How to Choose A Dog Travel Bowl
Being able to feed and water your pup during holidays or particularly long walks is a definite must and so travel bowls should be an important piece of any dog owner’s arsenal. Ideally, you want your travel dish to be lightweight, durable and easy to store away, but it can be hard to figure out which features and materials will help you achieve those needs. Please consult our buying guide to understand what you need to know before purchase.
The most difficult part of choosing a travel bowl is definitely determining which kind of material is going to be best for you and your pup.
Portable dog bowls tend to be made from one of four options: a nylon-based fabric, stainless steel, plastic or silicone, each with their own pros and cons.
Fabric options are often the easiest to store thanks to it’s soft, malleable material and is commonly used for collapsible bowls. However, it also absorbs water more easily, is less hygienic when it comes to storing food and is also a lot less durable.
Stainless steel options are the most hygienic and easiest to clean, but they are also far from portable, often being heavy and clunky to carry around. They also aren’t collapsible unless combined with plastic and so usually come in a stackable design.
Plastic options are certainly the cheapest and very lightweight, but they aren’t very durable and are even possibly unsafe for pups. If chewed and torn, plastic chunks could damage your dog’s mouth and the presence of chemicals such as BPA in plastic can leach into food, making them pretty unsuitable.
The best choice is undoubtedly silicone, which is the material used for most collapsible bowls. They are scratch-resistant, flexible and lightweight, making them perfect for travel and they are also easier to clean than fabric bowls. They take up a little more room than fabric options, but they won’t pick up food or odours and are BPA and toxin-free, unlike plastic options.
Naturally, you want to ensure that when you purchase a travel bowl it’s going to offer your mutt more than just a tipple. Think about how often your dog drinks per day to help you determine the size of bowl you need. Most bowls tend to store around 500ml of water, which is fine if you’re using it for one long hike or walk, but for more extensive camping trips you might want to find one which holds closer to a litre.
As a general guide based on dog breeds, we have used the height of a bowl to give a rough size classification:
13 cm – 15 cm: Small Breeds
15cm – 18 cm: Medium Breeds
18cm – 20cm: Large Breeds
20cm – 25cm: Extra Large Breeds
However the actual volume a bowl can hold tends to vary greatly no matter what the size, so always make sure to check the capacity!
Nobody wants to constantly be carrying a dog bowl, and so it’s important to purchase a dish which can be easily stored in a bag and won’t take up too much room. Collapsible designs are obviously the best for this, as they allow you to fold your bowl into a flat disc which could even fit into a pocket! If you don’t go for a collapsing model, make sure your dish is small and nimble enough for your journey.
Similarly, you don’t want to be weighed down by a really heavy object as you’ve probably already got your fair share of weighty items in the backpack. Ideally, you want a bowl to weigh under 200 g, otherwise, it starts to become unnecessarily heavy.
Carabiners & Clips
If you can’t store your dish in a bag, it really helps to be able to clip it to a belt or other item. It also means you have quick access to the bowl at all times and don’t have to do too much rummaging whenever your dog gets thirsty.
Cleaning dirty dog bowls isn’t fun and so always check the cleaning instructions for your travel dish. A dishwasher compatible dish is always going to be your best bet and save you tons of hassle!