It’s vital that your dog stays hydrated when travelling – especially when temperatures rise. This article outlines what to look for in a portable drinking bowl, along with five of the best travel dog bowls.
Stainless steel, ceramic or heavy-duty plastic bowls are durable and stable, making them great for home use. They are too bulky and weighty for travel though.
That’s why portable dog bowls are becoming increasingly popular. The best travel dog bowls are lightweight and collapsible, meaning they fit into a backpack or luggage. There are also dog water bottles and spill proof bowls available, depending on your needs.
In this article, I’ve outlined what to look for in a travel bowl, along with five of the best options.
Lightweight bowl that folds down for packing
My top pick for a travel bowl is the Prima Pet Silicone Collapsible. It has a folding design, making it easy to pack in a backpack or suitcase. It’s also dishwasher-safe and has a useful carabiner clip.
Whatever travel bowl you opt for, make sure it’s lightweight, takes up minimal space, and has enough capacity for your dog’s needs. A dishwasher-safe design is a bonus, as dog bowls quickly become dirty.
The shape of the bowl is also important. If you pick a bowl with a narrow opening, for example, dogs with broad snouts or flat-faced breeds might find it challenging to use.
There are two main types of collapsible bowls: silicone and canvas. Silicone bowls are rigid but collapse down when not in use. Canvas varieties are softer and can be pressed, folded or stuffed into your luggage.
How do you know which is best for you and your dog though?
Silicone bowls are easy to clean and tend to be cheaper than canvas alternatives. They are also a better choice for nervous dogs, as the sides have more rigidity than floppy canvas bowls. If you want a silicone bowl, make sure you choose one that’s easy to collapse and made with BPA-free materials.
Canvas bowls tend to be a little more expensive, but are durable and squish down into small spaces. They aren’t as easy to clean, however, as food can get trapped in the folds. Make sure you rinse and dry a canvas bowl after each use to prevent bacteria and mold.
Tip: Some collapsible bowls have cinch tops or lids so they can be pre-filled, which is handy when traveling.
Bottles are heavier than a collapsible bowl (especially at the start of a walk when full of water), but are handy when hiking or camping without access to a freshwater source. Of course, they are only suitable for water, so you’ll need to carry food separately.
The size and capacity of water bottles varies considerably. Consider your dog’s size, the weather conditions, and how long you’ll be walking when choosing.
Some models come with a special lid that doubles as a portable bowl. These can be useful when hiking, as you won’t need to carry a separate bowl.
Spill-proof bowls, with their internal rims and other splash-reducing features, are great for minimizing spilt water on car journeys.
They’re also a good option when you’re staying in a hotel and want to prevent your dog leaving a slobbery mess on the floor!
Bowls with a spill-proof design don’t typically collapse, however, so are less convenient when packing.
When selecting a travel bowl, it’s important to consider your dog’s size, the bowl capacity and your available storage space. You also need to think about the type of travel. Listed below are five of the best dog travel bowls to help you make a decision.
The wide-based Prima Pet Collapsible Pet Travel Bowl is great for dogs of all shapes and sizes. It’s made with food-grade silicone that’s safe, relatively strong and easy to clean. The bowl also collapses down to a width of just 2 cm, making it an excellent choice for travelling.
There are two sizes available. The large holds a generous 42 oz of water or 5 cups of food, which is plenty for large dogs. It also has a wider base than many alternatives, making it a suitable choice for dogs with wide snouts or flat-faced breeds.
The Prima Pet Silicone Dog Bowl is easy to clean, as it can go in the dishwasher. The bowl is also available in four colors, which is useful if you want to buy separate options for multiple dogs.
A nice extra is the carabiner clip. This allows you to attach the bowl to the outside of a rucksack if you’re restricted for space. You can also hook it onto a leash, treat pouch or belt.
There are a couple of drawbacks to this bowl. The BPA-free plastic rim, for example, provides stability when expanded, but is less flexible than a canvas alternative.
Silicone bowls aren’t always as durable as canvas models either. Over time, the seams of the bowl can start to degrade and come apart. The Prima Pet bowl isn’t exempt from this problem, so care should be taken when expanding it not to be too rough.
Wrapping things up, the Prima Pet Collapsible bowl, with its generous capacity, is a perfect choice for big dog owners. You don’t have to worry about it getting stinky either, as it’s super easy to clean. Just collapse the bowl with care if you want it to last.
For enthusiastic hikers or backpackers, the Ruffwear Bivy Collapsible Bowl is a great choice. It’s lightweight, durable, has a generous capacity, and still folds down small. The canvas is also more durable than the average silicone bowl.
Ruffwear are synonymous with high-quality pet products, and their travel bowl is no exception. It holds an impressive 60oz of water, making it one of the bigger options. Even large breeds needing a refuel after a hard day on the trails can eat their meal in one sitting.
Small dogs don’t have to worry about it being too deep either, as there’s the option to partially expand the bowl. This is an uncommon feature for a canvas bowl, but can be useful – especially if you have multiple dogs of different sizes.
When extended, the Bivy bowl retains its shape well. You don’t have to worry about it collapsing inwards as your pooch is trying to eat or drink, which is a common issue with lower quality canvas bowls. The durable sides are also less prone to developing leaks and easier to clean than the average fabric bowl.
There are a few other nice additions, including a grip bottom for stability, reflective trim and an integrated hang loop. Ruffwear has clearly put a lot of thought into what’s important for a bowl when hiking or camping.
Perhaps the biggest drawback is the price. It’s considerably more expensive than the average travel bowl. The Ruffwear should last a long time, however, so it could be a worthwhile investment if you spend a lot of time outdoors.
The more rigid sides also mean it can’t be scrunched up as much as other canvas bowls. It’s handy that it folds flat though.
Overall, the Bivy bowl is a durable, compact and lightweight option that’s great for dogs of all shapes and sizes. Just be prepared for the steep price tag!
If you’re heading on an adventure where access to fresh water will be scarce, the Highwave AutoDogMug Bottle might be a handy addition to your backpack.
Instead of carrying a separate bowl, you just squeeze the Highwave bottle to fill the attached cup with water. Whatever your dog doesn’t drink is then absorbed back into the bottle when you release the pressure.
It’s great that the bottle is made with BPA-free materials. The AutoDogMug is also available in six colors and is dishwasher safe (only on the top rack!) A bonus is that the removable Velcro strap can be hooked to the outside of a backpack or belt.
There are a few downsides though. For starters, the design isn’t 100% leakproof. If the bottle is squeezed inside your bag, water could leak over other items. I also think the attached cup is too small for large breeds or dogs with wide snouts.
Another drawback is that the bottle only has a 20 fl oz capacity. This isn’t going to be enough for large breeds on long hikes. There’s also no option to leave the bowl on the floor while you take a break – your dog can only drink when you’re squeezing the bottle.
Taking everything into account, the Highwave Bottle is best suited to car trips or shorter walks. The convenient design means you can easily offer a quick drink when you have pit stops along the way. For camping trips and all-day hikes, a traditional travel bowl and separate water bottle is probably the better option.
Regular day-trippers and hikers will appreciate that you can store your dog’s food in the practical Ruffwear Quencher Cinch Top bowl. The drawstring top also stops smelly kibble from escaping into your rucksack.
As with their Bivy bowl, the Ruffwear Quencher Cinch boasts a quality construction and design. The water-resistant outer fabric and waterproof inner lining are durable. Plus, they allow your dog to eat and drink from the bowl without any leakage worries.
The bigger of the two sizes can hold up to 84 fluid ounces. You won’t need to worry about fitting your pet’s daily kibble ration, even if you own a large dog.
I love that this bowl can be popped in the washing machine on a gentle cycle. Cleaning a canvas bowl is often fiddly and time-consuming, so this is a big advantage over other options. It also has a reflective trim, folds down small, and is available in three colors.
Probably the biggest stumbling block with this bowl is the price. You do get what you pay for with Ruffwear products, however, and you can expect this to stand the test of time.
You’ll also need to ensure that you dry the Quencher Cinch properly before stuffing it away. It can easily gather mold if it’s left damp.
Because this bowl is less rigid in construction than the other bowls we’ve reviewed, it isn’t as stable or easy to drink from. Some dogs may find this off-putting, especially given the sides are quite deep. Kibble may also escape when your dog is enjoying their dinner.
On the whole, the Quencher Cinch is a durable, generously-sized and practical bowl if you want to store your dog’s food for travel. It’s not a good choice for those on a budget, however, and you’ll need to invest in another bowl for water if you plan to stuff it with kibble.
The Kurgo No Spill Travel Dog Bowl is an ideal choice if your dog accompanies you on road trips or nights away in hotels. The tapered lip helps to prevent food and water from spilling, keeping it more contained than a normal bowl.
This bowl features an internal rim that helps contain water even when traveling on a bumpy road. Because the bowl also has a wedge design, the angle ensures it lays flat when on a car seat.
Some additional benefits are that the bowl is dishwasher safe and made from durable, safe and food-grade silicone. It’s also available in two colors and has a reasonable price.
There are a couple of snags with the Kurgo bowl, however. It can be crushed to reduce in size, but it doesn’t collapse flat like most travel bowls. This means it’s best for the car, rather than trying to squeeze it into a backpack for hiking.
Holding a maximum of 24 fluid ounces, this dog water bowl doesn’t have a generous capacity, and you should only fill it half full to minimize the chance of spillage. The tapered rim also means the top of the bowl might be too tight for large breed dogs or those with a wide snout.
Overall, the Kurgo No Spill Travel Bowl’s tapered lid and wedge design make it a useful choice for road trips. It’ll minimize the chance of your car seats getting soaked, while the flexible walls make it easier to pack. You might want to opt for something else if you have a large breed though.
The best travel bowl for your dog depends on where you plan to use it, how it’ll be packed, and the size of your pet. You’ll also need to consider practicalities like durability, ease of cleaning and bowl measurements.
My top pick is the Prima Pet Collapsible Silicone Travel Bowl. Coming in two sizes, the biggest has a generous capacity and can still be partially collapsed for a smaller breed, making it a versatile choice. The bowl is also lightweight and easy to clean.
I hope this article has helped you choose the best travel water bowl for your pet. If you have any feedback or questions, please get in touch using the comments box below.