Aug 29, 2010

Advice About Dog Bowls - Plastic or Stainless Steel? Which is Better?

Sam's ChristmasImage by tpetriep via Flickr
Your new dog will need dishes of his own, and the selection you’ll find for such a basic need may be your first introduction to the vast world of pet goods. You can spend as much as you want on basics like bowls for kibble. But what does your new pooch really need?
Dog bowls come in different sizes and are made from materials including stainless steel, ceramic, and plastic. You’ll find fancy dishes in pet boutiques that can cost as much as a place setting of china. Discount stores and pet supermarkets carry a host of bowls for dogs. Pace yourself on some of these initial purchases, especially for puppies. As they grow, they will require larger feeding dishes, different collars and leashes, bigger toys, the list goes on. Spend prudently in startup essentials. A sturdy stainless steel bowl may be your best investment.
Stainless steel bowls are completely safe from chipping, which may lead to your dog ingesting sharp shards that scratch, cut, and damage his mouth and digestive system. Just as people are cautious about certain plastic drinking bottles because of their potential to leach toxins, you should also consider your dog’s health when choosing eating and drinking vessels. Your dog will not get sick one day out of the blue because of a plastic dog dish. But over time, he will be better off by drinking from stainless steel, which has no reported leaching risk factors. Plastic bowls are acceptable for dry food only.
Buy bowls that are sized for how large your dog will be full-grown. This way, you will save yourself the expense of buying new bowls as he grows. Bowls should be sturdy and heavy enough so as not to topple over when your dog is enjoying his meal.
Always place food and water dishes in the same place. Choose a spot that is not in a high foot-traffic area, but is visible and easy for your dog to access. You don’t want to hide food and water dishes, but you also do not want to trip over them. Protect the floor with a vinyl placemat so food and water that slops out of dishes can be easily cleaned up (see Create Personalized Paw-Print Placemats tip.). To provide ergonomic eating conditions for your larger dog, and avoid neck-craning to reach down into bowls, consider a feeding system that positions bowls at nose height. (Learn to make a Dog Feeder tip.)

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