Try these current top picks to help your dog slow down and eat well
When you put food into your dog’s bowl, does he bury his face in his dish and greedily gobble and gulp every last bit within what seems to be mere seconds? If your dog doesn’t even come up for air when you put food into his bowl, then it’s safe to say he’s eating too fast. Also, though your pup may appear to be perfectly fine after inhaling his meal, he needs to slow down when he's eating to avoid potential complications.
Since simply telling your canine companion to eat slowly won't work, you need to find some different ways to slow his pace. A great way to help your pooch take more time while he eats is to use a slow feed dog bowl.
What Is a Slow Feed Dog Bowl?
Yes, some of them might look like something straight out of a futuristic pet shop, but the unique design of slow feed bowls serves an essential purpose, to help your dog eat slowly and safely. Most regular dog bowls just come with one open space for your pup's food, and this classic style doesn't do much to slow down your dog's speedy eating habits.
However, slow feed bowls introduce your pooch to a whole new way to eat. Most slow feed dishes include raised areas in a variety of shapes that provide obstacles for your dog to eat around during chow time; other bowls may spread the food out to encourage Fido to take smaller bites.
Why Use a Slow Feed Dog Bowl?
Okay, so you're probably wondering, what's the big deal if your dog eats fast? You figure, basic dog bowls have been around forever and seem to work just fine, right? The problem is, whether it's immediately noticeable in your pup or not, speed eating comes with its fair share of issues. Some of the problems may just appear to cause discomfort or inconvenience (gas, occasional vomiting), but other potential situations can become downright dangerous (aspirating, choking, and serious medical issues). By using a slow feed bowl, you can help avoid many unpleasant situations for both you and your dog. Plus, even if your pup doesn’t eat like there’s no tomorrow, these uniquely designed dishes can help make mealtimes safer and more enjoyable for all dogs.
What Can Happen When a Dog Eats Too Fast?
Think about what happens when you eat too fast. You might feel uncomfortable, perhaps you get indigestion or heartburn, or you may feel bloated or gassy. When you eat too quickly, you also increase your likelihood of choking or aspirating your food, not to mention the psychological effect of still feeling hungry. Well, for your fast-eating, furry friend, the same things can occur when he wolfs down his meals. Using a dog bowl that encourages slow feeding can help reduce your dog’s chances of experiencing the following issues:
- Bloating and gas (your dog swallows a lot of air when he gulps down his food)
- Overall intestinal discomfort
- Vomiting (your pup’s stomach simply can’t keep up with the rate at which he is eating)
- Not feeling full or satisfied after meals (which leads to more eating)
- Weight issues (when your dog doesn’t take his time, the tendency to overeat increases)
- Bad breath (This is because your dog isn’t bothering to chew his food; the act of chewing dry food is what helps clean your pup’s teeth)
- GDV (a severe medical condition that can result from swallowing excessive amounts of air, food, and fluid, resulting in shock and potentially death. Recent studies have shown an 80% survival rate in dogs with GDV when they undergo surgery)
None of these problems sound pleasant, and the odds are good that your dog would rather not deal with them either. So it’s time for solutions.
Check Out These Five Top Picks for Slow Feed Dog Bowls
Features: Multi-cup style divides food into smaller portions
Ergonomic design is gentle on your dog’s teeth and gums
Available in a variety of colors: Aquamarine, gunmetal gray, vanilla bean, and silver metallic
Optional base and legs for elevation
Optional base doubles as a water bowl
Great for all breeds (small, medium, large, and flat faced)
Size: 15.5" x 10.25" x 2.75"
Holds up to 6 cups of food
Each area is 3 inches wide
The optional base raises height to 5”
The combination of the optional base and legs raises height to 7.5”
Material: ABS plastic - BPA, PVC, and Phthalate free
Non-skid feet to prevent slippage
Features: The Niner's raised 9 peaks create small food pockets that stop your pet from eating too fast
Top-rack dishwasher safe
Provides mental stimulation
Comfortable for all breeds
Size: Measures 8.38" across the top, 7.43" at the base, and is 2.44" tall
Holds up to 2 cups of food
Material: Non-toxic and food safe BPA-free ABS plastic
#3 Dogit Go Slow Anti-Gulping Dog Dish
Features: Molded bumpers inside the bowl to encourage slower eating
Can be used for food or water
Suitable for dry and wet food
Available in various colors and sizes
Size: Extra Small - 1.8 x 5.6 x 5.6 inches ; holds ½ cup
Small - 2.5 x 7.1 x 7.1 inches; holds 1 ¼ cups
Medium - 3 x 8.7 x 8.7 inches; holds 2 ½ cups
Large - 3.8 x 10.8 x 10.8 inches ; holds 5 cups
Material: Plastic - BPA, PVC, and Phthalate free
Features: Raised center provides an obstacle, encouraging slower eating
Easy to clean
Comes in multiple sizes
Size: Medium - 10” at the base, 2” height, holds 2 cups of food
Large - 11.5” at the base, 2” height, holds 3 cups of food
Material: High-quality stainless steel
Non-skid rubber ring to prevent tipping and slipping
#5 Petduro Slow Feed Dog Bowl
Features: Raised interior design in a spiral shape to slow down eating
Grooves in the base for easy pick-up
Rubber feet to prevent slipping
Size: 9.75” round, 2.25” height
Holds 14 ounces of food
Material: Plastic - BPA, PVC, and Phthalate free
Are There Other Ways To Get A Dog To Eat Slowly?
Of course, you can always attempt some other solutions to encourage your dog to eat slowly. When you feed your pup, serve smaller portions to minimize the amount of food your dog consumes at one time. Another option is to spread your dog’s food out over a large area, such as a tray, to prevent him from gobbling up too much food in each bite.
You can also try placing a large object into his regular bowl to create a homemade obstacle. However, keep in mind that if the barrier moves around, it might not be as useful as a bowl with built-in roadblocks. Plus, if you are going to add an object to your pet’s dish, you have to be very careful that it is not something that poses a choking hazard for your dog.
What If My Dog Won’t Eat Out of the Bowl?
Some dogs don’t seem to like the idea of eating out of a bowl, whether it’s fun-shaped, plastic, stainless steel, elevated, or any other type of dog bowl. Some dogs have a habit of taking small mouthfuls of food out of their dish, bringing them to another spot, and dropping them onto the floor. Then, these pups proceed to eat those few pieces of food off of the floor before returning to their dish to repeat the interesting cycle. This habit can become a little frustrating since you probably don’t want little bits of kibble all-around your house.
If this quirky behavior sounds familiar, don’t fret, you don’t need to start dumping dog food onto the floor. Place your pup’s food into a slow feed bowl and make it available for a couple of minutes. After a few minutes, pick up the dish, and repeat this process each time you feed your dog. Eventually, your pup will learn what you expect him to do and eat out of his bowl for the duration of his meal.
You may be surprised at how much of a difference it makes when you adjust the way you feed your furry companion. Once you switch your dog’s bowl to one that helps him slow down a bit while he eats, mealtimes will become much more enjoyable for both of you. At Neater Pets, we know dogs, and that means we know what products work to help your best friend live the healthiest and happiest life possible. You want to give your dog the life he deserves; we want to make that happen, one small bite of food at a time.