bulldog with water bowl beside him

Top five: spill proof dog bowl

Like with us humans, there are neat eaters, and then there are the messy ones. If your dog is a messy eater, you know what it’s like wiping dog food off the wall and the floor. Some dogs may overcome this habit as they mature. For others, messy eating may be related to unhealthy teeth. Be sure to check with your vet if you suspect dental issues may be the cause. Some dogs just love making a mess! Using a feeding mat (or a plastic place-mat under the feeding area) can help reduce clean up time. But, for the really messy ones, spill-proof dog bowls are a must.

What to look for…

A spill proof dog bowl should be heavy & deep

Lightweight metal or plastic dishes are great for storage and travel. But, if your dog can easily push around the dish with their nose they will. With a sturdier and heavier bowl, it is more likely to keep still while Rover is chowing down. A bowl that your dog cannot topple can save you the clean-up time.

For some breeds, a more shallow bowl is recommended. If your dog is very small, or has a flat face, this may be a better option for them. Food is more likely to get pushed out of a shallow bowl, and may drop from the sides. If it is not necessary for your dog to have a shallow bowl, provide them with a deeper one with higher sides.

Slow eating

You should also consider if your dog is messy because he or she is nervous or excited. Does feeding time correlate to when you or your family members get home from their day? Is your household very active and bustling at meal times? Maybe your dog is extremely hungry by the time they have a meal? Could your dog be nervous that his food will be removed or taken by someone else? Often, a messy dog is one who is eating quickly. Eating like a speed racer is bad for digestion, and should be stopped. This could be remedied by feeding more frequent smaller meals throughout the day. You might also want to add some relaxation time into your dog’s daily routine before meals.

If these suggestions don’t seem to help, consider investing in a “slow feeder”. There are feeding stations designed to reduce Fido’s eating speed. Some of these are shaped like a maze or a puzzle. Some also include a ball or object inside the dish, so they have to nose around it while eating. These types of feeders can make a great impact on eating speed, reduce mess, and improve digestion.

The eating area

How your dog’s bowls are set up can make a difference. If water is very close to your dog’s food, they may drop food into the water. If it is too far apart, they may walk to the water while still chewing their food, dropping it along the way. When food is on the floor, even small crumbs, it won’t be long before you have an unsanitary condition on your hands.

For this reason, I like to set up my dog’s feeding station with water and food bowls that sit on a raised platform. Each one rests inside the platform, and they cannot move or get knocked over. The water and food are about 6 inches apart at all times. I also have some placemats around the area, for easy clean up. My dog Thor doesn’t tend to be much of a messy eater, but sometimes he drops small pieces of food around his bowls. 

When you set up their feeding station, it is important to consider your dog’s individual needs. My setup is not appropriate to all dogs, since some sizes and breeds will not do well with a raised bowl. Always keep your dog’s feeding station off the carpet. Cleaning dog food off a carpet is not a chore you want to have. Add placemats or a feeding mat underneath the bowls to protect your floor from spills.

Top Five Spill Proof Dog Bowls

Neater Feeder Express

Neater Feeder Express

The Neater Feeder Express is a feeding station that includes a water and food bowl. This has a small wall around them for easy clean up. It is a very popular option, with thousands of reviews and a high rating. The Neater Feeder has a catch basin for any drips, so water and food won’t get mixed together. Every piece is dishwasher safe, and it is tough to knock over by humans or pets. It is available in a range of sizes, and works for messy cats too. Check price here.

Pros

  • Heavy duty
  • Suitable for indoor and outdoor use
  • Includes two bowls, top and bottom basins
  • Easy to clean
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Affordable
  • Spill proof
  • Kick proof
  • Deluxe version available for larger dogs here
  • Non-skid rubber feet

Cons

  • This version is not compatible with leg extensions to raise the feeding station (but the deluxe version is)
  • Bowls are elevated, so check to make sure this is good for your dog’s needs
  • Shipped upside down, some assembly required
  • No clips or latches so can be difficult to pick up

Hyper Pet SloDog Lick Mat

Hyper Pet SloDog Lick Mat

If high-speed eating is the culprit of your dog’s messiness, a lick mat can help slow them down. The food is housed in smaller compartments within the mat. It can be used for both regular mealtimes and treats. Your pet will be able to see all of their food, and it won’t appear hidden to them as it does with some other mats. This mat can also be used for cats, but it does not include a water bowl. This mat is good for dogs who do not need a raised bowl, and flat nosed breeds. Check price here.

Pros

  • Heavy duty
  • Encourages slower eating
  • Reduces gulping because it encourages smaller bites
  • Slip proof with rubber feet
  • Can work for flat nosed dogs (some slow feeders will not accommodate this nose shape)
  • Can hold up to 2 cups of food
  • Good for small kibble

Cons

  • May be messy to clean if your dog eats wet food
  • Not dishwasher safe

Outward Hound Fun Feeder

Outward Hound Fun Feeder

Available in a range of colors, sizes, and patterns this bowl is definitely fun to look at. It looks like more of a toy than a feeder. This bowl is recommended by vets to prevent bloat. So, if your dog has had this issue in the past or you know that your dog is at risk it might be a good choice. Outward Hound is a very popular dog brand and is well known for its high-quality products. Check price here.

Pros

  • Dogs will eat up to 10x slower
  • Prevents bloat
  • Veterinarian recommended
  • Reputable brand name
  • Fun colors and shapes
  • Allows dog to forage through mazes
  • Non-slip base
  • BPA, PVC, and Phthalate free
  • Holds up to four cups of kibble
  • Improves digestion
  • Top-rack dishwasher safe
  • Compatible with wet, dry, or raw food
  • Best seller

Cons

  • May not suit all dogs nose shapes
  • Not appropriate for dogs who need a raised bowl
  • Does not include a water bowl
  • Dog may take some time to adjust

Lumo Leaf Dog Water Bowl

Lumo Leaf Dog Water Bowl

This water bowl is good for dogs and cats who like to spill water. If you have chosen a slow feeding bowl that does not come with a water bowl, this might be a good option to consider. It has an anti-slip base and a “floor” that does not allow in too much water at once. This bowl is fantastic for travel too, since it won’t spill in a moving vehicle. Check price here.

Pros

  • Anti-slip base
  • Top-rack dishwasher safe
  • Slows down drinking to prevent gulping
  • Good for travel
  • Highly rated
  • Affordable
  • Prevents wet ears and hair
  • Can be used for cats
  • Splash free rim

Cons

  • Dog may still place paw in bowl
  • Not appropriate for dogs who need a raised bowl
  • Dog may take some time to adjust

Pet weighter dog bowl

Pet Weighter Bowl

For larger dogs, or those with joint issues you may need to provide them with a raised bowl. This bowl is suitable for dogs who are messy and need a raised bowl. This bowl is weighted (if you can’t tell by the name…) so your dog will not be able to knock it over. The idea is to fill the base with another material, like sand or water, to make it even heavier (the base can hold up to 28lbs). The highlight of this bowl is that it was designed by healthcare engineers. There are no tough to clean areas where bacteria can thrive. Check price here.

Pros

  • Very hygienic design
  • Good for dogs that need a raised bowl
  • Spill proof
  • Slip proof feet
  • Can detach from base easily to clean
  • Available in a range of colors and sizes
  • Can be used for water or food
  • Bowl will not move, which may slow down eating
  • Easy to assemble
  • Holds up to 2L of water
  • Base can hold up to 28lbs or 13kg of an additional material
  • Great customer reviews
  • Dishwasher safe

Cons

  • Not suitable for all dogs (talk to your vet before using an elevated or raised bowl)
  • Have to fill the base with water or sand

Conclusion

Each of the bowls reviewed here is recommended for different eating needs. To find the best spill proof bowl, try to determine why your dog is a messy eater. If your dog is messy because they are nervous or excited, this is something you may be able to improve by changing the routine around mealtimes. If your dog is messy because of their face shape, long ears, or long nose, some slow-feeder bowls may be better suited to them than others. If they try to knock down their bowls, focus on the weight of the bowl. 

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