If you’re like me, you probably haven’t given this question much consideration. As I was browsing the aisles of my local pet store, I noticed that some of the bowls were marked on the bottom “not for human use,” and the majority of them were made in China. A quick Google search about products made in China will produce thousands of articles about the dangerous toxins that are present in their exports and those of other countries as well. This begs the question, if a product is not safe for humans, why would it be safe for animals? The short answer is – it’s not. And considering 95% of Americans consider their pet a part of the family, why would you risk their health if you knew a better way?
HIDDEN DANGERS IN PET FOOD BOWLS
As I researched the issue, I started to read quite a bit of information about the different risks associated with different types of bowls. Here is a list of some of the most common dangers that could be lurking in your pet’s bowls.
- Bacteria. Harmful bacteria is known to thrive in moist environments. Pet bowls, particularly plastic bowls, tend to make ideal environments for bacterial growth. Acne in cats has been linked to plastic bowls.
- Bisphenol A, commonly called BPA. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a consumer watchdog group dedicated to “protecting human health and the environment,” BPA is a carcinogen linked to infertility, developmental risks and diabetes in humans.
- Phthalates. Chemicals linked to early puberty in girls and other reproductive harms. They show up in PVC plastic, toys and plastic wrap.
- Lead. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) “Generally, lead affects children more than it does adults. Children tend to show signs of severe lead toxicity at lower levels than adults…” And the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA.gov) goes on to say “Children may also be exposed to lead by eating and drinking food or water containing lead or from dishes or glasses that contain lead, inhaling lead dust from lead-based paint or lead-contaminated soil or from playing with toys with lead paint.” If little humans are susceptible to lead toxicity, certainly our pets are as well.
- Chromium. This element is a known carcinogen. It is sometimes referred to as the “Erin Brockovich” contaminant as it gained wide exposure through the movie of the same name.
- Bromine. An endocrine disruptor commonly found in flame retardants. According to EWG, bromine has been found in nearly 50% of plastic toys and teethers coming from China.
- Cobalt. An element that can cause respiratory illness and cancer in humans. According to Scientific American, “Cobalt is ‘not on the radar of researchers,’ said David Bellinger, a Harvard professor of neurology who studies the effects of metal exposure on children’s developing brains. ‘I do not think that I have ever seen a study on its potential toxicity in children – or adults. If it is a common exposure and it is bioavailable, then it should be looked at.’”
Also see Table 1 below, for more information.
Table 1. Pet Bowls and Possible Contaminants
PET COMFORT PET FEEDING SYSTEM
I had the pleasure to speak with the CEO and Founder of the PetComfort Feeding System by WeatherTech, David MacNeil. When you speak to David, it’s readily apparent that he is passionate about bringing a truly safe pet bowl to the pet industry. David is obsessed about the safety of his products, and pet parents can thank him for that. His inspiration comes from his 3 dogs who sadly all passed away from cancer. Their deaths inspired David to take a look at the pet products in his own home and design a trustworthy and safe product. His persistence and enthusiasm paid off because the PetComfort Feeding System is the first NSF Home Goods certified pet bowl on the market.
After his own experiences using unsafe pet bowls with his dog, he decided to bring a superior product to the market for cat and dog parents: the PetComfort Feeding System by WeatherTech. This system features 3 important components:
- Human-grade plastic mat
- Human-grade plastic bowl stands
- Human-grade 22-gauge (thick) stainless steel bowls
The three-part system is designed to be safe for not only pets, but for humans alike (not that you’ll eat out of your pet’s bowls!) And the feeding system comes in a variety of sizes to create an ergonomic feeding experience for your pet.
WHAT IS NSF CERTIFICATION AND WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Products seeking NSF certification undergo extensive product testing, material analyses, and unannounced plant inspections. Every aspect of a product’s development is thoroughly evaluated before it can earn NSF certification. And to ensure ongoing safety, NSF certification is an ongoing process that includes unannounced manufacturing plant visits and testing to ensure that products are always meeting their high standards for safety.
According to NSF International, “Manufacturers, regulators and consumers look to NSF International for the development of public health standards and certification programs that help protect the world’s food, water, consumer products and environment.”
PETCOMFORT FEEDING SYSTEM BY WEATHERTECH REVIEW
After researching and reading about all of the chemicals and toxins that are in plastics, ceramics and even some stainless steel, I examined the pet bowls I have at home. I noticed that some of the ceramic bowls have tiny cracks in the glaze (in the garbage they go!) I also noticed that the stainless steel bowl I have for water is “Made in China,” so I can’t trust that bowl either. I also have a few saucers that are from China and they aren’t marked in any way as to whether they are decorative or made for food… so I don’t feel like I can trust them anymore.
PetComfort by WeatherTech sent us their feeding system to try out.
The products arrived in a large box. Once I opened it, the kitty committee (my cats, who are also known as kitty customs) naturally came to inspect the box. I rinsed off the mat, the bowl stand and washed the bowls and set them up in seconds.
- Both the mat and bowl stand are very high quality plastic and have a sleek look. The red color is really nice too, it really ‘pops’ in my kitchen. If red isn’t your thing, not to worry, they have 11 beautiful colors to choose from!
- The bowl stand fits over grooves on the mat, so that the bowl stand doesn’t slip or move.
- The stainless steel bowls fit snuggly in the bowl stand. I love that there’s a little indentation so you can easily pick up the bowls to clean and refill them. Once in place, they fit snuggly, so your cat isn’t pushing bowls or dishes around your kitchen (like mine did).
- While my cats can’t speak to me, I know they love this system. How do I know? Because I tested them of course!
I left my cat’s regular water bowl and their regular food dish for dry food out and then put this set nearby with water and the same food. I continually witnessed each of my cats *choose* to use the new PetComfort Feeding System instead of their old bowls. We’ve had the set about eight weeks as of this writing and I continue to find the new PetComfort bowls depleted of food and water and the other older bowls look like they haven’t been used.
PROS & CONS
- Safe for your pet
- Ergonomic for your pet
- Non-toxic materials
- Made in the USA
- NSF Certified
- PetComfort is completely transparent about their testing results
- Sleek design
- 3 sizes for cats
- 11 colors to match any decor
- Costs more than your average pet bowl, but it will last a lifetime – and most importantly – it’s safe.
- Wish that I could purchase single bowl stands with mats because I like to place water throughout the house.
Our pets are our family. Most of us would never buy a product for our cats if there was any chance they could be harmed, but many times, with the exception of pet food, we don’t pay as much attention to the other products our cats use.
Conducting this review really shined a light on product manufacturing for our pets and now makes me question the other items they use regularly, like toys, collars, litter, and so on.
What are your thoughts? How much time do you spend researching pet products before you purchase them? Does it matter to you whether a product is made domestically or overseas? Please share your thoughts!
Oh… and if you’re interested in purchasing these – you can get them at PetComfort by WeatherTech’s website.
The Catnip Times reviews cat products from time to time and reports on our genuine experiences with you, our readers. Many times, manufacturers will send us free products to test and try and other times we purchase our own products (because we shop around for cat stuff just like you!) In either case, we only post about products that we genuinely like and find to be of exceptional quality. If a product doesn’t meet our standards, we will not post about it nor promote it.
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