Can Dogs Be Allergic to Metal Bowls?

Disclaimer: I am not a vet, medical professional, or an expert on pet medical conditions. If you suspect that your dog has a medical condition, its advised to seek professional medical help from a licensed professional.


Metal stainless steel dog bowls seem to have developed a reputation as the gold standard and go to when deciding on what type of material a dog bowl should be made out of.

It then comes as a complete shock when dog owners find out that their dog is having issues either eating or drinking out of the metal dog bowl. Things get even more bizarre when their pet dog start showing signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction.

So the question arises now as to can dogs be allergic to metal bowls?

The simply answer is yes!

and here’s why.

Dogs With Metal Allergies

sign with metal bowls

Nowadays dog bowls can come in a variety of different makes and models. Just visit your local pet store and soon you’ll be astonished by the sheer amount of dog bowl options at your fingertips.

Dog bowls are usually made out of either plastic, ceramic, or metal, with a strong preference for metal due to its durability, ease of cleaning, and reliability.

However, some dogs unfortunately possess metal allergies and are allergic to common metals such as nickel.

Nickel is often times used in the manufacturer of stainless stain products, so stainless stain dog bowls would be no exception.

When a dog with an allergy to nickel comes into contact with it either through skin contact or food consumption, an allergic reaction is almost certain.

Common Signs and Symptoms of a Metal Allergy

Here are a list of some of the most common signs and symptoms of a dog possessing a metal allergy:

  • Highly itchy skin
  • Redness in the skin
  • Lesion formation around the body
  • Skin irritation
  • Fur loss
  • Bumps forming
  • Uncontrollable non-stop scratching
  • Ear infections
  • Chewing and biting the areas affected


metal dog bowls

The typical causes of a metal allergy in dogs comes down to the following scenarios:

  • Excessive production of antibodies within the dog’s body reacting with the metal molecules causing an inflammatory response hence the redness and itching. Histamines are usually released from the body to fight with the “invaders”, in this cause the metal molecules.
  • Skin contact with the metal especially around the mouth and jaw when your dog is consuming their food or water. Also toys or objects that you dog touches will trigger an allergic reaction as well.
  • Ingestion of the metal eg, either from the dog bowls themselves or from metal leaking over to the food from the can.

In addition to the metal dog bowl, dog collars made out of metal may also cause an allergic reaction such as severe itching and redness when it comes into contact with the dog’s skin.

Usually dogs don’t develop a metal allergy until later on, after having come into excessive repeated contact with the metal.

Diagnosing a Metal Allergy

To diagnose whether or not your pet dog has developed a metal allergy, you should visit your local vet and get a professional examination. A process known as cutaneous cytology will be used to gather scrapings or smears of lesions that may have formed on your dog for further examination.

During this examination, vets look for mites, fungal spores, bacterial infections, and anything else that is wrecking havoc on your pet dog. Blood samples may also be taken to dig deeper into the cause of the allergy.

The vet will then perform a skin test to rule out whether or not the allergy is a contact allergy or a food allergy caused by an intake of metals to see if its consumption related.

if its consumption and food related then you will need to do a thorough examination at home and check if their is anywhere where metal could be getting into your dog’s food such as from the cans housing the dog food, dog bowls, toys, etc.

What to Do About It?

food and water metal bowls

Once you’ve gotten a clear diagnosis from your vet and that your dog is in fact allergic to metal then you can apply these simple modifications to your pet’s lifestyle to reduce the risk of any future flair ups.

One of the quickest and easiest ways to fix a metal allergy problem for your dog is to simply eliminate it from your dog’s environment.

In this case, it means swapping out metal for a different type of material such as plastic or ceramic dog bowls.

Each one of these types of dog bowls do come with pros and cons, so you will need to weigh out what is more important for you and what you can live with.

Plastic dog bowls tend to be a lot cheaper compared to metal bowls, however they can get scratched easily and be a haven for bacteria.

Ceramic dog bowls on the other hand, are much more durable, but cost a little more. Unfortunately they too can get chipped and damaged. Cleaning is also more difficult with a ceramic dog bowl.

In addition to plastic and ceramic dog bowls, silicone dog bowls seem to be making its way onto the market.

These silicone dog bowls are usually non-toxic and bpa-free, collapsible and portable, and durable. If you do a lot of traveling with your dog, then these would be a great option. In addition, a lot of them are heat resistant and don’t retain odors. There’s no more worrying about smells floating around in your house with silicone bowls.

The only problem with silicone dog bowls is that they aren’t stiff and hard. This makes it easier for food to fall out and even have the dog bowl flip over.

Last but not least, disposable dog bowls are also getting popular with dog owners that don’t want to spend a lot of time washing their dog bowls. These are usually made out of biodegradable material and are non-toxic, and non-allergic to dogs.

In addition to swapping out metal dog bowls with another type of dog bowl, your vet may also prescribe your dog some medication depending on their diagnosis such as corticosteroids and antihistamines to help reduce the inflammation and allergic reactions that they are experiencing.

Lastly, any toys or objects that your dog is most likely to come into contact with possessing any traces of metal will unfortunately have to be removed and kept away from your dog.


Trying to figure out what exactly is causing an allergic reaction to your dog can be considered a feat in and of itself. However, once you’ve nailed it down, you can now take the proper steps towards ensuring your dog never has to suffer another allergic outbreak like this again.

These include switching up the material used in the manufacturer of dog bowls such as plastic or ceramic dog bowls.

In addition, eliminating all traces of the substance causing the allergic reaction as best as you can, can have a profound effect on the quality of life of your pet dog.

Although stainless steel metal dog bowls are considered the gold standard, sometimes, mistakes are made in the manufacturer of stainless steel dog bowls and other harmful substances are added in by accident.

In other cases, shortcuts are taken to maximize profits while delivering an inferior product.

This is why its always best to only purchase high quality stainless stain dog bowls to prevent any potential metal from leaking out such as nickel that can cause an allergic reaction in our dogs.

You know the old saying right?

“You get what you pay for.”

It’s also important to train your dog to eat properly and not try to hack away at their metal dog bowl to prevent metal from seeping out.

If your dog has started to show signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction to metal, its best to pay a visit to your vet to determine whether or not your dog has developed an allergy to metal.

Let me know in the comments whether or not your dog has a metal allergy and what sort of things you did to help manage the metal allergy?

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