl

Using a baby gate to keep toddler away from dog bowl

The easiest way to protect your baby from dog bowl danger is to prevent him from reaching it in the first place.

And the easiest way to do that?

Create a designated doggy feeding area in another room – one with a door, like your laundry room.

Simply keep the door closed, and your little one will be unable to reach your dog’s bowls.

Alternatively, use a baby gate to restrict your child from reaching your dog’s feeding area.

The only downside to this method is that every time your dog wants to eat or drink, you have to open the door for him.

However, if you have a small dog, then consider something like this…

Carlson baby gate with pet door suitable for small dogs

A baby gate with a built-in doggy door!

Your dog can come and go as he pleases, through the door. Your baby, on the other hand, will be blocked from getting near your dog’s bowl.

Admittedly the pet-door is designed for cats. However, if you have a particularly small dog, such as a Chihuahua or a tiny Pomeranian, your dog can freely come and go as he pleases.

3. Buy a baby-safe dog bowl

While no dog bowl is specifically designed with childproofing in mind, there is no arguing that certain dog bowls keep your child safer than others.

The following bowls have features that make it safe to leave out while your baby is roaming around.

Baby-Safe Water Bowl

Ray Allen No-Spill water bowl - a baby-safe alternative

Made right here in the United States, the Ray Allen No-Spill Bowl is nothing short of amazing. Its unique three-piece design only allows a certain amount of water into the bowl at a time – your baby couldn’t drown in this if he tried.

Best of all, if your baby flips the bowl upside down, all the water will remain inside. Yep, once assembled, this dog bowl locks the water inside. Even if your toddler throws it across the room, it won’t spill a drop.

Baby-Safe Food Bowl

Food bowls, on the other hand, are a little more difficult to baby proof.

At the time of writing, only one style of dog bowl was available to stop your baby – RFID dog bowls…

Our Pets Smart Link Intelligent Dog Bowl With Automatic Lid to stop baby from getting to dog food

Simply attach a tag to your dog’s collar and the bowl. As your dog approaches, the bowl will read his tag and open the lid. Once your dog finishes his meal and walks away, the lid closes.

Because your baby doesn’t have this tag, the lid will remain locked, preventing your baby from reaching inside and stealing food.

4. Change your dog’s feeding time

When a baby comes along, we all have to make changes to our daily routine – even your dog!

Is your toddler safely secure in his highchair, distracted by his meal, and making a mess?

That’s the perfect time to feed your dog.

Give your dog his meal and remove the bowls before your baby finishes eating.

Try not to feed your dog in view of your baby – you don’t want him becoming interested.

5. Feed your dog throughout the day

Offering Golden Retriever a stainless steel bowl to eat his meal out of

If you leave kibble and water out for your dog, then your four-legged friend is probably used to grazing – eating small amounts whenever he wants.

In this case, swapping out to one meal a day is going to come as quite a shock to him.

The best solution in this instance is to keep your dog’s food and water bowl on a table, out of your baby’s reach.

Offer these bowls to your dog multiple times per day, returning them to the table once he is finished.

Being a busy parent with a baby is hard work. In fact, you might forget to offer food to your dog at first. For this reason, I suggest setting multiple alarms on your phone to remind you to feed your dog until you get into the habit.

6. Distract your baby

Distracted baby playing with his favorite toy

I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say:

Your baby can only focus on one thing at a time.

When it comes to baby proofing, we can use this to our advantage.

As soon as your baby shows interest in the dog’s bowls, pull out their favorite toy, book or anything else that captures your baby’s attention – you know your little one best!

By the time the activity is over, your baby will have forgotten all about the dog bowls.

7. Use an elevated dog feeder

Dog eating from elevated feeder

Okay, so this method only works if you have a large dog and a crawling baby.

But if you have tried everything else on this list and still can’t keep your baby away from the dog bowls, then it’s worth a shot, right?

12-inch elevated dog feeder bowl is tall enough to keep crawlers away

At 12 inches tall, this elevated dog feeder will keep both of your dog’s bowls out of reach from your curious infant.

Just be mindful that once your baby can pull himself up or toddle around your home, this will no longer be a viable solution – your baby will be able to reach the dog bowls.

Conclusion

Who would have thought that a dog bowl could be so dangerous to your baby?

Fortunately, using the tips in this guide, it isn’t too difficult to keep your baby safe from this hidden hazard.

How do you baby proof your dog’s bowl? Let me know in the comments below!

The information provided through this website should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease; it is not intended to offer any legal opinion or advice or a substitute for professional safety advice or professional care. Please consult your health care provider, attorney, or product manual for professional advice. Products and services reviewed are provided by third parties; we are not responsible in any way for them, nor do we guarantee their functionality, utility, safety, or reliability. Our content is for educational purposes only.

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