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Dog Dishes

Updated on March 8, 2013

How to choose the right dog bowl for your dog

There are dozens of different dog food bowls out there. Even after choosing a material type (like a ceramic dog bowl or a plastic one) there are still major choices to make before you actually purchase one. Elevated dog bowls, automatic pet feeders, and even dog bowl stands are some of the choices facing you. Some of these options will include a dog water bowl too, but some will not. So that's another factor you will need to consider.

So how do you choose? When choosing a dog food bowl or pet feeder for your dog, you should look for a diameter and depth that your dog can easily reach and comfortably fit an open muzzle in. Dogs with short muzzles (or squashed faces) will not be able to easily reach food in a deep bowl, while large dogs will find it difficult eating out of a small bowl.

The water dish should hold enough water to satisfy your dog through nearly an entire day of average temperatures. (In hot weather, plan to refill the water dish at least twice a day if not more.) If your dog lives in a colder climate, a deeper water bowl will freeze more slowly than a shallow one. Puppies should always have shallow water bowls to help prevent accidental drownings.

Many people find it simple to just buy two bowls of the same size when purchasing dog dishes, one for water and one for food. This method frequently works just fine for most dogs.

Shallow bowls work best for puppies who frequently fall asleep while eating.
Shallow bowls work best for puppies who frequently fall asleep while eating. | Source

The Plastic Dog Bowl

When most people think of a "dog bowl" or a "dog dish" they frequently think of a thin plastic bowl on the floor of their kitchen and no wonder! Plastic is a light, cheap and tough material, perfect for the value-conscious pet owner!

Plastic can be made in a variety of shapes and colors. Being a reasonably cheap material means you can purchase several different types of plastic dog dish depending on your needs and desires. For dogs who spend time outside in winter and need a bowl of water, plastic is advantageous over metal, as a dogs tongue will not stick to it in cold weather.

There are a couple downsides to plastic though. The biggest one is that plastic is "soft", that means that over time it will become scored by tiny grooves. These grooves will eventually harbor bacteria and be almost impossible to clean out. For these reasons, plastic dog dishes need to be periodically replaced to maintain the health of your pet.

The other problem with plastic is that it's...soft. Well, in this case, soft compared to a dog's tooth! If your dog is a chewer, you will find that your plastic dishes just don't hold up to that kind of use. Even the heavier plastic dishes (that cost as much as the metal dishes) can be done in by a vigorous chewing session!

Ceramic Dog Bowls

For the pet owner who enjoys variety in design ceramic dog bowls are the go-to option. While plastic bowls can come in different colors, ceramic bowls frequently have complex designs and pictures on them. You can get just about any design on a ceramic dog bowls. Some people even enjoy making their own either at home or online!

Although not unbreakable, ceramic is still very tough and virtually non-chewable.


Metal Dog Bowl

Generally not big on looks, the metal dog bowl is the most durable of all the dog dish options. This tough bowl can be chewed, kicked, and even stepped on without any damage done to the bowl (but maybe not to your foot...) A quick scrub and even the most dirty of metal bowls can be made shiny and clean again. When it comes to larger dogs, you have better luck finding a very large dog bowl in metal than other materials.

The downside is the price, this will be one of the most expensive of the dog bowls available (although specialized ceramic painted bowls can frequently exceed it). At the same time, while a lot of people buy this dish to be used outdoors, due to it's durability, it can be a poor choice during winter when the cold weather can cause a dog's tongue to stick to it's surface.


Specialized Dog Feeders and Water Dishes

For people who are short on time, or just not available, automatic pet feeders are a great asset! These are large cylindrical tubes that have a small dispenser at the bottom which goes into a bowl where the water or food is kept at a constant level. These dispensers can sometimes provide enough food and water for an entire week before needing refilling! These are almost always made out of plastic and while they may be a bit expensive to start with, many people find the convenience to be worth it! Of course, this requires having a dog that you can trust to self feed over time and not try to eat it all at once!

Elevated dog bowl stands were created for large breed dogs to eat more comfortably and are also supposed to help cut down on bloat (a deadly condition that occurs commonly in large dogs). These stands are usually fairly pricy and most use metal dog bowls.

Other specialty dog dishes include, heated dog water bowls for dogs in cold climates, anti-gulping bowls to slow down your dog's eating and help prevent health problems associated with eating too fast, and even timed feeders for when you won't be home in time to feed your dog.

What is your dog's dish made of?

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