You can find some debate as to whether food bowls should be made of plastic, ceramic, or metal and you can also find discussion on the topic of raised versus floor level feeders but there seems to be no discussion as to whether food bowls, in general, are harmful to a dog’s health.
The truth is the popularity of dog bowls is due only to their convenience for pet owners, as is commercial pet food. Commercial pet food, either wet or dry, and whether cheap or the expensive all natural organic type, is processed and easily swallowed. This convenience is actually very much at odds with dogs and cats who are carnivores and whose anatomy has evolved to account for the considerable work needed in eating raw carcasses for survival.
Dogs are supposed to take their time eating their food. It’s a workout to lay down and use their dew claws to hold the raw food and eat it. This gives adequate time for the dogs’ digestive enzymes to be produced in aiding proper digestion of the raw meaty foods.
Dry food invented the dog bowl and cup, which eliminates the use of their claws ( and a mess on our kitchen floors), fooling people into thinking dogs eat from bowls. Dog bowls take away from the dogs’ obvious carnivorous design. The dog bowl and cup became a growing FAD out of convenience. Bowls promote dogs especially puppies to always gulp down their food, which does not give time for enzymes to be produced, and the food doesn’t digest properly and increases “impaction” risk. Feeding from a bowl will never exercise the dogs jaw, neck, shoulders, and back muscles. I do not use dog bowls my dogs safely have enough space to take their time and eat their food.
- Blood, D.C. and Studdert, V. P. (1999) Saunders Comprehensive Veterinary Dictionary (2nd Edition) Elsevier Science
- Merck & Co (2008) The Merck Veterinary Manual (Eighth Edition) Merial
- Nelson, R.W. and Couto, C.G. (2009) Small Animal Internal Medicine (Fourth Edition) Mosby Elsevier.
- Tilley, L.P. and Smith, F.W.K.(2004)The 5-minute Veterinary Consult(Third edition) Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.