Choosing the right dog bowl is not always as simple as it may seem. Between the shape and material of the bowl, your dog's build, appetite, and any potential behavioural disorders, there is a multitude of criteria to take into account. However, finding a dog bowl that suits your furry friend is important for optimising their meals and digestion.

What Type of Dog Bowl: Stainless Steel, Ceramic, or Plastic?

One of the first criteria for choosing a dog bowl is the material used to make it. Please note: Whichever material you choose, all good dog bowls should be supported by a rubber base that stops it from moving while your dog is enjoying their meal.

👉 Ceramic Dog Bowls: The Best of the Best

For both eating and drinking, large, flat ceramic dog bowls are perfect for any dog.

The Pros:

  • Generally quite heavy, which means they're more stable

  • Easy to clean

  • Limit contact allergies (lesions on your dog's lips)

  • Do not affect the taste of food or water

The Cons:

  • Fragile

  • Often not equipped with a non-slip base

👉 Plastic Dog Bowls: Practical but Short-Lived

Lightweight and easy to clean, these are the most commonly used bowls.

The Pros:

  • Lightweight

  • Easy to clean

The Cons:

  • Often a source of contact allergies

  • Plastic tends to retain odours, so the level of hygiene is lower

  • Fragile - easily scratched or chewed

👉 Stainless Steel Dog Bowls: More Pros than Cons

A very suitable choice for any dog, these dog bowls have many good points.

The Pros:

  • Do not denature the food or water

  • Lightweight

  • Often equipped with a non-slip base, which helps to stabilise the bowl

  • Easy to clean

The Cons:

  • Over time, the stainless steel may lose its quality and shine

What Shape of Dog Bowl?

Depending on your dog's breed and build, as well as their specific physiological needs—most importantly, the size of their mouth of course!—the shape of your dog bowl is something that needs to be taken into consideration. For example, for dogs with long drooping ears, a pyramid-shaped bowl with high edges will help prevent their ears from dipping into their food or water!


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Slow Feeder Dog Bowls: A Good Solution?

For large or even giant dog breeds, or greedy dogs who simply eat too quickly, we strongly recommended that you try to slow down the speed of ingestion to avoid digestive issues (vomiting, gas, diarrhoea, etc.). This is especially important to prevent any risk of stomach twisting in certain sensitive dogs, e.g. large dogs who are predisposed to this pathology.

A twisted stomach—scientific name Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)—is highly dangerous and even fatal. "Slow feeder" dog bowls, "fun" dog bowls, or dispenser toys can be a great solution for this. They force your pooch to search for their food and thus ingest it much slower.

Here are some examples of slow feeder dog bowls:

👉 The Maze Dog Bowl (Slo-Bowl)

The quintessential slow feeder dog bowl. The dry dog food is hidden in the grooves and little nooks and crannies... so finding and eating it becomes a challenge for your dog and turns mealtimes into a fun game.

👉 The Fun Dog Bowl (with Studs or Hollows)

The same principle: greedy dogs will have to navigate their way around the obstacles to get to their dog food.

However, these types of slow feeder dog bowls can also make fussy dogs sulk at their bowl and even ignore it for no apparent medical reason, just out of sheer weariness.

👉 Food Dispenser Toys

Food dispenser toys, like the Kibble Nibble or Kong, can be filled with dry dog food or treats (cheese, homemade meatballs, etc.). They force your dog to work for their food. These can replace a slow feeder dog bowl and be left at your dog's disposal all day long.

A Clean Dog Bowl is a Healthy Dog Bowl!

Whichever dog bowl you choose, be sure to clean it every day, or even after every meal for more sensitive doggies. Good hygiene will prevent the growth of mould and bacteria that could contaminate your dog's food and cause digestive issues or allergic reactions.

Is it Possible to Feed My Dog Without a Dog Bowl?

Out in the wild, dogs obviously don't eat from bowls! They spend their days exploring and foraging for food, which forces them to use many of their physical and cognitive skills. Reverting to this type of natural feeding behaviour could be a good idea if you need to tackle certain behavioural problems, such as boredom and subsequent destruction, and the diseases they can cause, for example, obesity in sedentary or bored dogs.

To implement this type of feeding routine, we recommend using meal-dispensing toys instead of a dog bowl. Dispensers encourage your dog to play, use their brain, and "hunt" for their food. Slow feeder dog bowls are good for this, too. You can also feed your dog during training exercises, through rewards that reinforce positive behaviour (see our recipes for simple, healthy dog treats).

Another method consists of dotting your dog's dry food around their living space, for example, on a “snuffle mat” or sprinkled around the room. This compels them to use their sense of smell to find their food, just like out in the wild! This is beneficial for all dogs as it allows them to utilise one of their most natural skill sets.

However, the most important thing is to always respect your dog's wishes and ensure they enjoy their mealtimes. There is no one right way to feed your dog; choose the option that works best for you and your furry friend!


By the Hector Kitchen medical and scientific team


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