Can My Dog and Cat Share a Water Bowl?

Fluffy brown and black puppy resting his head on top of a gray and white cat while snuggling together.

We’ve covered several topics regarding dogs and cats and their unusual cohabitating behaviors. From infectious contagion to nutritional needs, to communication. Why should the discussion of hydration be any different? It’s not, so let’s not burry the lead. Can your dog and cat share a water bowl?

Your dog and cat can share a water bowl if they are already fully comfortable with each other. Dogs and cats have effortlessly be living together for years. Once they get use to their co-existing living quarters you will begin seeing them sharing more than just a water bowl. Some cats and dogs will go so far as to groom each other.

I understand your reservation with initially allowing your dog to drink out of your cat’s water bowl, and vice versa. After all, safety is a top priority for your pets and after reading why your dog should never eat your cat’s food, enquiring minds might also wonder about the water bowl etiquette.

Keep reading. I want to dive in deeper on the topic of the safety issues if your dog and cat decide to share a water bowl.

Disclaimer: The Can My Dog articles contain information based on the individual research and opinions of the author of the site – who just so happens to be a dog. How you utilize the information given is completely up to you. Proceed at your own risk.

What Happens If Your Dog Drinks Out of Your Cat’s Water Bowl?

Barring no unforeseen illness transferable across species and contracted through saliva, nothing will happen if your dog drinks out of your cat’s water bowl.

Let’s break this down a bit further.

Dog’s are historically scavengers. We have evolved to learn how to survive on the streets. This is why your dog sniffs like crazy when you take them on walks. Your dog essentially “sees” with their noses. They scoop left over hot dog buns up off the street for a quick snack and finish it off with last nights rain puddle.

If this is fine, then why on earth would your cat’s water bowl be any different?

Remember, we’re strictly discussing water in this article. Not food, not medicine, not supplements, not toys, or flea ointment.

Just water.

Water, in it’s most natural state sitting in your dog or cat’s bowl is completely harmless and transferrable between species. As a matter of fact, you could get down there and lap a bit of water out of the bowl if you feel so inclined to do so.

Just be mindful and don’t leave your human slobber behind.

That’s super gross.

Will My Cat Get Mad If My Dog Drinks Out of Their Water Bowl?

Well, this is debatable and largely dependent on the cat and the relationship they have with your dog.

Fully understanding your dog and cat’s relationship will inevitably tell you everything you need to know as far as water bowl accessibility is concerned.

I’ll back out and take a more macro and generalized approach to cats for this next part.

Typically speaking, cats have a tendency to be loners. They do enjoy a playmate at times but on their own terms and on their own time. As Halle Berry so eloquently put it while playing Catwoman, “Cats come when they want to, not when they’re called.”

I couldn’t agree more. This carries the weight of the cat narrative as far as I can tell.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to chase cats! They’re a blast and I have nothing bad to say about them. If you live in a household with both a dog and a cat who gets along, then no, your cat shouldn’t get mad if your dog is caught with his tongue in their water bowl.

On the flip side, if your dog and cat are archenemies, you may experience the opposite of this and your cat could punch your dog in the face for even getting close to their water bowl.

While I’m on this topic, I want to say that you may want to look at this from another perspective. If your dog is territorial and selfish, you may want to keep an eye on the two of them if your cat walks up to your dog’s water bowl. Your dog may show signs of aggression towards the cat that will need to be monitored and corrected over time.

Dogs and Cats Can Live in Harmony Together

Look at the image I have at the top of this post. Evidence that dogs and cats can live in harmonious joy together.

It’s not a reach to assume that dogs and cats who live together can actually become best friends. Some dogs even prefer cats to dogs and some cats enjoy the company of a dog over any other being.

I have seen notable evidence suggesting that this is most common in dogs and cats who are raised together at the same time and in the same house. Essentially becoming a pack of two.

That’s not to say you couldn’t introduce one to the other later on in life. This is completely doable and happens on a regular basis.

Just remember that dogs and cats are both instinctually different animals. While oftentimes, opposites attract, this isn’t always the case.

With all things new, just go slow. Have zero expectations and offer treats as positive reinforcement when good behavior is shown. Know the temperament of your animals before forcing a new animal into the home where your current pet lives.

How Often Should You Clean Your Pet’s Water Bowl?

Listen, humans.

Your dog’s (or cat’s) water bowl gets gross – really fast.

Your pet literally uses their tongues to drink water out of their bowls. Inevitably, this will cause a bit of residual drool to begin to accumulate around the brim and within the remaining water.

Do you know what happens when drool, bacteria, and room temperature water sits out for days at a time?

I’ll answer it for you.

A translucent slime begins to form in and around the water bowl. Your dog or cat doesn’t like this. And can you blame them?

It’s best to wash your pet’s water bowl out every night before bed, leaving them with a fresh bowl for midnight thirst pains or for first thing in the morning hydration.

Bare minimum, you should be cleaning your pet’s water bowl every 3 days. Don’t be lazy here. It’s not that hard to pour the excess water down the drain and run a dish rag around in the bowl.

You can do hard things. We believe in you.


In summation, yes. Your dog and cat can share a water bowl.

This is especially the case if your dog and cat already have a respectful and happy relationship with each other. If your pets are tense around each other, the water bowl is something you may want to keep your eye on. The last thing you want is for that to become a territorial war zone.

You know your pets better than anyone else. Use good judgement and continue to Live, Love, Laugh, and Scratch our bellies often.

Love you guys,


P.S. If you’re new to this world, you may want to check out my Ultimate Guide for First Time Dog Parents. It’s a great reference to get you started on this journey.

Related Questions

Can My Dog Eat Cat Food?

Your dog should not eat cat food.

Dogs are omnivores, like humans and cats are carnivores. Their nutritional needs and recommended macronutrients are different than that of a dog.

Especially in terms of protein and fat needed on a daily basis. Cat food is protein rich and dense in saturated fats.

Overconsumption of cat food in a dogs diet can cause medical issues such as pancreatitis. It’s difficult to keep your dog out of your cat’s bowl because they generally love the taste of cat food.

For a more detailed outline regarding this very topic, read Can My Dog Eat Cat Food?

Can My Dog Catch My Cat’s Cold?

While your dog is not guaranteed to catch your cat’s cold, and dog influenza is far less common, it is still best to keep your pets separated if your cat is sick.

Feline respiratory infections are caused by bacteria.

Bacterial infections are generally contagious as they have the ability to transcend species but as long as you distance your pets for 2 weeks, chances of your dog catching your cat’s cold decrease exponentially.

This article has been reviewed by our Editorial Board and has been approved for publication in accordance with our Editorial Policies.

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