August 17, 2017

How To Pick The Perfect Dog Bowl

As a responsible dog owner, you probably put a lot of time and thought into choosing your dog’s food. But what about his bowl? Did you just pick the cheapest one off the pet store shelf or did you take the time to consider your options and really think about which one might be best for your dog? Decisions like these often seem simple and it is easy to take them for granted, but you may be surprised to learn just how much of an impact finding the right bowl for your dog can have. In this article you will learn the basics about the importance of choosing the right dog bowl and you will receive an overview of the most popular types of dog bowls including pros and cons for each.

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What Should You Look for in a Dog Bowl?

When you set his food down in front of him, the chances are that your dog doesn’t even notice what kind of bowl you use. All he cares about is that it is time to eat! While it may seem like the only purpose of a dog bowl is to contain your dog’s food, different dog bowls can actually provide some interesting and helpful benefits. The type of bowl you choose will also make a difference in terms of keeping the bowl clean and sanitary. A high-quality dog bowl should be made from durable materials that can stand up to a bit of rough handling, they should be easy to clean and sanitize, and they should not hinder your dog’s ability to eat in any way.

Now that you understand the functions of a dog bowl, here are some tips for picking the perfect bowl to suit your dog:

  • Think about the type of material you want in a dog bowl – some materials are more durable than others and you want to find a dog bowl that will last (especially if your dog is rough on dog bowls or if you plan to use it outside).
  • Consider the size and shape of the bowl – you should choose a dog bowl that is proportionate to your dog’s size to make it easy for him to eat out of it.
  • Don’t forget to consider the weight of the bowl – if your dog is an overzealous eater, you might want a heavier material so the bowl doesn’t slide across the floor as he eats.
  • Think about how easy it will be to clean and sanitize the bowl – keeping the bowl clean will help to protect your dog against bacteria and other pathogens.
  • Consider the height of the bowl – small-breed dogs can eat from low bowls but large and giant breed dogs may find it easier to eat out of a bowl that is raised off the ground.
  • Do you want a regular dog bowl or something that will control how much or how quickly your dog eats? Automatic feeders are a great option for some dogs.
  • Think about any additional features or benefits you want in a dog bowl – a two-in-one dog bowl is a great option, or you might want a deeper bowl for dogs that have long ears that might fall into the bowl as they eat.
  • Is it important to you that your dog has constant access to food? If so, a large bowl or an automatic feeder might be something to think about.

In the end, it is largely a matter of preference which type of dog bowl you choose for your pup. But you should think about the pros and cons of the different options that are available to help you make your choice. This is especially important if you choose a costlier type of dog bowl. Also, no matter what type of bowl you choose, you need to keep it clean and sanitized when it is not in use. Wash your dog bowl in hot, soapy water once a day to prevent the growth of bacteria. Always replace the dog bowl if it becomes scratched because bacteria can live in the scratches. If you have an automatic feeder or another special model, consult the instructions that came with the bowl for specific cleaning tips.

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Overview of Popular Types of Dog Bowls

Dog bowls come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials so it can be difficult to choose the one that is best for your dog. In order to make the right choice, you need to understand the different options that are available and be familiar with the unique benefits that each type has to offer. Below you will find an overview of the top seven types of dog bowls so you can make an educated decision regarding which option is best for your dog.

Inexpensive Dog Bowls

If you are on a budget and you aren’t particularly concerned about finding a dog bowl that will last you for years to come, you can find inexpensive dog bowls made out of plastic. These bowls are lightweight and they come in a variety of shapes, depths, and sizes so you can find the one that is right for your dog. What you need to be wary of with inexpensive plastic dog bowls, however, is that they can easily be damaged if your dog decides to start chewing on it. It is also possible for dogs to develop an allergic reaction to the plastic, though this is fairly uncommon.

The biggest concern with plastic dog bowls, however, is that they can easily become scratched and bacteria can live in those scratches. Even if you wash the bowl with soapy water, you may not get it completely clean. Fortunately, most plastic dog bowls are dishwasher-safe so you can clean them thoroughly to prevent the spread of bacteria. These dog bowls are also difficult to break – you generally don’t have to worry if you accidentally drop it. If your dog develops a habit of chewing on the bowl, however, you will need to switch to make sure that he doesn’t accidentally eat bits of plastic.

Ceramic Dog Bowls

One step up from plastic dog bowls is ceramic dog bowls. These bowls are generally a little heavier than plastic bowls so they can stand up to a big of rough handling. It is also worth noting that ceramic dog bowls are less likely to move across the floor as your dog eats due to the fact that they weigh a little more. Another benefit of ceramic dog bowls is the fact that they are easy to clean with soapy water – some of them are even dishwasher safe depending on the type of glaze used and the finish of the bowl. Just be sure to keep an eye out for chips or cracks because bacteria can settle into these areas and regular cleaning may not be enough to kill them.

Another factor to consider with ceramic dog bowls is the fact that they come in a wide variety of sizes, colors, and patterns. Ceramic dog bowls range from simple solid colors to stylish designs that can be a reflection of your dog’s unique personality. You can even order ceramic dog bowls online with your dog’s name painted onto it. Keep in mind, however, that ceramic dog bowls are a little more expensive than plastic bowls, especially as you get into the larger styles and more complex designs. Ceramic bowls are also very likely to break if you drop them, so handle them with care.

Stainless Steel Dog Bowls

If you are looking for a dog bowl that is highly durable and easy to clean, you cannot do better than a stainless steel dog bowl. These bowls may be simple in design, but they are among the most durable options on the market. Stainless steel bowls are usually very lightweight and they are surprisingly affordable as well – even for the larger sizes. If you are concerned about your dog pushing the bowl across the floor as he eats, all you need to do is find a stainless steel dog bowl with a non-skid rim on the bottom. You may also be able to find a plastic, ceramic, or wooden dog bowl that has a stainless steel insert.

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In addition to being lightweight and highly durable, stainless steel dog bowls are one of the easiest types of dog bowls to keep clean. Simply wash the bowl with soapy water or throw it in the dishwasher for quick and easy cleaning. Because the stainless steel surface is so durable, you don’t have to worry about chips or scratches that could harbor bacteria – stainless steel dog bowls are very sanitary. The downside of these bowls is that they don’t come in as many colors or patterns as other types of dog bowls. Still, they are practical, affordable, and durable. What more could you ask for?

Automatic Dog Feeders

Dogs thrive on routine, but sometimes life can be unpredictable and you may not be able to keep to a regular schedule for feeding your dog. In cases like this, an automatic dog feeder might be a good investment. Automatic feeders usually have two parts – the bowl itself and a storage compartment for extra food. This type of dog feeder comes in a wide variety of designs ranging from the simple gravity-based design to electronic styles with programmable options. Programmable dog feeders allow you to control your dog’s portion and the times at which it is dispensed. This is great for dogs that have a tendency to overeat when left to their own devices.

Gravity-based designs consist of an open-bottomed container attached to a bowl – as your dog eats the food in the bowl, the food from the bottom of the container spills out to refill it. These feeders are great for puppies and for highly active dogs who need a constant influx of energy throughout the day. Gravity-based automatic dog feeders are generally very affordable but the electronic versions can become quite costly if you opt for all of the extra features. When shopping for automatic dog feeders think about the features you want but don’t forget about the actual bowl – plastic bowls are less durable than stainless steel bowls.

Slow Feed Dog Bowls

If you have a dog that tends to inhale his food in a matter of seconds as soon as the bowl hits the floor, you might want to look into a slow feed dog bowl. Eating too fast can cause your dog to swallow air as he eats which puts him at risk for bloat, a dangerous and sometimes fatal condition that is very common in large and giant-breed dogs. Slow feed dog bowls come in a variety of different designs but the purpose is to prevent your dog from eating large quantities of food at once by making it harder for him to get to the food. These bowls can be a good option for dogs that have separation anxiety because it will keep them busy for long enough for you to get out of the house without them noticing.

Slow feed dog bowls are often made from plastic or ceramic and they come in a variety of styles. Some slow feed dog bowls are divided into different sections or they have protruding obstacles which causes the food to more around the bowl as your dog eats. Because these bowls come in so many shapes and sizes it may take some experimentation to find the style that best suits your dog. The shape of his face, the length of his ears, and the speed of his eating will all factor into the type of slow feed dog bowl that is best for your canine companion.

Elevated Dog Bowls

If your dog has a tendency to eat quickly but you don’t feel like a slow feed dog bowl is the best option, an elevated dog bowl might be a better option. This type of dog bowl reduces the amount of air your dog swallows as he eats which helps to reduce the risk for bloat in large and giant breed dogs. Elevated dog bowls are also called raised dog bowls and they usually consist of some kind of stand that holds the bowl up off the ground. These stands come in a variety of heights according to your dog’s needs and the bowls themselves come in a variety of materials including plastic, ceramic, and stainless steel – it is your choice which type you select.

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In addition to reducing your dog’s risk for bloat, elevated dog feeders can also prevent your dog from spilling his food or water – unless, of course, he knocks the entire thing over. This type of bowl is also a good choice if your dog tends to play in his water bowl or paw at his food bowl. Elevated dog bowls come in a variety of different styles and at different price points so keep in mind your main goal for choosing this type of dog bowl and find one that accomplishes that goal. You should be prepared to spend a little more for this type of bowl because it comes with an additional structure, the stand.

Travel/Portable Dog Bowls

If you enjoy traveling and you like to take your canine companion with you, you may want to look into travel dog bowls or portable dog bowls. While traditional plastic or stainless steel dog bowls are usually lightweight enough for travel, they generally do not pack well. What you really need is a collapsible dog bowl made from a lightweight material and treated to resist water, stains, and bacteria. Portable dog bowls are usually made from polyester with a nylon or plastic liner for easy cleaning and sanitation. These bowls can typically be folded, rolled, or collapsed into themselves for easy storage and portability.

Not only are portable dog bowls great for travel, but they also tend to be fairly inexpensive – they offer excellent value for the degree of durability most travel dog bowls have to offer. In addition to the portable dog bowl, you will also need a portable food container. You may be able to find a matching set of travel bowls for your dog, or you could just keep your extra food in a plastic bag or storage tote. Choose your portable dog bowl according to your dog’s size and the amount of food and water he generally consumes in one sitting. There is no point in buying a portable dog bowl that is too big because you will just fold it back up after your dog is done eating or drinking.

When shopping for a new dog bowl, you do need to consider the price of the bowl but that should not be your only consideration. While there are certainly inexpensive dog bowls that offer decent durability and are easy to clean, if you want something that will last for a long time you should be prepared to spend a little bit more. Special designs like slow-feed dog bowls, automatic feeders, and elevated dog bowls are usually more expensive than simple stainless steel or ceramic bowls, but you have to think about the value of those extra features and the fact that they will last you a lot longer than a flimsy plastic bowl. So, don’t be afraid to shop with a budget in mind but remember that the durability, style, and the ease of cleaning are important factors to consider as well.

Many dog owners assume that picking a dog bowl is simply a matter of choosing something that fits within your price range. When it comes to dog bowls, however, there are a wide variety of options out there and each style of dog bowl offers its own unique set of benefits. Not that you know a little bit more about these options, you will be able to make an educated decision about what is best for your dog. When you are ready to start shopping, keep in mind the types of dog bowls reviewed above and take the time to really consider which option is best for your dog.

Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is a freelance writer specializing in the subject of pet health and wellness. An avid dog lover and adoring owner of three cats, Kate has a great deal of experience writing about all kinds of pets and all aspects of pet care. Her work has been featured on a number of pet websites and she is a regular columnist for Tropical Fish Hobbyist Magazine.

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