chocolate lab dog drinking water

Top five: best dog water bowls

Dog water bowls seem so simple, but the selection part can be a bit tricky. For a first-time dog owner, you might think that any old kitchen bowl will do. Once you try it, you might find that your dog moves it around. The water may spill, or the bowl puts them in an uncomfortable posture. Getting the best water bowl for your dog is important. It will help to enhance their everyday feeding experience. You put thought into buying your dishes, and your furry friend deserves the same.

Factors to consider when shopping

taller dog = higher dog water bowl

The first factor to consider is your dog’s height. Discuss with your veterinarian if a raised bowl is the best option for your dog. Reaching down to drink water or eat food may be unhealthy. It creates pressure on their spine and neck, and over time can lead to joint issues. A raised or elevated bowl can help to prevent this. For these breeds, a raised bowl may be ideal. So, a bowl that is too high up for your dog can cause them to reach up. This can be uncomfortable and contribute to future joint issues too.

Some dog breeds are more prone to joint problems (such as arthritis) as they age:

  • German Shepherds
  • Golden Retrievers
  • Labrador Retrievers
  • Dachshunds
  • Newfoundlands
  • St. Bernards
  • Rottweilers
  • Mastiffs
  • Great Danes

There is controversy surrounding elevated and raised bowls. Some dog owners believe that elevated bowls increase the risk of the dreaded bloat. Bloat is a dangerous and potentially fatal condition with many risk factors. There is a connection between bloat and elevated dog bowls. Take a look at one scientific study that has circulated on the internet. Although it is only one study, it is a large one. More research is needed to confirm this evidence, but it’s not worth the risk. Do not use a raised bowl without first discussing it with your vet.

Messy Eaters

Another factor to consider is how messy your dog is. Some dogs love making the biggest mess when they chow down. You may find food or water on the wall or floor around their feeding area. This can create unsanitary conditions. Plus, it’s annoying to always have to clean it up. If this is the case for your dog, consider a feeding station or water bowl with a plastic floor and walls around it. In general, these stations are easy to clean and may even be dishwasher safe. There are many products available today designed for messy pets.

Facial features

Determining if you should buy a shallow or deep bowl is all about your dog’s nose shape. Smaller breeds, puppies, and breeds with short noses (like pugs and bulldogs) need a shallow water bowl. The opposite is true too. The longer the snout, the deeper the bowl. Being thoughtful in the selection process can make a difference in the comfort of your dog.

When selecting your water bowl, you will also want to consider ear length. Some dogs, such as basset hounds, have very long and floppy ears. This can make drinking uncomfortable: no one wants wet ears. If this is the case for your pup, a bowl with a narrow opening and a wide base is a good option. 

Travel & Outdoor activities

If you spend a lot of time being active with your dog, you will want a portable water bowl. I recommend finding something that suits your dog’s facial features, and that is easy to pack. Some dogs prefer softer, nylon bowls, and some are okay with using the silicone type. If you need something more sturdy, consider a silicone collapsible bowl. If you worry about being the most lightweight packer possible, nylon is a better option. Your dog may take some time to get used to this type of bowl.

Water quality & availability

Ensuring your dog has safe and appealing water at all times may be easier with a fountain. If you would not drink the water in your home unfiltered, your pets should not either. Of course, you can filter the water before filling your dog’s water bowl, or use spring water. If this applies to you, consider switching your dog’s bowl to a water fountain with a built-in filter. This might make refills more time-efficient for you.

Is it difficult to refill your pup’s water often? If your schedule makes it tough to ensure freshness, a water fountain is a great answer. Most of them have a larger reservoir than a bowl and some means of circulation. This requires less frequent filling than a traditional bowl.

Dogs should always have access to water that is fresh, but also cool in temperature. If you live in a hot climate or have a home that is usually kept at a warmer temperature, this can be a challenge. There are water fountains available that ensure your dog’s water is cool at all times.

Top 5 dog water bowls

YML 10-Inch Black Wrought Iron Stand with Single Stainless Steel Feeder Bowl

YML 10-Inch Black Wrought Iron Stand with Single Stainless Steel Feeder Bowl

If you are shopping for an elevated bowl, there are many available to add a decorative element to your space. Discuss with your vet and measure to find the appropriate height for your dog. This one has an iron stand for a sophisticated look.

Pros

  • Dishwasher safe
  • Easy to clean
  • 2.5L capacity
  • Stainless steel
  • Lightweight
  • Available in different sizes
  • Sturdy
  • No sharp edges
  • Bowl is replaceable by any 10” bowl (if needed in the future)

Cons

  • Not suitable for dogs at high risk of bloat
  • Not suitable for dogs who push around their bowls
  • Will need to be on a flat area
  • Recommended to have a mat underneath to enhance sturdiness

PetSafe Drinkwell Zen Stainless Steel Dog and Cat Water Fountain

PetSafe Drinkwell Zen Stainless Steel Dog and Cat Water Fountain

If you are shopping for a water fountain, this one has stellar reviews. This brand makes many fountains, but this one is the quietest. It will help filter your pet’s water, and keep it cool and fresh. Prices may change over time so you can check the price here.

Pros:

  • Large enough to use for many pets (including cats)
  • Quiet
  • Holds a lot of water (1 gallon)
  • BPA free
  • Customer service phone number available
  • Constant circulation prevents bacterial growth
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Options of different types of filters
  • Reputable brand
  • Power cord 5 1/2ft long

Cons:

  • Filter must be changed manually and regularly
  • Replacement filters must be purchased
  • Cleaning all parts may be time-consuming
  • If it is not cleaned correctly, may make noise
  • Assembly required
  • Large size
  • Must be plugged in at all times

Outward Hound: Port A Bowl

Outward Hound: Port A Bowl

This is an excellent lightweight travel bowl, that is great for an active dog. If you are camping, hiking, or jogging, you can clip this on to a bag or stuff it into a pocket or pouch. I recommend having a water bowl like this even if you are not doing many outdoor activities. It’s great for visiting others and taking day trips with your dog. Check price here.

Pros:

  • Very affordable low price
  • Folds flat
  • Dries fast
  • Nylon is tear-proof and lasts long
  • Easy to wash in hot water
  • Can be used for food and water
  • Lightweight
  • Suitable for dogs requiring a deep bowl

Cons:

  • Requires a flat surface to be placed on, not always easy in the outdoors!
  • One size only may not be suitable for all dogs

Collapsible bowl and water bottle set

Collapsible bowl and water bottle set

If you are shopping for a portable bowl, consider this set. Your dog may need something a little sturdier than the lightweight nylon above. They may be a messy drinker, or you find it difficult to find a flat surface in the outdoors. In this case, a silicon type bowl is a good option.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • BPA free
  • Includes water bottle and two bowls
  • Many colors to select from
  • Includes carabiners to clip onto your pack or leash
  • Dual chambers to carry food and water
  • Leakproof
  • Lightweight
  • Bowls are suitable for dogs requiring shallow bowls

Cons:

  • Unclear if dishwasher safe (use your own judgment)
  • Will need extra water/food for larger dogs
  • One size only may not be suitable for all dogs

Road Refresher No Slobber, No Spill Dog Water Bowl

Road Refresher No Slobber, No Spill Dog Water Bowl

This bowl is ideal for the very messy drinker or a dog with long floppy ears that get wet when drinking. This one has a “floating floor” that slowly lets in more water and large sides. It is sturdy and with a smaller top and wider base.

Pros

  • Three sizes available
  • Travel friendly
  • Secure lid
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Large water reservoir
  • BPA free
  • Does not need a flat surface: fine in a moving vehicle
  • Velcro pads beneath it to secure bowl
  • Cuts down on chin/jowl dribble
  • The base is weighted, so more difficult to knock over

Cons:

  • If your dog is prone to putting their paws in the bowl, can still get messy
  • Some reviewers found lid difficult to remove for cleaning
  • Some reviewers found dogs thought the bowl was empty since it only allows some water to be visible at a time
  • Dog may take time to adjust if they are used to a traditional bowl

Conclusion

Different dogs need different bowl types. Always consider the individual needs of your dog when selecting a water bowl. Consider your lifestyle. Ask yourself if you need a portable bowl and one for your home.  My number one choice for at home is PetSafe Drinkwell Zen Stainless Steel Dog and Cat Water Fountain. It keeps the water cool and fresh. It is suitable for a wide range of dog breeds. They can drink from the deeper parts of the bowl or from the shallow fountain part. It also encourages hydration, since dogs love running water. The best dog water bowl for your dog may not be the same as it is for others.amazon associates

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