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Types of Dog Bowls: Plastic and Stainless Steel

The main types of dog bowls that are mainly sold in pet stores are made out of plastic or stainless steel dog. Which one is actually better and safer for our pets?

This article will guide you through the advantages and disadvantages of using plastic and stainless steel food bowls for your dog!

Advantages of Using Plastic Dog Bowls

  1. Cheap to buy
  2. Can come in many different shapes and colors.
  3. Some types are durable
  4. Some types are Dishwasher safe

Disadvantages of Using Plastic Dog Bowls

  1. Scratches in the plastic can harbor tons of bacteria
  2. May contain BPA (Bisphenol A)
  3. Plastic food bowls contain other chemicals that can seep into your dog’s food!
  4. Some types are not dishwasher safe.

Possible Health Hazard

Some people will argue but plastic is more appealing to chew than metal. Dogs, especially dogs that love to chew, can destroy plastic materials in no time.

Simply put, a plastic dog bowl increases the chances of your dog ingesting plastic, which can cause intestinal blockage or internal bleeding, or both!

A Breeding Ground for microorganisms

If your dog doesn’t have a chewing habit, plastics are known to deteriorate and develop cracks and scratches throughout its use. These crevices make plastic a nice target for microorganisms. This becomes a double whammy if you are not the type that washes your dog’s bowl after every meal. (Yes there are some people who have never washed their dog’s bowl at all. It’s sad.)

We cannot see these microorganisms with the naked eye but harmful bacteria love to grow and breed in these cracks.

Feeding your dog food that can get contaminated with bad bacteria may cause health problems (infections, cancer, and etc.)

This is why we highly recommend you wash your dog’s bowl after every meal. It would be astronomically better to use a dishwasher because the very hot water generated from the dishwasher will kill and sterilize your dog’s bowl.

May Contain Bisphenol A

Remember the sports drinks bottles back in the day? They are still being used but no longer for human products but more for animal products. (The FDA has no say on food or food related products for animals)

BPA, or Bisphenol A has a higher chance of existence, if your dog’s food bowl is plastic.

Remember that BPA exist in PVC, polystrene, and polycarbonate! These types of plastics are cheap and very durable but BPA can cause problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and etc. that are not worth the risks.

Other Chemicals from Plastic

Other chemicals from plastics such as phthalates can cause cancer. There is so much about this, I can literally write a book about plastics being harmful to our pets and ourselves but to keep this short, check out this Harvard research about plastic in our food.

Now lets move on to stainless-steel!

Disadvantages of Stainless Steel Food Bowls

  1. More expensive than plastic. Quality stainless bowls can cost $15 or more.
  2. Has a monotonous appearance.
  3. Comes in one color only; silver.
  4. Heavier than plastic.

Advantages of Stainless Steel Food Bowls

  1. Very Durable. A quality stainless bowl can last a lifetime of your dog.
  2. Stainless steel is non-porous so it makes it hard for bacteria to grow on.
  3. No chemicals
  4. Does not rust easily.
  5. Easier to clean than plastic.
  6. Dishwasher safe.
  7. Veterinarians and pro animal trainers prefer stainless steel. Why not mimic them?

Above is a picture of my dog’s food bowl. It is a 9 inch (23 cm) stainless steel bowl I bought for about $18. The stainless steel bowl was made in Japan and is about 3mm thick.  The size works well for my large sized dog and it can fit most average dishwashers so it is a plus for cleanliness before and after every feeding. It is very easy to clean and the high heat produced from the dishwasher ensures that the bowl is properly sterilized before every feeding time. Stainless steel gives me the peace of mind towards the health of my dog!

I’ve been using this bowl for over 10 years now and despite the minor scratches it has from the years of use and abuse, it still feels like it is brand new! It’s bittersweet to think that it will outlast my dog…


Simply put, a quality stainless steel food bowl is the proven way to go. If you care about the health of your dog, I really suggest you ignore plastic and any other material (ceramic, silicon, stone, and etc.) and just go for the simplest option: stainless steel, which is the healthier option if your going to buy a dog bowl.

In regards to a fast growing and trending pet industry, I believe that it is very unfortunate that certain harmful types of plastic has made its way into the pet industry. Although plastic can be cheaper than metal and are advertised as trendy products for our dogs, we need realized that most of these producers/ marketers/ companies focus on making that buck instead of the health of your dog.

So given the comparisons listed above between plastic and stainless steel, plastic may be cheaper but is it worth the health hazard risks it can present to your dog?

I hope this post helps you become a wiser consumer! If you have an argument towards this, please leave a comment below and let’s debate it.

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