Updated: May 16, 2015
Dog Dish Reviews:Tips on Choosing Dog Bowls - They say that dog is man's best friend. But if revenue from pet stores is any indication, man is really trying to be dog's best friend. Americans spend over $41 billion - with a "B" - on pet supplies annually. You can find anything for your pet from designer Christian Audigier or Juicy Couture t-shirts to a device that allows your dog to update his Twitter status. While many pet supplies are frivolous, there are essentials that any dog-owner has to have. Your dog may not need a wardrobe that costs more than yours, but he does need love, attention, exercise, and food. Food and love, not Ed Hardy sweats, is the way to your dog's heart, so investing in a good dog bowl is a smart choice. The most useful items are often the least expensive, and you are guaranteed to use a dog dish daily for years.
How to Choose the Best Dog DishIf you always thought choosing a dog bowl was simply a matter of going to the pet store and getting the one that was on sale and in a color you like, you're partly right. That may be a fine way to do it. But there are some considerations to keep in mind before you shop so you make the right choice for your pooch and your home. These include:
*Material. Dog dishes come in plastic, ceramic, stainless steel, glass, and polypropylene. As you might guess, plastic is the least expensive, and bowls are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns. On the downside, however, your dog may develop an allergy or skin irritation to the plastic. Plastic is a porous material, and so dirt, germs, and odor can worm their way in, causing sanitation issues. The plastic in dog bowls can leach chemicals, such as phthalates and color additives, into your dog's food. Finally, if we haven't talked you out of plastic quite yet, they are usually lightweight and tip over easily. If you have a puppy and a plastic dog bowl, you have a mess on the floor at feeding time - and he may be tempted to use it for a chew toy. If you have a mellow dog who would never dream of chewing on his dog bowl, a ceramic bowl may be a good option. These are heavy, so they do not tip, and the ceramic material can be very durable. If you do opt for ceramic, make sure that it has a lead-free glaze and is designed for food usage. Otherwise, toxins, including dangerous lead, can leach into your dog's food. If they chip or crack, ceramic bowls can promote the growth of bacteria, so watch out for damage. If you're losing hope of finding the perfect material for a dog bowl, don't. Stainless steel is here to save the day. It is widely used in the dairy and brewery industries, as well as in food processing because it is rust-free, sanitary, and durable. Unlike other materials, stainless steel doesn't leach chemicals or toxins into food. They may cost a bit more than plastic dog bowls, but a stainless steel dog bowl may last throughout your dog's entire lifetime, and he'll certainly have healthier chow. Adding a rubber bowl holder will help keep it in place if you have an enthusiastic eater. This pair from Pro Select is only $14.
*Size. Your dog drinks about 25ml per pound of body weight a day. That is a bit less than an ounce per pound, so if your dog is 20 pounds, he'll need a water bowl that holds at least 20 ounces. Likewise, make sure his food bowl has enough room for his daily allotment of food.
*Look for dog bowls that are easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
*Your dog's needs. If you have a hound dog, for instance, you may notice that his trademark floppy ears get wet when he drinks. If you choose a narrow, deep bowl, he can drink without taking his ears for a swim. If you have a taller dog, such as a shepherd or a doberman, or an older dog, elevated dog bowls may be a great solution. These allow your dog to eat at a raised level, which may be more comfortable for dogs with neck, back, or joint pain. It can also be more comfortable for you if you have neck, back, or joint pain! You can browse the best selling pet feeders and dog bowls online here.
Best Dog Bowls:There is no single "best" dog bowl because each dog has different needs. A hungry husky will need a different type of bowl than a tiny chihuahua. With that in mind, here is a look at some of the best dog dishes to help get you started.
Metal Brake-Fast Bowl for Fast Eaters - If you have a dog who gulps his food like you haven't fed him in three days, you may find that the Metal Brake-Fast Bowl helps slow him down and reduce gagging, bloating, and vomiting. The Brake-Fast is designed with three simple obstructions that extend from the bottom of the bowl. These are just stainless steel bumps, but they keep your dog from inhaling his food. The bowl is designed to slide on the floor, which further slows eating. As your dog eats more slowly, he feels more full. This keeps him from re-eating his food. The dog bowl has a simple round, no-tip shape and has a durable powder-coated finish. It holds 1.5 cups of canned or dry food. The Metal Brake-Fast is vet-recommended, and according to a review on PuppyInTraining, it slows eating substantially. Their enthusiastic test dog, Stetson, typically wolfs down a meal of 1 1/2 cups of food in 38 seconds. When he ate from the Brake-Fast dog bowl, it took him a minute and 3 seconds. That is an improvement of 65 percent, which can really help your dog's digestion and comfort. The Metal Brake-Fast is $30 at Amazon. Yes, it is pricier than a plastic bowl, but remember that the metal will last for years.
Aikiou Interactive Dog Feeder Blue - Yes, it is true that we warned you away from plastic dog bowls. But. The Aikiou Dog Bowl may be an exception you want to make, especially if you have a dog that is prone to anxiety or who needs more mental stimulation. The Aikiou (make sure to pronounce this "IQ" if you're asking for it in a pet store so you sound in the know), features different compartments in which you can "hide" food. As with the Brake-Fast, this keeps your dog from eating too quickly. It can also keep him entertained. The bowl is paw-shaped. On the "pad" of the paw is a wheel. When your dog turns this, it opens the compartments that are on the toes. This provides an outlet for his hunting instincts (even if the bowl is baby blue or pink), and it gives him positive reinforcement when he gets his reward. The Aikiou holds up to 3 1/2 cups of food and makes for entertaining meal times. This bowl is not for every dog. As mentioned, if your pooch has anxiety or boredom issues or you want to make sure to have some fun quality time together each day, this can be the way to do it. The Aikiou is well-reviewed with dog owners on Amazon, DiscussDogs, WildeAboutDogs, and other sites. One dog owner remarked how it took his coon hound 2 minutes to eat his food, whereas before it took only 10 seconds. That bowl is working wonders for that dog's digestive system! The Aikiou is $24.
Home Zone Pet Food Storage and Server for Bigger or Older Dogs - This is not just a dog dish, it is a deluxe feeding station. It includes 2 durable stainless steel bowls, which fit into the sleek wooden base. This cabinet-like base offers handy storage for bagged food, toys, and other necessities to help you keep everything organized. The raised dog bowls are suitable for medium to large dogs, and they can help your dog take in less air as he eats, easing digestion. It is great for dogs who suffer from neck or back strain. The wood platform is made from MDF and painted with a non-toxic Espresso finish. So not only will your dog eat more comfortably, your kitchen will look more chic. The Pet Food Storage and Server measures 20 x 11 x 15 and costs $40. Make sure your dog gets all the benefits he can from his food; buying the right dog bowl can help. Look here for the top rated pet feeders. Bon appetit!