When you become a dog owner you’ll need to stock up on certain supplies. In addition to a collar and leash as well as some grooming equipment, you’re going to have to purchase some dog food supplies as well.
This includes food and water bowls, a dog food mat, and a dog food storage container. Keep reading to learn about the different options available for each of these supplies to help you make the right choice for your dog.
Choosing the Right Type of Dog Bowl
In addition to choosing the right type of food for your dog, you also have to think about how you are going to offer it to him. There are many different types of dog bowls out there and they come in all shapes and sizes.
While choosing the right dog bowl is largely a matter of preference, you should consider the pros and cons of each type to help you make your choice.
To give you an idea what kind of dog bowls you have to choose from, here is a quick overview of the six most popular options:
- Plastic – Probably the least expensive option, plastic dog bowls are lightweight and unlikely to break if you drop it or your dog knocks it over. Plastic bowls come in a variety of shapes, colors, and patterns so you can find one to suit any décor scheme. One thing you should be aware of with plastic dog bowls, however, is that they can become scratched which may leave room for bacteria to grow. If you decide to use a plastic bowl you should clean it often and replace it if your dog chews on it or it becomes scratched.
- Stainless Steel – A step up from plastic bowls, stainless steel dog bowls are also very affordable but they offer greater durability. While a stainless-steel bowl might bend if you really work at it, it is not going to sustain any damage if you drop it or if you dog knocks it over or chews on it. Stainless steel bowls come in a variety of sizes and they are generally dishwasher safe which makes them easy to clean. Some even come with non-skid bottoms to keep the bowl from sliding or spilling.
- Ceramic – If you don’t like the look of plastic or stainless steel dog bowls, a ceramic bowl might be more your style. These bowls are fairly heavy so they don’t tend to tip over, but they are more likely to break if you drop it. To make them food-safe, ceramic bowls are usually coated with a protective glaze which also protects against bacteria, so they are easy to clean.
- Elevated – An elevated dog bowl usually consists of some type of stand and either one or two dog bowls, usually plastic or stainless steel. Elevated dog bowls are beneficial for large- and giant-breed dogs so they don’t strain their necks when they eat. There are some experts who say, however, that using an elevated feeder for a larger dog might increase the risk of bloat, so a raised bowl might not be the best option if your dog is one of the breeds most at-risk for this dangerous condition.
- Slow-Feed – If your dog has a tendency to wolf down his dinner, you might want to think about a slow-feed dog bowl. These bowls come in a variety of shapes and forms but they are all designed to do one thing – to keep your dog from eating too much food too quickly. Slow-feed bowls are made from a variety of different materials and they come in different sizes so you can choose one that works well for your dog.
- Collapsible – Whether you are taking your dog on a trip or you just want a portable bowl to carry along on your walks, a collapsible dog bowl is the way to go. These bowls can be made from plastic, fabric, or silicone and they are usually lightweight and easy to carry. Collapsible dog bowls come in a variety of sizes to accommodate different dogs, and some of them even come with their own water bottle.
Now that you know a little more about the different types of dog bowls that are out there, you can think about which option might be right for your dog. To make your choice you’ll have to consider factors such as price, durability, and size.
If you know where to look, you should be able to find any of the top six types of dog bowl described above at a price that suits your budget.
Should You Consider an Automatic Dog Feeder?
Dogs thrive on routine. If you work a full-time job or you tend to work odd hours, you might be wondering if an automatic dog feeder would be a good choice for your dog.
There are several different types of automatic feeder out there, each with their own pros and cons. Before getting into the details of choosing an automatic feeder, here is a quick overview of the different types you may encounter:
- Free Feeder – This type of feeder has the most basic design – it consists of a food container attached to a bowl. To use this type of feeder, you simply fill the food container and let it spill out into the bowl through an opening at the bottom. As your dog eats the food in the bowl, gravity pulls the food downward through the container to refill it.
- Electronic Feeder – An electronic feeder usually consists of a rotating dish divided into compartments that opens at automatic intervals. To use this type of feeder you simply fill each compartment with one meal’s worth of food and then set the timer. When it’s time to eat, the feeder either dispenses the food into a bowl or the cover slides open so your dog can eat.
- Programmable Feeder – This type of feeder is similar to an electronic feeder but it is one step up. Programmable feeders can usually be programmed for multiple daily meals at specific times and of various size. This type of feeder is more likely to consists of a food storage container that dispenses the food into a bowl, rather than a rotating dish.
- Microchip Feeder – A microchip feeder can come in the form of an electronic feeder or a programmable feeder but it has one special feature – it only responds to the signal from a specific microchip or a special tag. This type of feeder allows you to control which dog gets which food – it’s a good option if you have multiple dogs or if you want to keep your cat from getting into your dog’s food.
Each of these four types of automatic feeder have their uses. A free feeder is usually the best choice for puppies and small-breed dogs who need to eat more frequently throughout the day. If your adult dog has trouble controlling himself around food, however, a free feeder might not be the best choice.
Electronic feeders allow you to control when and how much your dog eats, as does a programmable feeder. The difference is that programmable feeders are usually more expensive, though they may offer additional technological benefits. A microchip feeder is perfect for multi-dog households, though it may be even more expensive than a programmable feeder.
Control the Mess with Dog Food Mats
Dogs love food and they generally don’t care when they make a mess at meal time. If you’re tired of cleaning up spilled water and dog food, you might want to think about getting a dog food mat.
Also known as feeding mats or dog placemats, a dog food mat is a simple way to keep your pet’s food and water contained, even if he spills it. Some dog food mats are made from absorbent fabrics to soak up water then it is spilled while others are made from plastic and have raised edges to contain spills.
You can find dog food mats in all shapes, colors, and sizes – you may even be able to order a custom mat that has your dog’s name on it.
Tips for Storing Your Dog’s Food & Supplies
Choosing a high-quality dog food is very important because it will provide the sole source of nutrition for your dog. Many dog owners make the mistake of thinking that dog food doesn’t go bad, so they don’t bother to store it properly.
Not only can dog food go bad just as easily as any other food, but improper storage could actually reduce the nutritional integrity of the food. If you want to keep your dog’s food fresh and make sure that it provides the highest quality nutrition possible, take the time to learn how to store the food properly.
There are several different types of dog food storage containers out there, but you want to find one that is airtight when you put on the lid. A metal canister may seem like a simple solution, but it might not create the kind of airtight seal that a plastic container can offer.
Dog food storage containers come in all shapes and sizes so you can really choose the one that you like best. Regardless what type of container you choose, however, you should keep the following tips in mind:
- Even if you buy a special dog food storage container, you should keep the food in its original packaging and place the entire bag in the container.
- Once opened, dog food needs to be exposed to as little air and humidity as possible – keep dry food in an airtight container in a cool, dry location and cover cans with a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator.
- Avoid exposing dog food to sunlight because it may elevate the temperature and the humidity, increasing the rate of oxidation and increasing the risk for food-borne illness.
- Once a dog food product reaches its “best by” or “use by” date, you should throw it out – don’t gamble with your pet’s safety by feeding him an expired product.
- Avoid the temptation to mix that last little bit of dog food from an old bag with the food in a new bag – you might be tainting the new dog food by accident.
- For canned food, remove the uneaten portion from your dog’s bowl after 4 hours and thoroughly clean the bowl between feedings.
Keeping your dog’s food fresh is very important, so try to keep track of when you purchase the food and when you open each bag. Be sure to check the “best by” date on the package before opening it so you don’t feed your dog a product that has already expired.
Wet foods can usually be stored in unopened cans for up to 3 years while unopened bags of dry food may last anywhere from six months to two years, or more. It really depends on the moisture and fat content of the food.