Feeders and Waterers Overview
Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff

Which Feeder is Best for You?

A food and water dish is something every pet needs, but not all feeders and waterers are the same. Some are designed to address specific health/age issues and some are created solely for their artistic design. Some of the questions you should ask yourself when selecting a feeder include:

  • Do I want individual bowls or a feeder unit?
  • Do I need automatic feeding?
  • Does my pet's medical condition or age require an elevated style?
  • Do I travel frequently with my pet?
Mealtime is usually a much-anticipated time of the day for your dog. When you ask yourself the what, how, and why questions, you're much more likely to buy a feeder that suits your pet perfectly.

Automatic Feeders
Automatic feeders work by gravity or electronically, and they usually have a larger capacity than a single bowl. These types of feeders are ideal for people whose schedules require them to be away from their pets at feeding time often, or for those who simply want to spend less time filling food bowls. Gravity-style feeders/waterers, like the Petmate Replendish Feeders and Waterers are suitable for pets that do well with unrestricted access to their food. The capacity of these feeders easily allows several days' worth of food. Many electronic automatic feeders, like the 2-Day Automatic Feeder, allow you to serve up single meals with portion control, at times you set on a programmable timer. This allows your pet to eat at regularly scheduled intervals and prevents overeating. Waterers, like the Drinkwell Pet Fountain, actually circulate the water continuously through a carbon filter to remove impurities. It also helps keep your dog's water cooler and fresher while minimizing bacterial growth.

Stainless steel bowls are highly recommended by veterinarians for several reasons. Stainless bowls decrease the possibility of contact dermatitis resulting from pet exposure to plastic or dyes, they last virtually forever, and their pore-free construction keeps them from harboring harmful bacteria. They are easily washed in the dishwasher, also. Stoneware dishes are a great option for owners who like to change the style of their pet's bowls frequently, or those who like to warm their pet's food in the microwave. With bold colors and glazed finishes, these bowls are usually dishwasher and microwave safe. Plastic is a popular choice with many owners for its durability. Most types can be washed in the dishwasher, as well.

When selecting a dish or bowl, it's important to keep in mind the bowl diameter, depth, and also the capacity. Dogs with long, floppy ears do well with deep bowls with a smaller diameter, which helps keep their ears from getting wet in their water bowl. Think about your dog's average portion size and make sure food/water bowls hold enough to keep your dog fed and hydrated all day if you're away at work.

Elevated Feeders
Veterinarians recommend elevated feeders for dogs and cats because they offer a number of advantages: hygiene and cleanliness, comfort for dogs and cats with arthritis or neck or back problems, and for the benefits to cats and dogs with megaesophagus or other conditions that make swallowing difficult.

Elevated feeders and dishes keep feeding areas cleaner. Elevated dishes help keep the food and water in the bowls and not on the floor. They prevent cats from playing in their water, which some are prone to do. Dogs tend to lift their heads after taking a drink to facilitate swallowing. As the dogs raise their heads, water that does not make it down their throat often ends up on the floor. Over time, this can ruin your floor. Moisture that may get under the dish creates a great place for molds and bacteria to grow. With an elevated feeder, they do not have to raise their heads as far and the water usually drips right back into their water dish.

Travel Dishes
For traveling, trail trekking, or any outing away from home, these unique designs give your pet an appropriate place for food and water. Designed to save space, Collapsible Bowls fold nearly flat for convenient packing. Water bottles, like the Handi-Drink Pet Water Bottles, keep your pet hydrated on the go. It includes a self-storing pan for your pet to lap water from.

With a selection this diverse, you're sure to find one that suits your pet's needs, whether at home or on the go!

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