Food Bowls for Dogs

Food Bowls for Dogs

There are several kinds of food bowls for dogs being sold today. Plastic, ceramic, stainless steel, silicone, stoneware,  automated and more. When shopping for food bowls for dogs there are many things to consider such as material, size, type, susceptibility to bacterial and chemical leaching. In this blog, I will look into the pros and cons of the different kinds of food bowls for dogs. Let’s start with materials.

Plastic dog food bowls

Cheapest and most readily available, plastic bowls are the most commonly used dog bowls.  They are easily cleaned with soap and water and can be washed in the dishwasher.  But, in my opinion, they are the most dangerous.  And here’s why.

Strength and Durability

Plastic can be easily broken.  Not so much by adult dogs, but puppies and toddlers who like to chew a lot.  It wouldn’t take long for them to break up the plastic into small sharp shards.  Eating them can cause very serious intestinal problems such as internal bleeding and blockages.  Also, they may easily suffer cuts and scrapes from the sharp edges.

Bacteria

Because plastic is inherently porous and can be easily marred, scratched and cracked, it can become the perfect breeding ground for bad bacteria that will make your pet very ill.

BPH

Without getting into too many long words and technical jargon, Bisphenol A {BPH} is an estrogen that is used to harden plastics and epoxy.  It has been found in plastic bottles and food containers.  Even low exposure to BPH can cause severe health problems such as cancer, heart problems, obesity, and diabetes to name a few.  Several other chemicals can be found in plastic food bowls, lead, chlorine, arsenic and more.  Phthalates sometimes called plasticizers, are used in many products from shampoo to vinyl flooring and even dog food bowls.  All of these chemicals can leach into the dog food.

Some plastics have been rated safe for use with foods made for human consumption.  So, if you prefer to use plastic bowls be sure it is rated for human foods.

There are some plastic dog bowls that are rated safe by the FDA, but I’m a skeptic and personally won’t use plastic bowls.

Note:  Most pet food cans are made from aluminum or tin which can also leach into the food.  Some cans are lined with a coating that may contain BPH.

Stoneware

Is made from stoneware clay or non-refractory fire clay formed and fired at very high temperatures between  2,010 degrees and 2370 degrees Fahrenheit.  Stoneware is a heavy, very hard material that is strong, durable and resists chipping.

Small levels of lead can be found in many modern products.  This includes stoneware. Although small levels of lead may not cause immediate health issues, prolonged exposure can.

Some glazes used to coat stoneware contain lead.  If during the firing process the temperature isn’t high enough the lead won’t adhere to the product and can leach into the food.

Ceramic Bowls

Are basically the same as stoneware as it is made with clay and fired under high heat.  Ceramic bowls are a better option than plastic but you must make sure the glaze is lead-free and the bowl is approved for food service.  As with plastic ceramic can crack and chip which can become a harbor for bacteria.  Try to stay away from bowls with a lot of colored decorative glazing because lead is used in making the colors.

Silicone Bowls

Silicone is made from silicon which is the chief component of sand and also includes oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and methyl chloride.

Silicone is used in many, many, products from baby bottle nipples and pacifiers to cooking vessels and utensils. The FDA has deemed Silicone to be safe for use with food because it doesn’t react with other materials or release hazardous compounds when heated.  Assuming that is, in fact, the case we should have no fear of using a Silicone bowl for dog food.  To be safe just don’t put it in the dishwasher.  Due to its composition Silicone bowls are collapsible making them ideal as travel bowls.  In my opinion Silicone bowls would be a safe choice.

Automatic Bowls

These feeders come in many different sizes and shapes.  Some are manually adjusted and others are fully programmable.  There are two drawbacks that concern me.  They only dispense dry food and it has to be of a certain size and they are made of plastic, and you how I feel about plastic.  I would also be concerned with jamming.

Stainless Steel

The main components of stainless steel are iron and carbon. Although there are other elements added such as chromium, nickel, molybdenum, silicon, aluminum, depending on the type of steel being produced.  It is very hard, strong and durable.

There are 5 types of stainless steel.  Ferritic, Martensitic, Precipitation Hardening, Austenitic and Duplex.

There are also many different grades of stainless steel. Food grade stainless steel 316 is an austenitic stainless steel alloy that contains a large amount of chromium and nickel.  Grade 316 stainless steel can withstand a constant temperature over 1400 degrees Fahrenheit making it ideal for cooking vessels and other food-related products such as dog bowls.

Some stainless steel bowls are coated with a colored sealer that can chip scratch and peel defeating the purpose of using a stainless steel bowl.

Raised dog food bowls/stands

Some of these are sold with bowls and some are sold as stands only.  They come in all different sizes and shapes and are most suitable for medium to large dogs.  There are conflicting studies as to the benefits of raised bowls.

There have only been two studies done to determine if raised dog bowls are beneficial in reducing bloating in larger dogs.  One study claims they do help the other claims it may even make it worse.  There are those who advertise that using a raised bowl reduces stress on the neck and back.  I have not been able to find any scientific reasoning behind this claim.  It is also suggested that dogs who are prone to GDV may have a greater incidence of GDV if fed with a raised bowl.  GDV, as explained by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, is Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV) which is a rapidly progressive life-threatening condition of dogs. The condition is commonly associated with large meals and causes the stomach to dilate, because of food and gas, and may get to a point where neither may be expelled.  Raised bowls may be helpful for older dogs with bone and joint ailments or arthritis because it would be easier for them to reach the bowl.  I do have a raised bowl for my medium sized lab but she still has to bend to get her food.   So far I haven’t had any problems with GDV bloating.

Restricted Feeding bowls

I know, your thinking what the heck is he talking about restricted feeding bowls.  I had a cocker spaniel who would go through a cup of food in a matter of seconds then he would get sick.  I finally discovered a bowl that dealt with that problem.  It works by  Read More….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best Toys For Kittens-Is There Such A Thing?

Best Toys For Kittens-Is There Such A Thing?

 

Hello everyone. Today I’m going to talk about toys for kittens/cats. I’ll take a look at their play habits from the time they’re kittens to adulthood. After which I will make my suggestions as to what I feel are the best toys for kittens based on my personal experience and reviews.

How long is a kitten, a kitten?

I don’t believe that these furry friends of ours should ever be called cats. As it relates to them, the word cat is somewhat of a misnomer, because in my opinion, they will always act and be kittens. We have a twelve-year-old male kitten who runs and plays just as hard as the three-year-old kittens.

When do kittens actually start playing?

Kittens are born with their eyes closed and won’t fully open for up to two weeks or more. It takes a few weeks before their little legs will be strong enough to walk around. They will be a little wobbly at first, but soon you will be able to get an idea of their personality as they start running and playing with their siblings. It’s such fun to watch them chase each other tumbling and rolling around. This would be a good time to interact with them physically to get them used to being held and petted. They may resist at first, but soon enough you will have little furries laying all over you. At this time they should also begin to respond to toys such as, balls, feathers and small toys like mice that they can bat around.  I have found that as they get older their interest in playing seems to slow down a bit.  That doesn’t mean they stop playing by any means, they will still play feverishly only not as often.

Types of toys for kittens

Before we discuss my opinion of what the best toys for kittens are, I’ll look at different types of toys. Kittens are pretty easy to please on the toy front. They will play with just about anything. Just drop a bottle cap on the floor in front of your kitten and you’ll see what I mean. How about a plain old cardboard box? I have never seen a kitten that could resist jumping into an empty cardboard box.  Heck, just running and slamming into things seems to be fun for them.  When our twelve-year-old was a kitten he would run from the living room, through the dining room, into the kitchen, jump on the table and slide off into the cabinets, he thought that was the cat’s meow.  It’s been my experience that most long haired kittens will leave behind some clumps of fur. All that is needed is a slight breeze and that clump of fur becomes an instant plaything. And if you have a dog in your zoo that gets along well with the kittens, you have a natural toy as kittens love to chase a good dog tail.

Being natural hunters and chasers, any toy that stimulates those senses would be a good choice.  A small ball with a bell inside will keep them busy for hours.  Lasers are a great toy that you can use to satisfy their love for chasing things.  Lasers come in several sizes and shapes, and now they even come automated.  Tunnels, which come in many configurations, make great toys for them to run chase and hide in.

Do it yourself toys                               

You can also make some toys for your kittens. Just avoid using things like ribbons, yarn, and elastics as they can result in intestinal blockages and very expensive and dangerous surgery, Here are a few ideas for homemade kitten toys. 

Empty toilet paper roll bat or pull toy. Here are two of several options for this little gem. Poke a hole in one end of the tube and tie a sturdy cord to it and make a simple pull toy you can use to play with your kitten. Or, just throw it on the floor and the kitten will just play with it on his/her own.

If you’re like us, you have some stray socks in the drawer. Just fill with paper and tie the end to make a crinkly bat toy. For even more fun put some catnip in it and sit back and watch the circus.

The cat house, no pun intended. Just take a good size cardboard box, cut some windows in it and one or two doors and you’ve built a little house for your kitten.

The feather stick is nothing more than a piece of sturdy cord with a stick tied to one end and a feather on the other. Fun toy for you to interact with your kitten.

Suggestions

The following suggestions are based on our personal experience with kittens and are our opinions only.

{Please be advised that the following descriptions and images contain affiliate links. When you click on them and make a purchase we may be financially compensated.}

This cat tunnel is a big hit with kittens. Sturdily made and easily stored. The more kittens you have, the more fun it is to watch. It has an 86% 5-star rating from Amazon viewers.

The interactive laser toy. It emits a beam randomly across the floor and up walls. It has an adjustable mirror so you can control where it points. I wouldn’t use it for more than 10 minutes lest you over stimulate your kittens. It does have an automatic shut off at 15 minutes. 42% rate it at 5 stars and 18% rate it at 4.

The good ole feather teaser and exerciser. Comes with a sturdy two-piece wand and three toys, for hours of interactive fun with your kittens.

The Snugglycat ripple rug. I like this one because it keeps the kitties from kneading the carpets and snagging the threads. Infinite configurations to keep the kitty from being bored. The toy is made in the USA and is rated 72% at 5 stars and 10% at 4 stars on Amazon.

Automatic cat teaser randomly stimulates your kitten’s senses. This is a real gem in my book. The feather pops out of different holes to tease your kitten and provide tons of fun. 4.3 stars on Amazon.

Scratch and play ramp is made with a reversible cardboard pad and includes a toy and catnip. I have used several types of scratch pads, but I prefer the slant pads. The kittens seem to prefer it over the flat style. 72% 5 star and 11% 4 stars on Amazon.

In conclusion

I hope you have found this post to be informative.  Again, the toys I have suggested are of my personal opinion. With thousands of toys available it can be a difficult task to choose the best toys for kittens.  If you are artistic and enjoy doing crafts, the choices for toys are limitless.  Most importantly, whether you buy or make your kitten toys, be sure to  spend some quality play time with them.  It’s good for them and good for you.  Please see my recent posts for a few suggestions for dog toys.

Please feel free to leave a comment and if you enjoyed my article leave your email address.   I will not sell to or share your email with anyone and only use it to keep you updated on my blog.

 

 

 

 

Pet Toys Online-They’re Everywhere

Pet Toys Online-They’re Everywhere

Where to buy pet toys?

This little guy is our beloved Buddy. We lost him in August 2018. Buddy loved to play with his toys of which he had many. His favorites were the unstuffed plush animals with the squeakers. Oh the squeakers! He was an expert at removing the squeakers and tearing the animals to shreds. We would often have to run all over town looking for replacements. This became old quickly, so we started looking and buying his pet toys online.

Choices

There are thousands of brands and styles of pet toys online. Although the unstuffed toys were his favorite, Buddy liked all kinds of toys. He loved to play fetch with tennis balls, but any toy ball would do. He made up his own little games to play. One of his favorites was to grab a ball and set it on a shelf in my desk and then nudge me until I saw it and tossed it into the other room. Today toy balls come in many different sizes, colors, materials and textures. Then we have tug toys, dental hygiene toys, fetch toys, floating toys, high tech toys just to name a few.

How do we know what kind of toy our dog will like?

That’s a tough question and depends on several different things. As we know, the domestic dog is a descendant of the wolf. They have a natural instinct for hunting. That is especially true for breeds such as Labrador retrievers. I know that our nine month old black Lab will take her plush toys outdoors and proudly carry them around as though she just caught it. Other dogs are great chasers and will chase anything you can toss, so a fetch toy would become their favorite toy. There are three types of chewers, light, medium and chew it to pieces. Naturally a chew toy would fit them perfectly.  The possibilities are endless. Finding your pet’s preferred toy can only be achieved by trial and error.

Suggestions

The following are some of the toys that our dogs loved. They are just our suggestions based on our own experiences. {Please be advised that the following descriptions and images contain affiliate links. If you click on them and make any purchases we may be financially compensated}

Plush Toy

These toys serve more than one purpose. Your dog may like to snuggle with them or carry them around as a trophy of the hunt, or as a chew toy. And to a lesser extent as a fetch toy.


Pizza Plush/Fetch Toy

I haven’t purchased this toy yet, but plan to.  Our beloved Buddy, who we lost in 2018 loved pizza. I will use it in his memorial.  This toy is made with recycled plastic water bottles, so your pup can have fun and you can help save the planet.


Tug toy

This interactive tug toy is made in the USA. It’s dishwasher safe so you can keep it bacteria free, and it floats. It is also soft to the touch and won’t hurt your dog’s mouth. And best of all, our Lab hasn’t destroyed it yet.


Chew Fetch Ball

This ball is more durable than a tennis ball, is dishwasher safe and floats.  A light weight, high bouncing ball.  Made in the USA.


For Aggressive Chewer's

These all natural white tail antlers are great for aggressive chewers.  They are sourced and crafted in the USA.  Containing no preservatives, chemicals or additives of any kind, they are a healthier chew for your pets.


Dog Chew Toothbrush

This safe, durable non toxic dental chew toy is perfect for your pet's dental hygiene.  It's soft textured design prevents hurting your dog's teeth and gums. Stiff bristles help get into the hard to reach places and you can add toothpaste to help in the cleaning process.  Our nine month old lab loves it, and would chew on it all day if we let her. You can easily clean it with soap and water and even stick it in the dishwasher if you prefer.


In conclusion

Bored Buddy

We prefer to purchase our dog pet toys online, but it is a personal preference. The choices and prices are wide ranging.  Unfortunately, you're not going to know what their preferred toys will be until you've purchased them.  It's strictly trial and error.   I have found that dogs can get bored rather quickly.  To keep them engaged in play and exercise allow them to play with their favorite playmate, YOU!   In my next blog I'm going to take on cat toys! Be sure to stop by and check it out.

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