Why Use a Dog Feeding Station?

As you watch your dog gulp down its dinner, consider the expression “wolfs down its food.” Your dog, its relatives, and all of its distant wolf ancestors have at least one thing in common: They love to eat. At mealtime, you are your pet’s waiter, busboy, chef, and cleanup crew all rolled into one. Unlike a restaurant that must go through health inspections, your makeshift doggy diner has only you for quality control. Here, American Kennel Club spokesperson Lisa Peterson offers suggestions for setting up and running the perfect dog feeding station for your favorite canine customer.

What Type of Dog Bowl Should I Use?

The first step in setting up your dog’s feeding station is choosing its “china,” aka water and food bowls. Since the dishes that you select could affect your dog’s health, this step is critical. 

Usually, bowls come in four basic materials: plastic, rubber, stainless steel, and ceramic. Each has advantages but possibly some significant disadvantages, too.

  • Ceramic is Peterson’s material of choice for dog bowls. Ceramic has all of the benefits of stainless steel, in addition to being dishwasher safe. “Plus, it’s heavy,” she says, “so it doesn’t move all over the place when your dog is trying to eat.”
  • Stainless Steel “It’s durable and doesn’t dent easily,” says Peterson, who believes stainless steel isn’t a bad option. One downfall is that some steel bowls fare better than others after going into the dishwasher. Since she advises to clean dishes once daily, you might have to manually wipe such bowls clean, rinse them, and then air-dry. Our favorite stainless steel dog bowl is the Yeti Boomer 8.
  • Rubber Like plastic, rubber is lightweight. It’s also more durable, bouncing back into shape after dings. Dr. Eldredge indicates that, as for plastic, it may also lead to allergic reactions. Allergic reactions are widespread from synthetic rubber. It’s best to give rubber the rub and choose something else.
  • Plastic As a lightweight material, plastic is easy to move and transport. Some plastic bowls can also go into the dishwasher, making cleanup a snap. However, Peterson, an experienced dog breeder, says that “Many dog owners have reported that their dog’s nose changes color after the dog often eats out of a plastic bowl.” Debra Eldredge, DVM, a veterinarian at Burrstone Animal Hospital in Vernon, NY, suggests that plastic may be the culprit. It appears to turn some dogs’ noses a pinkish hue. While it’s unclear if the color change hurts dogs in the long run (and no firm cause for the phenomenon has yet been established), some canines may be allergic to plastic, which is an oil/petroleum-based material. Peterson advises to pass up the plastic.

I need to buy my dog some new food and water bowls, and I’m looking at inexpensive plastic ones. What do you recommend?

Skip plastic water and food dishes for your dog, if at all possible. Here’s why: Dogs with a penchant for chewing may bite into the plastic, possibly injuring themselves and destroying your purchase in one swift chomp. Even if your dog’s biting doesn’t outright break the dishes, the gashes on the bowls could have tiny rough spots that can be difficult to clean, leading to bacterial growth.

A recent study shows that plastic emits potentially harmful chemicals into food and water, which is why I always look for glass containers when purchasing bottled liquids for my own family.

Finally, plastic can absorb flavors and odors. This odor can put a damper on your scent-sensitive dog’s enjoyment of food. You may not like the odors the dishes leave in your home after mealtime, too, so pass up the plastic. Instead, select dishes made from sturdier materials that are easier to wash and maintain, such as thick ceramic.

Where Should I Put My Dog’s Feeding Station?

Peterson advises all dog owners to begin feeding their pets inside their crates. Feeding inside their crate serves as training so that whenever you need to transport your dog, it will “be anxious to go right in,” she says. Once your dog learns to associate happy mealtime with the crate, you can then place the water and food bowls in their permanent position.

Since dogs will eat almost anywhere, Peterson says you have many feeding-station placement options. The kitchen floor works well for most owners since cleanup is usually easier, and dogs can share mealtimes with owners. Pantries and even bathrooms, preferably with a tile floor, also work well. She did, however, share the following three bowl placement no-no’s:

  1. Don’t put your dog’s feeding station in a high traffic area. The busyness could disturb your dog, family, and guests. 
  2. Don’t locate your dog’s bowls in places frequented by young children. Peterson says, “Kids may bother the dog and might even try to eat its food! 
  3. Don’t feed your dog near your garbage can or other potentially hazardous materials. Your primed-to-eat dog might be tempted to sniff around your garbage, not realizing that a tasty meat scrap could be covered with old ink or other harmful, disposed items.

If you would like to find out more about feeding your dog, check out our article ‘Our Top Tips For Feeding Your Dog.’

Article written by Author: The Dog Daily Expert

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