How Safe Is Your Dog’s Bowl?

dog food bowls

You put a lot of thought into what goes into your dog’s food bowls …

… but do you ever stop to think about the bowls themselves?

You can find dog bowls made from plastic, stainless steel, even bamboo. But do you know which is safest for your dog?

Here’s the low-down on 4 of the most common (and yes, I'll tell which one we like best!)

Plastic Dog Bowls

dog food bowlsPlastic is one of the most commonly used materials for dog bowls, but it also happens to be one of the most dangerous. Why? Plastic can easily get scratched and cracked. This creates great hiding places for harmful bacterial. Pieces can also break off and become choking and digestion hazards for your dog. This is especially true if you have a chewer on your hands!

We also know that plastic leach traces of dangerous chemicals. These might include Bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates and even lead. These chemicals can end up in your dog’s food and water ...

Studies show a scary connection between BPAs and:

  • impaired brain function
  • reproductive disorders
  • heart disease
  • liver toxicity
  • cancer

Laboratory studies have linked certain phthalates to birth defects and cancer. And lead poisoning can result in a long list of scary symptoms. Joint and muscle disorders, heart problems, memory loss and cancer are just a few.

Certainly not all plastic bowls present these risks, but why chance it?

Stainless Steel Dog Bowls

dog food bowlsWhile perhaps a bit plain to look at, stainless steel can be a solid choice for dog bowls. These bowls are durable, easy to clean and rust-resistant. And stainless steel is non-porous. So it's unlikely that harmful chemicals will leach into your pet's food and water.

But there is one potential danger to be aware of.

In 2012, there was a case of stainless steel bowls that contained low levels of radiation. Store owners removed the bowls from their shelves. The manufacturer assured customers that the bowls didn’t pose a health risk. But it’s worth keeping in mind.


Ceramic Dog Bowls

dog food bowlsCeramic bowls can be an attractive choice for your dog. And sometimes you can even work with an artist for a custom design. These bowls are also easy to clean and are difficult for eager eaters to tip over because of their weight ... But you have to be very careful about which ceramic bowls you choose and how you take care of them!

First of all, make sure the label on the bowls says they're safe for food. The entire bowl—not just where food and water will sit—should have a coating of a quality, lead-free glaze. Lead and other harmful chemicals found in certain glazes can leach into your dog’s food and water.

Dog bowls made from ceramic can also chip and crack if they aren’t handled with care. So, if you’re using bowls made from these materials inspect them often. You dog may eat the small pieces, and harmful bacteria can grow in exposed nooks and crannies.

Bamboo Dog Bowls

If you like the playful look of plastic bowls but want a safer and more durable option, consider bamboo.

Bamboo bowls—which is a real tongue twister!—are a great option for both your dog and the environment. If you haven’t seen a bamboo bowl yet, you may be picturing a tiny tiki hut. But these bowls are sleek, modern, and they come in a variety of shapes and colors.

Bamboo is chemical-free and a 100% renewable resource. And dog bowls made from this material are biodegradable. You can rest assured they won’t sit in a landfill for 100 years after they’ve served their purpose in your home.

We are definitely fans of this option!

What's The Best Dog Bowl?

So, what's the verdict? Bamboo bowls get out vote. Not only do they look great, they're the safest option for you pup (and the environment)!


Daniella D'AlimonteDaniella Ingrao has been a writer for over a decade, and a dog lover all her life. Her work has covered a broad range of topics from active and environmentally-conscious living, to international business and real estate development. But her passion lies in researching and writing interesting and informative content intended to help her readers (and their furry best friends) live their healthiest, happiest lives.  Daniella lives in the Niagara Region with her partner and their two children—one of whom has fur!

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