Expert Q&A

I need to buy my dog some new food and water bowls, and I'm looking at some inexpensive plastic ones. What do you recommend?

Skip plastic water and food dishes for your dog, if at all possible. Here's why: Dogs with a penchant for chewing may bite into the plastic, possibly injuring themselves and destroying your purchase in one swift chomp. Even if your dog's biting doesn't outright break the dishes, the gashes on the bowls could have microscopic rough spots that can be difficult to clean, leading to bacterial growth.

A recent study shows that plastic emits potentially harmful chemicals into food and water, which is why I always look for glass containers when purchasing bottled liquids for my own family.

Finally, plastic can absorb flavors and odors. This can put a damper on your scent-sensitive dog's enjoyment of food. You may not like the odors the dishes leave in your home after mealtime too, so pass up the plastic. Instead, select dishes made from sturdier materials that are easier to wash and maintain, such as thick ceramic.

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