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Sometimes, it only takes the faintest sound of a food bowl clattering against the floor to bring dogs running. And while it’s true that your dog probably cares more about what you’re serving up instead of what you’re serving it in, dog bowls are an essential part of your pet’s mealtime experience. So what makes a good one?

Dog bowls come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and designs. Some are even ingeniously crafted to encourage slower eating or make travel easier. If you’re in the market for a new bowl for your dog, this sea of options can feel overwhelming. Read on to find some of the best dog bowls available — ones that truly stand out from the crowd — and learn how to choose the best one for you and your dog.

Choosing the Best Dog Bowl for Your Pup

Dog looking in the sun with head tilted

Dog bowls are a necessity, but how do you know which ones are right for your dog? Keep these points in mind when shopping for dog bowls:

Size: Small dogs can drink out of almost any size bowl, though the tiniest toy dog might prefer a smaller bowl with lower sides. Large dogs and giant breeds need the biggest bowl you can find. (These are also nice if you have more than one dog.) If you’re buying bowls for a puppy, consider buying the size you’ll need when your pup is fully grown; otherwise, you’ll be shopping again in a few months.

Material: This matters more than you think. Plastic dog bowls are usually the most affordable, but they are also the least durable. Dogs can easily knock over lightweight plastic bowls. Over time, plastic can become warped, cracked, and even chewed up. Plastic dog bowls are also the least sanitary option because bacteria can grow within tiny scratches on the bowl’s surface. Ceramic dog bowls are more stable and sanitary than plastic, but ceramic is heavy and it can chip or crack if dropped. Bowls made of stainless steel are among the best options. Stainless steel bowls are lightweight, yet extremely durable. They’re also easy to clean and don’t harbor bacteria.  

Appearance: Your dog’s bowl might be in your kitchen or living room, so you may be looking for something that’s not just functional, but stylish, too. Though this consideration is probably the least important, cute dog bowls or bowls that coordinate with your décor are an added bonus.

Extra features: Some bowls are designed to help your dog eat more slowly or more comfortably, and some are ideal for traveling, hiking, or camping. Automatic dog feeders ensure your pup never goes hungry, even if you’ll be home a little late.

How We Ranked Our Favorite Dog Bowls

Dog with dog food bowl

When choosing the best dog bowls, we considered the bowl’s material (plastic, ceramic, or stainless steel), ease of cleaning, and durability.

Plastic dog bowls ranked higher if they were made from BPA-free materials, but stainless steel dog bowls generally ranked higher than plastic. Ceramic is also a good choice, though their physical weight makes them hard for some people to handle, and they are less durable than stainless steel as they can crack or break. 

Because crowdsourcing opinions is always helpful, we also looked at consumer reviews to ensure the majority of those who purchased the product were happy with it. Price point was another consideration. If two bowls otherwise ranked closely, a lower price tipped the bowl into the winner’s circle. 

8 Best Dog Bowls to Consider

Dog looking up with empty food bowl

All featured products are chosen at the discretion of the author. However, Great Pet Care may make a small affiliate commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Best Automatic Dog Feeder 

Our pick: Petlibro Granary Automatic Pet Feeder

Petlibro automatic pet feeder

Automatic dog feeders are helpful for dogs that eat small, frequent meals, or for pet owners who work long hours outside the home. You also can sleep in on the weekends knowing your dog won’t be pestering you for their breakfast. Depending on the size of your dog, the Petlibro Granary Automatic Pet Feeder holds one to six kibble meals. It keeps food fresh, protecting it from moisture and insects. The sanitary stainless steel bowl is detachable and easy to clean. You can program specific meal times or use the manual feeding button to feed on demand. And there’s even a way to record a 10-second personalized voice message to let your pet know when the meal is served.

Highlights:

  • Two sizes: 3-liter capacity (black) and 5-liter capacity (white)
  • Sanitary stainless steel bowl
  • Easy-to-read LED display
  • Dual power supply (USB-C adapter or three alkaline D batteries)
  • Infrared sensor stops dispensing food if food outlet becomes blocked

Things to Consider: 

  • Expensive ($80-$90)
  • Not recommended for kibble larger than .6 inches in diameter
  • Must be taken apart to clean

Best Slow Feeder Dog Bowl

Our pick: Outward Hound Fun Feeder

outward hound fun feeder dog bowl

Dog bowls for fast eaters are designed to force dogs to eat at a slower, safer pace. Gulping down food too quickly can cause dogs to suffer from digestive issues like gas and regurgitation. Dogs who eat too fast may not feel full and end up begging for more food, which can lead to obesity. Special ridges in the Outward Hound Fun Feeder slow feeder dog bowl make dogs slowly forage to get the kibble out. The BPA-free plastic bowl is top-rack dishwasher safe. 

Highlights: 

  • Comes in three sizes (small/tiny, medium/mini, and large/regular) and a variety of colors
  • Non-slip base
  • BPA-free plastic 

Things to Consider: 

  • May be hard to clean by hand
  • Plastic is less sanitary and durable than stainless steel

Best Elevated Dog Bowl

Our pick: Neater Feeder Express Elevated Bowls

Best elevated dog bowl from neater feeder

Elevated dog bowls, also called raised dog bowls, make mealtime easier because dogs don’t have to stoop down and hunch their necks to eat and drink. Elevated dog bowls can also cut down on dropped food and drips on the floor. The Neater Feeder’s removable stainless steel bowls are easy to clean and refill. Dropped kibble is trapped inside the feeding compartment, and sloshed water drains into a catch basin. The medium/large size accommodates an optional Neater Pet Brands slow feed bowl. All parts of the feeder are dishwasher safe. 

Note: Some studies have suggested that elevated dog bowls may contribute to bloat, also known as Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, a life-threatening condition where the stomach fills with air and twists in on itself. Talk to your veterinarian before choosing raised dog bowls for your dog. 

Highlights: 

  • Comes in two sizes (small and medium/large) and two colors (cappuccino and gunmetal)
  • Sanitary stainless steel bowls
  • Contains messes

Things to Consider: 

  • Expensive ($46.99)
  • Must be taken apart to clean

Best Ceramic Dog Bowl

Our pick: Rae Dunn by Magenta Stoneware Medium Dog Bowl 

Stoneware medium dog bowl

Ceramic dog bowls are heavy, so they’re great for dogs who tend to push their bowls around. Ceramic is also easy to clean and more sanitary than plastic. Rae Dunn by Magenta Stoneware Medium Dog bowls are also as cute as they are functional, featuring cute sayings like “Good dog,” “Gulp,” “Slurp,” and “Paws Off.”

Highlights: 

  • 5-cup capacity
  • Dishwasher and microwave safe 

Things to Consider: 

  • Heavy
  • Stoneware can break or chip if dropped or banged

Best Dog Bowl for Large Dogs

Our pick: Yeti Boomer Dog Bowl

Yeti large dog bowl

Large dog bowls are essential if you have a large or giant dog breed, but they can also work well for smaller dogs or multi-dog households. Like Yeti’s high-quality drinkware, the brand’s Boomer Dog Bowl is made from double-wall, non-insulated stainless steel that’s dishwasher safe, making it durable and easy to clean. The bowl holds 64 ounces of water and features a non-slip ring on the bottom so it stays put. The stylish Boomer bowl is available in nine colors.  

Highlights: 

  • Holds 64 ounces of water
  • Made of durable and sanitary stainless steel
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Non-slip grip
  • Attractive design

Things to Consider: 

  • Expensive ($50)
  • May rust over time

Best Dog Bowl for Small Dogs

Our pick: Dogit Double Diner Stainless Steel Dog Bowls

Dogit stainless steel dog bowls

Small dog bowls with lower sides are easier for tiny dogs to access. Perfect for toy breeds and small dogs, the Dogit Double Diner Stainless Steel Dog Bowl Set is two bowls in one. This attractive set features a small footprint, so it’s compact. And bowls stay put, thanks to non-slip rubber feet. The stainless steel bowls are removable and dishwasher safe.

Highlights: 

  • Sanitary stainless steel bowls are dishwasher safe
  • Non-slip base
  • Available in four colors (pink, blue, black, and white)

Things to Consider: 

  • Bowls hold a very small volume (5.4 ounces and 11.8 ounces)

Best Personalized Dog Bowl

Our pick: ​​Wild One Personalized Bowl

Wild one personal bowl

Made of food-grade stainless steel, this sturdy yet stylish dog bowl can be personalized with your choice of words and cute emojis like chicken legs and paw prints. Happy customers report that the bowls don’t slide around, thanks to a non-slip silicone base, and find that they blend in nicely with their home decor, rather than being an eyesore.

Highlights:

  • Food-grade stainless steel bowl 
  • Available in three colors: black, tan and spruce
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Non-slip silicone base
  • 4-cup capacity

Things to Consider:

  • Personalization is an additional $10 and can add up to 3 days to standard shipping times
  • There is a limit of up to 26 characters
  • Personalized bowls can’t be exchanged or returned

Best Travel Dog Bowl

Our pick: Prima Pets Collapsible Travel Bowl with Carabiner

Prima collapsible travel dog bowl

A travel dog bowl is great for long car rides, camping trips, hiking, or playtime at the dog park. The lightweight Prima Pets Collapsible Travel Bowl collapses down into a small disc and even comes with its own carabiner, so you can clip it to your belt or bag while out and about. This accordion-style bowl made from food-grade silicone is top-rack dishwasher safe. It comes in 1.5-cup and 5-cup capacities and four colors (blue, purple, pink, and grey). 

Highlights: 

  • Collapsible
  • Lightweight
  • Dishwasher safe

Things to Consider: 

  • Thin silicone may tear if handled too roughly

Dog Bowl Hygiene Tips

Washing and care dog bowl photos of soaking in soapy water

Clean your dog’s bowls properly to help them last longer and ensure they don’t harbor dangerous bacteria and mold. Wash food bowls and water bowls daily using hot, soapy water. Then thoroughly rinse and dry the bowls with a soft kitchen towel, or allow them to air dry. Alternatively, you can place bowls in your dishwasher (check first to make sure the bowls are labeled dishwasher safe). For automatic feeders, wash the bowl daily and clean all washable components according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

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