Stainless Steel vs Ceramic Dog Bowls: Which is Right for Your Needs?

Last Updated: March 29, 2021

A good dog bowl is an essential purchase when you own a pet. Size and shape can vary, but each pet will need a place to eat. However, some materials like plastic can leak harmful chemicals into the food and scratch easily, allowing bacteria to form and grow. Some metals can rust, which will ruin the bowl and add iron oxide to the food. Stainless steel and ceramic are also popular materials often used to make dog bowls, and we are going to look at each to see which one is better. Keep reading to make sure you get the best food bowl for your pet.

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Overview of Stainless-Steel Dog Bowls

Hungry pug dog with food bowl ready to eat
Image Credit: africa studio, Shutterstock

What is stainless steel?

Stainless steel is an iron alloy made by mixing iron with carbon, nitrogen, aluminum, silicon, nickel, and more to give it a wide variety of properties. It must contain at least 11% chromium to be stainless steel, and this ingredient prevents it from rusting and also allows it to be more heat resistant. Adding more chromium or nickel will increase its rust resistance. Since the stainless steel does not rust or scratch easily, it makes an excellent dog bowl.

The only real downside to stainless steel is that it doesn’t hold paint well, so it’s usually not very fancy unless it’s in a larger base plastic base.

metal dog food bowl
Image Credit: Pixabay

When do I use stainless steel?

Stainless steel makes a great choice as a dog bowl, and there are very few downsides. As we mentioned, it does not rust, so it’s suitable for indoor and outdoor pets. It won’t add any chemicals to the water or change the flavor, and it won’t scratch, so bacteria can’t grow on the surface. It’s also nearly indestructible and will likely last several years.

Pros
  • Durable
  • No Bacteria
  • Easy to clean
Cons
  • Plain

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Overview of Ceramic Dog Bowls

using Bone Dry Lattice Ceramic Dog and Cat Bowl

What is ceramic?

Ceramic pottery is a baked clay that becomes very hard when exposed to high temperatures. People may also refer to this material as earthenware, stoneware, or porcelain. Many home dishes use a similar material and many toilets, as well as vases and statues. The hard surface can be very smooth and resistant to scratching, so, like stainless steel, it’s easy to clean and will not allow bacteria to grow. It will not leak any chemicals into the food, nor will it change the flavor.

The primary downside to ceramics is that its hardness makes it brittle, so it’s easily broken by handling them roughly or dropping them.

Signature Housewares Black Arrow Non-Skid Ceramic Dog & Cat Bowl

When do I use ceramic?

Ceramic dog bowls make an excellent choice for most homes, and due to their heaviness, they are especially useful for dogs that like to push the food bowl around while they eat. These bowls are often highly decorated, and there are plenty of patterns and colors to choose from, so you are sure to find one that accents your kitchen. There is no worry about rusting, and it will last a lifetime if you don’t drop it.

The downside to ceramic is its brittleness, which makes it easy to break or crack. The decorative coating also tends to ship off after repeated washings, decreasing its attractiveness. The decorative colors and patterns can also increase the bowl’s cost, and its weight can increase the price of shipping it to your home.

Pros
  • Hard surface
  • Decorative appearance
  • Easy to clean
  • Reduces sliding
Cons
  • Brittle
  • Expensive

When to Use Stainless Steel
  • Main dog bowl
  • Secondary dog bowl
  • Less expensive
  • More durable
When to Use Ceramic
  • Main dog bowl
  • Secondary dog bowl
  • Pets that push the bowl
  • More attractive
Close up of beautiful dog eating from the bowl
Image Credit: dmytro Zinkevych, Shutterstock

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Conclusion

We recommend the stainless-steel dog bowl for most people because it’s easy to clean and nearly indestructible. It’s lightweight, inexpensive and suitable for indoor and outdoor use. You are also more likely to find one at your local store that you are a ceramic bowl. It’s not that we don’t like ceramic bowls. Ceramic is also great, and many people will prefer them, but they require a little more care than you don’t handle them roughly, and they are not as easy to find and tend to be more expensive. However, if you have just redesigned your kitchen to be color coordinated, the ceramic bowl is likely what you need.

We hope you have enjoyed looking over these popular materials to make dog bowls and have decided what type you would like to use. If we have helped your pet have a happier mealtime, please share this look at stainless steel and ceramic dog bowls on Facebook and Twitter.

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