Best Bowl For Your Dog

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What type of bowl is best for your dog?

Pet bowls come in all different shapes, sizes, and materials, but which type of bowl is the best for your dog? Trigger warning, this article contains some information that may gross you out and cause you to immediately buy new food bowls. While it may come as a shock, according to a study by the National Sanitation Foundation, your animal’s bowls are the fourth dirtiest place in your home (right after your toothbrush holder, gross!). So to keep your animals safe and healthy here is some information you should know to help you pick out which bowl is best for your dog and keep them playing all summer long.

Different Bowl Materials

Animal bowls are primarily made from four materials: plastic, ceramic, glass, or stainless steel.

Plastic BOWLS

Never, ever use plastic bowls. They easily scratch and those scratches harbor bacteria and germs. While not as common in “for human use” products, cheaper “for pet use only” plastics may contain harmful chemicals such as BPA.

In addition, some plastics contain a chemical called pbenzylhydroquinone which causes Plastic Dish Nasal Dermatitis. This disease inhibits the development of melanin in your dog’s nose and causes it to turn pink and splotchy.

Ceramic BOWLS

Ceramic is cleaner than plastic but has its downsides. Certain glazes may contain lead. Make sure to pick a bowl that is clearly labeled as “lead-free, food-grade glaze”.

Bowls made of ceramic can be easily broken, chipped, or scratched. After it sustains damage, it needs to be replaced.

Ceramic may also contain higher levels of bacteria than glass or stainless steel. According to a 2018 research study, though ceramic may not scratch as easily, it can develop biofilms that more readily harbor E. coli, salmonella, and MRSA.


It is easy to clean and free of any worrisome glazes.

Glass bowls are common in homes and relatively cheap.

Most glass can be washed in the dishwasher, which eliminates harmful bacteria.

Glass is heavier and can easily break or chip. Any time it is damaged, it will need to be replaced to avoid injury.

Stainless Steel BOWLS

Stainless steel is light, easy to clean, and very durable.

It can be put in the dishwasher and will last a lifetime if well cared for.

Even the largest of dogs will have a difficult time causing any sort of damage, saving you additional dollars in the long run.

Which is best?

Stainless steel is overwhelmingly considered the best material for your pet’s bowl. However, be sure that it is good quality steel. The bowl should be made from food-grade stainless steel (listed as 304 or 18/8 stainless).

A few quick things to look for:

  1. Is the quality of steel listed?
  2. Can it go in the dishwasher?
  3. Be sure it is not labeled as “for pets only”.

If you find that it’s labeled for “pets only” or “non-dishwasher safe”, that’s probably an indicator of low-quality steel, which can contain lead. So do your research and you’ll end up with the best bowl for your dog!

Wash hot, wash often!

If not properly cleaned, stainless steel bowls can develop mold and bacteria. A common bacteria that grows after a few days of non-cleaning is Serratia marcescens. It shows up as a pink film and is harmful. You should wash your pet’s bowls daily with either hot soapy water or in the dishwasher. This will help ensure that any bacteria or mold is thoroughly cleaned away.

A good rule to remember is this: if it’s not clean enough that YOU would drink or eat from it, then it’s not clean enough for your pet. Be safe and happy eating!!!


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WANT more pet health information?
Check out these other blogs by rover-time!

The Health Benefits of Owning a Dog

5 Reasons You Should Play With Your Dog

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Rover-Time’s Tips, Tricks, and Gear for Better Walks!


Brock Casper is the Southwest Region Team Manager for Rover-Time and has been part of the RT team for over two years. He lives in Cleveland with his partner, Laurel, dog Loki, and cat Coltrane. 

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