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Dog Bowls

Dog Bowls

There’s much more to dinner time with dogs than food on a plate. Your dog probably spends more time with his food and water bowls than any other single pet product. Pet bowls need to be selected for more than good looks, as some of their characteristics can result in health problems.

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Here is what to look for in a dog bowl:

– A flat bottom that will prevent bowls from tipping over and spilling.
– Rubber feet or rims to keep the dish from traveling across the floor.
– A material that can withstand the high temperature water in dishwashers in order to kill bacteria and germs, and that doesn’t collect grease.
– A design that is easy to clean.
– If your dog has floppy ears, you’ll need to make sure that the bowl is large enough for their nose, but small enough that their ears don’t fall into their food.

Choosing Food and Water Bowls:

Choosing the right food bowl and water bowl for your canine companion can be just as important as choosing the right food.

Each dog needs his own set of bowls – one for water and one for food. If two or more dogs share a bowl, one dog may decide that he deserves more food than the other. It’s also better to give your dog two separate bowls – instead of a partitioned bowl – so the water and food don’t mix together when your dog bumps his bowl in his enthusiasm for the chow.

You may decide to buy plastic bowls made from recycled plastic – this is a good use of plastic that has already been manufactured and is heading for the landfill. Plastic bowls come in a variety of colors, are lightweight, unbreakable, and economical. However, they are not for dogs that tend to chew on their bowls, as small fragments of plastic could be chewed off and swallowed.

Or you can choose from stainless steel, ceramic, porcelain, stoneware or earthenware bowls. All of these materials are hygienic and dishwasher-safe, and therefore ideal choices for pet bowls.

Stainless steel bowls won’t put a big dent in your wallet, but they’re light and can tip over
easily, spilling your dog’s meal. Look for weighted or no skid stainless steel bowls with a rubber base to prevent this from happening. The rubber base can generally be removed during washing.

Many people pick ceramic bowls because they’re heavy, which helps with the tip-over problem, and they often feature designs that complement your doggie’s decor. However, they can chip easily if your dog gets rowdy with his dish. If giving your pet his food and water is going to be your child’s responsibility stay away from ceramic, which will break if dropped.

Non-tip bowls are designed to make it harder for your playful pet to tip his dish over while pet placemats are available to contain any dish overflow.
Certain types of dogs need certain types of bowls. Small, shallow bowls are great for smaller dogs. Bigger dogs need wider, deeper bowls. If your dog’s ears are long and floppy, look for bowls with inner rims that will keep his ears out of his meal.

If you feed your dog outside, regular washing also helps make his food dish less appealing for uninvited creepy crawlies looking for a place to dine. If the neighborhood bugs still storm the doggie dish, look for bowls designed with a moat to keep bugs at bay.

Purchase a water bowl that can hold at least one quart of water and a dog food bowl that can hold at least two cups of dry dog food.

Dog bowls come in a wide price range – from $10 for a basic, attractive plastic bowl to more than $100 for one of the more elaborate ceramic bowls.

Many types of bowls come in a variety of colors and designs, can be personalized with your dog’s name, a holiday motif, dog bones painted around the dish, or designs inside the bowl. Some dog food and water bowls attach to dog crates and carriers.


– Use a stainless steel bowl if your dog is a nibbler.
– Stainless steel bowls are durable, longlasting and are great if your dog tends to nibble on his bowl. They are easy to clean and are the easiest to sanitize, which is why they are the choice of many veterinarians.
– Ceramic bowls and crocks are good for dogs that like to move their bowls around. Since ceramic is the heaviest of materials used for feeding bowls, your dog will eat his food without moving across the floor at the same time. These bowls are very durable and
long lasting. However, because they are very porous, it is critical that they be cleaned and sanitized daily. It is recommended that a cracked ceramic dish be replaced because it is likely to harbor bacteria in the cracks. Ceramic bowls must be sanitized daily.
– Use heated water bowls during cold weather to avoid freezing.
– Make sure to wash bowls with hot soapy water to avoid the growth of bacteria.
– Keep a second set of bowls to use while the other is being cleaned.
– Use a storage container or can covers to keep food fresh (and keeps critters out).
– If your dog can’t stop tipping over the water bowl for fun and games, try a weighted bowl, or one that is wider at the bottom.

Bowls for Long-Eared Dogs
Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, Afghans, Poodles, Terriers, Bichons, Hounds, Setters, Pekingese and other long-eared dogs have a unique problem. These dogs have difficulty with their ears falling into their food while they eat. Food bowls that are deeper and have a narrower opening allow the ears to hang to each side of the bowl instead of falling inside the bowl.

Heated Bowls
Heated bowls are especially nice for dogs that spend time outside in cold climates. It is critical that a dog have access to fresh water at all times, even in the coldest of weather. Heated bowls keep the water from freezing, and your dog isn’t dependent on you to break the ice so they can drink.

Self-Feeders and Waterers
Dogs love consistency. Try an automated pet feeder to give your dog a measured meal right on time. Self feeders and waterers are handy for the owner who is gone for most of the day or even overnight. These types of bowls are best for dogs that are fed “free choice,” meaning that there is always food available for the dog to eat at any time. If your dog enjoys feeding “free choice”, and you don’t want your dog to have to depend on you to replenish the supply of food, then consider using a self feeder. However, if your dog tends to gobble up all his food just because it’s there, then a self feeder is not for your dog since this behavior could lead to obesity.

For Travel
Collapsible bowls for traveling ensures your dog will have access to food anywhere they go with you. Ideal for car trips, walks, and travel. Generally made of lightweight nylon and waterproof, they fold flat for easy storage or transport. Many have a convenient hanging loop to attach to a belt, leash, backpack, bicycle, or a variety of other places for easy storage while traveling.

Double Bowls
Fill one side with water and the other with food.

Automatic Feeders
Whether you’re home or away, an automatic pet food feeder and waterer will provide your dog with food and water, keeping him full and hydrated. A necessity for pet owners with busy or uncertain schedules, many automatic pet food feeder can dispense specific quantities of pet food at predetermined times.

Designer Dog Bowls
Designer dinnerware pet bowls are available in a wide selection of sizes, colors and materials for your stylish dog and accentuate your home decor.

Raised Feeding Stations
Can you imagine having to bend down to eat? With standard on the ground dog bowls, that is what your dog has to do every day.

Raised dog bowls are specially designed to provide food and water at just the right height for your pet.

Veterinarians recommend raised bowl feeders for dogs because they offer a number of advantages: hygiene and cleanliness, comfort for dogs and cats with arthritis, neck or back problems, and benefits for dogs with megaesophagus or other conditions that make swallowing difficult. An elevated feeder will allow gravity to help get the food down to the stomach.

Elevated bowls keep feeding areas cleaner. Elevated bowls help keep the food and water in the bowls and not on the floor. They prevent dogs from playing in their water, which some are prone to do. Dogs tend to lift their heads after taking a drink to facilitate swallowing. As the dogs raise their heads, water that doesn’t make it down their throat often ends up on the floor. Over time this can ruin your floor. Moisture that may get under the dish creates a great place for molds and bacteria to grow. With an elevated feeder, they don’t have to raise their heads as far and the water usually drips right back into their water bowl.

Elevated bowls minimize digestion problems, help to prevent choking and may help reduce intestinal gas in dogs. Eating bent over forces dogs to gulp their food. In the process, the dogs swallow more air. This air can end up as foul smelling gas a while later. The higher the food dish, the less gulping. In rare instances, swallowing an increased amount of air may result in a condition called bloat (gastric dilatation and volvulus – GDV). This occurs most commonly in large breed dogs, and is life-threatening. Some veterinarians recommend elevated feeders for dogs susceptible to bloat.

Elevated bowls are more comfortable for older pets. They lessen strain on your pet’s neck, joints, and leg muscles. Bending over to eat isn’t comfortable for pets with stiff muscles or sore joints, particularly for pets with neck or back problems such as intervertebral (IV) disc disease. Older pets often eat less anyway, which means they may not get the nutrition they need. If eating is painful or uncomfortable, they are likely to eat even less. Raising food and water to their level encourages eating and drinking. Elevated dog bowls allow your dog to eat in a healthier and better aligned position with less strain.

Finally, elevated feeders have an extra bonus for the dog owner, because the owner will not have to bend over as far to pick up or fill up water and food dishes. For the frail,
physically handicapped or persons with arthritis or back problems, elevated bowls can make a big difference.

By raising the bowls up off the floor it helps our canine companions in the following ways:

– Better posture, especially with older dogs.
– Better digestion – food moves from mouth to stomach quicker and easier.
– Less stress on the Pasterns (canine forearm/wrist area)
– Less “leaning”, relieves stress on hips and shoulder area.

You certainly have a choice when it comes to food and water bowls for your dog!

The Bottom Line:

– Keep your pet’s bowls and eating area clean. Pick up any uneaten food and clean up crumbs from the floor. Wash pet bowls after every use, just as you wash your own.
Clean bowls reduce the presence of insects, odor and potentially harmful bacteria.
You wouldn’t think of serving your family a meal on the same plates without washing them. It’s no different for your dog. Keep in mind that some ceramic bowls cannot be washed in a dishwasher. Scummy dishes or bowls encrusted with stale old food may soon cause your dog to lose his healthy appetite.

– For dogs the most important consideration is that the food bowl should be big enough to accommodate one meal of food. The ideal size differs greatly depending on the size of your dog. Bowls that are too large get filled with more food than your dog needs, resulting in an overweight pet. The water bowl needs to be at least twice as big as the food bowl. Dogs need a lot of fresh water – having a big bowl reduces the number of times you need to refill it and encourages water consumption. Always keep fresh water in his water bowl or dish.

– Food Storage
When considering bowls for your dog to eat and drink from, don’t forget about a storage container and scoop if your dog eats dry kibble. Keeping the food in a container with a lid extends the life of the food, reduces the breakdown of vitamins, and maintains freshness. It also keeps unwanted critters (even your own dog!) from getting into the food. If your dog is a canned food lover, using a can cover will help keep the food fresher if you don’t use the whole can at one feeding.

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