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What Are The Safest Dog Bowls Available?

neater feeder express safest dog bowls

When it comes to the safety of your dog’s dishes, not all materials are created equal.

You would do anything for your dog, and the odds are good that when it comes to your checklist of what you need for your pup pal, you consider everything very carefully. However, sometimes, you might think a dog dish is just a dog dish, but your dog’s food bowl deserves just as much consideration as the type of dog food you put into it. Basically, think of it this way, would you eat off of a plate if it could potentially make you sick? Would you eat out of a bowl that might contaminate your food? Of course, you wouldn’t, so why should your best furry friend? 

Did you know that according to the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF), pet bowls are the fourth most germ-filled place in the home? When it comes to dog bowls, not all dishes are created equal, and a big portion of what determines the safety of a dish is its material. Depending on what your pup’s bowl is made of, it might be super easy to clean or an absolute pain to keep sanitary, it can affect the temperature of your dog’s food, it can hold on to harmful bacteria, or it can stay in place or slip-and-slide all over your floor causing a big mess. In other words, the type of dish you get for your pooch matters, and obviously, you want to know which ones are the safe dog bowls, and which are best to avoid.

black dog near neater slow feeder

What Kind of Dog Bowls Are Safest?

You can find pet bowls made of stainless steel, aluminum, glass, porcelain, a number of different kinds of plastic, and a variety of other elements. Here’s a look at which types of dog bowls tend to be the best choice in terms of safety:

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel bowls tend to be at the top of the totem pole when it comes to safe dog bowls. There’s a reason that stainless steel is a go-to for top chefs everywhere. Stainless steel is non-porous, which means it won’t hold onto bad bacteria, plus it is super easy to clean which keeps it sanitary for your pup. 


Silicone dog dishes are a fairly new addition to the pet department, but they are an awesome option, especially if you want to save space. This is because many silicone dog bowls are designed to collapse when not in use. Silicone is extremely heat resistant, easy-to-clean, doesn’t stain, and won’t hold on to yucky odors. 

english bulldog puppy near neater feeder

Which Dog Bowls Are Safe (with a few considerations)


Ceramic bowls are a fairly safe choice, as long as you do your due diligence before purchasing. Ceramic bowls are coated in a glaze, so make sure that the glaze is lead-free and the bowl is certified for food use. Otherwise, this is a good option for a dog bowl, as long as your pooch isn’t a rough and rowdy eater. In other words, if your dog tends to kick his bowl, slide it around, and paw at it, ceramic might not be the best choice. If the bowl gets chipped or dinged, these areas can harbor harmful bacteria, plus your dog is at risk for ingesting any small pieces that might break off of the bowl. 


Glass dishes are safe because they are non-porous, easy to keep clean, and won’t hold on to any harmful microbes or bacteria. However, just like with ceramic dishes, regularly check the dish for chips and cracks, and don’t use it if your pooch eats like a Tasmanian devil.


Stoneware is also non-porous and easy to keep clean. Like ceramic bowls, stoneware dishes also come with a glaze, so you need to make sure the glaze is lead-free and that the bowl is certified for use with food. 


Aluminum is sturdy, durable, and easy to clean, but it can also allow certain substances to seep into your pet’s food, therefore, as with the rest of the dishes in this category, research is key. Ensure that the bowl was manufactured in a safe way, and free from harmful bacteria.

plastic dog bowl

What Are the Least Safe Dog Bowls?

Of course, if there are dog bowls that are the safest choices, then there are also ones that are best left on the pet store shelf. The main material that you need to be extra careful with is cheap plastic. There are dog dishes that are made of very high-quality, BPA-free plastic, that are extremely durable and safe, so you just want to make sure to really do your homework before purchasing a plastic dish. 

When it comes to plastic dog bowls, keep these pointers in mind:

  • Durability

Make sure that the bowl you choose is made from super-durable, heavy-duty plastic so that it cannot be easily scratched or chewed. Small scratches in plastic, sometimes even too small to be seen, hold onto harmful bacteria and organisms that can make your pooch very ill. Plus, if your pup uses his dish as a chew toy, he can swallow small pieces of plastic that can cause serious complications like severe stomach pain or an intestinal blockage.

These chemicals are used in the production of a number of different products, and you don’t need them in your pet’s dish. While we know that BPA can potentially cause several adverse health effects, research is still unclear on the different problems that may or may not be caused by phthalates.

puppy golden retriever inside bowl

What Problems Can Occur from Using an Unsafe Bowl?

If your pup eats from a bowl that is made from a less-than-safe material, he increases his odds of ingesting harmful substances and bacteria that can cause a host of issues, like:

  • Intestinal blockage or choking (if he eats a small piece of plastic, glass, or other material that chipped off of his dish).
  • Picking up an illness from eating germs such as E. coli and salmonella.
  • Lead poisoning (if there was lead used in the manufacture of the dish or the glaze on ceramic and stoneware bowls, this lead can seep into your pet’s food). 

Extra Considerations for Choosing Safe Dog Bowls

Of course, in addition to what your dog’s bowls are made from, there are a few extra considerations when choosing your pup’s dishes. Try an elevated feeder to help ease back and neck strain, aid in digestion, and keep your dog’s eating area neater. 

Also, if your pup tends to be a messy eater or drinker or eats extremely fast, a non-tip slow-feed-bowl is a great option to help your dog slow down and eat at a safer and healthier pace. If you live in a hot climate, then you might want to try a polar bowl for your pet’s outdoor water dish to ensure he doesn’t become overheated. These bowls are designed in a way in which they keep water nice and cool for a long period of time. 

No matter what feeding schedule your dog follows, ensuring that he is eating from high-quality, safe dishes is a top priority. At Neater Pets, we understand that your pets deserve only the best; that’s why we pay extra special attention to all of our products and how they are designed. For more great tips on how to care for your furry family members, make sure to check out the rest of our blog!


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