Which Bowl? Facts and Advice


June 26th, 2012

When you make a trip to your local pet shop to buy a new bowl, it can be quite daunting looking at all those different styles and dish shapes. The colours, the materials, the size and the depth. Which one for water? Which one for food?

Some pets will think of nothing else but eating up their breakfast or supper whilst others might not enjoy their surroundings or feel a little threatened. The bowl position or even the material of it can cause your pets some discomfort.

Here are a few facts that might benefit your pets eating habits and help you with a decision in bowl selecting.

Cats

Cats wouldn’t quite be the same if they weren’t some what controlling with their surroundings. This rule can also apply to their table manners. Cats are very particular about the type and location of their food and water bowls and sometimes a cats Roadpreference can be confused with fussiness.

The points below maybe worth the read when dealing with an unhappy feline friend:

  • Always use a shallow sided dish. High sided bowls can cause cats discomfort as their whiskers have to bend to fit in the dish. Short faced breeds such as Persians will especially benefit from shallow bowls. Pets Corner stock the Great and Small Cream Cat Dish, which has a resemblance to a soap dish. This is perfect!
  • Separate bowls are preferable to ‘double bowls’; Cats don’t like to have their water next to their food as it can become contaminated with bits of food or odour. Double bowls can be used for cats who eat wet and dry foods.
  • Ceramic, stainless steel or melamine dishes are the best choice for cats. Plastic bowls can absorb odours and deter cats from eating or drinking. Always check bowls for scratches and chips which could harbor bacteria, or hurt the cat’s mouth.
  • In multiple cat households, each cat should have their own set of bowls.
  • Don’t place the bowls in a ‘high traffic’ area of the house where the cat may feel threatened, and ensure the bowls are not placed next to litter trays!

Water

Cats have a low thirst drive, in nature they would derive most of their moisture from the prey they consume. Water is the most important nutrient of all, and many cat owners worry that their cat doesn’t drink enough, the following advise could be benefical if you’re one of these owners:

  • Keep the water bowl away from the food bowls and litter trays as the water can become contaminated with food and odour.
  • Buy a pet water fountain, cats love drinking from running water. Fountains also purify the water, improving taste and health benefits!
  • You can use filtered water, or fill the bowl from an upstairs tap (if you have a cold water tank in the loft) as this will be preferred by the cat.

Dogs

Which is best?

Ceramic, stainless steel or melamine are the best choices for dog bowls. Plastic can harbor smells, is easily scratched (causing bacteria growth), and can be chewed and picked up. Make sure you choose the correct size bowl for your dog; small puppies are likely to trip over or step in a huge bowl.

Great & Small Slow Down Bowl

Slow Down Bowls are designed to stop dogs rushing their food. The food disperses around the three raised peaks, slowing down the rate at which the dog can eat.

The benefits from using this popular choice are:

  • Helps to prevent bloating and flatulence
  • Encourages dogs to chew their food properly, to aid better digestion and cleaner teeth
  • Helps prevent problems associated with bolting – Choking, vomiting, gastric torsion (bloat)

It has a non-slip base, designed for maximum stability, perfect for dogs that like to push their food around, and it’s made from hardwearing Melamine, which is dishwasher safe.

The bowl is available in 3 different sizes – bowls should be bought slightly larger than usual as the peaks take up space and leave less room for food. The peaks are safer than putting stones or balls into the bowl (often suggested) as these items can be ingested whereas the peaks are fixed.

Dogs that eat quickly should be fed smaller amounts more frequently, in order to lessen the need to bolt the food through hunger, and prevent the overload of food in the stomach which can contribute to Bloat. Treat balls and Kongs are also recommended to help slow down food consumption.

In addition, you can feed your dog a larger kibble food or a breed specific food with a different shaped biscuit to slow down them down. Always be sure that you are feeding your dog the correct life stage food, if you’re unsure do not hesitate to have a chat with one of our trained members of staff.

Raised Bowls

The benefits of feeding from a raised bowl are:

  • Raised dog bowls or ‘feeding stations’ have benefits for all ages (including puppies), sizes and breeds of dog, not just the large breeds. They are available in various sizes.
  • Eating and drinking from bowls placed at an appropriate height will aid digestion.
  • Raised feeders minimize the amount of air dogs swallow while gulping and chewing food
  • Help prevent vomiting and choking and reduce the likelihood your dog will suffer from bloat
  • Not having to lean, bend or stretch for food and water contributes to good posture and puts less strain on the dog’s neck, joints and hips, making the dog more comfortable
  • Insects, rodents, dust and dirt are also less likely to reach food and water raised off the floor

Bolting Food

Dogs gulp by nature and if their bowl is low, they will gulp food and air together. The quick swallowing necessitated by the angle causes them to swallow air and makes them more likely to develop stomach bloat and gas, which can be uncomfortable and unpleasant.

Senior Dogs

For older dogs raised bowls are of particular use. As dogs age, just like humans, they can develop joint problems and arthritis. So crouching down to eat can be difficult, and for a large dog it can become virtually impossible. A raised bowl allows the spine to stay more aligned, relieving pain and stiffness. Older dogs are prone to eat less, and they may eat less still if it is painful to do so.

Raised bowls will make older dogs more comfortable and more likely to eat a sufficient amount. Starting a young dog with a proper diet from raised bowls can help prevent joint problems.
Again, if you’re concerned about your dog’s joints then please speak to a member of staff if you would like to learn more about foods and products which contain joint care for your senior friend.

To measure the dog for the correct height when feeding from a raised bowl, measure the height from the shoulder to the floor when standing up and subtract 6 inches. For a particularly small dog, then only subtract 4 inches. Position the bowls to this height.

Road Refresher Bowl

The Road Refresher bowl is a great practical solution for providing your pet with water on the move. It’s also ideal for dogs with long ears or beards. The clever design can reduce slobber by up to 90%.

Road Refresher has a floating plate inside which feeds enough water through for your dog to drink at all times, yet immediately restricts the flow whenever there is a surge of water from cornering, braking, kicking and so on. In addition, the bowl has a Velcro base so fixes carpets, and additional safe fixing pads for fixing the water bowl to most other surfaces.

If you would like more information on feeding and accessories please do not hesitate to visit one of our stores for a chat with a member of staff.

You can find a store near you by looking at our store finder by clicking here.