Traditionally, dogs ate out of a simple size appropriate bowl. Now there are many different types of bowls available. Bowls come in a variety of colors, different materials ranging from ceramic to stainless steel and even different styles. Some kinds of dog bowls have more than just an aesthetic benefit. Certain types of dog bowls can actually help enhance quality of life in certain breeds of dogs.

Dog Feeders

Dog feeders are bowls attached to a small to medium storage compartment. Food is put in the compartment and it falls down into the feeding bowl. When the dog eats, food falls from the compartment into the bowl, replacing the food the dog has eaten. Dog feeders have the benefit of allowing a dog a steady supply of food while preventing large amounts of food from going stale. This is a good type of food bowl for small breeds of dogs that need a constant supply of food available to them. Small breeds, like teacup chihuahuas, teacup poodles and smaller yorkies, can develop hypoglycemia if they go too long without food. Hypoglycemia can be dangerous and can lead to seizures, coma and even death. Overweight dogs or dogs that tend to gorge themselves on food aren’t good candidates for dog feeder bowls.

Elevated Dog Bowls

Elevated dog bowls are bowls that are placed in a raised bowl holder. The bowl holders typically stand three to twelve inches off of the floor, though some may be higher. Elevated dog bowls allow dogs to eat without putting excess pressure on their backs and hip and knee joints. This makes elevated dog bowls a good choice for dog breeds prone to back problems, knee problems and hip dysplasia. Akitas, Belgian Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Old English Sheepdogs, Siberian Huskies and Vizslas are just a few of the breeds that may benefit from the use of elevated dog bowls. A study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association found that elevated food bowls can increase the risk of bloat in at-risk breeds, such as Great Danes, German Shepherds and Saint Bernards. Thus, raised food bowls shouldn’t be used in breeds prone to bloat.

Slow Feed Dog Bowls

Slow feed dog bowls are stainless steel bowls with a raised dome in the center. The dome is the same height as the top of the bowl. The food is placed in the space around the dome. The dog must eat around the dome, which causes it to eat more slowly. Slow feed dog bowls are good for large and extra large dog breeds prone to bloat. According to the Purdue University Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory, high speed of eating is a major risk factor for bloat. In bloat, a dog’s stomach dilates extensively. The dilation can cause the intestines to twist, causing intestinal obstruction. Bloat is always fatal without treatment and requires immediate surgical intervention. Slow feed dog bowls, along with small meals, can reduce the incidence of bloat in at risk breeds.