One of the logistics of having a multi-dog household involves making sure everyone has access to fresh water. I’ve heard of people who only keep the dog’s water bowls outside to keep the mess out of the house. But I just don’t think that is fair, or healthy for the dogs. They need access to their water 24 hrs a day in my opinion.
Most of my dogs are large, so I’ve always used large stainless steel buckets to provide water for everyone. I feel like I’m doing my farm chores in the mornings, hauling all the buckets out of the dog room, down to the kitchen sink, to wash and fill them. The buckets do a good job, and are big enough that I don’t have to re-fill them during the day.
The problem is the MESS. I have one very neat drinker, and three splashy, dribbly, slobbery drinkers. (Bet you can’t guess who is my neat one?!) I’ve tried a few methods to reduce the amount of water on the floor(carpet) and wall. None of them worked very well at all. The worst attempts were trying various fabric mats, blankets and towels under the buckets. The mat, no matter how big, was never big ENOUGH. It would catch the immediate drips, but then the trail of drips out the doorway and starting down the hall were still there.
Also the mats did nothing to stop water from hitting the wall and running down to the baseboard and carpet/floor.
I had a little more success with a waterproof mat. But it apparently was not waterproof enough, because some moisture wicked through, and then since the fabric did not breathe, I was horrified to discover mold starting to grow.
So then I switched to a large plastic tray with a lip, originally made to sit your muddy/wet shoes on, inside the house. This worked pretty well at keeping the carpet area under the bucket dry. But the tray filled up quickly with water, and also collected hair and dirt. And when some of the water evaporated, I had hard water stains too! There HAD to be something better out there.
I hit Google and found a link to The Neater Feeder. I was really excited to see this, and the design seemed good! It is a large, raised feeder, that has a high “wall” around the top. This encourages the dogs to keep their heads over the bowls as they drink and also minimizes splashing onto the wall behind the feeder. Of course, this is meant to be used for both food and water, but I use both bowls for water only.
Then the whole top is graded to slope slightly downward, and the top has a drainage grate in it, where water that is spilled flows down into a reservoir below. I immediately ordered the XL on Amazon (free shipping and all that!)
We have been using the Neater Feeder, and I am very happy with it! I always kept the buckets in the dog room, because they are a bit of a tipping hazard, and did not want them in a high traffic area. I put the Neater Feeder in the kitchen, as it is very study and won’t be accidently kicked over by people or dogs. It does actually help a LOT in containing the watery mess. I empty the reservoir every morning and I am always grateful to be pouring that water down the drain, rather than mopping it off the floor. Depending on the day, there is at least a half-inch of water in the bottom, sometimes more.
The high walls do help keep the dogs over the bowls while drinking, so that most of the dribbles do land on the top/grate. Obviously, there is still a little dripping that goes on as they walk away, but not much and nothing that a quick swipe with a paper towel won’t take care of.
It came with two stainless steel bowls, one is larger/deeper than the other. If I had realized this, I would have ordered an additional deep bowl.
Protects the wall
Keeps water off the floor
Easy to clean/maintain
Attractive color options
Capacity – bowls need to be re-filled at least once, especially on hot days.
Height – You can order additional “leg extenders” to increase the height, and it is fine for my Shepherd, Beauceron and Sussex Spaniel, but not high enough for a giant breed.
Cost – A little pricey, but not much more than most large raised feeders.
Overall I’d give it 4 out of 5 pawprints!
And, PS – Jamie is my “neat drinker”!! Who’d of thought? He delicately drinks and takes such little sips, it takes him forever to actually get a drink. And he has a fancy dancy raised feeder that was made by hubby Travis. It has a Corian top, that is so easy to clean, is the right height for him and holds his food bowl and water bucket perfectly. He doesn’t need to use the Neater Feeder at all luckily.