How To Choose A Dog Bowl To Avoid Serious Health Dangers

By Roxi & Huck •  Updated: 02/23/21 •  6 min read

When looking for how to choose the best dog bowl for your pet we first must consider the size of the dog.

For a small dog, a puppy, or a breed with a stout nose, get a shallow bowl. For large dogs or dogs with long features, choose a deep bowl. Large dogs with long noses or ears may have difficulty eating from a shallow dish.

Next, we want to look at the different types of traditional dog bowls. They are:

They are elevated bowls, and there are slow feeder dog bowls.

English Cocker Spaniel laying next to stainless steel dog bowl

The last major issue of choosing the right bowl centers around keeping the bowl from slipping all over the kitchen floor. Most come with non-skid features. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of each of these types of dog bowls and the types that experts recommend for food and water.

Stainless Steel Dog Bowl

The stainless steel dog bowl is the one most experts recommend. These include veterinary experts, canine nutritionists, and people in the pet food industry.

The reason that they are recommending stainless steel dog bowls is that they are the safest for your dog and they are the easiest for us humans to maintain.

The Pros of Stainless Steel

It is the most durable type of dog bowl available.

Unlike other types of bowls, a stainless steel bowl can not crack. This means no bacteria can grow inside those cracks and ultimately leach into your dog’s food and water.

Stainless steel dog bowls like the top-rated Yeti dog bowl are great for a number of reasons, but mostly because they are the safest and most hygienic for your dogs.

The Cons of Stainless Steel

Some view them as unattractive. There are some dogs that do not like the sound of their collar or tags hitting against the side of the bowl. Make sure the bowl is indeed stainless steel and not aluminum!

Eco-Friendly Dog Bowls

We absolutely love these eco-friendly bamboo dog bowls.

The Pros of Bamboo

They are made with biodegradable natural bamboo fiber.

Next to stainless steel, bamboo is a safe option for food and water for your four-legged friend.

And, the best choice for the planet as they are biodegradable.

Ceramic Dog Bowl

There is a clear coat over most ceramic bowls that seal any little pores or cracks in the ceramic. If you choose ceramic please buy quality to avoid leaching from poorly glazed pottery. Make sure they have a food-grade glaze that is lead-free, even for use as a water bowl. If you notice cracks or chips in a ceramic bowl, immediately throw it away.

The Pros of Ceramic

Ceramic dog bowls come in many styles and colors. They are attractive and much heavier than stainless steel bowls. This means they tend to get pushed less around the floor at feeding time. Most of them are also dishwasher safe.

The Cons of Ceramic

The largest con to a ceramic dog bowl is that many develop cracks and chips through normal wear and tear. Bacteria can grow inside of these chips, cracks, and tiny pores when the coating begins to wear thin. This bacteria can fester and leech into your dog’s food which causes an unhealthy situation while they are eating.

Ceramic bowls do not last as long as other choices especially if they are dropped.

Plastic Bowls

One needs to be very wary of the type of plastic that one gets. You need to find material that is safe and BPA-free so it doesn’t have chemicals that are going to leach into your dog’s digestive system. BPA or, Bisphenol A, is a synthetic estrogen. It is commonly used to harden plastics and is very bad for dogs.

Pros of Plastic

Plastic is the most inexpensive option which is why a lot of owners will buy a plastic bowl. They are usually found for just a few dollars and sometimes less than that. A variety of colors and styles are also available for plastic dog bowls.

Cons of Plastic

They are not good for chewers as they get scratched very easily. This brings up the whole bacteria festering issue as with ceramic bowls. It is hard to clean bacteria out of those.

Plastic bowls are certainly the least safe option between the materials that they are made out of and the bacteria festering in the scratches.

Slow Feeder Dog Bowl

If you have a dog that gulps its food, that is extremely dangerous for his health and causes bloating.
Your dog has to play with it, tip it around to try and get the food out which slows down his eating.

It does take a little bit of training for your dog to learn how to get the food out. Most of these slow-feeder dog bowls are plastic, so you need to consider the cons of a plastic dog bowl.

Yet, they are a great option if your dog gulps his food very quickly.

Elevated Dog Feeders

Elevated dog feeders are not a kind of bowl, but it is something you want to consider when you’re thinking about the right bowl.

Elevated feeders are an excellent choice for dogs with arthritis knobs, joint problems, or you have a huge dog.

The research is split right now on whether an elevated feeder is healthier or not. Some experts say that it is more beneficial for your dog to eat in that position. Other experts say it doesn’t matter.

What it comes down to is that it is easier on your dog’s body physically. He doesn’t have to bend over to eat.

So, elevated dog feeders are something to consider when you are choosing the best type of bowl for your dog to keep them safe and both of you happy and healthy.
attribution: Top dog tips on YouTube

Roxi & Huck

Hello, we're Roxi and Huck. Our passion lies in researching and understanding the compatibility between various dog breeds, both purebred and mixed, and the lifestyles and housing situations of potential owners. We work alongside Mom and Dad to uncover insights that facilitate ideal matches between dogs and their human companions.