You’ve probably seen them in stores. The dog bowls with the grooves and bumps on the inside that make them look a little like a maze. They’re a little funky looking. What’s the point of these things? Are they actually useful, or are they just another gimmick?
Slow feeders are more than a gimmick. Believe it or not, they have several uses beyond just slowing down how quickly your dog eats. Keep reading to learn about the importance of slow feeder bowls, whether your dog might need one, and why, for some dogs, they can prevent life-threatening medical complications.
Why Do Some Dogs Need a Slow Feeder Bowl?
Some dogs literally almost inhale their food. There are many reasons why your dog might be eating at the speed of light. If you’ve explored all the possibilities, like multiple dogs being in competition for the food dish, medical issues, or just not enough food for their activity level, then your dog might benefit from a slow feeder.
Some dogs eat quickly and for no clear reason. It could be the leftover feeling of competition… even if they are the only dog. It could be food insecurity due to trauma as a puppy. Some breeds of dogs are notorious for being fast eaters and overeaters. Labs, for example, are known to be canine vacuums when it comes to food.
Gobbling down their food at lightning speed can have some serious health consequences. A speed-eating dog can suffer from any of these issues:
Vomiting after eating
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (Bloat or gastric torsion)
None of these side effects of fast eating are pleasant, but choking and bloat are both life-threatening. Signs of choking in your dog include
Pawing at the face
If your dog is choking, move quickly to dislodge the object. Try to restrain your dog; they’ll be scared so they may bite. Sweep your finger in the back of their throat to try to remove the obstruction. If that doesn’t work, the Heimlich maneuver can be applied to dogs. The AKC website has instructions for performing the Heimlich maneuver on your dog.
Bloat or GDV is most common in large dogs but can happen in any dog. It happens when your dog gulps down too much air with their food. This causes the stomach to become too full and bloated. This can actually cause the stomach to twist, blocking food, and causing blockages in the blood vessels of the digestive system. This is a medical emergency and your dog must see a veterinarian immediately.
Signs of bloat include:
Why Choose A Slow Feeder Bowl?
The barriers and grooves in slow feeder bowls force your dog to really slow down when eating. These sturdy bowls can trap the food so that your dog has to concentrate on getting it out. And they make it difficult for your dog to just scarf down his food in one bite.
With a slow feeder, your dog will inhale less air while eating, decreasing the risk of bloat. There will also be more time for his food to settle, eliminating vomiting. And there will be more time to chew properly, preventing choking and gagging.
In addition to forcing your dog to eat at a reasonable pace, a slow feeder bowl can help improve your dog’s memory and provide a mental workout. Your dog will be focused on the maze he has to eat around and will start remembering the patterns of the obstructions in the bowl. Your dog will benefit from the mental stimulation and the increased time it takes to eat.
Slow feeders can also benefit dogs who are on a weight-loss diet. A dog who is on a reduced-calorie diet may be eating more quickly because they feel hungry after a lifetime of overeating. Eating more slowly helps with portion control and helps your dog feel full.
Colorful, Fun Slow Feeders For Your Dog Friendly Home
Just because they have an important function, doesn’t mean a slow feeder can’t be cute!
At Dog Friendly Living, we’ve released some adorable new slow feeders. Here are a few of our absolute favorites.
Who loves donuts? This Donut Slow Feeder is a classic circle, with a design that makes it look like an adorable sprinkled donut. The bright blue color will brighten up any kitchen. This slow feeder bowl has a non-slip bottom to keep it firmly in place, and it holds four cups of food! It’s the perfect choice for larger dogs.
Give your dog feeding station sweet summer vibes with the Pineapple Slow Feeder. The cross-hatch design can slow your dog’s food consumption up to ten times! The cute dish will make your dog-owning friends prickly with envy. Oh and P.S. it holds up to four cups of food.
This feeder is so cute, you might want to steal it from your dog. Enter: The Pizza Slow Feeder. The orange pizza-shaped dish is a fun addition to the kitchen as well as a functional tool. It comes in a saucy reddish orange color with a non-slip base that keeps even the most intense eater from sliding it across the floor.
Dessert anyone? This ice cream-shaped slow feeder has a complex pattern that will keep your dog busy eating for a while. In a bright pink, who would have imagined that your dog’s dish would be the focal point of your kitchen!?
This Hamburger feeder looks like it’s fresh from the grill. Your dog will have fun at feeding time picking around the puzzle pattern of this feeder. Slower eating and a cute new accessory for the feeding station? Yes, please.
What do you think? Is it time to introduce a slow feeder to your dog’s eating routine? Check out the Dog Friendly Living shop for adorable slow feeders and other dog accessories to make your home the most dog friendly. And let us know in the comments: Which slow feeder is your favorite?