Many dog owners are familiar with the struggle of watching their pup inhale their entire meal in a matter of seconds.
We’ve been there, and we know it’s not good for our furry friends. That’s why slow feed bowls for dogs have become popular over the last few years.
These bowls are designed to make sure your pet eats more slowly and doesn’t overindulge on food, so they can enjoy eating without feeling sick later on or getting an upset stomach from overeating.
In this article, we will discuss what slow feed bowls are, how they work, the benefits of using them, the different types available, and how to choose one that best fits your needs!
What Are Slow Feed Bowls?
Slow feed bowls are designed to make sure your pet eats more slowly and doesn’t overindulge on food. They’re available in different shapes, sizes, and materials so you can choose the one that best fits your needs.
Some have raised edges or tall bumps and walls around them which prevent dogs from sneaking extra bites or scarfing down their meal like they would with a traditional bowl.
Others feature anti-slip silicone feet or a base underneath them to keep it steady as well!
Why should you use a slow feed bowl for your pet?
There are a number of benefits to using a slow feed bowl for your dogs.
- Improved digestion. Helps prevent over-eating and stomach upset. Smaller portions at a time and less air can make a remarkable difference with some stomach issues.
- Provides and enrichment opportunity. The shape of slow feed bowls tends to create a bit of a puzzle for the dog to solve.
- Reduces choking. By slowing down the eating process, dogs tend to chew a bit more and breathe differently than when wolfing down food. This may help reduce the chances of choking.
You’ll notice that they eat more slowly, don’t over-consume their food, and tend to be less sick afterward.
What are the different types of slow feed bowls?
There are all kinds of shapes, sizes, and materials you can choose from when it comes to slow feed bowls so finding the best one is easy!
Despite the exterior shape, most slow-feed bowls have a track for food that is spiral in shape or concentric circles.
This is to ensure that the dog will slow down while eating because they need to lick up their food rather than take a large gulp of it.
What are some of the cons of using slow feed bowls?
Not everything is better with a slow feed bowl, especially for the owner.
Some of the drawbacks of slow feed bowls include:
- Clean up is more difficult. Because of the many ridges, channels and crevices that slow your dog down while eating, cleaning the bowls can be a bit more work. We suggest a dishwasher safe slow feed bowl to make this easier.
- Messy eating. Because your dog is having to lick and get into the channels to get the food, sometimes they can end up pushing bits of kibble out of the dish alltogether. They’ll eat it off the floor, but now you have to clean the floor and the bowl. With our twice a day feeding schedule, this was no longer a problem.
- Harmful Materials. Some manufacturers use thin, inferior or dangerous plastics in the production of slow feed bowls. Be sure the one you buy is tough and not susceptible to becoming a chew toy that could become harful to your pet.
How to know if your dog is eating too fast
There are some signs that your dog might be eating too fast. These symptoms include:
- Gulping food down instead of chewing it properly
- Excessive drooling
- Finishing each 1/4 cup in less than 60 seconds
- Vomiting after eating
- Excessive flatulation (farting)
If you notice any of these symptoms then you may want to consider using a slow feed dish in order to cut back on how much they’re consuming quickly during one sitting and help avoid overeating which can lead to stomach upset if done for long periods.
Is it dangerous for a dog to eat too fast?
Yes. In fact, this behavior can lead to several serious conditions including aspiration, stomach dilation (bloat), choking, and vomiting.
Large breed dogs, and horses, are particularly susceptible to stomach dilation, otherwise known as volvulus syndrome, GDV, or gastric torsion. This is when too much air enters the stomach. The dilated stomach then twists around its short axis.
The result is a series of potentially serious medical conditions that require immediate veterinary care.
Now, just because your dog inhales its food does not mean it will encounter. According to PetMD, the exact causes are unknown but our vet indicated that in deep-chested dog breeds, the wolfing down of food is certainly not healthy for the animal.
What are some tips on how to choose the best type of bowl for my dog’s needs?
The first thing to consider is what type of food your dog eats. There are a variety of slow-feed bowls available for different types of pet foods such as kibble, wet or raw diets.
If you have more than one dog at the same residence then it’s important that each has their own bowl so they can eat without having to worry about “share time.” Slow feed dishes come in all shapes and sizes so there should be no problem finding the perfect size for everyone!
To ensure ease of use after feeding, try looking into feeding bowls with large handles on them which will make picking up easier. That way when cleaning out your pet’s dish after every mealtime – it’s easy peasy lemon squeazy!
Dishwasher-safe bowls can be a big help instead of manually cleaning them by hand. Plus a hot dishwasher cycle can help sanitize the bowl and get rid of any nastiness on them.
Where can I buy a quality, durable and safe food dish that will last me years in terms of durability and safety?
There are a lot of places you can find quality slow-feed bowls that will last for years!
Some websites to take into consideration include Amazon, Chewy.com, PetSuppliesPlus.com, and even your local pet store.
If the cost is an issue then consider looking on Facebook Marketplace or other buy-sell sites where people often sell their unwanted items at discounted prices in order to free up space in their homes without having to go through traditional channels like yard sales, garage sales, etc. You may be able to snag some really good deals this way!
Our favorite bowl that won’t break the bank is durable and easily washed is the Outward Hound Fun Feeder Slo Bowl. For our Boston Terriers, the spiral design works best and the friction bottom helps keep the bowl in place during feeding time.
Best Slow Feed Bowl Under $15
Fun Feeder Slo-Bowl
This is a great slow-feed bowl for your pet. It comes in 3 designs and 4 sizes so you can be sure to get the right size for your pups. We use the spiral design in the medium/mini size.
What are some tips to slow down how fast my dog eats?
Besides a slow feed bowl, you might consider some other factors:
Do you have more than one animal that you feed at the same time in the same location? It is possible that your dog is eating so quickly out of fear that the other animal will come and eat the dog’s food. This competitive behavior can be especially bad with multiple dogs eating in the same vicinity at the same time.
Instead, try feeding the animals in different locations so that they cannot see or hear each other. This may reduce the competitive compulsory behavior.
Another idea is to review the feeding schedule. If you feed your dog one time per day, you might try feeding it multiple times per day, but in smaller portions.
Along with a slow feed bowl, this is something we did with our Boston Terriers, feeding them 1/2 a cup of food, two times per day. By feeding in the morning and late afternoon, they were less hungry at mealtime and ate a bit slower.
The purpose of a slow feed bowl is to solve the problem of your dog eating too fast. There are some signs that they may be eating too fast, such as excessive drooling and flatulence (farting). When you notice these symptoms it’s important to consider using a slow-feed dish in order to cut back on how much they’re consuming quickly during one sitting and help avoid overeating which can lead to stomach upset if done for long periods.
There are many types of bowls available for different food types like kibble or wet diets so finding the right one should not present any problems. It’s also crucial that each pet has its own bowl because dogs eat faster when sharing dishes.