Material (Including Food Safety)
Start by considering the type of material that you prefer for your dog water bowl. The most common options are metal, plastic, and ceramic, although you can also find some other choices.
Plastic water bowls tend to be more affordable than metal ones in most cases. However, unless they are very sturdy, there is a risk that your furry friend will chew the water bowl. Depending on the strength of your canine’s teeth, this may lead to eating little bits of plastic.
You will also need to look out for dog water bowls that are BPA free. BPA is a toxic substance that have negative repercussions on dogs and human alike. They are known to cause cancer and should be avoided at all cause.
Additionally, plastic water bowls can sometimes feature small cracks that invite bacteria. You can avoid that with proper cleaning, but the risk is still enough that some pet owners avoid plastic.
Ceramic water bowls are heavier, which can help stop them from tipping over. However, they are easy to break and when broken, bacteria can form in the cracks. Breakability makes them a poor choice for outdoors, since a strong wind blowing them around would break the water bowl.
Many pet owners opt for stainless steel because it is long-lasting and is less likely to form chips or cracks that can harbor bacteria. Keep in mind, however, that stainless steel can heat up or get very cold depending on the weather conditions. There is also a risk of rusting, depending on the specific metal and coatings used.
Size and Shape of the Water Bowl
You will also want to think about how large of a water bowl you want for your canine. Most people in search of an outdoor dog water bowl prefer larger ones that do not need to be filled throughout the day, so you do not have to go in and out of the house as much to check on the amount of food or water left. Just make sure that if you opt for a larger water bowl than your furry friend needs that you swap out any leftover food or water for fresh versions every day.
You will want a larger water bowl if your canine tends to be thirsty, is a larger breed, or if you have multiple furry friends that spend time in your yard.
To some extent, the size of the water bowl also depends on its shape and your canine’s snout shape. Make sure the water bowl is deep if your furry friend has a longer snout, as it may otherwise be challenging to eat.
Follow this up by thinking about if you want an elevated water bowl or one that sits on the ground. Elevated water bowls are good for canines with limited movement as well as larger breeds. Eating from an elevated dog bowl relieves joint pressure.
As a bonus, elevated water bowls will prevent water from accumulating at the bottom when it rains.
It is always smart to choose a dog water bowl that resists spills or being tipped over, and this is particularly important for outdoor dog water bowls. You are less likely to notice if your canine spills water or food when the dog bowl is outside, so your pooch could end up without water if that happens.
You also want to consider whether the outdoor dog water bowl has any features to minimize the risk of it tipping over in the wind or if your canine gets too excited. Features like specially-designed rubber bottoms on the bowls or weighted dog water bowls can take care of this.
Finally, think about the additional features you want in your dog water bowl. If you live somewhere with longer winter months and your dog enjoys being outside in that weather, then you must look for dog water bowls that offer heating. Ensure heated dog water bowls keep the heating element and electronics enclosed for waterproofing. The cord must also be waterproof and protected from your canine chewing on it. Otherwise, there is an electrocution hazard.
If you live somewhere that gets very warm, then you will want to consider bowls that keep the water cool. While your canine does not want ice cold water, most pooches prefer that it remain room temperature instead of getting extremely hot in the sun, especially on humid days.
You can also find some other innovative features, such as anti-ant designs that have little moats or trays on the outdoor dog bowl to keep out ants. This feature is particularly useful if you will use the bowl for food and have a lot of ants in your yard.