Which Bowl? Facts and Advice

When it comes to feeding, most dog owners don’t give much attention to the type of bowl they use to contain the food. While the quality of the food you feed your dog matters, so does the bowl as some breeds tend to overeat or gulp the food down while others may feel intimidated by their surroundings.

The size and shape of the bowl, the position it is placed in, as well as the material it is made of can be very important. The right decision in bowl selection can have many benefits and even influence the eating habits of your pets. Depending on its size and eating habits, the right bowl may help make your dog’s eating experience more comfortable and safe.

Finding the best bowl for your dog can be a daunting task as there are so many options to choose from. Here are some facts and advice on choosing the best bowl for your dog’s needs.

How to Choose the right Dog Food Bowl

The first thing to do is determine what type of eater your dog is. Does your dog tend to eat too fast? Is there a huge mess because the bowl may be too small? Are you away from home for extended periods? Here are some of the most popular bowls to help you make an informed decision:


The best materials for dog food bowls are melamine or stainless steel. Plastic is easily scratched which causes bacterial growth, can harbor smells and can be easily picked up and chewed.
The newest alternative material for dog food bowls is silicone because of its rubber-like, non-stick qualities. It is highly heat resistant for cleaning and does not retain odors or stains.


Choose the correct size bowl for the size of your dog. Small dogs and puppies are likely to step into bowls that are too large to get at the food and capsize it in the process. If the dog bowl is too small for a large dog there will be a lot of mess which is unhygienic, particularly when using moist food. Food that has spilled over the top is easy to step into by the dog or a human which causes it to be traipsed all over, spreading germs.


There is nothing worse than watching a dog chasing after a bowl that goes skidding across the floor as they try to eat. Choose a bowl that has a sturdy rubber base to prevent slipping or use a silicone or rubberized feeding mat.

Types of Dog Food Bowls

Slow Down Bowls

If your dog is a gulper a slow-down bowl is the solution. Designed to slow down the feeding rate and prevent dogs from rushing their feed, the food is dispersed around different raised peaks to avoid bolting. Available in different sizes, a larger size is recommended as the three sections take up a lot of space, leaving less room for the food. Designed with maximum stability, it has a non-slip base which is perfect to prevent the bowl from being pushed around. Made from melamine, it is dishwasher safe for maximum hygiene.

The benefits of a slow down bowl include:

– Helps to prevent flatulence and bloating caused by bolting
– Encourage slower eating to aid digestion
Prevents common problems associated with bolting such as vomiting, choking, and gastric torsion.

Automatic Pet Feeder

If your dog is alone for long periods of time an automatic pet feeder is a solution. Some of these can be scheduled to hold up to 12 meals with pre-measured portions. A slow-feed bowl dispenses larger meals over a period of time to prevent the dog from eating too fast. Battery operated, these bowls work with dry as well as semi-moist foods. Even though these dog food bowls are expensive, they are highly reliable and gives you peace of mind, should you be unavoidably detained, that your dog will not go hungry.

Raised Bowls

These types of bowls are placed on stands that help the dog reach the food more easily without bending its neck. The benefits are numerous and include:

– Available in various sizes and heights to suit all types of breeds and sizes of dogs.
– Eating and drinking from an appropriate height aids digestion.
– Minimizes the amount of air swallowed while eating
– Minimizes the likelihood of choking, vomiting, or bloat
– Places less strain on the dog’s neck, hips, and back contributing to a better posture
– Makes eating more comfortable for the dog
– Dust, debris, and insects are less likely to enter a raised bowl
– Slows down gulping which causes rapid swallowing of food and air
– Particularly beneficial for senior dogs as crouching down to eat increases joint pains from arthritis. When older dogs experience pain when eating they will tend to eat less.

The stands are usually plastic with two stainless steel bowls for food and water. Before purchasing raised bowls first measure the height of your dog from shoulder to the floor while standing up and subtract six inches from the measurement. For a smaller dog subtract four inches for the right position.

Road Refresher Bowl

This is a practical solution for providing your dog with water when traveling and the clever design can reduce slobber by up to 90%. This collapsible bowl is made out of silicone which is easy to wipe clean and can hold water or food. The compact size makes it easy to transport and carry.

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