Does it feel like your dog is sprinting in a race when trying to devour their food?
Are you concerned about them choking on their food because of how fast they eat?
Although we tend to witness this a lot more with larger dogs, all dogs can develop this bad habit of eating really quickly.
If your dog is like mine and loves to wolf food down in record time, then you really need to consider looking at a slow feeder dog bowl.
But what exactly is a slow feeder dog bowl and how do slow feeder dog bowls work?
Why Is Eating Slower Better For Your Dog?
Even though dogs love to eat, they can get carried away quite easily, especially when tempted by the smell of dog food.
Dogs love to chow down their food as if their life depended on it and they have been starving for weeks, however eating slower does have many benefits for your dog.
Research has shown that eating slower improves digestion, reduces the risk of choking, developing gastric dilatation volvulus (GDV) or more commonly gastric dilation, and better overall digestive health for your dog.
Excessive inhalation of air while eating can lead to bloating, and an inability to expel the air and food out of the stomach, leading to a life threatening conditioning called Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV). This can cause the stomach to become twisted, and thus trapping the air and blockage of blood inside of the stomach and spleen.
By simply eating slower, our dogs can significantly reduce these risks, however dogs have a difficult time modifying their behavior.
This is where the slow feeder dog bowl comes into the picture.
How Do Slow Feeder Dog Bowls Work?
A slow feeder dog bowl basically creates an obstruction or maze like structure within the dog bowl making it harder for the dog to gulp down their food in quick succession. Instead, dogs are given access to small amounts of food through expending extra effort and thinking about how to solve the puzzle.
In order for your dog to eat the food, they must first navigate their food through the maze. This in turn forces your dog to slow down their rate of eating.
Giving your dog this slow feeder bowl will over time modify their eating behavior and habits, helping them slow down the pace of eating food.
You no longer feel the need to give them seconds unlike in the past where they were able to quickly devoured their food all in a matter of seconds.
This is what has made this type of dog bowl so popular in recent times.
Sorry Fido but your not getting seconds anymore!
Benefits of a Slow Feeder Dog Bowl
- Improves Digestion: A slow feeder dog bowl prompts your dog to actually take their time when consuming their food and actually chew it, rather then just inhaling it in. Chewing and breaking down the food allows for easier digestion.
- Reduces bloating and gas: Since your dog now has time to breath and let out air and gas, bloating is significantly reduced.
- Modifies dog eating behavior: no more sprint eating sessions which is especially problematic with large dogs.
- Reduces the risk of Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV): This medical condition sounds scary and taking your dog over to the vet to have an operation to treat this can not only run you tens of thousands of dollars, but is a life threatening condition that could very well be the last time you ever see them again. That’s why getting a slow feeder dog bowl is absolutely critical.
- Reduces risk of choking: When your dog is unable to chow down on a mouth full of food quickly, his risk of choking is significantly reduced. You won’t feel any anxiety anymore while watching your dog eat their food for fear of their life.
- Helps with portion control and overeating: Say goodbye to excess weight gain and slow sluggish behavior. Also the extra effort required to eat their food in of itself could be considered exercise as well.
As you can see, there are many benefits towards switching from a regular dog bowl to a slow feeder dog bowl.
And don’t let your dog’s sad looking guilt tripping eye’s try to convince you into dropping down more food for them. For a slow feeder dog bowl, he’s gonna be too preoccupied to pull that trick up his sleeve.
How to Choose The Right Slow Feeder Dog Bowl
1. Type of Material Used
With so many choices of slow feeder dog bowl options out there, its hard to decide which one is the best for our beloved dogs.
Currently on the market there are usually 3 types of materials that you will see dog bowls being made out of:
- Stainless steel
Plastic tends to be the cheapest out of all the dog bowl types, however they tend to scratch easier and can harbor a tonne of bacterial as well, making them less than ideal for feeding your dog. You also run the risk that your dog may try to ingest the plastic material if a piece of the dog bowl ever breaks off.
Next comes ceramic dog bowls. These are a slight step up from plastic bowls, however they too can present the same problem as plastic bowls if you ever chip them.
It is with this reason, that I only recommend that you stick with stainless stain bowls. These bowls can last a long time, and are easy to clean and sanitize.
They also don’t house nearly as much bacterial as the other two options.
Lastly, if your lazy or just don’t got time to be washing your dog’s bowl on a daily basis, then stainless steel bowls are the way to go, as they are dish waster friendly. Just simply pop them into the dish waster and voila, you’ve got yourself a clean dog bowl to feed your dog with.
2. Size of The Dog Bowl
Size does matter when it comes to selecting the right dog bowl for your dog.
A simple tip when trying to decide what size of dog bowl to use is to select it based on the size of your dog.
For example, if you have a large dog such as a Great Dane, then the ideal dog bow would be a large dog bowl, while a smaller dog such as a Shih Tzu would need a small dog bowl.
Its recommended to stick to the proper size dog bowl when feeding your dog. A small slow feeder dog bowl would not be ideal for a large dog and may even put them off from eating altogether.
3. Type and Level of Difficulty of Puzzle
Slow feeder dog bowls come in a variety of different puzzle patterns and difficulty levels. You’ll find anything from spiral patterns to dog bowls with trees or pikes sticking up. Some of these dog bowls even prevent the dog bowl from slipping and flipping over. Some smarter dogs have figured out that rather then wasting their time trying to solve the puzzle that they can instead just flip the dog bowl over and then get access to all of the food immediately.
If your dog is having a difficult time solving the puzzle, you may wish to give them an easier to solve slow feeder dog bowl, so as to prevent starvation and over-taxation of their mental capabilities.
One last note about this: If your dog gets good at solving the puzzle for a particular slow feeder dog bowl, you may consider swapping it out for another slow feeder dog bowl. This keeps things mentally stimulating for the dog as well.
Slow feeder dog bowls are a great alternative to traditional dog bowls as they provide a breadth of benefits to your dog such as:
- Portion control and prevents overeating
- Modification of your dog’s eating behavior (quick to slower)
- Reduces chances of choking
- Reduces risk of developing Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV)
- Improves digestion
- Reduces bloating and gas
There are a number of different types of materials that are used in slow feeder dog bowls, however stainless stain remains one of the best options due to its durable material, ease of cleaning, and reduced chance of harboring bacteria.
In addition, the size of the dog bowl matters. Large dog bowls should always be used with large dogs, and smaller dog bowls for smaller dogs.
We sometimes can’t help but feel guilty and sympathetic towards our dog when they gulp down their food in record time and are yearning for more, especially when they give us that sad puppy eyed look. However, we need to remind ourselves that training our dogs to eat slower is of much more importance towards their overall health rather then giving them more food.
So the next time your dog tries to guilt trip you into giving them more food, just remember that your not doing them any favors by caving in to your dog’s demands.
Let me know in the comments what type of slow feeder dog bowls you like to use to feed your dog.