Guide to Choosing the Best Dog Food Bowls

You might not think your dog is much of a fussy eater if they devour their food from just about any surface. However, a dog’s bowl is pretty important. Even if your pet is only at their bowl for a short while, it needs to be kept clean and hygienic to avoid any health problems. For example plastic bowls can become breeding grounds for germs, which makes your choice of dog bowl really important. Your choice of dog bowl is also going to have to vary widely depending on breed. If you’ve got a Jack Russell an elevated dog bowl isn’t going to be much of a problem, although this isn’t exactly the case with a Great Dane!

how to choose the Best Dog Food Bowls

What type of food your dog eats is important for keeping them healthy, but so is your choice of dog bowl. Even outside of the effects of different materials on your dog’s nutrition and health, a dog bowl has to stand up to some punishment. It has to be the specific size to fit your breed and strong enough to deal with potential accidents. You also need to be able to clean it quite easily, since dogs aren’t exactly the cleanest eaters!

Between all of this, there is a lot to consider when choosing a dog bowl. There isn’t an exact perfect bowl that suits every pet. Each pet will likely require a slightly different type of bowl. However, there are some important criteria that you should keep in mind when you’re looking for a dog bowl.

What to Keep in Mind When Choosing a Dog Bowl

A lot about your choice of dog bowl is going to depend on preference. Although these are the main criteria you should judge them on to ensure your preference is a good choice.

Material Quality

The quality of the dog bowl is really important. Something flimsy might break. This can lead to shards in your dog’s food. Scratches to plastic or cheaper metal can become breeding grounds for germs. Some metal bowls may even rust, which can be quite dangerous when mixed with food or water. You have to keep the quality in mind when choosing a dog bowl.

Hygiene and Health Concerns of Dog Bowls

When you’re choosing a dog bowl, hygiene is also important. A bowl that isn’t easily washed can fester with bacteria. Some dogs can even become allergic to plastic. You need to keep this stuff in mind when choosing a dog bowl.


If you use a dishwasher, it is important to check if the bowl is dishwasher safe. If not, you still want something that can be easily cleaned without scratches developing. Dogs aren’t particularly hygienic by their own choice, sometimes they need a bit of help.

If you occasionally microwave some hot food for your dog, such as rice when they have a bad stomach, then you’re going to need one that is microwave safe.


The size of your dog bowl has to correspond with the size of your dog! Dogs come in all shapes and sizes, and bowls have to match this if they’re going to fit in a whole portion.


You do have to keep the visual appearance of the bowl in mind too! This includes it looking nice. However, this also means a type of bowl that your dog is going to use without making a mess. Something that won’t smash if tipped over is also important.

Double Dog Bowls Stainless Steel with no-spill station
Double Stainless Steel bowls with no-spill station
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Plastic Dog Bowls

Plastic dog bowls are typically the first bowl most owners pick up when they get a puppy. They seem good enough and are easily available. However, out of all of the types of dog bowls plastic really is the worst. A lot of dog owners go for plastic bowls since they are believed to be the cheapest. However, higher quality dog bowls are available at around the same price. Plastic bowls are simply the most accessible. This is a bit of a problem since they aren’t really great for your dog.


The first problem with plastic is how easily they become unsanitary. If your dog scratches inside the bowl or manages to bite the bowl while eating, a small crack will occur. Once these cracks are there, they start to become infested with germs. This will make any meal your dog has out of these bowls a lot less sanitary than it should be.


Scratches in plastic bowls are an accident waiting to happen when you’re feeding a dog in them. On top of this, the bowls themselves aren’t the best. Plastic dog bowls aren’t the most environmentally-friendly choice. Even single-use plastic that is used for a long time is a lot more wasteful than using a more reusable and sustainable material for your dog bowl.

The Best Stainless Steel Dog Bowls

Most metal dog bowls aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing, but they get the job done. Stainless steel is a really hygienic material to make a bowl out of, they can be easily cleaned and shouldn’t be easily broken or scratched. This type of bowl is much more hygienic even if it looks a bit utilitarian. They aren’t microwave safe, since they’re made of metal. you can easily use a different microwave safe tub then decant the food into a metal bowl, but be wary of the metal heating up from the hot food.

The type of metal you’re using is going to play a role in the quality of the dog bowl. Stainless steel is preferred since it largely doesn’t rust. Some dog bowls with nickel can cause allergy in pets. You should check the type of metal used in a bowl to ensure it is of good quality.

Stainless Steel Dog Bowl with Rubber Base
Stainless Steel Bowls with Rubber Base
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These metal bowls are very functional and affordable. They have anti-slip grips at their base which should stop them being pushed around despite being quite light. They might not be the prettiest dog bowls, but they’re hygienic, easy to wash, and your dog will enjoy their food all the same.

The Best Ceramic Dog Bowl

Ceramic dog bowls are made from a sustainable material, they last a long time, they are easy to clean, and don’t encourage the growth of harmful germs! Overall, these dog bowls are usually a good choice for your pet.

ceramic dog food bowls
Ceramic Bowls View on Amazon

With ceramic bowls, you also have a lot more options about the design of the bowl. They come in a variety of designs, so it should be easy to find one that suits you. These dog bowls have a relatively simple design but they are functional. They can also be cleaned very easily, so they should be able to handle whatever type of food your dog enjoys.

You will have to find a ceramic a dog bowl that specifically matches the size of your dog, but this is something that will be necessary for any type of dog bowl if you have a dog particularly on the larger or smaller side.

The Best Automatic Water Bowls

Dog bowls aren’t all manual. There are now automatic feeding dispensers that you can get for your dog if you want to not bother with the feeding yourself. These are great for when you’re going to be away from home at your dog’s usual dinnertime. However, you should be careful with these bowls. Some are designed to just keep your bowl constantly filled up. While this works with a water bowl, you shouldn’t do this with food. A dog shouldn’t have constant access to food.

PetSafe Healthy Pet Dog Water Station
PetSafe Water Station
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This is a good choice for an automatically refilling water bowl. It constantly dispenses water up to the level that the spout comes out. You need to ensure you’re washing this bowl enough though that it stays safe. It also likely isn’t suitable for a boisterous dog that may knock it over!

Automatic Dog Food Bowls

Automatic dog food bowls need to be solidly constructed so a dog can’t knock it over. A big dog may make short work of them. This automatic feeder allows you to program in a schedule for your pet’s food and even record voice clips to let them know that it is dinner time! If you’ve trained your dog to respond to a word this can be quite helpful.

Automatic Dog Pet Feeder
Automatic Pet Feeder
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Since dogs can be quite boisterous eaters, the strength of an automatic feeder is really important. These bowls are useful if you’re not going to be at home for lunchtime, but you shouldn’t have to use an automated feeder for every meal. Really, your dog will need you home to feed them sometimes.

Slow Feeding Dog Bowls

Slow Feeding dog bowls are puzzle bowls that encourage a dog to eat slowly. By putting obstacles in the way, a dog can’t get at their food instantly. These bowls might slow a dog down with eating, but they aren’t the best otherwise. Their grooves can make cleaning difficult and they are typically made out of plastic. This gives them the same problems as any other plastic bowls.

Outward Hound Slow Feeder Dog Bowl
Outward Hound Slow Feeder Dog Bowl
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These might be a good option if your dog has a problem with eating too quickly. Otherwise, the drawbacks of them being plastic outweigh the benefit.

Raised Double Bowl Set-Ups

Raised sets of both bowls for dogs may start to look like they have their own little table. This can actually be beneficial for your dog since they’re not stooped over to eat. This set is quite nice and comes in sizes to suit any dog. The main drawback with this arrangement is that there isn’t a single size that suits all dogs, you may have to look around to get one to match your dog’s specific height.

Raised Adjustable Elevated Dog Bowls
Adjustable Elevated Dog Bowls
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What Dog Bowl is for You?

There are lots of different dog bowls available on the market. Although there is plenty of choices available to you, you should choose the bowl that best suits you and your dog. Keeping your dog’s bowl sanitary is a big concern, but so is how it looks. These are all great options to pick from to find a dog bowl that is perfect for you and your pet.

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