What Size Dog Bowl Should I Buy?


What size dog bowl should I buy?

This seems to be a very common question faced by many dog owners.

For some pet owners, simply slapping on some food or filling a bowl with water is adequate pet care giving according to their thought process.

However there’s more to just feeding your dog then just giving them some food on a plate and calling it a day.

The size and type of dog bowl used when feeding or hydrating your dog actually is very important both for your dog’s well being, and also for saving you money down the line.

So then you might ask again, what size dog bowl should I buy for my dog?

The simply answer is it depends.

Here are some things that will help you determine the exact size dog bowl to purchase for your pet dog:

Size of the Dog Bowl

fat dog without a dog bowl

A lot of dog owners typically get this wrong and instead opt for a much larger dog feeding bowl then is necessary.

This then leads to a problem whereby the dog owner feels they aren’t feeding their dog enough due to the size of the bowl, despite giving the dog the proper portion sizes.

What happens next?

The owner overfeeds the dog and over time the dog gains weight and potentially even becomes obese.

Then there’s the size and height of your dog that comes into the equation.

Giving your dog the incorrect size dog bowl to eat and drink out of will mean that large dogs will need to hunch down when consuming food or even have difficulty accessing the food, while smaller dogs will need to reach further down their bowls to eat their food.

Both of these can overtime lead to a breath of health problems such as neck and back pain to name a few.

A dog food bowl typically should be no more than the size that allows your dog’s snout to comfortably eat and lick their food but no more.

Also another thing to take into consideration is that dog water bowls require a different set of parameters for your dog. This is another dog bowl selection error that a lot of dog owners often times get wrong.

Water is one of the most important nutrients for your pet dog, yet dog owners typically place more importance on the dog food bowl rather than the dog water bowl.

What ends up happening is the dog is given a giant food bowl while a significantly smaller dog water bowl is used for providing water to their dog.

Unlike a dog food bowl where you only want to give the dog enough room to eat their food comfortably, a dog water bowl should be at least twice the size of a dog feeder bowl.

In addition to selecting the proper size dog bowl, you should also consider portion sizes when feeding your pets.

Always follow manufacturer instructions when feeding your dog, as each food item will contain different calories thus yielding different size portions for your dog.

Failure to do so, will lead to either an excess of calories or insufficient nutrients for your dog’s diet.

One last thing to consider is whether or not your dog will grow.

A properly sized dog bowl today may not be suitable for your dog in the next 3-4 years after them have grown several inches tall.

You may need to purchase another new dog bowl for them when the time is right.

Depth of the Dog Bowl

dog drinking out of dog bowl

In addition to how large or small a dog bowl is, one must also consider the depth of a dog bowl.

Small dogs usually struggle eating out of dog bowls that are too deep. Deep dog bowls force the dog to go all in and expend unnecessary energy when trying to eat their food. Instead opt for a shallow dog bowl that gives easier access to the food.

Likewise, large dogs require deeper dog bowls to allow them to retrieve the food. Shallow dog bowls don’t give their snout and mouth much room to retrieve the food.

In addition, dogs with long ears such as Beagles benefit from deep dog bowls that reduce the chances of their ears from getting into their food. You may also opt for dog bowls with tapered sides as well. These are extremely helpful for preventing their ears from ever getting into their dog bowls.

Type of Material

dogs eating food

Now that we know how to select the proper dog bowl size for our specific breed of dog, its important to consider the type of material used in a dog bowl.

Different types of material used in the construction has both advantages and disadvantages.

Here are several types of dog bowls you will typically see out in pet stores and online:


Plastic dog bowls have been on the market for quite a long while now. They usually are the cheapest of the bunch and are easy to carry and bring along due to its lightweight.

However, plastic dog bowls are prone to being scratched, and even breaking. This makes it easy for bacterial to seep into the dog bowl, making it very hard to disinfect and clean.

In addition, in case the plastic dog bowl breaks, your dog is at risk of consuming some of the plastic.

Then there’s the issue of BPA being used in the manufacturer of dog bowls. This typically isn’t an issue however, if your opting for a more well made dog bowl from a reputable manufacturer.


Like plastic dog bowls, ceramic dog bowls have also been on store shelves for a while now.

Unlike plastic dog bowls, ceramic dog bowls are much more durable and not easily broken. These dog bowls are also relatively cheap and easier to clean then plastic as well.

The issue with ceramic dog bowls unfortunately is that if they do get chipped then bacteria can get deep inside of the dog bowl, making it very difficult to sanitize.

Stainless Stain Metal:

Stainless stain bowls are known as the gold standard when it comes to dog bowls.

These dog bowls are extremely durable and can last an entire life time if proper care is taken.

In addition, they are dishwasher safe and easy to clean.

They however do cost a little more than plastic and ceramic, and some dogs with known metal allergies are unable to use them.


Silicone dog bowls are a relatively new dog dish to make it out to the market.

Some of the advantages of silicone dog bowls are that they are lightweight and portable. They can easily be folded up and taken with you when traveling around. In addition, they are durable and chew resistant. The dog bowl’s height can also be adjusted to a certain extend, and the dog bowls are affordable.

The only issue however is whether or not the material silicone itself is safe for dogs.

There hasn’t been too much research on silicone dog bowls thus far, therefore you are taking a risk with using it. However, people who have used it have praised silicone dog bowls and there are more than plenty of positive reviews online about them.

Types of Dog Bowls

stainless stain dog bowl

Just like the type of material used in the manufacturer or dog bowls, there are also numerous different types of dog bowls on the market to serve different needs.

Elevated Dog Bowls

If you have a large tall dog, then elevated dog bowls make the most sense.

Elevated dog bowls are essentially a dog bowl that has been raised to make it easier for large tall dogs to eat their food.

This helps prevent issues like neck strain, back pain, exacerbating joint pain and arthritis.

Also because the dog bowl is elevated off the floor, it prevents the dog bowl from sliding when a dog is eating.

And lastly, it prevents a dog from playing with their dog bowl when there is water inside such as splashing it and making a mess.

Slow Feeder Dog Bowls

Slow feeder dog bowls were designed with one thing in mind…

Training your dog to slow down their food consumption.

There are numerous benefits to training your dog to eat slower.

These include things like:

  • Improved digestion when consuming their food
  • Reduces bloating and gas
  • Reduces the risk of gastric dilatation and volvulus (gdv) or twisting of your dog’s stomach. This is a serious health problem that needs to be treated immediately by a vet.
  • The risk of choking is significantly reduced with slow feeder dog bowls. Since your dog isn’t wolfing down the food left and right, but instead has time to chew their food and slowly let it go down their throats, the chances of choking have been reduced tremendously.
  • Helps your dog maintain a healthy body composition and prevents overeating. We all know how quickly dogs can devour their food. Seeing our dog quickly finish their meal in seconds, sometimes prompts us to put more food down on their bowl. With a slow feeder dog bowl, you can help your dog exercise portion control and prevent overeating.

Heated Water Bowls

Like food, water is a very important nutrient for keeping our dogs healthy and happy.

However, getting our dogs to drink out of a water bowl, especially when outdoors or in the winter time can be a challenge.

This is one of the main reasons why heated water bowls hit store shelves.

Heated water bowls essentially keep your dog’s water bowl from getting too cold.

This is especially useful for dogs that are outdoors a lot and drink from the water bowls outside or in countries with insanely cold winters like Canada or Norway.

Nowadays heated water bowls come in two varieties, corded and cordless which use batteries.

These dog bowls are also excellent to bring along for camping trips too.

Tapered Dog Bowls

These tapered dog bowls were designed specifically for dogs with long big ears.

Think Beagles or Bloodhounds.

Dogs with big long ears sometimes get their ears into the dog bowl thus causing a big mess.

With these tapered dog bowls however, they make it so that only your dog’s snout and mouth can go into the dish and nothing more due to the design of the dog bowls.

Automatic Dog Feeder Bowls

Finally we have the automatic dog feeder bowls. These automatic dog bowls work by having timed intervals throughout the day where the feeder dispenses a little bit of food for your dog to eat.

There are two variations of it, one using electricity while the other relying on gravity. The advantageous of the electrical version includes being able to time and program when the food will be released for the dog. They also help with portion control, and also modifying your dog’s eating patterns and behavior.

Their perfect for dog owners that are busy and aren’t home a lot and will keep your pet dog well fed while your away from the house.

These dog bowls however cost quite a bit more than traditional dog bowls, sometimes upward of 6-8 times as much, especially if your looking for a larger fancy one.


Picking the right size dog bowl for your dog is an often overlooked aspect of proper care giving for your pet dog, however it makes a world of a difference for them.

In this article we examined the rationale behind giving our pets the right size dog bowl and how to pick the right size dog bowl for our dogs.

In addition, we looked at several different aspects when selecting a dog bowl, such as the depth of the dog bowl, the type of material used in the manufacturer of the dog bowl, and various types of dog bowls.

Hopefully after reading this article you should have a sense of what type of dog bowl will be suitable for your dog and also the importance of having the proper size bowl for your pet.

Let me know in the comments before what type of dog bowls have worked well for your dog.

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