Tips for Selecting the Best Dog Bowls

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The market is full of options for nearly every dog product that’s made. Specialty products are available when it comes to toys, leashes, collars, and even food and water bowls. When it comes to picking a set of bowls for your pup, what’s there to look for? Not all bowls are made equally, and there are plenty of options available.

In this article, we’re covering all the bases when it comes to dog bowls! Learn what to look for and how to pick the best bowl for your four-legged friend!

Bowl Basics

When looking to choose a bowl, there are two categories that come into play that will affect your choice. You need to be concerned with what material the bowl is made from, as well as the style of the bowl itself. Both of these are important to take into consideration when choosing your pup’s next bowl.

Bowl Materials

When it comes to choosing the best bowl for your dog, the material it’s made from needs to be one of your top concerns. Different materials are better suited to different kinds of eaters, and understanding what materials are appropriate for your pup is important.


Quite often, you’ll find that many options for food and water bowls on the market are made from plastic. They’re the least expensive of all the materials available and are typically fairly durable. In most cases, they’re even dishwasher safe, making cleaning up a breeze. If you’ve got a fairly calm eater, plastic bowls are a fine choice.

However, if you’ve got a dog that likes to chew or can get a little overzealous at dinner time, plastic may not be the best material. Even if the plastic that the bowls are made from is non-toxic, it still isn’t the best thing for your pup to swallow by mistake. Deep gouges in plastic can also be a breeding ground for bacteria, making them less sanitary than what’s desired.


Ceramic is one of the traditional materials for dog bowls to be made from. These bowls often look very nice and are hefty, so even the most energetic eaters won’t be able to haphazardly push them around the room. Like plastic bowls, these are easy to clean and are mostly dishwasher safe.

As hefty as they are, ceramic bowls can be somewhat fragile. If dropped, they’ll crack or chip easily, or worse; they’ll shatter if the angle of impact is just right. Additionally, colder temperatures can make these bowls crack without impact, so they’re not to be used outside in the cooler months of the year.

Stainless Steel

A bit more expensive than plastic but cheaper than ceramic, stainless steel bowls are also a common option on the market. They’re the most durable option available and are also the cleanest. They’re able to be popped into the dishwasher, like the other options. They’re also lightweight and portable, like a plastic bowl.

The real difference is in their durability. Stainless steel bowls can’t be chewed up, and your pup likely won’t try to chew on one.

The only real disadvantages to stainless steel bowls are how easily they slide around on most surfaces and the noise that they can make when doing so. Metal is fairly smooth and doesn’t grip too well. When it’s banged or slid across a surface, it tends to ring out noisily.

That being said, there are high-quality options on the market that are primarily made from stainless steel, but the outer portion of the bowl is lined in rubber or a similar material, completely preventing the cons. These examples may be the perfect bowl for most dogs.


Typically, you’ll only see silicone as a material for dog bowls when buying collapsible travel bowls. Silicone is lightweight and flexible, making it the perfect portable bowl. It’s also easy to clean and hardly attracts grime.

The flexible nature of silicone bowls makes them less durable than the other options available. If your dog likes to chew, the properties of silicone make it one of the best chew toys your dog can find.

What’s more, is that it tears and punctures if treated too roughly. If you’ve got an aggressive eater, then even as a portable bowl, it’s not the best option.

Different Kinds of Bowls

In addition to all the different kinds of materials a bowl can be made from, there are a number of different styles and shapes of bowls available. Each of them has a fairly specific purpose, which we’ve outlined here. The biggest considerations to keep in mind when choosing the style of your dog’s bowls are their physical characteristics and the way that they like to eat their food.

Standard Dog Bowls

This is the style that you’ll find most often when shopping for new dog bowls. They’re similarly shaped to bowls that people use but normally have a wider bottom that’s flat, making them fairly tip-proof. They can be made from any of the materials we’ve listed, as well.

They’re good for most dogs a lot of the time. These bowls are often raised for larger dogs, using a stand so that they don’t have to crane their necks to reach their food.

Shallow Bowls

Shallow bowls are great for smaller dogs or pups that have short snouts. A shallow bowl allows for smaller breeds to eat easily and without the worry of esophageal restriction by resting their neck on the edge of the bowl. For dogs with short snouts, shallow bowls can be designed to sit at an angle, allowing the food to be presented to your pup more horizontally.

This is important for flat-faced breeds as they can occasionally cause harm to themselves by pressing their faces into traditional food bowls. Shallow bowls, like traditional bowls, can be purchased in nearly any material we’ve listed here.

Slow Feed Bowls

Do you have a dog that likes to eat too fast? Eating too quickly can cause a plethora of problems for your four-legged friend, like indigestion, bloat, and vomiting. For dogs that scarf food down, you may want to consider a slow feeder.

A slow feed dog bowl looks similar to a traditional bowl. However, rather than have an open design, they’re filled with ridges, indentations, and variations to make the food harder to get to for your pup.

These bowls are often made from plastic, as it’s the only material that allows for such designs. If you’ve got a dog that gets bored easily, these can be a great enrichment activity, too.

Travel Bowls

Bowls dedicated to travel are often collapsible and are typically made of silicone or plastic. They’re great for dogs on the go and are worth mentioning as they’re different from any of the other options on the list. They pack away easily, as they’re intended to do. If you’re on the move with your dog, a travel bowl is a nice bowl to own in addition to your pup’s everyday bowl.

Bowled Over

If you’re looking for a new dog bowl, then you have to keep in mind a couple of things. You need to know what kind of eater your dog is and whether or not they need any accommodations while eating. If your pup is a laid-back eater with no outstanding issues, then a traditional bowl is the way to go.

If they have any other special needs, then choosing the material as well as the style will be a breeze using the information here! Bon appetit to you and your pooch!


How to Choose the Best Dog Bowl: 10 Types of Dog Bowls | Your Dog Advisor

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