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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Whats The Dish On Choosing A Pet Bowl

What's the Dish on Choosing a Pet Bowl?


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You certainly have a choice when it comes to food and water bowls for your dog. Here you will find information and tips on the most common bowl types used.

Stainless Steel Bowls
Stainless steel bowls are durable, longlasting and are great if your dog tends to nibble on her bowl! They are easy to clean and are the easiest to sanitize, which is why they are the choice of many veterinarians.

Ceramic Bowls
Ceramic bowls and crocks are good for dogs that like to move their bowls around. Since ceramic is the heaviest of materials used for feeding bowls, your dog will eat her food without moving across the floor at the same time. These bowls are very durable and longlasting. Because they are very porous, it is critical that they be cleaned and sanitized daily. It is recommended that a cracked ceramic dish be replaced because it is likely to harbor bacteria in the cracks.

Plastic Bowls
Plastic bowls come in a variety of colors and are lightweight, unbreakable, and economical. Plastic bowls are not for dogs that tend to chew on their bowls, as small fragments of plastic could be chewed off and swallowed.

Weighted Bowls
If your dog can't stop tipping over the water bowl, try a weighted bowl, or one that is wider at the bottom. We can't guarantee that your dog won't outsmart the bowl, but it just might slow him down and take some of the fun out of tipping it over all the time!

Bowls For Long-Eared Dogs
Basset Hounds, Cocker Spaniels, Afghans, and other long-eared dogs have a unique problem. These dogs have difficulty with their ears falling into their food while they eat. Food bowls that are deeper and have a narrower opening allow the ears to hang to each side of the bowl instead of falling inside the bowl.

Heated Bowls
Heated bowls are especially nice for dogs that spend time outside in cold climates. It is critical that a dog have access to fresh water at all times, even in the coldest of weather. Heated bowls keep the water from freezing, and your dog isn't dependent on you to break the ice so they can drink.

Self-Feeders and Waterers
Self feeders and waters are handy for the owner, who is gone for most of the day or even overnight. These types of bowls are best for dogs that are fed "free choice," meaning that there is always food available for the dog to eat at any time. If your dog enjoys feeding "free choice", and you don't want your dog to have to depend on you to replenish the supply of food, then consider using a self feeder. However, if your dog tends to gobble up all his food just because it's there, then a self feeder is not for your dog since this behavior could lead to obesity.

Cleaning Bowls and Feeders
All dishes should be washed with hot soapy water daily to avoid the growth of bacteria. Having a second set of dishes always comes in handy while the other one is being cleaned. Replace scratched dishes that can harbor bacteria.

Food Storage
When considering bowls for your dog to eat and drink from, don't forget about a storage container and scoop if your dog eats dry kibble. Keeping the food in a container with a lid extends the life of the food, reduces the breakdown of vitamins, and maintains freshness. It also keeps unwanted critters from getting into the food (this may even include your own dog!). If your dog is a canned food lover, using a can cover will help keep the food fresh if you don't use the whole can at one feeding.

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