You may think a dog bowl is a dog bowl, but all are not equal. Different dog bowls offer different features, and some are better than others. Here's the lowdown on the main types of dog bowls available.
1. Plastic Dog Bowls
Plastic dog food bowls come in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. However, these bowls may not be optimum for many dogs. Bowls made of softer plastic can be easily chewed or scratched by your dog, leaving places for bacteria to build up. Additionally, some dogs may develop an allergy to the plastic, resulting in a mild skin reaction on the chin or face. On a positive note, plastic dog bowls are relatively inexpensive, typically dishwasher-safe, and unlikely to break if dropped.
2. Ceramic Dog Bowls
Ceramic dog bowls are a great way to express your style. They are often decorated with fun designs and may be handmade by artists. Their protective glaze makes them easy to keep clean, especially if dishwasher-safe. However, ceramic dog bowls can crack and become unsafe for your dog. Smaller, less visible cracks can harbor bacteria. Be sure to inspect these bowls regularly for damage.
3. Stainless Steel Dog Bowls
Stainless steel dog bowls are by far the most durable and are also dishwasher-safe. These bowls are sometimes made with a non-skid rim on the bottom to prevent spilling. Unfortunately, stainless steel bowls do not often come in colors or designs. However, they are practical, inexpensive supplies for your dog that stand the test of time.
4. Elevated Dog Bowls
Elevated dog bowls typically consist of two plastic, ceramic or stainless steel bowls in a stand. The stand is typically made of metal, wood or plastic. Experts believe that elevated feedings are healthier for dogs, possibly preventing gastrointestinal problems. Also, this type of bowl may be more comfortable for some dogs. If your dog tends to paw at his bowl, the stand should ideally be placed near a wall to prevent tipping. Elevated dog bowls tend to be pretty expensive, but are often considered worth the price. Some even include a compartment to store food, which can be a good or bad feature depending on your dog's ability to cause some destruction!
5. Automatic Dog Bowls
Automatic dog bowls are standard dog bowls (usually plastic) attached to a container or reservoir. They are designed to keep your dog's bowl full as long as there is food or water in the storage compartment. While these bowls are a good idea in order to keep water available to your dog, they are not often recommended for use with dog food. Free-feeding is not ideal for most dogs, as it does not allow you to monitor your dog's food intake accurately and can lead to weight problems. Some automatic feeders are programmable, only giving your dog food access at the times you set. However, there is always the chance that your dog can break in! It's just better to just feed your dog in person.
6. Travel Dog Bowls
Travel dog bowls are a great way to bring food and water along for a car ride, trip to the park, vacation or other excursion. They are typically made of polyester or similar fabric with a plastic or nylon liner, though some are specially designed from more rigid plastic. The bowls can be folded or collapsed to smaller sizes once empty, making them easily portable. Travel dog bowls are not very expensive and quite worth it if you like to take your dog places.