What is the best food bowl for my pet?

If you’ve ever been to the pet section of your local store, then you know that there are many different kinds of food bowls available for your pet. Some are stylish, while others are plain, but a bowl is a bowl, right? Wrong!

Plastic Bowls

Plastic bowls, the cheapest and most popular food bowls, may pose a danger to your pet’s health.

  1. Plastic bowls are a breeding ground for bacteria. Plastic is easily scratched, leaving small crevices for food particles to hide and for bacteria to thrive. Pets can develop skin problems on areas of their face that contact pet food bowls that are not kept clean and free of oils and bacterial slime.
  2. Plastic bowls are not very durable and can easily chip or crack. Small pieces of plastic can cause intestinal blockage or internal bleeding.
  3. BPA (bisphenol A) is a concern because many types of plastic contain BPA. BPA is an industrial chemical that has been used to make certain plastics and resins since the 1960s. BPA can seep into food and cause possible health issues in your pet.
  4. Although fairly rare, it is possible for plastic bowls to cause allergic contact skin disease appearing as inflammation or hair loss on the chin or muzzle. Some pets can be hypersensitive or even allergic to various types of plastic.

What are the best alternatives to plastic bowls?

Stainless steel bowls and ceramic bowls

Stainless steel is non-porous, which means tiny bacteria can't seep into the bowl. These shiny metal bowls are very durable; they don't scratch easily, which means there are no places for bacteria or food particles to hide. Stainless steel bowls also have the advantage of being easy to clean and are dishwasher friendly. There are even specialized bowls with sloped sides to help keep long ears from dragging in the food and water, and bowls with a raised area in the center to help keep pets from gulping their food too quickly.

If your pet is an exuberant eater, you may want to consider either a stainless steel bowl with a rubber grip surface on the bottom or a ceramic bowl, which is heavier than a stainless steel bowl and harder to tip over. When choosing a ceramic bowl, be sure that the glaze used on the bowl is lead-free and is labeled safe for food.

Your pets use their food and water bowls many times a day. Make sure that the bowls they are using are safe and remember to thoroughly clean your pet’s food and water bowls at least once a day.

In addition, it may be better to avoid elevated or raised food bowls unless your pet’s veterinarian diagnoses a swallowing problem that calls for an elevated food bowl. Recent studies have attempted to link raised feeding bowls to Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus or bloat.