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Picking the Right Dog Food Bowl

By: Dr. Amy Wolff

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If you're looking for a bowl for your precious pooch, you're in luck! Dog bowls are available in many colors and styles. Finding the bowl that's right for your pet should be easy if you stop to consider a few factors before you shop.

It may be that your only concern in selecting a bowl is color and style. Plastic and ceramic bowls come in an array of colors and often have decorative patterns. You can even have your dog's name inscribed or painted to personalize his bowl. Ceramic bowls are porous so make sure the surfaces are sealed and easy to clean. They are more fragile than other types and will break if they are accidentally dropped. Plastic bowls are durable and easy to wash but some pets have skin sensitivities to plastic food bowls. If your dog's nose and mouth look red, irritated or crusty, check with your veterinarian to rule out an irritation to plastic. This problem should clear up once the bowl is changed.

Stainless steel is a good choice for food and water bowls, and comes in the widest variety of sizes, widths and depths so you can find one to suit any type of dog. For very tall breeds, or those pets that are limited by arthritis or degenerative joint disease, try serving dinner on an elevated bowl stand. These stands come in different heights so that food and water can be reached without having to bend down to the floor. This eliminates the need for your pet to strain his neck, back and elbows when he eats or drinks. Another version of an elevated feeder contains a compartment for food storage. This doggy diner is actually constructed like a bench. The top of the bench contains the food bowls and is hinged to provide a storage compartment for your pet's food and treats, all in one tidy space.

If your dog can be trusted not to gobble every morsel of food he sees, an automatic feeder can be a time and space saver. A large amount of dry food is placed in the container, inverted and secured to the serving dish. As your pet eats from the dish, the kibbles are replenished to keep the bowl full. A similar version of this dish is used for water as well, using a 2-liter plastic bottle as the reservoir. A more sophisticated version of this type of automatic feeder is one that contains an electric timer. You pre-set the timer to deliver a measured amount of food into your dog's dish. This is a great system if you have a pet that needs to be fed at a certain time of the day. A word of caution, automatic feeders should not be used with pets that have weight problems.

Do consider your dog's anatomy when you buy a bowl. If you have a big dog that pushes his dish around trying to get every last morsel, try a weighted bowl that won't slide around the floor or tip over. You may also need to get a larger sized bowl to accommodate his size. Dogs with long narrow noses like collies or Afghan hounds will have an easier time with a deeper bowl. Dogs with shorter faces like pugs, Boston terriers and bulldogs will find it easier to eat from a shallow bowl.

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