It may not be the most glamorous topic in the world, but your pet's food bowl deserves real consideration.
Here's what we look for in a good food dish:
Made from safe materials, like glass, ceramic, or stainless steel. Plastic dishes are OK for occasional use, but can harbor bacteria over time, or break down and leach toxins into food and water. Ceramic bowls should be finished in a food safe glaze, so beware of using a decorative bowl as a food dish.
Birds and small animals like rabbits and guinea pigs should have dishes that are heavy enough not to be tipped, or they should be mounted to a wall or bars of their enclosure. A water bottle is often preferable to a water bowl that can collect food and debris.
Gently rounded sides are preferable to deep, squared corners that can trap food, especially moist food.
Cats typically prefer shallow dishes that leave plenty of room for their sensitive whiskers.
Elevated feeders are more comfortable for dogs or cats with joint problems. However, there are concerns that elevated feeders may cause bloat, a sudden and life threatening condition where the stomach fills with gas and may twist on itself, found primarily in certain larger breeds of dogs. In a 2000 study of bloat in large and giant dogs, 10% of dogs that ate from elevated feeders developed bloat, while only 3% of dogs that ate from non-elevated feeders bloated. While this is only a correlation and does not proved that elevated feeders cause bloat, it is not unreasonable to guess that an elevated feeder may allow a dog to eat faster and swallow more air, actions that may put dogs at risk for bloat. If you have a large dog who would be more comfortable eating from an elevated feeder, particularly if the breed is higher risk for bloat, you may wish to offer a several smaller meals rather than one or 2 large meals, and place an overturned custard dish in your dog's food bowl to slow the rate of consumption.
Posts made after 2/1/2013 written by Kelly. Most older articles written by Cathy. She accepts sole responsibility for typos and bad grammarisms.