Best Dog Bowls Reviewed for the Family Pet
Criteria Used for Evaluation
There are so many different materials used – plastic, stainless steel, ceramic, stone, etc. What material works best for you? Let’s get a quick rundown of each type.
Plastic bowls are light and cheap. They are also easy to pack. However, they are easy to break (and swallow small pieces!) and will harbor bacteria in each little scratch they get.
Ceramic bowls are heavy and also breakable. Because they are so heavy they are hard to move and likely won’t get tipped over by your dog. You can find them in many different colors and designs which is a plus if it’s important for you to match your home decor. Ceramic is porous and will need to be washed fairly regularly.
Stone bowls are very similar to ceramic bowls but have the advantage of being a little heavier and a little less breakable. These unusual types of bowls are a functional and appealing way to get something just a little different if that’s what you’re into.
Stainless steel makes for a classic bowl. It’s very cost-effective and quite indestructible. You’ll get a lot of miles out of a stainless steel bowl. However, besides coming in all different shapes and sizes, they all look basically the same and can be moved, pushed, and carried all over your home or backyard.
One of the first things to consider is what type of style you want. This is important because depending on where you place the dog’s bowl, it will be seen and part of your home decor. To some, this may be a big deal, while not so much to others. Are you looking for something that will match your other decorations or do you want something that is cute and seemingly fits your dog’s personality?
The next element of style that you need to decide on is do you want a dog dish that sits on the floor, is elevated, or maybe has the option to be one or the other? There are plenty in each category, with designs or lack thereof as well. Some you will be sacrificing fashion for function, but that is not always the case. If you do opt for elevated, you can do so with a big bulky contraption that holds the dog food and prevents messes, or you can get dainty legs that look sleek and modern or anything in between. There are wooden, metal, plastic, or stainless options as well.
Nail down what you’re going for style-wise and that will help guide you further in your decision-making process.
So now you’ve chosen the style you want, the elevation you want (or don’t want), and the type of material you want your dog’s dish made out of but what size do you get?
Dog dishes only need to be big enough for the dog’s nose to fit in comfortably while they are opening and closing and licking – motions they would make while eating. This is a lot smaller than you might initially think but it makes it easier to control portions when you have an appropriately sized bowl. This ultimately makes for a healthier dog. Isn’t that something we all want? It should be mentioned that sizing is slightly less important if you use a measuring cup to scoop your dog’s food because that way you know exactly how much food they are getting despite the size of their dish. Water dishes can and should be at least double the size of a food dish.
All of this changes if you’re feeding two dogs at once or free-feed your dog, though you should still be careful about how much your dogs are fed. Ultimately, it’s up to your own judgment what size will work best for you, your pet, and your home.
Today's designs can come with many attractive features, this includes non-slip padding, styles to slow down the eating process, easy to clean materials, and one of the popular ones today is the elevated feeders. There are a lot of supposed health benefits for your dog having an elevated feeder. But contrary to what is purported by most elevated dog dish sellers isn’t always true. Take reducing bloat for example. There isn’t a ton of research done on the topic, so really it is all anecdotal. The research that has been down, however, seems to point towards it actually increasing bloat in dogs that are prone to it.
However, there is a little bit of evidence that supports the use of an elevated dog dish with older arthritic dogs. By not having to bend down as far or often with an elevated dish, you are likely saving them a little bit of pain by raising it. Moral of the story, be smart about it and if your dog is prone to bloating perhaps get a more standard food dish and really get to learn their diet and eating habits to help prevent it and don’t expect a bowl to be the answer.
Another common thought is that it’s uncomfortable for your dog to eat head down. This is likely not true, as it seems they have evolved that way and survival of the fittest really is a thing! While this isn’t an issue for most dogs whose owner is here reading this article, it is worth remembering that a dog’s body is shaped that way and it’s really okay for them to eat head down. But, they’ll likely enjoy their food just as much at chest level.
Lastly, an elevated feeder doesn’t necessarily mean cleaner eating. It absolutely can if your elevated feeder was built with that specifically in mind, which several on this list are, but the two don’t always go hand in hand. If your dog is the type to take a bite, drop it all on the floor, and then eat each piece of kibble one by one they’ll still likely do that if their food is served to them higher than normal. You will, however, save yourself a lot of hassle by getting an elevated feeder if your dog is the type to push their bowl around, or dump it out, or splash around in the water. None of these activities are nearly as effective in a raised dish. This is definitely something you should consider if that’s the case.
If you place the dishes outside there are risks of rodents, insects, or dirt getting into the bowl. An elevated dog bowl reduces this risk.
For this criterion we looked at the quality and if the price is right. It's important that your selection is durable, especially if your pet is a chewer. If you want it to last longer and not get your per sick, then it's also important that you take care of these dishes.
Most dogs tend to lick their food bowls clean. However, the microscopic residue still remains that could conceal many types of bacteria, including E. Coli and Salmonella. If you have your dog on a dry food diet, their bowl should be washed once per day. The best time for this is after their final meal of the night. If your dog is on a wet or raw food diet, their dog dish should be washed and sanitized after each meal.
Water bowls should also be washed daily to prevent the growth of algae, fungi, mold, and yeast. Serratia Marcescens is one of the more common types of bacteria found. These bacteria form a pink slime and can lead to infections like pneumonia.
How to Disinfect
As with human dishes, use hot, soapy water and a washrag or sponge to wash these. Be sure not to use anything abrasive, like a wire rag, to lessen the risk of scratching the surface of the bowl. You can also place some in the dishwasher to ensure complete sanitation. In a dishwasher is unavailable, the National Science Foundation (NSF) advises placing the bowl in a solution of 1:50 water/bleach dilution for ten minutes once per week for full sanitation.
If for some reason you are unable to wash them each day, consider purchasing multiple that you can rotate daily.
BEST DOG BOWLS REVIEWED FOR THE FAMILY PET
1. Snap'y Fit Bowl Unit
The Pawfect Pets Elevated feeding stations bring both a beautiful design and sturdy build to hold up against the most rambunctious dogs. Rubberized grips between the stainless steel bowls and the wooden support keep water from dripping down and keeps the bowls steady in place. Being that the company sends you four total bowls as well, this is the complete package for those who want a heavy-duty solution.
Comes with 4 Bowls
Included in the initial purchase is an extra set of two bowls, either of the same size or different depending on what initial size you purchase, so you always have fresh bowls ready to swap out.
While the heavy-duty wood base may make it harder for you to move around, this also ensures that your dog has a harder time moving it around as well. The large feeder weighs in at eight pounds!
Cost and Value
Not surprisingly, this product ranks as the second most expensive option outlined here. However, the added cost is well worth it if you have an unruly pet who tips over other, more lightweight feeding stations.
2. Iris Elevated Feeder
Research has proven that large dogs can benefit greatly from eating from elevated food sources. It can help with digestion and prevent long-term issues with neck and back pain. The design of the IRIS elevated feeder not only acknowledges this research but also combines this with added storage for your pet's food. The easily removable bowls make cleaning a breeze, and the airtight storage space will keep their food dry and fresh.
With this nifty design, you no longer have two separate locations for extra food and your feeding station. The sturdy locks on the storage also keep it safe from your pets prying snout, while keeping it dry, fresh and easily accessible.
The non-skid coasters keep the food station in place and are easy for anyone to install. The non-skid quality is essential for a high-profile design, to reduce the chance of Fido tipping it over.
Cost and Value
The IRIS sits at an average price point compared to other bowls outlined, and for good reason. The convenient, easy to use/clean design, with a durability that's likely to last a while, it's a great option for those looking to rid their dogs from strain while eating.
3. UrPower Feeder
One of the most common problems pet owners encounter is a messy eater. This problem is especially annoying with sensitive flooring such as wood. The URPOWER diminishes this issue with a durable silicone mat featuring a raised lip to keep your pet's food and water right where you left it. The stainless steel bowls are likely to last for a long time and are easy to clean when removed from the mat. The silicone mat also keeps the bowls from sliding around.
Raised Lip to Hold Mess
The raised lip around the bottom of the mat keeps water off your floor and contained within the feeding system. This is the perfect feature for those with messy eaters/drinkers.
The silicone mat makes it hard for dogs to nudge around even the slickest surfaces, keeping the bowls right where you left them and your dog focused on the food in front of them instead of the game that some pets see their bowls to be.
Cost and Value
Given that this system is equipped with two bowls, this is a fairly cost-effective feeding system for Fido. Durable silicone and stainless steel bowls make this purchase one that is likely to last quite some time in your household.
4. Outward Hound Slow Feeder
Fast eating isn't just an unattractive and unhealthy practice for humans, but it also rings true for our canine friends. Costly vet bills and upset tummies can be a common result of dogs who scarf their food down without truly chewing it. The Outward Hound Slow Feeder is a heavy-duty, cost-effective way to slow your dog down and re-train them to eat in a healthy manner. It is also a popular choice for those who simply want their dog to work for their food through mental stimulation, giving your dog a sort of game to figure out how to get all of their meal.
Simply choose your favorite, or buy all three to swap them out every once in a while to keep your dog on its toes and reduce the chance of it figuring out the game too fast. This will also add to increased mental stimulation.
Heavy Duty Plastic
The heavy-duty, sleek design combined with slip-resistant silicone rubber on the bottom makes it harder for dogs to move around and spill, plus makes it a durable option for pets who like to chew and play around with their bowls.
Cost and Value
As the only slow feeder outlined in the review, the Outward Hound still holds one of the lowest price points. Compared to other slow feeders, this is one of the most inexpensive options on the market, while still boasting a thick, durable build and multiple sizes and design patterns for you to choose from.
5. Platinum Pets Double Diner
While the Platinum Pets Double Diner may be too lightweight for dogs who like to play with their bowls a little too much, it is a great option for owners who don't have those same issues. Sure to keep a low-profile in any home, the elevated design will provide the same great benefit of decreasing digestion and neck/back issues for your dog. The high-quality steel and rubberized grips along the edges of the bowls make this a great buy.
A big draw for this system is the sleek design that is appealing to the eyes. For folks who don't want a clunky setup that is an eyesore, this double diner is a great choice.
High-Quality Stainless Steel
A common complaint of some stainless steel bowls is that they easily rust or chip; that is not the case with this high-quality material. These bowls will look just like you bought them long thereafter.
Cost and Value
Compared to other elevated food systems, Platinum Pets ranks about average for the price. The low-key design and no-nonsense durability are well worth the money to keep your pooch happy.
6. Bergan Elevated Double
As mentioned in the previous review, Bergen makes quality products designed to make life with your pet more enjoyable. This one is a step up from the bowl only. Here you get two 6-cup bowls that can feed even the biggest of dogs and they come complete with a holder and legs to elevate.
With this bowl, you have the option to have both a food and water dish that is elevated. This is great news for your big dog, but even greater news for your aging or arthritic dog. This allows them to eat a little more easily because they don’t have to bend down to do so. As an added bonus, the legs are removable so if you prefer it on the floor, that is also an option.
A Cleaner Eating Experience
Because of the bowl and base combo, this feeder helps to make feeding your dog just a little cleaner. There is no nudging the bowl all around the room or spilling on your dog's part and when it is time to clean, all you have to do is take the bowl out and throw it in the dishwasher.
Cost and Value
This is a great feeder at a great price. You will have a slightly ‘elevated’ dog feeding experience with this bowl/base combo as it is functional, looks good, and will satisfy both yours and your pet's needs without breaking the bank.
7. Neater Feeder
The Neater Feeder seems to have thought of just about everything needed for an effective self-contained feed and water station. Coming in multiple sizes and colors, with the option to purchase additional extension legs for your large dog, it drastically reduces mess. The bottom compartment allows water to drain down and be stored for later disposal. The high splash-guard keeps even the messiest of dogs from getting your floor wet.
For large, tall dogs who have a hard time bending down to eat, you have the option of purchasing extension legs to make it less of a strain for them to eat, while still getting the same splash-guard technology to keep the slobber and water contained.
While persistent dogs will probably still find a way to move their bowl around, the skid-resistant feet help to keep their bowls stable. If they do happen to move the system, the high sides are likely to catch the bulk of the mess.
Cost and Value
The Neater Feeder ranks as the most expensive feeding system outlined, however for those who suffer from some of the messiest dogs, it can be a lifesaver and save money on food, flooring and time.
8. Loving Pets Bella Bowl
This bowl makes our list of the best for several reasons. It is well made, simple, affordable, and straightforward, but also meets all the requirements of a good dog dish. It can be anchored, is completely dishwasher safe, is odor and bacteria-resistant, and is fashionable on top of that. Winning on all fronts.
The Bella Bowl has a stainless steel interior, which is vet recommended, but it also combines fashion with function by adding a cute design to the exterior with a poly-resin finish. In addition, it has a removable rubber base to help anchor it in place so your dog isn’t pushing it around the room.
Don’t worry if you are picky about color or design here. There are several different options to match any home or color scheme. There are also several different sizes so that you can get the one that perfectly fits your pooch.
Cost and Value
This bowl is definitely worth the very small price you pay for it. You won’t even break a sweat if you decide to buy one for both food and water. It’s quite inexpensive but built to last a long time. Nearly everyone who buys this bowl loves and uses it for years. You will be more than satisfied with your purchase here.
9. UPSKY Double
Anyone who has a dog knows nobody likes to eat quite like them. Whether it's in their bowl, outside of their bowl or from a hand, dogs love to eat. So why not provide them with something functional yet charming to have in your home. For a functional bowl that won't break the bank consider the UPSKY Double, a double bowl that is not only functional but is sleek enough to appear almost a part of your decor.
As stated above these duo bowls, are so sleek they almost appear as if they are apart of your everyday decor. To further have a sleek feature, this bowl comes in multiple colors so you can choose the best hue that works for you and your pet. Additionally, it features a no-spill construction. The no-spill construction is thanks to having a lifted, W-type design that ensures all the food and water remain inside of the bowl instead of outside. Furthermore, the bowls have four non-slip mats underneath that add extra security to the ground.
Easy to Wash
Constructed out of stainless steel, these bowls are extremely easy to wash as nothing sticks to them. Even wet meals are quite easy to rinse under warm water. Furthermore, these bowls remove neck strain from your pet as their slight elevation enables your pet to feel more comfortable while eating.
Cost and Value
When it comes to the cost and value of this product you are getting quite the bargain. It's an excellent product, made out of quality materials with exceptional features. You are getting the most out of your purchase, with an added dose of duo bowls where you have one item that works for all of your pet's meals.
10. Bone Dry
Maybe you have already tried most bowl designs in your home, and are now looking for something a bit more upscale if so the Bone Dry is the one for you. Showcasing different sizes to choose from the largest being 7.5 inches in diameter and 2.4 inches in height. Furthermore, these bowls are constructed out of ceramic so they not only look better but they’re versatile enough to blend into your decor seamlessly.
One of the best features these bowls have is their convenience. As stated above these bowls are created out of porcelain ceramic meaning they are a bit different than simple ceramic bowls as they’re sturdier. Due to having this feature that has been paired with silicon at the bottom, these bowls are not only sturdy but they don’t move. What this means is once they are placed in a specific spot you are good to go. The bowl will not slip and slide on the floor at all.
Easy to Clean
Everyone knows dogs are messy. Therefore, in order to prevent the mess from happening or sticking to the bowl, these are extremely easy to clean. Not only can you simply rinse them with water but you can place them inside of the dishwasher as well. Giving you an even easier to work with a product that is long-lasting and sleek
Cost and Value
As for the cost and value of this product, it is one the pricier end, just because its one of the higher ones on our guide. However, you are getting two and they do come in a multitude of sizes so its convenience at its finest. Plus how cute are the engraved designs already displayed on the bowl?