As doting pet parents, we make sure that our furry friends have everything they need for optimal quality of life, including food and water, toys, shelters, kennels, crates, collars and leashes and even clothing. However, when it comes to providing our pets with the appropriate bowls for eating and drinking we often don't think beyond the cutesy packaging and designs. Picking the right bowl for your pet can make your pet's meal time not only more enjoyable, but also safer and healthier, too.

Peter Piper Picked a Pepper… Pet Bowl

Did you know that there's an assortment of food and water bowls to choose from that will suit every pet's lifestyle? Just as a chef selects the proper kitchen utensils and cookware, to serve up the tastiest cuisine, pet parents must also select a food and water bowl appropriate for pet's age, size, digestive health and activity level, among other factors. While there are a variety of bowls to select from, we will focus primarily on five types of bowls, including stainless steel, plastic, ceramic, elevated and automatic feeding options.

Stainless Steel Pet Bowls

If you're looking for a long-lasting pet bowl that will endure tugging, scratching and everything in between, a stainless steel bowl is a perfect selection for your pooch. A great food bowl to enhance your pet’s meal time comes from Petmate’s Stainless Steel bowl collection. Most of these bowls provide non-skid bottoms so your pet can enjoy its meal without sliding all over the floor. These bowls are also wonderful for pets of any age and size.

Plastic Pet Bowls

Plastic bowls are an inexpensive option for new pet parents. These bowls are typically offered in an array of colors and designs, which makes them visually appealing while providing your pet with an affordable, basic bowl option. Some plastic pet bowls are available as self-dispensing gravity dog feeders, which replenish food at the pace your pet eats. Although plastic bowls are not long-lasting like the stainless steel options, they’re great as “starter bowls” and often lightweight enough to tote for road trips.

Ceramic Pet Bowls

In search of one of the easiest to clean pet bowls, ceramic bowls are the top choice! These bowls are ideal for pet parents on the go; the ceramic coating makes the bowls easy-to-clean and most bowls are dishwasher-safe. If you choose this option, however, you will have to inspect the bowls regularly for cracks. If you notice any damage to these bowls, discard them immediately for your pet's safety.

Elevated Pet Bowls

One of the newest trends in pet food and watering merchandise includes the elevated pet bowl. Elevated bowls are excellent for pets of all ages, including puppies to senior adults. There are even elevated dog feeders designed for multiple life stages to grow along with your dog. The elevated design typically includes two bowls – one for food and one for water. The bowls can be constructed from ceramic, plastic, or stainless steel. The Petmate Easy Reach Diner Elevated Dog Feeder is an excellent choice as it eliminates joint and back pain that is often associated with standard or basic pet bowls. One of the benefits of purchasing this type of bowl is that it provides your pet with optimal comfort while eating, thus preventing gastrointestinal problems according to experts.

Automatic Pet Bowls

Another pet feeding option making waves includes the automatic pet bowl systems. The automatic feeding and watering systems are truly a win-win for both pet and busy pet parent as they allow for continuous feeding and watering as your furry friend gets hungry or thirsty throughout the day. Thanks to these automatic feeders, you no longer have to worry about beating rush hour traffic to ensure your pet gets his dinner on time. However, if you’re like most pet parents diligently trying to monitor your pet’s weight and food intake, you might want to skip filling your pet’s food chamber entirely, especially if you'll be away for a while. Or if you choose to go with Petmate's GAMMA2 Nano Automated Pet Feeder, you can adjust your pet’s food portions!

Choosing the right bowl for your pet should be a part of your regular pet product shopping experience. Once you understand how your pet interacts with his food, you'll be better equipped to select the best bowl! Bringing home a new puppy? Check out these essential items.

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