If your dog inhales his meals faster than your toddler tosses her sippy cup to the floor, it might be time for a slow feeder dog bowl.
When you’re shooing your furry (and gassy) friend away from you instead of snuggling up on the couch with her, you may find a slow feeder helpful.
If you’re cleaning up dog vomit multiple times a week, your pooch may need a special dog bowl for his meals.
While not every dog needs a slow feeder, these specially designed food bowls can help curb your pup’s dangerous habit of gulping down food. The bloat that comes from eating too quickly is not only uncomfortable, but it can also be downright dangerous for dogs.
Here’s what you should know about slow feeders.
What Is a Slow Feeder Dog Bowl?.
A slow feeder dog bowl is a special food bowl with intricate patterns inside the bowl that forces your dog to work a little harder to get all his food.
Because the barriers make him work harder, he takes longer to eat his meals, reducing the amount of air he’s inhaling as he eats, and giving his food time to settle in his stomach.
The Dangers of Eating Too Fast
You may wonder why it’s a big deal if your dog eats quickly. After all, isn’t that normal for some dogs?
Maybe. But there are some very real and even dangerous side effects when your pooch eats too fast.
- Not feeling full
- Mild bloating and gas
- Weight gain (from overeating because he doesn’t feel full)
- Bad breath (the act of chewing his food helps clean his teeth)
But the most dangerous side effect is GDV (gastric dilatation-volvulus). GDV is when the pressure from bloating twists a dog’s stomach, requiring emergency surgery to prevent long-term complications or death.
Other Benefits of a Slow Feeder Dog Bowl
Besides a healthier and happier digestive system, here are some other benefits that come with eating from a slow feeder.
Your dog (and his brain) get a workout
Dogs who eat slowly chew longer and slower, which gives their brains a chance to process what they’re consuming.
And as they are eating, their brains are hard at work, puzzling out the best ways to get to the food in their bowls.
As they work to empty every nook and cranny, the mental stimulation reduces boredom and gives their brains a problem-solving workout. This results in less anxiety and less destructive behavior.
Dogs are also exercising their jaw muscles and cleaning their teeth as they’re eating.
Things To Look For In a Slow Feeder Dog Bowl
There are some things to consider when you purchase a slow feeder.
Slow feeder dog bowls have complex designs on purpose. The goal is for your pup to slow down while he’s eating.
That being said, you don’t want your dog to be frustrated by the process. He might stop eating altogether.
Be sure to get a bowl with a design that suits the breed. For example, if your dog has a short snout, you’ll want to avoid bowls with narrow slots.
Stainless steel bowls are most popular because of their durability, but there are plastic and ceramic options available as well.
Look for plastic bowls that are BPA-free and stay away from them if your dog will chew through the plastic.
It’s probably obvious, but you want to pick a bowl appropriately sized for your dog. Big bowls for bigger dogs, smaller bowls for little ones.
To make cleanup easier and to keep Fido healthy, pick a bowl that is dishwasher safe.
The detailed design of slow feeder bowls can be difficult to clean. Failing to get the bowl clean can lead to mold and other issues. You’ll appreciate the ease of a dishwasher-safe bowl that is sterile and gunk-free.
If your dog likes to play with his food while eating, a non-slip base will keep the bowl from spinning out, tipping over, and leaving a mess for you to clean up.
The 10 Best Slow Feeder Dog Bowls
There are many options to choose from with slow feeder dog bowls, so we put together this list to help you out.
These are the 10 best slow feeder bowls for your four-legged friend.
1. Outward Hound Fun Feeder
The Outward Hound Feeders are the most popular feeders on the market. With several colors and designs to choose from, you can find the perfect fit for each dog in your family.
2. Noyal Dog Slow Feeder Bowl
The Noyal is another very popular dog feeder system. It has a non-slip base and works with wet or dry dog food.
3. Jasgood Dog Feeder Slow Eating Pet Bowl
The Jasgood Feeder is available in small and large sizes and in many colors. They are made of BPA and phthalate-free plastic.
4. Aolove Slow Feeder Bowl
Another highly rated dog slow feeder is the Aolove Slow Feeder Bowl. The design is the same in all the bowls, but they are available in several tropical or pastel colors.
5. Pecute Dog Bowl Slow Feeder
The Pecute Dog Bowl Slow Feeder is a more deluxe system. This comes with a water bowl, a slow feeder bowl, and an anti-overflow pad. You could use this for both dogs and cats.
6. Super Design Anti-Gulping Dog Bowl Slow Feeder
The Super Design Slow Feeder comes in a few different sizes and multiple color options. They have a food-grade melamine material that is scratch-resistant and high-gloss.
7. Neater Pet Brands Slow Feed Bowl
8. Freefa Slow Feeder Dog Bowl Bloat Stop Dog Food Bowl
The Freefa, with its pattern of swirls, might be the prettiest on the list. It’s made with BPA-free material and is dishwasher safe.
9. Fieting Slow Feeder Dog Bowls
The Fieting has a smooth surface that makes it easy to wash, but also has non-stick pads on the bottom to keep the bowl from sliding around on the floor.
10. Upsky Slow Feeder Dog Bowl
The Upsky Slow Feeder is a lightweight dog bowl that is perfect for small or medium-sized dogs.
Alternatives to Slow-Feed Bowls
If eating too fast isn’t a problem, but you want to explore some alternatives that alleviate boredom, reduce anxiety, and challenge your pet, here are some ideas you can try.
LickiMat Classic Buddy
The LickiMat is a great way for your dog to soothe himself during stressful times. Simply spread some peanut butter, yogurt, or other safe dog treats on the mat. Your dog will occupy himself by licking the mat clean.
Interactive dog puzzles like the Outward Hound Dog Worker challenge your dog to uncover the treats hidden in the puzzle compartments. This is a great way to keep your dog from getting bored and distracting him from destructive behavior.
A fun way to entertain your dog while spending no money is with a simple muffin baking tin.
Turn the muffin tin upside down and hide dog treats under each cup. Your dog will have a blast getting the treats out.
Final Thoughts on Slow Feeder Dog Bowls
Slow feeders are a great way to help your beloved pet feel better and have fewer digestive issues.
Your furry mate will enjoy the mental stimulation, and you’ll appreciate the benefits, too.
Your dog will behave better and have less anxiety. And with his digestive issues smoothed out, he’ll be a soft and pleasant companion to snuggle with.
If your dog gobbles his food far too quickly, check out one of these slow feeder dog bowls and serve him his next meal in his new dish.