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This leads to the question, which is the best bowl? Is there even a best bowl for dog food?
Naturally, some of them, such as personalized bowls, are a matter of preference. Others may have a significant impact on health. For example, some research relates elevated dog bowls with bloat. On the other side, for a dog with arthritis, an elevated bowl might be just what they need. When it comes to health-related decisions, it’s better to involve a vet to determine on a case-by-case basis.
But what about the rest of the time? Plastic bowls should be food grade, but even then, they can eventually become difficult to keep clean. Not to mention, some dogs may chew on their bowl. Stainless steel can be a good choice but preferably only high quality, as there is a risk of lead in cheaper bowls or issues with rust.
My first dog was a shar-pei/pit rescue, and I purchased stainless steel bowls for her because they were the largest of the options at that moment and seemed the easiest to keep clean. As more dogs were added to the household—ones I was babysitting; strays waiting to find their forever home; and new permanent members of the pack—I continued to purchase more of the same bowl without much thought. I wasn’t fond of their appearance, but they got the job done.
After a while, as the stainless-steel bowls had run their course, I set out to find new bowls for all the furry creatures. This time, I wanted ones that were both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
I settled on ceramic for the next round of dishes. Some of the benefits of ceramic are that they are durable; they are heavy and so are less prone to sliding or rocking; they’re microwave and dishwasher safe; and of course, they come in a variety of colors and patterns.
The one major con of ceramic bowls is that they may chip and those damaged parts can harbor bacteria. Also, much like stainless steel and plastic, consumers should check that no lead has been used (in this case, in the glaze) and that the bowl is food grade.
Stoneware versus Ceramic
One thing that is important to know is the difference between ceramic and stoneware, as both terms will come up while searching for ceramic dog food bowls. Ceramic is a general term that refers to several kinds of pottery, such as stoneware and earthenware. Stoneware is fired at a high temperature, which makes it more durable than other kinds of ceramic.
During my search for ceramic dog food bowls, I found a few that I loved. I’ve listed them below. Though I did verify they were established, reputable brands, every dog parent should decide for themselves what is acceptable beyond that.
One of my favorite styles of ceramic dog bowls comes from the brand Waggo. This is one of their bowls in the “Dippers” series. These come in a variety of colors including mint, rose, and midnight blue. Most of the reviews on these are great, with the only major complaint being some broken upon arrival.
Another great style is from Jonathan Adler. This one has a Terrazzo pattern, with the option to add a coordinating mint colored silicone sleeve on the bottom that can be used as a lid. The reviews on this one are good all around, though I prefer it without the silicone sleeve.
This Mudcloth pattern from Fringe Studio is simple but lovely. Inside, on the bottom of the bowl, is the phrase ‘best dog.’ What’s not to love?
Note: If you aren’t familiar with the history and origins of the mud cloth pattern, this is a great article to read.
Surprisingly, marble patterned dog dishes are a little more difficult to find than I expected. Here is a set from Bone Dry.
The Ethical brand dog dish is stoneware, but it comes in seriously limited styles and colors. Also, I can’t find anything that makes them more ‘ethical’ than the other brands, though perhaps I overlooked something important. As far as I can tell, that is just their name. However, at the time of writing, they had over two thousand reviews on Amazon and averaged 4.6 stars.
Last but not least, the ever-popular Rae Dunn, now with dog dishes. They come in the signature white with simple phrases such as ‘Slurp’ or ‘Boss’ on the front.
Which of the ceramic dishes are your favorite? Let us know in the comments!