The 3 best bowls for flat-faced dogs

The 3 best bowls for flat-faced dogs

The clock hits five and the dogs are already sitting next to the food tin – their internal clock is second to none, particularly at feeding time.

As soon as the food hits the bowl it seems to be gone.

Except, I notice the kibble isn’t gone; it’s just strewn across my entire kitchen floor as my bulldog flips his bowl.

To my pit bull mix, Koda, this is a free helping of seconds. He knows that after he wolfs down his dinner, it’s only a matter of time until Rowdy sends his flying as he struggles to get the food out of his bowl. He shoves the bowl all across the kitchen floor and despite losing half of the kibble in the process and being fed before Koda, he still finishes eating last.

The boys clean up after themselves, luckily enough, but I can’t help but notice that my flat-faced bulldog may be better off just eating his food right from the floor. In fact, I’ve heard from other bulldog owners that they do feed directly from the floor.

For many dogs with flat faces like Rowdy, eating out of a standard bowl can prove to be a struggle or even hazardous. I didn’t have to learn this the hard way and neither do you, but not all bowls are created equal.

Traditional bowls can put your flat-faced dog in danger of choking every time they eat. Some dogs will be fine if you raise their bowl off the ground, but others will need bowls built with a slope like this Enhanced Pet Bowl on Amazon

Why do traditional bowls cause problems for flat-faced dogs?

Imagine having a flat face. And now imagine trying to reach food at the bottom of a 5 inch bowl that is equally as flat as your face. Toss in an underbite or breathing issues and you can begin to see how brachycephalic dogs have trouble with standard bowls.

Brachycephalic dogs, commonly noted as dogs with “flat faces”, are prone to breathing and throat issues. This can make many activities, including eating, a tough or even dangerous task.

Brachycephalic breeds include (but are not limited to): Bulldogs, Pugs, Shih Tzus, Pekingese and Boston Terriers.

In the fervor to guzzle down his dinner, flat-faced dogs like Rowdy have an increased likelihood of choking and numerous other problems. But there are ways to lessen the odds of this happening to your beloved, scrunchy-faced pup.

Can I make my traditional bowl work for my flat-faced dog?

With a few modifications you can keep your conventional bowl and make it work for your dog. If you’ve identified your dog as one that may need some extra assistance with it comes to eating, the first thing you should consider is the elevation.

Raising your dog’s bowl from the floor, even just a few inches, can make a world of difference for them. Generally, it’s easier for them to reach and reduces the stress they put on their necks and airways.

It’s not a cure-all, but could be worth a try. If nothing else, it prevents your dog from pushing the bowl all across the floor.

Additionally, if you’re selective, you can find a bowl holder for your dog that has a tilt. This allows the food to gather at one end of the bowl and make it easy for flat-faced dogs to eat.

pug

Pugs can have a hard time eating out of normal bowls, but we can help! Image: Chris Gladis

What problems do bowls cause?

As I mentioned before, some brachycephalic dogs are prone to issues when eating out of a standard bowl. Keep in mind that any dog can experience the following; these issues aren’t specific to flat-nosed dogs.

Choking: As your dog tries to inhale his dinner, his shortened airway may catch a few bits of kibble, causing him to choke.

Bloating: The idea that standard bowls cause bloat is widely debated, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t be afraid to consult your veterinarian for an expert opinion here.

Vomiting: What goes in can sometimes come back out. Eating too fast may cause your dog to have an upset stomach and begin vomiting. Typically when this happens, your dog will only vomit once after eating. If your dog continues to throw up after eating, you may be dealing with another issue entirely and it’s worth a trip to the vet to get it checked out.

Gas: Bulldog and Pug owners know this all too well. As your dog struggles to get his kibble, he can swallow a lot of air that in turn causes excessive gassiness or discomfort in his digestive tract. It’s just as unpleasant for them as it is for us.

If your dog experiences an excessive amount of these symptoms, they may be caused by something else and only exacerbated by the feeding dish. Make daily observations and slight tweaks to activity and diet to rule it out or contact a vet for diagnostics.

Why flat-faced breeds benefit from special bowls

You can help your flat-faced dog avoid a lot of these feeding pitfalls by offering him food from a specialized bowl. These bowls are commonly tilted to one end and slightly elevated -making feeding time a much more pleasant experience.

They do this be removing the need for your dog to press his face right into the bowl to get food. This can reduce a lot of breathing issues they may face that in turn can lead to vomiting and gas.

How does a special/tilted bowl help?

Tilted bowls allow the kibble to gather at one end, making it easy for your dog to access his food. Many dogs can grow frustrated with the flat bowls as it pushes the food out of their reach, resulting in them pushing the bowls around and tipping them over entirely to reach the pieces.

Additionally, the tilt in the bowl allows for easier breathing for your pooch. Since they no longer need to press their face flat against the bowl, there is room for them to breathe.

If your flat-faced dog doesn’t struggle too much with a flat-bottomed bowl, but you still want to help him out, try out a shallow bowl. The much shorter sides make it easier for him to comfortably reach his food.

What bowls work best for short-snouted dogs?

As I mentioned, not all bowls are created equal when it comes to our fur babies. Finding the best for your dog may require some trial and error. Below are some recommendations to get you started down the right path.

Enhanced Stainless Steel Bowl

This oversized, stainless-steel bowl is designed with your flat-faced dog in mind. A slight tilt toward the rear of the bowl coupled with a lower front lip pushes the kibble to one end of the bowl. This, paired with the shallow depth, makes eating a breeze for your dog. He can easily access his food without the worry of pushing it around and creating a mess.

Plus, it’s made from stainless steel, which is highly recommended for flat-faced dogs as it is more bacteria-resistant than plastic. This means less acne- and sore-producing bacteria getting rubbed onto your sweet baby’s face.

Pros:

  • Shallow
  • Tilted side makes food easily accessible
  • Non-slip grip
  • Made from stainless steel

Cons:

  • Price
  • Large size can make it a bit difficult to store

You can read more reviews and buy the Enhanced Stainless Steel Bowl on Amazon.

Super Design Detachable Stainless Steel Bowl

This bowl offers a bit of everything. Featuring a stainless-steel insert bowl, this design also boasts a melamine stand tilted at 15 degrees to concentrate the kibble at one end for easier eating. The slightly elevated positioning of the bowl complements the overall design. The bowl itself is removable, allowing for easy cleaning of it and the stand – what more could you want?

With a variety of colors to suit your style and varying sizes, you’re bound to find a winning combination for your dog.

Pros:

  • Stainless steel bowl
  • Elevated stand
  • 15-degree tilt
  • Price
  • Non-slip grip
  • Removable bowl for easy cleaning

Cons:

  • Sizing may not be suitable for extra large dogs that consume over 3 cups of food at a time

Check out more photos and purchase the Super Design Bowl on Amazon.

Yannuo Ceramic Bowl

This dish features a combination of the above bowl, with the exception of stainless steel. This ceramic bowl offers an incline and rubber mat, ensuring your dog can access his food without pushing the dish all over the kitchen.

This is a great option for smaller dogs and puppies. Keep in mind, if you’re buying this for a puppy then you’ll likely have to upgrade to a bigger bowl in time.

Pros:

  • Great for puppies and small breeds
  • Non-slip grip
  • Tilted bowl
  • Impervious to water
  • Arc design

Cons:

  • One size
  • Not stainless steel

Check out more reviews and buy the Yannuo Ceramic Bowl on Amazon.

A flat-face is the best face

I might be biased, but not much is cuter than a smushy-faced dog that’s happy to see you. Rowdy never seems to be unhappy about anything (except taking a bath) so it’s up to me to observe him and learn how I can improve his life.

I knew that bringing a brachycephalic dog into my world wouldn’t be easy, just as it isn’t easy for any owner of a bulldog, Pug, Boston Terrier, Pekingese, etc. I was prepared for daily wrinkle-cleaning and monitoring his breathing when it’s hot but I didn’t consider that a food dish might be problematic.

It just goes to show that each dog is different and may require a few tweaks to their daily lives to keep them happy and healthy. My pit bull is going to have to adjust to no longer having a “second breakfast” – and I’m sure Rowdy will be thrilled to finally get all of his food to himself.

Remember that it may take a few tweaks to make sure you get the perfect bowl at the best tilt and with the right height, but once you do, your flat-faced pooch will be well-fed and happy as can be!

-Brooke Ketron

Brooke pretends to be a normal person with a full-time marketing job, but really she is the epitome of a “dog mom.” She obsesses over her two boys, Rowdy (English Bulldog) and Koda (pit bull/Catahoula mix), and is often found doting over them and purchasing way too many collars. And when she’s not with her dogs, she’s with her bigger dogs … horses.

Feature image: Melody Joy Kramer