From dishes to feeders and fountains, setting up an appropriate feeding station for your dog is essential to good health and vitality. Here’s how to do it!
Many pet parents mistakenly believe that any old food or water bowl will suffice when feeding their dog. Truth is, the assortment of dishes and feeders available is as vast and varied as the assortment of dogs – and the right dish for one dog could be totally wrong for another.
When dog owners choose a dish based on how nice it will look in the kitchen as opposed to how well it meets their dog’s needs, they’re actually doing their dog a disservice. Selecting the right dish, feeder, or fountain can help slow a dog that eats too fast, provide a proper feeding schedule to one on a restrictive diet, or encourage a dog to drink healthy amounts of water when they otherwise may not get enough.
Consider the following when setting up a proper feeding station for your unique dog:
Food & Water Dishes
When shopping for food and water dishes, think about the type of dog you have, the diet he or she eats, and any issues you’re hoping to overcome. Many pet parents don’t realize that different dogs actually require different bowls. While short-nosed breeds will benefit from a shallow dish, long-eared dogs will avoid dragging their ears through their food with a deeper dish, and an older dog may benefit from an elevated diner that relieves pressure on their joints when bending down to eat.
In addition to selecting the right style dish, different types of food will be better served in bowls made of different materials. While a stainless steel dish is a great all-around option for a variety of foods, a plastic bowl or one made of a porous material like ceramic may not be appropriate for raw or canned food as they can break down over time, becoming more difficult to clean and sanitize.
And, picking the right food and water dishes can solve problems many dog owners deal with at mealtimes. Dogs that are especially sloppy (and their owners) will benefit from a spill-proof dog dish, like the Neater Feeder. Dogs that tend to eat too fast can be easily slowed with a slow-feed bowl or puzzle dish. And, large or senior dogs that can’t bend as easily will benefit from an elevated dish.
For more guidance in choosing the appropriate bowl for your unique dog, check out this guide to Choosing the Right Dog Food Bowl (Yes, it matters!).
If you work long hours, are away from home during feeding times, or if your dog needs to eat several small meal throughout the day, consider investing in a feeder. Feeders work by holding a large quantity of food in a gravity-fed reservoir and releasing the food into a bowl as the dog eats. While these feeders make it easy to provide access to food at all times, a gravity feeder may not be the best option for all pets, especially those that tend to eat until the food is gone, not until they feel full.
For better control over the quantity of food your dog eats and the times of day he’s fed, opt instead for an automatic feeder. Automatic feeders allow you to program several measured feedings throughout the day, at scheduled times, making them an excellent tool for pet parents that are away from home, but want to provide several healthy meals throughout the day. Many veterinarians and animal nutritionists agree that, just like humans, dividing food into several meals is both healthier for the dog and helps to prevent upset stomach, gas, and obesity so common in dogs that are given one or two large meals a day.
Using an automatic feeder can also be effective in slowing a dog that eats too fast.
Providing your dog with access to clean, fresh drinking water at all times is an absolute must. Proper hydration is essential to good health. And, just as you wouldn’t want to drink from a glass of stagnant water that’s been sitting around all day, your dog will also prefer refreshing, cool, clean water throughout the day.
A pet water fountain is the best way to provide the fresh water your dog prefers, particularly if you use local city or well water. Dogs are very sensitive to the chemicals we add to our water supply, so invest in a fountain that filters the water, keeping it pure, cool, and free of dirt and debris. Water fountains are available for both indoor or outdoor use, and can include carbon filters, activated charcoal, and even UV filtration systems.
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