There are literally hundreds of different types of bowls on the market today, considering days gone by, where the dog dish was just an old something out of the cupboard that Mom did not want anymore.
We have come such a long way since then… now there are bowls designed specifically for a dog’s breed, age, height, and temperament. So it is a good idea to know exactly what is optimal for your best friend.
Of course, you should have two separate bowls, one for food and one for water. The criteria for both remain the same, based on the specific dog. But the water dish also has one additional aspect, and that is quantity. The bowl must be big enough to hold a full day of water. A dog that is starved of water, will without question, develop a whole host of medical problems. So please, for the sake of your dog, make sure he/she is properly hydrated. If you question your dog’s intake of water, see your veterinarian. To allow anything else to transpire is just blatant cruelty.
The choice for the construction of both water and feed bowls is the same, given the above parameters.
Big Dogs There are elevated dishes for the big guys. These raised bowls help to provide a sort of safety net to the larger breed of dogs that are inclined to physical problems.
Some dogs take in way too much air while eating from ground level. The taller bowl helps to curb that malady. So the benefits of the elevated bowl does not stop with the biggies, even small to medium dogs can, and do, benefit from dishes raised off the floor.
There are plenty of places on the internet (all with different opinions) to help you determine how high your dish should be predicated according to your pup’s height. Your best bet is to simply ask your vet what he or she recommends.
Dogs with Big Floppy Ears If you are tired of wiping the mess from your Basset Hound’s ears every time he eats or drinks, or if your meticulously groomed poodle comes up from her dish with a disgusting mess of knots, tangles, and mats on each ear, there is an answer for that. There are angled bowls tapered from the top down, creating a smaller opening on top. This way, Fluffy can comfortably get her head into the dish while keeping her ears dry and clean on the outside of the dish.
Flat Faced Breeds Dogs like Boxers, Bulldogs, Pekingese, and Pugs are known as brachycephalic breeds. These unfortunate guys often develop breathing problems and some obstruction of their upper respiratory systems. If yours is one of the brachycephalic breeds, look for a nice shallow dish. It should help make if a bit easier for Buster to get to his food, and take away the possibility of the strain and pressure that the taller bowls may put on his throat and airway.
Long Snouted Breeds are of course the opposite of the brachycephalic breeds. These dogs are not as comfortable eating from a shallow dish. The type of bowls that are made round and deep, provide breeds like Afghan, Collie, or Greyhounds, a more relaxing time of eating and drinking.
My mom used to always say “quit wolfing down your food.” I am sure you have heard the expression. It simply means eat slowly. Well, dog and wolves are not that far apart. So there are plenty of dogs who can clean out the largest bowl in a matter of seconds. Those gulping dogs (and more commonly, puppies) who are guilty of this, are not doing themselves any favors. This behavior can and does endanger their health, causing problems such as excessive vomiting, or bringing on excessing gas. With the right set of circumstances, that excessive gas can create a horrible and deadly condition, with a quick onset, known as bloat.
These dogs and puppies need a specialty dish known as a slow-feed dish. These dishes have a permanently attached raised obstruction or obstructions in the dish. These raised sections cause a hindrance to the dog or puppy, making them work their nose around those raised sections, now they are incapable of “wolfing” down all that food at once. Some additional benefits of slow-feed dishes are choking avoidance and improved digestion and absorption of the necessary vitamins and minerals contained in the feed.
Okay, that’s the shape of the Bowl, but what’s it made of?
Another consideration in choosing the appropriate bowl for your Best Friend, is the material from which it is made.
There are essentially only three main materials used in the manufacturing of dog food dishes: plastic, ceramic, and stainless. They all have their good and bad qualities. Your decision should be based on affordability, sanitation, and appearance.
Those plastic bowls are unbreakable and certainly cheap enough (a positive in today’s financial situation). Unfortunately, you may be getting a lot of added grief and at no extra charge.
In case you do not read the news, let me tell you that plastics have come under great scrutiny as of late due to the inclusion of BPA and Pthalates (although I have not seen them, it is to my understanding that there are bowls which can be obtained free of both).
Also, if you are meticulous about keeping the bowl clean, using plastic with improper cleaning does cause pitting and scratches. Even ceramic can get micro-cracks, which are the ideal living conditions for all sorts of bacteria and other beasties. In addition, some plastics, if exposed to heat can release toxic substances into food. And finally, some animals are simply allergic.
As for ceramic, if there are no cracks of any sort, they can take good, repeated cleanings and can withstand really hot, soapy water (check for dishwasher safe) with no ill effects. While ceramic does look better than plastic, if you have a chewer or a dog that is active at playing with the dish, neither of the plastic or ceramic options will be worry free. In today’s information age, do I still need to mention lead paint?
Now pretty much the industry standard is the stainless. Most kennels have a huge selection of stainless buckets to put in their runs.
Why not? Stainless is a breeze to clean. They are so easy to keep up with. A daily cleaning using hot, soapy water is not time intensive. Also, stainless (with appropriate care) doesn’t get those nasty cuts, scratches, or cracks, in which those nasty bugs love to breed. Plus, stainless comes with slide proof bottoms.
Well there you have it. All you will ever need to know (and more) about choosing the right dog dish.