Dog bowls: choosing the best bowl for your pet
It’s one of the first things pet owners buy when bringing a new pet home, and something our pets will use multiple times each day for years to come. The humble dog bowl may seem like a relatively simple purchase, but in actual fact there is plenty to consider and numerous options to choose from.
Dog bowls come in different materials, sizes and styles. Then there are bowls for different purposes: the raised dog bowl to assist large and elderly dogs, the slow feeder dog bowl for food inhalers, collapsible bowls for travel and self-feeding bowls for home alone dogs. Prices can vary quite significantly between the different types of bowls, so your budget may be a consideration when it comes to choosing what’s best for you and your pet.
For these reasons, whether you are buying your pet’s first dog bowl or looking to replace or upgrade their existing one, it’s worthwhile putting some thought into what your pet’s needs are and sourcing just the right bowl to make feeding time as easy and stress-free as possible for both of you. Read on to find out the pros and cons of each type of pet bowl and our top recommendations for dog bowls available from our Bow Wow Pet Partners.
Stainless steel dog bowls
It may be plain and boring to look at, but good old stainless steel is definitely a safe choice for dog bowls in almost all cases. Practical and relatively inexpensive, stainless steel is easy to clean, extremely durable, dishwasher safe and rust resistant.
Note that stainless steel dog bowls tend to be quite lightweight and therefore can be easily knocked over if your pet gets a little excitable at mealtimes, so it’s worth looking out for a dog bowl with a non-slip base or rubber feet to hold it in place.
While stainless steel is rust resistant, it is not rust-proof. While it should stand up well to wet food, a stainless steel bowl can develop rust or stains, especially if left outdoors.
2 in 1 stainless steel pet bowl
This cute and clever 2 in 1 pet bowl from Pet Obsessed features a removable inner stainless steel bowl and an outer plastic bowl with cute little heart shapes on it. The bowls can be used individually or as one.
- Colours: princess pink, cool blue or fashionable green
- Size: 19 cm x 6 cm
Ceramic dog bowls
Ceramic or stoneware bowls are aesthetically appealing, durable and naturally cool, which may keep food and water fresher for longer. They are also easy to clean and can be dishwasher safe up to a certain temperature.
Ceramic bowls are much heavier than stainless steel and plastic bowls, which prevents them from being easily flipped or kicked over by your pet. However, they tend to be more expensive than other materials and if dropped, they will most likely break. They can also chip or crack easily if bumped or knocked. If so, you will need to replace the bowl, as bacteria can grow in cracks or chips, which will make the bowl unsafe to use.
Ceramic dog bowl with lid
This stylish ceramic dog bowl from Chasing Winter comes with handy lid which can be used as a treat plate or to cover food. Made from natural stoneware, it has a raw textured exterior with semi-matte glaze on the inside and is oven, microwave & dishwasher safe.
- Small 18 cm x 5 cm
- Large: 24 cm x 8 cm
- Gift boxed
Double layer ceramic pet bowl
This beautiful double layer ceramic pet bowl from Paw Paw Up can be used as two separate bowls or as a single raised pet bowl when they are stacked together.
Made of eco-friendly materials, easy to clean, solid and durable, this ceramic pet bowl is suitable for cats and dogs.
- Colours: pink and green
- Size: 16.6 cm x 8 cm when stacked
Plastic dog bowls
Plastic dog bowls are very hard-wearing, lightweight and come in a huge variety of sizes, shapes and colours. They tend to be relatively inexpensive and are unlikely to break if dropped. Plastic may also be called melamine, polycarbonate, polypropylene or resin.
Plastic bowls can be easily chewed or scratched by your pet, leaving places for unsafe bacteria to build up. Occasionally, pets may develop an allergy to the plastic, resulting in a mild skin reaction on their chins or faces.
Not all plastic is created equally. When purchasing a plastic bowl, look for a food approved, good quality material that is free from BPA’s and other toxins. Be aware that not all plastics are dishwasher safe, so check the manufacturer’s guidelines for cleaning.
Starbarks melamine dog bowl
The chic and stylish Starbarks dog bowl and matching placemat can be purchased from Pooch Luxury. Made from chip-resistant melamine and BPA-free, these dog bowls have a non-skid bottom and a side cut-out for easy pickup off the floor.
- Dishwasher safe (top rack)
- Size: 2.5 cups
Elevated dog bowls
An elevated dog bowl or raised bowl may be more comfortable for some dogs, especially giant dog breeds, elderly dogs and those with joint, back or neck pain. Some experts believe that raised dog bowls are healthier for dogs, possibly preventing gastrointestinal problems such as bloat.
When looking for an elevated dog bowl, look for one with an adjustable stand or that is around 6 to 10 cm shorter than shoulder height for your dog.
A tilted bowl can be helpful for flat faced breeds like Pugs and Frenchies, who may struggle with a deep bowl. If you have one of these breeds, look for a dog bowl stand that can be angled appropriately.
Luxe pet bowl on a stand
This sleek and ultra modern elevated dog bowl is available from Pooch Luxury. Certified food safe, the stainless steel bowl has an electroplated coating and the stand is scratch resistant. Hand-washing and gentle care are recommended to prevent damaging the coating.
- Multiple metallic colour combinations are available, including gold, copper, bronze, chrome and black
- Small (for small dogs and cats): 15 cm x 6 cm
- Large (for medium to large breeds): 23 cm x 9.7 cm
- Gift boxed
Skybar raised dog bowl stand
This elevated dog bowl from Modern Pets is ideal for senior dogs or those with joint problems. The simple sleek design is unobtrusive and easy to clean while the handles on either side make it easy transport. There are raised edges to contain any mess and rubber inserts to keep the bowls firmly in place. The stand is made from a stable and thick food approved, BPA free plastic and has non-skid rubber feet keeps feeder from moving about.
- Colour: white
- Sizes: small & medium (suitable for small to medium size dogs)
- Includes stand and 2 stainless steel bowls
Slow feeder dog bowls
The slow feeder dog bowl is specially designed to slow down dogs who usually gulp down their food. Though fast eating is not necessarily a problem, in some dogs it can lead to indigestion, excess gas, or even vomiting. Slower eating can help your dog to actually taste their food and feel less hungry afterward.
Slow feeder dog bowls typically have ridges or other structures in them that force the dog to take smaller mouthfuls of food at a time. These bowls are often made out of plastic, but some can be found in ceramic and stainless steel.
Slow feeder swirl dog bowl
This slow feeder dog bowl from Doggytopia is made from non-toxic plastic and is dishwasher safe (top rack). The maze of ridges and valleys slows down the rate of food consumptions and makes meal times more like a hunt. Non-slip grip pads on the underside keep the bowl securely in place.
- Colours: teal, red, green, purple, pink, dark grey
- Small: 20 cm x 4 cm (holds approx 2 cups of food / 500ml)
- Large: 30 cm x 6 cm (holds approx 6 cups of food / 1800ml)
Lickimat Wobble slow food bowl
Available from Bells Dogworld, this textured slow feeder dog bowl from Lickimat is much more than a typical dog bowl. The nubs inside the bowl encourage relaxation when the tongue moves along them, helping the dog to de-stress, while the wobble movement of the bowl makes it more challenging to reach the food and helps prolong meal times. Made from non-toxic and food-grade TPR and PET materials, it is safe for dishwasher and microwave use and can be placed in freezer for frozen treats.
- Colours: turquoise, orange, purple and green
- Size: 17 cm x 8 cm
Smart pet bowls and automatic feeders
Did you know that modern technology has perfected the act of feeding your pet on your behalf? With a smart bowl or feeder, you can ensure that your pet is fed just the right amount and/or at just the right time of day, often by simply setting up an app on your smartphone.
Top-of-the-range automated pet feeders and bowls can be a fairly pricy investment but may be well worthwhile if you spend long periods away from home and are not always around to feed your dog in person at mealtimes. Making sure your pet is getting the right amount of food is essential for pets with certain health conditions and these gadgets can play an important part in helping to keep them at their optimal weight.
Automatic dog and cat feeder
This top of the range automatic pet feeder from PetSafe connects to your Wi-Fi to schedule, adjust and monitor your pet’s meals via an app on your smartphone. Meals can be scheduled for multiple times per day in sizes from 1/8 cup to 4 cups per meal and can be used with dry or semi-moist cat or dog food. There is a slow feeding setting for pets who eat too quickly, and a “Feed Now” option to serve up a meal instantly, as well as sensors that will notify you when the feeder is running low.
- Colour: dark grey
- Size: best suited to cats and small to medium sized dogs
- Bowl, bowl holder, lid and hopper are top-rack dishwasher safe
- 2-year warranty
Smart weight bowl
This smart bowl by PETKIT has an in-built digital scale and LCD screen that can accurately weigh, calculate and display the amount of food your pet needs daily. It connects to the PETKIT app via your smartphone Specially constructed out of antibacterial materials and certified with international safety standards, the smart bowl is easily hand-washable (but should not be soaked). Available from the Illawarra Cat Rescue Support Shop.
- Colour: white
- Size: 15.5 x 12.7 x 5 cm; bowl capacity of 450 ml
- 12-month warranty
Travel Dog Bowls
Travel dog bowls are a great way to bring food and water along for a car ride, trip to the park, visit to grandma, holiday with your pet or other excursion. They are typically made of polyester or similar fabric with a plastic or nylon liner, though some are made from more rigid materials. The bowls can be folded or collapsed to smaller sizes once empty, making them easily portable. Travel dog bowls are not usually very expensive and very useful to have if you like to take your dog places.
On-the-go pop up bowl
The perfect pop up bowl to take with you on all your adventures and outings is available from Big and Little Dogs. Easily collapsible for storage, it comes with a carabiner clip to easily attach to your water bottle, backpack or leash and is perfect for water, food or treats.
- Small – 300 ml
- Large – 1000ml
Dog Water Bowls
It goes without saying that a separate water bowl is essential, and that your pet should always have access to fresh, clean water. Therefore, it makes sense to purchase a second bowl that is exclusively for water. Dog water bowls can match their food bowls if its practical and/or aesthetically pleasing to you (your dog won’t care either way!)
Some great alternatives to the typical water bowl from our Pet Partners
- For extra-cool water, consider the Chilled Freeze Cool Frosty Water Bowl from Pet Obsessed, which contains a removable cool gel inner bowl that can be frozen for 2 hours before use.
- The Gravity Water Bubble Fountain from DoggyTopia is a self-dispensing water fountain that holds 2.8 litres of water and fills the bowl with fresh water as your dog drinks.
- PetSafe® has a range of pet water fountains in various styles and sizes that will provide your dog or cat with a constant supply of fresh, filtered water.
- For filtered water on-the-go, Bell’s Dogworld offers a Portable Dog Water Bottle with Filter that dispenses 350ml of fresh, filtered water at the touch of a button.
Through our Bow Wow Benefits Program, Bow Wow Meow Pet Insurance policy holders can obtain exclusive discounts from our Pet Partners at checkout. To access the discount codes, see your latest edition of our Pet Talk newsletter and click on the link to the Bow Wow Benefits page.
A pet insurance policy with Bow Wow Meow will help ensure you can always afford to give your pet the best treatment.
- Find out more about our pet insurance options for dogs
- Find out more about our pet insurance options for cats
- Get an instant online pet insurance quote