Having two dogs is twice the fun. It’s twice the companionship, playtime and love. However, with two dogs you may have rivalry. This can lead to fights and twice as many vet bills. Having two also requires being twice as observant, especially when it comes to noticing signs of an early illness. Having two bowls can help with these as well as other potential problems.
Even when two dogs get along wonderfully, food can spark a fight. It is an inherited instinct for dogs to protect their food, especially if a dog had to compete for it in his past. A dog being protective of the food bowl is not uncommon in multi-dog households. Feeding dogs in separate bowls can help combat this problem. However, it’s not always a solution. Consult your veterinarian if your dog shows signs of moderate food aggression toward you or other pets. If ignored, this behavior may escalate.
When it comes to food, separate bowls are essential when you have dogs of different sizes, ages or breeds. Caloric intake varies if one dog is pregnant, or if one is an adult and the other a puppy. Certain breeds also have special requirements. Growing large or giant breeds require a diet that helps keep their growth at a slow rate so their bones can develop properly. Small or toy breeds typically have higher metabolisms, and often require diets higher in certain nutrients in order to maintain healthy blood-sugar levels.
If one dog has a health concern and is on medication, two bowls are imperative. Separate bowls allow you to make certain one dog gets the medication he needs, while your other dog doesn’t digest medication that is potentially harmful. Having two bowls also makes it easier to notice if one dog has a decrease or increase in appetite. Either one of these can be an early warning sign that something is medically wrong, and your veterinarian should be consulted.
Having two bowls for water is also beneficial to your dogs' health, especially in hotter weather. For optimal nutrition, dogs require approximately 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight daily. Two bowls help to make sure dogs of different sizes or needs get their fair share. If you have a large house, having bowls in different areas is helpful, especially if one dog is older or has trouble walking. Also, it's just as important to monitor water consumption as food intake, since an increase in thirst is a common symptom of diabetes as well as liver and kidney diseases.