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Dog Bowl Dilemma: Which are the Best and Why?

Posted on January 18 2014

I have this cute set of pale pink plastic dog bowls for Sophie we've had since she's a puppy. She's turning 4 soon and I figured it's time to replace those tired old bowls. In researching new ones, I learned some interesting facts I didn't realize and how what material the bowl is made from can impact your dog's health. What started as a dog bowl dilemma turned into a dog bowl discovery! There are pros and cons to all of the choices, but knowledge is power. So let's venture in together, armed and dangerous! Here's which are the best & why.

They're Not All Alike
According to VetMD and other experts, there are health implications associated with low bowls, plastic bowls, ceramic bowls, and automatic feeder bowls. So I did some research looking for beautiful bowls that are healthy for our dogs. Here's what I found and they're all on Bitch New York.
Plastic - these are universally looked at as a poor choice. Why?
  • if your dog is a chewer, the plastic bits can be dangerous
  • scratches in the plastic can become a breeding ground for bacteria
  • BPA's or other harmful chemicals can be found in plastic, like plastic water bottles
  • they can contribute to or cause nasal dermatitis actually called Plastic Dish Nasal Dermatitis by WebMD. This is a form of depigmentation on or around the nose and mouth, due to the chemical p-benzohydroquinone, which inhibits the production of melanin. Melanin creates dark pigment in the body, so this condition looks like blotchy skin and can become raw and uncomfortable for your dog.
If it's plastic you want, go chemical-free. The True Blue Designer Dog Bowl is vibrant and beautiful, is BPA free and made from food-grade plastic. A great choice.
Stainless Steel - this seems to be the most highly recommended material because:
  • it's not a material on which bacteria will grow if kept clean
  • it's easy to clean, i.e.: dishwasher safe
  • it's unbreakable so no worries if it's dropped, like with ceramic or glass
  • the one, and it must be rare, danger I found associated with steel bowls was as a fire hazard! Apparently, a fire was started from the sun heating up the bowl in one spot to such a degree that it ignited. I think if you live in a very hot and dry climate, you may not want to have these out on a wooden deck or porch at high noon. And no, folks, this is not a joke.
  • it used to be that a negative about stainless bowls was they just didn't have any fashion flavor. But that's changed.
I love this stylish, economical and health-conscious stainless dual feeding station called The Bone Bowl. It's elevated design helps dogs eat with the correct stance to aid in proper digestion and reduce air intake. And, it comes in a variety of colors.
Ceramic - recommended with some drawbacks:
  • it's harder to clean than glass or stainless
  • you have to make sure the glaze is food-based, not lead-based, which is toxic
  • if it chips or cracks, the bowl becomes a breeding ground for bacteria like plastic, so you'd need to discard it
I'm a big white on white fan. It's elegant and goes everywhere. This White Woof ceramic bowl is great and you can also add a matching treat jar! Kitties aren't left out. There's an adorable bowl and or even a treat jar for them, too.

There are other considerations, too. If you have a long-eared or a large dog, raised bowls are a good option. It will keep their gorgeous ears out of the food and water (that's a relief!) and for large dogs, it can help avoid joint problems in the neck and shoulders from stooping down all the time. It's not that different from us humans; if we have to stoop over to get something day after day, we wouldn't feel so good, either. Some experts say that elevated bowls are good in general because they can help prevent gastrointestinal problems stemming from digestion. I don't know about that, but it sounds like it makes sense.

I love this really cool Yellow Skull Skateboard elevated feeder. It comes in different patterns/colors and you have a choice regarding how tall you want the feeder to be. Legs comes in 4", 6" or 8" tall option. There's one more I really loved. The Choco & Cherry feeder is a combination of an elevated station with ceramic bowls. It's crafted for an anatomically correct eating position for your dog, as well as a retro-looking piece of art.
I've learned a lot from researching the best bowls for Sophie. I think I'm going with a slightly elevated model that has stainless bowls. What kind of bowls do you use for your dog and why?

Looking for the perfect dog food to fill these bowls up with? Check out our vegan dog food article!

Guest Blog:
Jody Miller-Young
Dog Fashion Expert and Blogger
Bark and Swagger

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