Does the Size of a Bowl Matter for a Puppy?

Choosing the right size bowl helps your pet eat comfortably.
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Size does matter when it comes to puppy bowls. Your puppy may not be able to comfortably eat from a too-small, too-tall or too-deep bowl. Like Goldilocks, you'll want to find one that's "just right" for your puppy and the adult dog he'll become.

Bowl Size

A bowl should be large enough that your dog can comfortably open and close her mouth to grab morsels, but does not need to be larger. Accordingly, a miniature poodle and a Great Dane do not need the same size bowl, even as puppies. You may opt to buy a bowl large enough for your puppy to grow into, or start with a small bowl appropriate to her size and scale up as she grows.

Bowl Height

Bowls vary in shape, and the right size bowl will be wide enough and tall enough for your dog. If your puppy will grow into a large dog, consider investing in a dish that has adjustable height. As your dog grows taller, raise the height of the bowl so he does not have to strain his neck or bend his body to eat. Small breeds, even as adults, won't have to strain to reach a bowl on the floor so they do not need adjustable height bowls.


A puppy may not be able to reach the bottom of a deep bowl, since his legs are short and his body is close to the ground. For this reason, choose a bowl that is broad and shallow over a deep bowl. To make sure the bowl you're considering isn't too deep, take your pup to the pet store and place the bowl in front of him to test it out.

How Much to Feed

Many owners tend to overfeed dogs when using a large bowl. Over time, this can contribute to pet obesity. For this reason, choose the right size bowl for your puppy and feed the appropriate amount, using a measuring cup. Feed the recommended amount of puppy food based on your dog's size and switch to standard dog food when your puppy reaches physical maturity. Small dogs tend to mature around 10 to 12 months; large dogs can take up to two years to mature. Your vet can advise you on when your breed of puppy should mature.

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