Is Your Dog’s Food Bowl Safe? A Guide to Dog Bowl Materials


When it comes to shopping for dog bowls, you’ll find three major materials to select from – plastic, ceramic, or stainless steel. But are all of these materials safe for pets? Before you start shopping for a dog bowl, figure out which option is the best that will keep your dog safe while they stay nourished. Read on for a breakdown of each type of popular material to make the best decisions for your dog’s bowl.

Plastic Dog Bowls

Plastic dog bowls tend to be the most popular product pet owners choose. This option is inexpensive, easy to clean in the dishwasher, and indestructible when dropped accidentally.  While these are a popular option, they come highly unrecommended.

Plastic dog bowls can get small scratches on them over time, especially if your dog is a big scratcher. The problem with the scratches is that they’re almost impossible to clean so they harbor bacteria which can lead to your dog getting sick. 

Additionally, the plastic can be accidentally ingested by your dog whether it’s through intentional scratching or simply by them eating. This can cause a great deal of harm to your pet over time. Some dogs wind up developing a plastic allergy from ingestion while others can disrupt your dog’s hormonal imbalance (this is due to the certain types of plastic that contain chemicals that appear as hormones). Additionally, your dog can become choked on pieces of plastic that break off.

Overall, while plastic is a cheap option, it will cause much more harm to your pet in the long run. You’re best simply skipping plastic for another dog bowl material. 

Ceramic Dog Bowls

Lots of pet owners opt for ceramic dog bowls for their stylish appearance. Often made with unique designs and colors, these look beautiful in the home. And, due to the heavier material, your dog is less likely to scoot it around accidentally. 

Compared to plastic, ceramic dog bowls are a better option, but they do come with some concerns. Because of the material, if the bowl is dropped, it can break easily. This creates a big mess and can be potentially dangerous for your pet if they find a broken piece of the bowl and ingest it or choke on it. Even when you handle the bowl carefully, small cracks and chips could still appear and cause the same risks to your pet as they eat out of the damaged bowl.

Ceramic bowls feature a protective glaze that prevents the bowl from cracking. But, it can still happen. So if you choose a ceramic bowl, make sure you check it thoroughly to ensure there is no damage. If you notice even the slightest crack, it’s time for a new one. 

Stainless Steel Dog Bowls

By far, the safest material for dog bowls is stainless steel. This material is very durable, even if it gets dropped. They clean easily in the dishwasher and the only concerns for cleanliness are to prevent the bowl from rusting. Stainless steel bowls often feature a non-slip base (typically made from silicone) to prevent messes from occurring. While stainless steel bowls tend to come as-is, there are plenty of brands that sell colorful bowls to keep your pet’s feeding area fun and add a bit of design to whichever room it’s in. 

You do want to be wary of the materials when shopping, as stainless steel has become a sort of blanket term. The most important feature to look for is the grade. You will want to look for food-grade stainless steel, the most common type is 304 stainless steel, which is often referred to as 18/8 stainless steel.

Always make sure to verify the grade before purchasing so you can rest assured you’re buying the safest product for your dog. Avoid purchasing any bowls that are not dishwasher safe or are labeled “for pet use only” as this can be a sign that an inferior grade was used to make the bowl. Brands that care about your pet as much as you do will provide all the information you need to make an informed decision on your stainless steel purchase. 


If you’re looking for the best material for your dog bowl, look no further than stainless steel. It provides much more peace of mind for your pet compared to plastic or ceramic. Make sure you’re vigilant in shopping for a quality stainless steel material dog bowl to help keep your pet safe. 

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