Are Dollar Store dog bowls safe? The Ultimate Guide

Are glasses from the dollar store safe?

There’s a decent selection of glassware in most dollar stores, and they’re perfectly safe for the home. They’re not made of inferior glass that will shatter when you breathe on them. The glasses may not be the most current styles, and you may not get exactly the shape you were looking for.

Price-wise, the containers are a good buy. If you decide to use them, just make sure that you never microwave them or otherwise heat them, as this greatly increases the chances that harmful chemicals will leach into the food.

I use the clear plastic Betty Crocker containers with red lids to store some of my dogs’ raw food. It’s BPA free, but may still contain some toxic additives, just like any other plastic container.

But… I use them for my own food, and I’m probably not going to stop. Glass containers are a good alternative, but I like that plastic won’t shatter if dropped.

And then there are things I would never, ever let my dogs have, even if I were given them for free.

Dollar Tree sells eggs. They’re not organic or anything, but if they’re good enough for me, they’re good enough for my pups. Eggs are easy to digest and highly bio-available, a great source of protein, and a wonderful topper for kibble, raw or cooked.

BFRs are linked to cancer, birth defects and problems with brain development, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. So, consider saving your dollars and buying higher-quality stainless steel cooking utensils instead.

Batteries are one of those things we need but hate to buy because they can be expensive. But youre better off forking over the dough for batteries from a regular retailer than at a dollar store, as they are usually duds, according to Woroch.

Even makeup can become less effective if its past its expiration date. Furthermore, off-brand makeup products might also contain harmful chemicals. In one example, the Ecology Centers dollar store report found a medium level of the carcinogen, antimony, in L.A. Colors eye shadow, when tested.

“I would avoid these products,” said shopping expert Trae Bodge. “You will probably not recognize the brands, and if you do, they may have been sitting on the shelf for a long time.”

“Many of these toys are made in China, and arent tested by the [Consumer Product Safety Commission],” said Woroch. “Especially for children under 3, pieces can easily break and get swallowed. A trip to the ER isnt worth a couple of saved bucks.”

Which Dog Bowl is Safest?

There are a wide number and types of dog bowls on the market today. Stainless steel, plastic, silicone, ceramic, stoneware, bamboo, non-skid, slow-feeding, non-spill, and yes, even automated portion-sized ones. However, with so many options out there, how is one suppose to decide which one to get?More importantly, which types of dog bowls are safe?

Here at BarkThink, we did some research for you on the different types of dog food bowls on the market. Here is what we found:

The most popular and commonly used material for dog bowls is plastic. But, did you know that these types of bowls can be the most dangerous and riskiest bowls to feed your pet with? Let’s look into some of the reasons why…

Durability. For young and teething pups out there, a feeder bowl occasionally becomes another chew toy to be destroyed and eaten. All it takes is a few minutes without your supervision and these pieces of plastic can cause internal bleeding or intestinal blockage (and likely a huge vet bill).

Bad Bacteria. Highly porous and easily scratched, plastic bowls are prone to developing cracks and crevices that can harbor unhealthy bacteria for your furry friend.

Bisphenol A (BPA). I’m sure many of you are familiar with BPA by now. Every few years, there are news headlines regarding the hazards of plastics—most recently it has been about a chemical known as Bisphenol A, or BPA, that was found in baby products, sports bottles, and several other products used to hold edibles.

BPA is a synthetic estrogen commonly used to harden polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resin; however, extensive studies has shown that, even at low amounts to which people are routinely exposed, it can cause serious and sometimes irreversible damage to health. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “in laboratory tests, trace BPA exposure has been shown to disrupt the endocrine system and trigger a wide variety of disorders, including chromosomal and reproductive system abnormalities, impaired brain and neurological functions, cancer, cardiovascular system damage, adult-onset diabetes, early puberty, obesity, and resistance to chemotherapy.” With this type of effect on humans, just imagine what BPA could be doing to our dogs—most of whom are much smaller!

Other concerns. As you will see on—an organization that conducts research testing on consumer products for levels of lead, chlorine, arsenic, and other concerning chemicals—reveals several plastic pet bowls containing medium levels of lead despite being BPA-free and certified as food-safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Any of these chemicals can leach from plastic containers into your dog’s food and water, potentially exposing them to dangerous chemicals with harmful side effects.

It is unfortunate because there are several food-safe plastics, such as those used in human plastics identified by their recycling codes. Sadly, the pet industry is slow to add this information to their products. As a result, we are often left not knowing which plastic pet bowl is safe and which ones are unsafe until it is recalled or completely removed from the market.

Sure, there are some safe plastic pet bowls out there; but how are you suppose to know which ones really are?

Ceramic pet bowls can be a good choice if you do some homework, choose carefully, and take care of them. The biggest concern is to ensure that the glazes used to coat the dog bowls does not contain lead or other harmful chemicals. Therefore, when selecting a ceramic bowl, make sure that certified for food use and it is coated with a lead-free glaze. It is important to routinely inspect the bowls for cracks and chips because these areas can harbor harmful bacteria. You also would not want your dog to accidentally ingest any loose pieces that can continue to break off from preexisting cracked or chipped areas.

There was not much concerns I had for stoneware pet bowls…until I learned about some of the moderate levels of dangerous lead in several everyday products including stoneware pet bowls in’s 2009 research. Sure, small traces of lead seems to be in nearly every other item these days. In fact, out of the 400 pet products tested, a quarter of the items had detectable levels of lead. However, 7 percent of the tested products had lead levels that exceed 300 ppm—the standard for lead in children’s product set by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Until it is tested, how are you suppose to know which stoneware pet bowls are truly lead-free or not?

According to the EWG, the insidious symptoms of slow lead poisoning includes infertility, mood swings, impaired intellect, memory loss, nerve, joint and muscle disorders, skeletal, renal, kidney, and cardiovascular problems, and possibly cancer. While some manufacturers advertise their stoneware bowls as lead-free; being the way I am, I still have my hesitations and doubts. However, I’d still recommend stoneware over plastic bowls given the fewer concerning drawbacks.

Silicone is one of the newest alternatives on the market today and it’s easy to see why. Nontoxic, nonstick, and rubber-like; high quality silicone products are highly heat-resistant (can be used with boiling water or in the oven if needed), does not retain stains or odors, and can be space-saving due to its collapsible feature.

So what exactly is silicone? Silicones are inert, synthetic compounds consisting of polymers that includes silicon together with carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and occasionally other elements.

Unfortunately for me, due to its form and rigidity (or lack thereof), it is not very functional as a permanent pet bowl. It is, however, an outstanding collapsible dog bowl (and even human cereal bowl) for hiking, camping, and traveling! According to my wife, a chemist, silicone is one of the most stable compounds available and, due to its chemical composition and difficulty in producing free radicals (such as upon exposure to UV radiation), is chemically inert.

Ah…stainless steel, the go-to choice for professional chefs, medical professionals, and…the Queen Dame (wife) of the household. Stainless steel dog bowls are non-porous which discourages bacteria, non-leaching, rust-resistant, and much easier to sanitize (dishwasher anyone?) properly. Although not perfect, stainless steel is exposed to far fewer chemicals than plastic products during the manufacturing process.

The most recent ‘scare’ regarding stainless steel dog bowls occurred in mid-2012 when less than a dozen Petco stores throughout Illinois received stainless steel bowls containing low levels of radiation due to small quantities of Cobalt-60 being accidentally mixed in during the manufacturing process. According to Petco’s notice, “the affected products were limited to two cargo containers that entered the United States in late May and early June.” Other than that, I have am not aware of any other significant drawbacks to using stainless steel pet bowls.