Monday, May 10, 2010

The quest for the perfect dog dish

The folks at Petzazz probably never dreamed their dog food bowls would lead the fight against terrorism at our airports. As everyone tossed their keys, cell phones and wallets in the bowls at the security checkpoint, I was reading the bottom of the dish to find out the brand name. A non-slip bottom! Just what I was looking for!

Nate the Lab dives into his bowl of kibble and it slides across the tile floor as he follows, finishing his meal in less than 30 seconds. After watching him push it under the cabinet and up against the wall (across the floor, out the door, go Nate go!) I realized that if his dish had a rubber bottom on it, it wouldn’t slide so badly. Thus began my quest for the perfect dog food dish. And I thought I’d found it at the Alaska Airlines terminal.

I searched the Internet and found the bowls for sale at Petsmart, and bought one for each of my dogs. Alas, the fix was not so simple. Nate, who isn’t even my dog, loves to carry his dish around, and the bowl was shredded in no time. My own shelties and dachshund did some chewing of their own, too.

At last I found the solution. WalMart carries a stainless steel version of the non-slip bowl. Chew-proof (well, almost) and easy to clean, I now have a collection of assorted sizes. I think it is interesting that I couldn’t find them at Petco or Petsmart. Maybe the airlines bought them all. 

Other bowls

I don’t like the so-called hound or spaniel bowls, with the angled sides and large bottom because they are hard to carry or store. They are the perfect solution for your long-eared dogs, though. If you buy the right size, the dog can throw his face into the bowl, and keep his ears clean because they fall outside the bowl. Cavalier spaniel owners are you listening? Plus, they don’t tip over.

I hate ceramic bowls. They are always really cute, and I have broken dozens. A happy Lab bouncing up in the air will crack the bottom of the bowl in two with his head. Or knock it out of my hand, or jump on it, push it off the porch and onto the sidewalk or even pick it up and carry it around. One of my more memorable pet sitting moments happened when I saw the dog with the ceramic bowl in his mouth, and I yelled “NO!” in my best pack leader voice. He immediately dropped it on the tile floor. What a good dog.

My water bowl solution involves tying a bucket to a tree or the fence, so that the water-loving retriever clients will quit dumping their water. It doesn’t stop them from playing in it. I often check the water to find the bucket still attached to the fence with a bunch of mud in the bottom. I think my next trick will be to install an automatic waterer like they put in horse corrals.

If you are fighting ants, there are bowls with a reservoir around the outside. You fill it with soapy water and the ants can’t cross it and get into the food. You can also fashion your own with a baking dish. I’ve been known to ransack a client’s kitchen to find the perfect ant-prevention bowl.

When a speed demon eater is the issue, buy a bowl with a big lump in the middle that slows him down because he has to eat around it. Or, you could put a large rock in the bowl. You could also just throw the food on the floor all over the room—one of my favorite solutions.

Treat balls or the Buster Cube (see the YouTube video above) also help slow down the fast eater. You put the meal in the ball and one bite falls out at a time while he rolls it around the room. This is also great entertainment for a bored dog.

So next time you are fighting with the food bowls at your client’s home, consider buying your favorite and giving them one for Rover. 

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© 2010 Terry Albert. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

Misha said...

Hello friends,

Thanks for this information! Acrylic and plastic dog bowls are much safer to use and it is also easier to clean.

Adequan Equine