Does Dog Bowl Size Matter?


With so many different dog bowl options out there nowadays, its tough to decide what size dog bowl to get for your dog.

Should you just opt for an all around dog bowl hoping it will be sufficient or should you spend a little more time researching the subject to select the perfect dog bowl size for your dog?

We all know about the importance of feeding and hydrating our dogs, while providing them with exercise and affection but does dog bowl size matter at all?

This seems to be one of the most common questions dog owners have when it comes to selecting and buying a dog bowl.

The short answer to this age old question is yes, it does matter!

and here’s why:

Consequences of Using The Wrong Bowl Size

different dog bowl size

In the past, dog owners would get whatever dog bowl they could find lying around to feed their dogs. This may not have been the best solution as research has come to light in recent years.

Bowl size and height can play a much more significant role then you would have imagined.

Selecting an overly big dog bowl can not only make eating difficult for smaller dogs, it can also increase the risk of pet obesity due to larger portion sizes being offloaded into the dog bowl.

Still, selecting the incorrect dog bowl size can also contribute to a wealth of health problems such as neck strain, back pain, and even eating such as giving a large dog a small dog bowl to eat out of.

Short vs Elevated Bowls

If your dog is tall and big, having him eat out of a small dog bowl will be quite the challenge for him. He may even injure himself and strain his neck muscles.

Elevated dog bowls should be used for dogs that are taller in stature while small dog bowls can be used for smaller breeds of dogs or puppies as it gives easier access to food.

Dogs with certain medication conditions such as arthritis, joint pain, or even mobility issues will also benefit from elevated bowls as it puts less stress on their joints.

Older dogs suffering from joint issues or back pain will also welcome the elevated dog bowl.

How to Determine The Right Size Dog Bowl

black dog trying different dog bowl sizes

How do you know your using the right size dog bowl for your dog?

Here are a few suggestions:

A dog bowl should be just the right size so that your dog can grab their food and eat it without it being overly large. They should be able to comfortable lick and devour their food. This means they should be able to stick their nose and mouth comfortable into the dog bowl without having a lot of excess space left over.

For example: a large dog bowl would be completely overkill for a small Shih Tzu whereas a Great Dane would struggle eating out of a tiny dog bowl.

One other thing to consider is that your dog will require a different size bowl as they grow.

A small dog bowl is perfectly fine when your dog is still a tiny puppy, but once they start growing and towering over that dog bowl, its time to make a trip down to the local pet store to pick up a new larger dog bowl.

If your looking to cut costs and know that your dog will eventually grow bigger and taller, it may be a wise choice to choose a dog bowl that has an adjustable height.

Shallow vs Deep Dog Bowls

silver dog bowl with dog food

Here’s another consideration when deciding on what size dog bowls to purchase for your dog.

For puppies, try to opt for a shallow and broad dog bowl instead of a deep dog bowl. Puppies will struggle to out of deep dog bowls because their legs aren’t quite tall enough to reach down to fetch the food.

These types of dog bowls are most suitable for small to medium breeds such as a Yorkshire Terrier and Beagles.

Since the bowls are shallow, reaching down to the bottom of the bowl is relatively easy for these dogs without running the risk of causing neck strain or putting pressure on their throats.

For larger dogs such as a Dalmatian, you’ll want to instead opt for a deep dog bowl as it allows for easier access to their food, without fear of it sliding away.

If your dog has big large long ears then you may also want to consider steep sided rather then the flat sided dog bowls with tapered sides.

The design of these dog bowls allows for a narrower top and side configuration with the dog bowl slanting inwards. The dog bowls are also much deeper compared to the regular deep dog bowls.

Dogs such as Beagles, Bloodhounds, and Black and Tan Coonhound will fall in love with these types of bowls as it makes eating a piece of cake while allowing their large ears to avoid getting food all over them, which means less cleaning for you as well!

Short ear dogs don’t have this issue therefore shallow bowls will get the job done for them.

One Final Tip

It’s recommended that before deciding on what size dog bowl to purchase for your dog, to pay a visit to a pet store and try out different size dog bowls with your dog.

Simply place the dog bowl in front of them to test out whether or not the size is appropriate for them.

If your still unsure about what dog bowl size to get, its best to ask a sales associate at the pet store for further assistance.


Lots of dog owners think that using any dog bowl is suffice when feeding or giving water to their dogs, however this is not the case, and in fact may be aggravating and contributing to any health issues they may have.

These include arthritis, joint problems, mobility issues, and even obesity and weight gain.

In this article we looked at why certain dog bowls are more suited for certain types of dog builds.

Elevated dog bowls for larger dogs, and small non-elevated dog bowls for smaller breeds of dogs and puppies.

In addition, we discussed the size of the dog bowl and why it matters.

Large deep dish dog bowls make it easier for large dogs to eat out it while minimizing sliding whereas smaller shallow dog bowls are best suited for smaller dogs due to ease of access to food.

However, large dog bowls require strict portion control on the side of the owner as to prevent overeating and possibly weight gain and even obesity.

In addition, we discussed why dogs with large ears will benefit from steep sided dog bowls. Not only is access to food much better, but it helps keep their ears clean but also prevents their ears from getting into the food and causing a mess.

Lastly, we talked about how to determine the perfect dog bowl size for your dog by paying a visit to a pet store and trying out several different dog bowls.

Although we put a lot of effort into feeding our dogs and ensuring they have the proper nutrition, we often times neglect to realize that dog bowl size plays a big factor in the quality of life for our pets.

Using the correct dog bowl can make quite the difference towards maintaining the happiness of our dogs and their health.

Let me know in the comments below what type of dog bowl sizes you use for your pet dog.

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