Truth be told, your dog couldn’t care less how you offer him his food as long as he gets it. Dogs love to eat and they really don’t pay too much attention to the bowl in which their food is served.
As a dog owner, however, different types of bowls can offer you different benefits so it is worth thinking about your options before you make a choice. Keep reading to learn about the top seven types of dog bowls and the benefits of each one.
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What Are the Top 7 Types of Dog Bowls?
Dog bowls come in all shapes, sizes, and colors so you can choose the one that best suits your dog’s needs as well as your personal preferences.
You should be aware, however, that different types of dog bowl come with different pros and cons, so learn the basics about your options before you make your choice. Here is an overview of the top 7 types of dog bowls:
1. Plastic – If you are looking for something simple and inexpensive that gets the job done, a plastic dog bowl might be the way to go. Plastic bowls come in a variety of shapes and sizes so you can find one that suits your dog perfectly.
Keep in mind that plastic bowls tend to be fairly lightweight so if your dog is a voracious eater he might push it around the floor or knock it over. It is also important to note that plastic can scratch easily and those scratches can harbor bacteria.
Always clean your dog’s bowl after he’s finished his meal and discard the bowl if it becomes scratched.
2. Stainless Steel – Another cost-effective option that offers better durability than plastic is stainless steel – these bowls are very unlikely to break if dropped. Stainless steel dog bowls come in a variety of sizes and they also tend to be fairly lightweight and affordable.
Many of these dog bowls feature a rubber non-skid bottom that helps to prevent the bowl from sliding across the floor or tipping over as your dog eats. Stainless steel is very easy to clean and it doesn’t harbor bacteria, so if you don’t mind spending a little more it may be a better option than plastic.
3. Ceramic – If you don’t like the look of stainless steel, ceramic dog bowls are another option. Ceramic is a much heavier material than plastic or stainless steel so you probably don’t have to worry about your dog pushing the bowl around, but the bowl will probably break if you drop it.
Most ceramic dog bowls have a clear coat that makes the bowl non-porous and also protects against bacteria. These bowls can usually be washed in the dishwasher and the come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors to suit your needs and preferences.
4. Automatic – If you let your dog feed freely, you might want to think about an automatic dog bowl. There are automatic dog bowls that have programmable electrical components, but the simpler models consist of a container that spills out into a plastic or metal bowl – as your dog eats, more food spills out to refill the container.
Automatic dog bowls are great if you don’t want to have to worry about forgetting to feed your dog, but they can be a little bit tricky to clean, so there’s a bit of a trade-off there.
5. Raised Dog – If you have a large-breed dog, you might want to think about buying him a raised dog bowl so he doesn’t strain his neck by bending down to eat. Raised dog bowls come in a variety of different forms, though most of them consist of some kind of stand with removable stainless steel or plastic bowls.
When shopping for a raised dog bowl, make sure to pick a model that won’t tip over if your dog is an enthusiastic eater and make sure that the entire thing is easy to clean.
You might even think about a raised dog bowl that incorporates a dog food storage container as the stand so you can get two dog food supplies for the price of one.
6. Slow-Feed – Dogs love to eat and they tend to wolf down their food in a matter of seconds. Eating too quickly, however, can be dangerous for dogs – especially for larger breeds that are prone to bloat. A slow-feed dog bowl is designed to prevent your dog from eating large quantities of food at once and they come in a variety of different forms.
Some slow-feed bowls have projections that separate the food into smaller portions and others function like a puzzle, requiring your dog to use his brain to figure out the puzzle and access the food.
7. Portable – Whether you like to take your dog on day-long hikes or you use him as a travel buddy, portable dog bowls are a great thing to have around. Portable dog bowls can be made from fabric, plastic, or silicone and they generally collapse or fold flat for easy transport.
These bowls come in a variety of different sizes for different breeds and they are generally inexpensive to buy. There are even some portable dog bowls that come with their own food and water storage compartments for added convenience.
Tips for Choosing the Right Dog Bowl
When it comes to dog bowls, the options are endless – all you have to do is walk down the dog food supply aisle at your local pet store to see that this is true. But not all dog bowls are created equal and the bowl that is best for your dog might not be best for another.
There are several factors you need to consider when you start shopping for dog bowls – here are a few of the most important:
- Material – To some degree, the material for your dog bowl is a matter of preference. Plastic is lightweight and inexpensive but it may harbor bacteria. Stainless steel and ceramic are easier to clean, though ceramic is more fragile than stainless steel.
- Size/Shape – The size and shape of your dog bowl depends on the size of your dog – choose a bowl that is proportionate to his size so he can eat from it easily.
- Durability – This is a very important factor to consider because your dog isn’t going to be careful when it comes to eating his food. You want to find a dog bowl that won’t scratch or dent if your dog pushes it across the floor and it is a bonus if it’s durable enough not to break if you accidentally drop it.
- Cleaning – Some materials are easier to clean than others, though many dog bowls can be put in the dishwasher. You want to look out for materials that are prone to scratches or dents, however, because these can harbor bacteria that might be harmful for your dog.
- Price – You shouldn’t make price your top priority but it is certainly a factor to consider. The price of a dog bowl will vary depending on the material, the size, and the decoration. There’s nothing wrong with a simple stainless steel bowl, but there’s also nothing wrong with a decorative ceramic bowl painted with your dog’s name.
Don’t just pick a dog bowl based on price or because it has a pattern you like. You should consider all of the factors above when making your decision to ensure that you get the bowl that is best for both you and your dog.
Like we said before, dogs don’t really care what you serve their food in as long as they get to eat it. Depending on what type of dog you have and what your own preferences are, however, one type of dog bowl might be a more appropriate choice than another.
Learn the basics about your options and then make the choice that is best for both you and your dog.
What bowls are best for dogs?
Better materials for pet food bowls: The safest pet food bowls are made of stainless steel. Stainless steel bowls are unbreakable, durable, dishwasher-safe and easy to keep clean. If you choose stainless steel, look for a bowl with non-skid rubber on the bottom.
Should dog bowls be elevated?
As mentioned, elevated bowls are a great fit for any dogs that struggle with mobility issues. Having your dog's bowl higher off the ground puts less strain on your dog's neck. So if your dog is older or struggles with joint or bone issues, elevated bowls are a great way to make them comfortable when they eat.
Are metal bowls bad for dogs?
No. These are easiest type of bowl to keep clean – and, not incidently, also the safest bowl for your dog to eat and drink from – is stainless steel. This material will not leach potentially dangerous chemicals into your dog's food and water, like some plastics, aluminum, poorly glazed pottery, or old ceramic dishes.
Is it OK for dogs to drink out of the same bowl?
The canine papilloma virus (which causes a minor, self-limiting syndrome in dogs) can spread through saliva. If your dog has a healthy immune system it is not likely that he will contract a serious disease from a shared water bowl.