Dinner Is Served

This new doggie dinnerware is all part of a trend to feature rather than hide the family pet’s eating area. Consequently, the huge array of colors and shapes available focus on coordinated “place settings” consisting of bowls with matching mats, treat jars, and canned food lids. Designs range from hi-tech to classically elegant and blend with a host of interior decorating styles, so that they look as good in the kitchen as any other room in the home.

If you enjoy making seasonal decorating changes to spruce up your home, buying a new bowl or placemat for your dog is a fun way to spoil her and enhance your decor too.

Current looks to meet the latest style and fashion criteria include handcrafted, mouth-blown glass bowls on stands with a silver finish, and glass bowls with ornate antique brass designs featuring breed specific motifs. Ceramic ware in bright colors with Japanese inspired or whimsical designs is also very popular.

If you’re an over-indulgent pet parent with unleashed spending power, you can splurge on real silver and imported Italian Murano glass. You can also spoil your pets by indulging in innovative designs that match your own table decor.

Materials like glass, lead-free ceramic ware, stainless steel and FDA-tested resin are dishwasher safe and easy to keep clean. They are also preferable to bowls made from soft plastic, as the latter contain compounds that have been found to cause or irritate canine acne.

The newest breed of pet dinnerware designers note that in addition to being stylish, it’s preferable for many dogs to eat and drink from elevated bowls for medically endorsed reasons. Many veterinarians believe that raised bowls aid digestion in pets that eat too fast and suffer from bloat. Shallow designs spread the food out and prevent dogs and puppies from inhaling too much food into their mouths at once.

These designs are excellent for older pets too. According to animal chiropractor Dr. Jacqui Rosencrans of Newport Beach, California, pets with degenerative disc disease are far more comfortable eating with their heads in a forward position rather than continually moving their heads up and down.  “The older they get, the less movement they have to do while eating, the better,” she says.

Rosencrans also points out that ergonomically designed dinnerware and pet dining tables are excellent for pet amputees who struggle to eat when they have to get up and down off the floor. Indeed, some disabled pets find this so traumatic they often stop eating altogether.

And there are other advantages to raised dining; for example, elderly pet owners don’t have to bend to the ground to feed. Pets also seem to create less of a mess when eating at a more comfortable height. Sturdy-legged bowls and tables are more difficult to push all over the room and somehow don’t seem to attract upwardly mobile ants, a common problem in many households.

As pet dining gets off the ground and raised to new ergonomic heights, innovative designers are also coming up with buffet tables on attractive wrought iron or wooden legs that feature two to four bowls. They are ideal for serving a “beastro” of wet and dry food and water, as well as functioning as eating stations for multi-dog households.

Some of these tables even have adjustable legs. They start off at six inches to accommodate a puppy, and can be raised to ten or fourteen inches when the dog reaches its full height. Fluted bowls on stands are great for preventing long floppy ears from getting wet or full of food. Wall mounted designs are also available if you want to tailor the height specifically to meet your pet’s unique needs.

When it comes to water bowls, you can never have too many in or outside the home. Remember to keep those bowls full.  As summer approaches, you might also want to add ice cubes, or invest in a nifty new line of bowls designed to keep water cold for hours. All you have to do is chill the bowl in your freezer before use. Then add a couple of leaves of mint or a slice of cucumber to keep the water fresh. Such additions are perfectly digestible, and may even serve to freshen your dog’s breath when nibbled.
Stuck for gift ides? Well, here’s food for thought. Doggy dinnerware makes a great gift for any four-legged honoree. The recipient may not know the difference, but her people will definitely be impressed.