Wasn’t it fun picking out dishes for your first home? You probably considered the dishes’ color, material, pattern and durability. Some of the same consideration goes into selecting your pets’ dishes.
Glass or ceramic bowls keep water and moist food fresher than plastic, since some plastic dishes can leech odd odors or flavors into their contents. Some pets are sensitive to these effects. But glass and ceramic don’t hold up as well for pets that like to tip their bowls. It makes a mess and can waste the food. Lightweight plastic dishes may endure the abuse, but they tip easier.
Stainless steel metal dishes in tip-proof designs can keep food and water fresh and neat, though they’re more costly than other options. Dishes with a rubberized, weighted bottom help prevent skidding. Look for dishes with a larger bottom than top. This design makes dishes nearly impossible to tip. Raised dishes can also make tipping a lot harder.
Of course some cats and dogs seem to outwit every fancy dish meant to prevent dish tipping. In these cases, don’t resort to placing rocks in the bottom of the dishes. Your pet may try to eat them and injure his teeth and mouth.
Some pets tip their dishes because it’s a game to play during an otherwise boring day alone. Especially if your pet tips his bowls only while you’re gone, and if he has other behavior problems such as destroying household items, boredom could be the reason. Buy tip-proof dishes and a variety of toys for him. Make sure he gets plenty of exercise when you’re home. If the behavior problems persist, a pet sitter dropping by may help break up his day instead of him breaking up your house!
Pet training can help curb the urge to tip. Watch your pet eat and say “No!” sternly when he starts pawing at the dish. When he eats and drinks properly without trying to tip it, praise him. Remove the food bowl after each meal and offer small servings of water more often to minimize the mess. If you don’t have a pet sitter checking in with him, offer adequate water and place a heavy towel under the dish or place it in the tub.
Make sure your offer fresh water at least daily and anytime the water isn’t clear. Some cats are very finicky about their water and may tip it over to show their displeasure.
Automatic pet watering and feeding dishes offer convenience for you; however, if your pet tends to overeat, these dishes could worsen the problem. If you want to use these dishes instead of having a pet sitter stop by, think again. Suppose the dish malfunctions or the water gets tipped over? A pet sitter is worth the peace of mind that your pet gets what he needs. Also, a pet sitter can relieve your pet’s stress and make sure that your pet hasn’t placed himself in danger.
by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant