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Dog Bowls & Dog Feeders: Choosing The Right One Just Got Easier!

Updated on July 26, 2017

Make Doggie Dining A Delightful Experience!

Need help choosing the the right dog bowl or dog feeder? Today's marketplace offers dog bowls and dog feeders in tons of sizes, styles, colors and finishes: from plastic to ceramic to stainless. . . from simple designs to elegantly appointed creations.

But don't buy just any bowl that strikes your fancy, you gotta bear in mind what will enhance your pet's eating experience first and foremost.

Fresh Food and Water Are Essentials

To A Happy, Healthy Dog


A dog needs two bowls:

one strictly for water

and the other for food.

What Are Dog Bowls Made Of?

Basic Dog Bowl Materials

Dog bowls should be made from a material that can withstand the high temperature water in dishwashers, in order to kill bacteria and germs, and that doesn't collect grease. The following materials are hygienic and dishwasher-safe, and therefore ideal choices for pet bowls. Here are the most common materials that dog bowls are made from: **

  • Plastic Dog Bowls
  • continue to be a choice of pet-parents because of its durability. In light of the "green movement," you may want to steer clear of "virgin" plastic dog bowls because they are made from non-renewable resources that are not biodegradable. However, dog bowls and dog feeders made from recycled plastic can be a good choice. Avoid "lightweight" plastic dog bowls that can be chewed and moved.
  • Ceramic Dog Bowls
  • (including Porcelain or Stoneware) are oftentimes favored by pet-parents who like to microwave their pet's food. And then there's the added aesthetic appeal of glazed finishes and bold colors and designs. Lead in the glaze may be a problem in some ceramic bowls, so be sure to check with the potter or manufacturer to make sure that it is "lead-free." Avoid "lightweight" pottery bowls that can be broken.
  • Stainless steel
  • dog bowls are the choice of most veterinarians because the bowl's non-porous construction reduces the risk of lingering harmful bacteria and eliminates the possibilities of allergic reactions that plastic and dyes can cause in some dogs. Stainless steel is very durable and can not be chewed or broken. Additionally, since much of the stainless steel in use today is recycled, it is likely that stainless steel bowls contain recycled content (even though this may not necessarily appear on the label).

**Update: It is important to be mindful when considering any one of the above-mentioned materials. Example: plastic dog bowls should be certified food-safe, be free of BPA, Phthalates among other potentially harmful chemical elements . . . ceramics should be free of lead and stainless should be of high-quality.

Point of View From A Holistic Vet

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"plastic bowls can be toxic (petrochemical derivatives and colourings) and stainless steel bowls are often made from low-grade steel, which can give off nickel (among other things), a potent skin allergen. In holistic veterinary practice, we advise ceramics ..."

~ Chris Day

What's The Right SIZE Dog Bowl?

Dog Food Bowls and Dog Water Bowls

When it comes to the dog bowls, SIZE really does matter. It's just plain commomsense, the bigger the dog, the bigger the dog bowl. However, be careful not to purcahse a bowl that's is too large . . . you'll end up filling it with more food than your dog needs, resulting in a pudgy pooch. But just how can you tell what's right for your dog?

What Size . . . Dog Food Bowl?

  • The dog food bowl capacity should be large enough to accommodate a full one-meal portion of your pet's fare. If you are a first-time pet parent, you can check with your Vet to get advice on the right amount (and type) of food you should be serving based on the age and size of your new dog.

What Size . . . Dog Water Bowl?

  • The dog water bowl can be at least twice the size of the food bowl to hold enough water to keep your pet hydrated for most of the day. Dogs need plenty of fresh water, so having a large water bowl both encourages water consumption and cuts down on the amount of times you need to refill it.

Got Floppy Ears?

(The dog . . . not you, Silly!)


Bowls for dogs with long floppy ears should be deep and large enough for their noses but narrower at the rim to prevent pet ears dragging in the food.

Raised Dog Feeders (aka Elevated Dog Feeders)

Elevated Dog Bowls Can Make Dining a Little Easier

There are several reasons Veterinarians and Breeders recommend raised (or elevated) dog feeders.

  • Digestion:
  • Dogs tend to gulp their food when they’re forced to bend over too far to reach the food which can cause them to swallow more air leading to digestive problems and frequent intestinal gas.
  • Comfort:
  • provides relief especially to dogs suffering from back or neck problems. Dogs don’t have raise their heads as high in order to swallow. Elevated feeders are especially good for the aging pet.
  • Hygiene:
  • Less food and water on the floor. They are also are easier to sweep around and clean under which is especially usefully for messy eaters.

How do you find the ideal height? Simply measure dog in standing position, form the floor to top of shoulder, then subtract about 6 inches.

Automatic Dog Feeders

The Big Deal About Automatic Dog Feeders

An automatic dog feeder is a solution that has gained popularity among those whose schedules prevent them from being home during the pet's feeding times. However, some pet parents choose to use them simply to reduce re-filling food and water bowls.

Automatic Dog Feeders (Battery or Gravity)

  • You will find automatic dog feeders for dog food and feeders for water. Also note that some feeders are for dry food only and some can handle wet food. Automatic dog feeders offer controlled portions in a frequency that you choose. Most are battery operated (these are generally not recommended for puppies). And some automatic dog feeders operate by gravity. These types can easily hold several days of dry dog food and works well for pets who can be trusted with unrestricted access to their food. Yeah, right.

Electronic Dog Feeders

  • Electronic dog feeders can be programmed to serve single meals at designated times which prevents over-eating. Some models can store 2 days of dry food and water . . . some for several days. When it comes to an elctronic device for your dog's water, consider an electronic waterer that continuously cycles through a filter, minimizing bacterial growth and delivering fresh cool water.

A Bug-Free Dog Bowl? - How Do You Keep Bugs Out?

Petmate Fool-A-Bug Stainless Pet Bowl, Giant
Petmate Fool-A-Bug Stainless Pet Bowl, Giant

Revolutionary design disrupts crawling insects navigation system to keep bugs out. Non-skid rubber feet prevent bowl from sliding on smooth surfaces. Long lasting and durable stainless steel bowl is easy to clean.


Have You Learned A Thing Or Two About Dog Bowls & Dog Feeders? - Or, Just Let Me Know You Stopped By . . .

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    • Dee Gallemore profile image

      Dee Gallemore 7 years ago

      @ChrisDay LM: I so appreciate your comment and value your opinion. The information I included was meant as a general overview and was based on research available at the time of writing. Most certainly, there are inferior pet bowl products in every material (plastic, ceramic and stainless). Chemical & BPA-free plastics, lead-free ceramics and high-grade steel may still be viable options for concerned pet-parents. Bottomline, we need to shop carefully and I am updating this page to reflect this point. I am also including an excerpt of your comment so that your advice is not buried in this comments section but will remain prominently displayed.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 7 years ago

      Not wanting to appear to disagree but plastic bowls can be toxic (petrochemical derivatives and colourings) and stainless steel bowls are often made from low-grade steel, which can give off nickel (among other things), a potent skin allergen. In holiistic veterinary practice, we advise ceramics of some sort. I'd be pleased to hear positive or negative feedback to this comment. One epileptic dog at least was 'cured' by replacing the plastic bowl with a glazed ceramic one.