You put a lot of time and energy into researching the healthiest pet foods for your fur child. But did you ever stop to think about what you’re serving it out of? Truth is, some cat and dog food bowls simply aren’t safe. And what good is a high-quality kibble if it’s just going to be contaminated when it hits the dish?
From plastics that can leach chemicals to stoneware that might harbor bacteria, we single out the worst offenders and show you the best pet food bowls for mealtime.
Are Plastic Bowls Poisonous?
Not exactly, but they are problematic. Plastic pet food dishes should be your last choice when feeding your fur friend. Not only are they a veritable chew toy for teething pups – can you say emergency vet – they’re also porous, creating the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Even if you wash them often, plastic food and water bowls are known to contain harmful chemical compounds like BPA and Phthalates that can seep out over time (especially when exposed to heat).
Safety of Ceramics and Stoneware
These typically have moderate to low risk levels – that is if you do your homework. Before you buy the bowls make sure they were fired with a lead-free glaze and are certified for food use. You’ll also want to watch for chips and cracks, especially around the edges. These unglazed areas perfect places for bacteria to develop. Plus, any rouge pieces create a potential choking hazard.
If you’re worried about your dishes, the only way to completely rule out an issue is to get them tested. It’s also important to watch for symptoms of lead poisoning. According to the Environmental Working Group, you may notice mood swings, impaired intellect, or memory loss initially. Over time your pup may also experience infertility, nerve, joint and muscle disorders, skeletal or renal issues, or kidney and cardiovascular problems, all the way up to cancer.
Best Bowls Overall
Paws down, the safest pet food dishes are of the stainless steel or silicon persuasion. They’re non-toxic, non-porous, and non-leaching. These durable darlings are also super easy to sanitize with hot water and mild soap. Both are dishwasher safe, too, so if you have a spare pair, feel free to throw them in with your next rinse cycle.
Keeping Clean and Other Considerations
It’s a good idea to at least rinse your pet food bowls once a day. If they eat wet cat or dog food, give them a good suds after each meal. Run them through the dishwasher at least once a week for a proper cleaning.
Place no spill mats underneath to catch dribbles or drops and keep the bowls in place as they eat. You may also consider an automatic feeder if your schedule is unpredictable or you work long hours. Notice your pet eating a little too quickly? A puzzle or slow feeder bowl is a great way to help them slow their roll. Just make sure to put it through the same material considerations mentioned above.
In short, if you’ve been picking pet food bowls based on aesthetics and pretty patterns alone, you might want to reconsider. Turns out, pets aren’t just what they eat, they’re also what they eat out of.