Are you worried about your dog accidentally destroying your fish tank? Read on to find the best way to prevent accidents and injuries.

In this article, you’ll learn all the best precautions to keep a dog away from your fish tank, keeping both animals happy, healthy, and out of harm’s way. 

Fish tanks are a beautiful addition to any room.

In recent years more and more dog lovers are enjoying keeping freshwater fish, but this doesn’t mean your other pets will love them. Although dogs may be interested in ‘playing’ with your fish, it’s much more likely that they will interfere with the tank setup, knock the tank over by accident, or stress out the fish by barking at or sniffing around their tank.

Fortunately, these problems can be avoided with a few simple precautions. 

Place the tank on a high surface and out of the dog’s space

Depending on how big your tank and your dog are, you may be able to avoid problems simply by putting the tank out of the dog’s reach. How high you can put it is obviously limited by the size of the tank, and if you have a particularly tall dog, this might not do any good anyway. Instead, try to find an alcove or awkward corner to set up your tank, so your dog can only approach it from the front and not cause problems sniffing around or playing with cords. To avoid both human and canine accidents, place your tank well away from doors, corners, and entrances, where a person or dog walking (or running) through the house might bump into it before they even see it.  

Make sure the tank is on a stable piece of furniture

This may seem like it’s not a concern for owners with small, lightweight dogs, but any dog can knock over or at least seriously jolt even a heavy piece of furniture if they’re moving fast enough. This is, of course, a risk to both your fish and your dog, as having a full glass fish tank fall on top of them will likely seriously injure or even kill them. Make sure you set up your tank on a stable, sizeable piece of furniture, one with plenty of room on top for the tank to shift around and not come close to the edge. Additionally, you can use non-slip mats and other tools to make sure the tank doesn’t slide around, even if the furniture does move. 

Minimize smells by cleaning frequently and storing fish food carefully

Dogs, of course, have a very sharp sense of smell, and this is their main tool for navigating the world. They might be interested in the bright colors and movement of the fish tank, but the main attractant for them will be any strong odor. Cleaning your tank frequently will be good not only for your fish, but it will also reduce any odor build-up that may attract your canine friend. Additionally, keep your fish food sealed and stored somewhere away from the tank. This will prevent you from drawing your dog’s attention to the tank, and also keep them from eating the fish food. 

Tuck away cables and wiring so your dog doesn’t get tangled

Filters, heaters, lights, meters, and other devices that are necessary for your fish tank often have power cords or wiring that can easily entangle a curious pooch. As much as possible, keep these cords tucked away and secured so your dog can’t get wrapped in them and risk either electrocuting themselves or pulling your fish tank to the ground (or both). A dog who gets tangled in the cords may also unplug some of them from either the wall or the features they’re attached to. Depending on how delicate your fish are and how long it is before you notice, this could harm or even kill some of your fish. Ideally, you would tape all of these cords together and then secure them to the wall or the back of a piece of furniture, which will hopefully prevent any problems of canine interference. 

Keep your dog out of the fish tank room

This might not be a feasible option if you have your heart set on a fish tank as a beautiful public display piece. It may be your only option, though, if your dog won’t leave your fish alone. Putting the tank in a bedroom or office where you can close the door is sure to keep your dog away from it, even if it means you won’t be able to enjoy it in exactly the way you had hoped.  

There’s no reason your dog can’t peacefully cohabitate with your fish, even if it doesn’t seem likely at first. It may take time, and some trial and error, but eventually you’ll find the right solution for both kinds of pets. 


About the Author: David has been keeping fish since he was a child. In his first tank he kept goldfish and since then he has kept over 30 different species. Now he has 4 separate tanks and his favorite is a 100 gallon freshwater tank with a school of Rasboras, Tetras and Loaches.