Most of us take our time to finish our meal so we don’t have to suffer from indigestion. Besides, it simply isn’t polite to be gobbling up your plate like you’ve never eaten for a month or two especially if you’re in the company of others. But, try telling that to your dog, especially large and deep-chested ones, and you’ll only get a quizzed look. Eating too fast is one of the reasons why bloat occurs in dogs, not to mention predispose it to obesity.
And while you cannot teach them to go slow on their chow, you can at least use a slow feeder dog bowl to make it more challenging to access their food. In a way, you’re slowing down their rate of eating. And if in case you’re curious as to what comprises the best slow feeder dog bowls in the world, check out what we’ve got for you.
Without a doubt, one of the best slow feeder dog bowls on the planet, Outward Hound’s Fun Feeder Slo-Bowl is a meticulously designed food vessel that comes in different patterns and mazes to make it extra-challenging for dogs to access their food. Made of pet-safe materials that are guaranteed never to contain phthalates, PVC, or BPA, the Fun Feeder comes with numerous valleys and ridges that should keep your dog circling its food bowl just so it can angle its tongue correctly.
Integrated with a non-slip base, the Fun Feeder slow feeder bowl is stable enough that dog food won’t be spilled onto the floor as your canine friend ferociously attacks the bowl just so it can get its food. This slow eating dog bowl is purposely designed to make sure that Bongo will be eating 10-times slower than it normally does. With 4 color designs that come with 4 different patterns and mazes to choose from, this is one slow feeder dog bowl that you’d definitely want to get.
Designed for larger breeds, who have a tendency to gulp down their food without thought, this option is a wide and easy-to-access option that works brilliantly as a slow feeder. Very thick and made with BPA and phthalate-free materials, this option is easy on the wallet, the stomach and the soul.
Suitable for both wet and dry food, with two separate areas so that you can even combine the two, this is a unique design that customers love. Working brilliantly to slow down fast eaters, it’s also very easy to clean. It can even be placed in the dishwasher – as long as it’s on the top rack.
Resembling some of the pet water fountains in the market except that it doesn’t actually spew water out, the DuraPet slow feeder dog bowl takes on the more traditional design of a soup bowl – narrow at the bottom and wide on top. The only difference is that there is a dome right in the center making it more like a Bundt or Angel food cake pan with a tube in the center. This slow feeder dog bowl will not really slow down your pet’s voracious appetite that much since there are no mazes that will make your dog work harder for its food. It will have to turn around to access food from the rest of the ring, nonetheless.
Made of premium stainless steel with a fully rubberized bottom, the DuraPet can still be a good dog food bowl to slow down eating especially if you’re not really fond of using plastic materials for your pet. It’s completely dishwasher-safe and should look really cool on your ultra-modern floor.
PINJUM may not be a name that rings a bell, but it sure provides one of the best slow feeder dog bowls in the market. Featuring a slow dog bowl design that incorporate small towers and elongated ridges to form a unique fan-like pattern in the dog bowl, PINJUM’s slow feeder dog bowl is always a great option for pet parents wanting to reduce the speed at which their pooches gobble up their meal.
Constructed of eco-friendly ABS materials, this maze dog bowl should help keep your dog focused on its meal while figuring out how it needs to maneuver its head and tongue to lick the food off of the PINJUM. This slow feeder bowl only comes in on size, but it should be enough to cover the feeding requirements of small and medium breeds with its 2-cup maximum capacity. You could still perhaps feed your large dog breed on the PINJUM, depending on the number of cups you need to give your pet per feeding.
A wider, shallower design, this slow feeder for dogs is great for those with shorter snouts and brachycephalic dogs. The wave design is enough to ensure that your dog eats their food more slowly, and reduces the risk of bloat, while still remaining accessible for toy breeds.
Its wider design stops the bowl from being tipped by dogs who can be a little impatient. Meanwhile, the lack of sharp corners makes this bowl super easy to clean up. Indeed, it’s so accessible that even cats can use this option. Best of all, it comes in a range of colors to suit your preference.
Available in 4 different sizes corresponding to the number of cups of dog food you can put in the bowl, Super Design’s slow feeder dog bowl is a great option for pet parents who want greater versatility when it comes to choosing the right color to match their dog’s existing accessories. With 6 colors to choose from you’re now given the opportunity to bring home a bowl that is designed specifically to throttle down your pet’s dining manners.
With slow eating dog bowl perfect for puppies and small breeds of dogs as well as a 4-cup capacity feed vessel for large and giant breeds, Super Design’s dog bowls for fast eaters come with the same triple bean-shaped ridges that fan out from the center of the bowl. It’s not as intricate as that of Slo-Bowl or Siensync, but it sure can get your dog all worked up as it tries to maneuver its tongue around the ridges.
Extra deep by design, this option is ideal for dogs with longer muzzles. It has been created to sit within dog food accessories, such as bowl holders and similar, so shouldn’t be used as a standalone product. If you do decide to use it without a holder, there is an increased risk that your dog will simply tip this over and go to town – so do check, first!
The non-slip grip keeps the bowl in place, within the holder. Meanwhile, the smaller tunnels and unique design provide ample mental stimulation for your pup. Best of all, this bowl is BPA and phthalate-free.
Created with a flip-resistant design, to put off those cheeky pooches who like to make a mess, rather than eat slowly, this is a great choice in slow feeder for smarter dogs. The rubber waves can be easily shifted gently, as your dog eats, allowing them to be mentally stimulated as they eat. This is great for brachycephalic dogs, who can sometimes struggle with slow feeders.
At the same time, it works brilliantly to slow down eating habits and reduce the risk of bloating. Best of all, cleaning is super easy and convenient, as the flat base won’t hold onto dust and debris from the food.
Whether you have an overweight dog who needs all the help they can get to eat less, or a pet who eats their meals so fast they vomit or have stomach cramps, the Outward Hound Fun Feeder Slo-Bowl can help. Specifically made to prevent canine obesity and bloating, this slow feeding bowl boasts an interesting design. Mazes and fun patterns inside the feeder make pets chase their food through the bowl, dramatically slowing their eating process and preventing digestion issues. In fact, according to the manufacturer, this bowl helps dogs eat up to 10 times slower!
The Fun Feeder Slo-Bowl has a non-slip base, making it practically impossible for your dog to slide it over the kitchen tiles or wooden floors. Importantly, it’s also built from 100% food-safe materials, or to be more precise, plastic that is BPA, PVC and Phthalate free. The bowl is also dishwasher safe, which is always a welcome bonus.
If your dog is more of a food inhaler than a food eater, you need a particularly effective slow feeder. The Company of Animals Green Interactive Feeder is perfect for this – designed to emulate a tuft of grass, this simple plastic feeder turns every meal into a challenging game. The design of the feeder makes dogs eat much, much slower, preventing over-eating and various digestive issues that come with it. The feeder also helps mentally stimulate your pup as they have to think how to push the food out between the many plastic blades in order to eat it.
This model works both with dry and wet food, and even raw food is not an issue, as long as it’s cut in smaller pieces that can fit in between the blades of ‘grass’. Although it’s made of plastic, the material and design are quite sturdy so the feeder can be washed in a dishwasher with no issues.
Whenever you’re buying a slow feeder dog bowl for your pet, make sure to keep the following things in mind.
The purpose of a slow feeder dog bowl is to slow down the speed at which your dog finishes its meal. This means that if it can gobble up its food in under 2 minutes, then the dog slow feeder should be able to lengthen this time to about 5 or even 10 minutes. Everything depends on just how fast your dog eats and how slow you want it to eat.
When you’ve figured this out, you then have to check the design of the slow feeder bowl and choose one that can give your dog the level of difficulty that will help it eat at the pace you want. Remember, the more complex the design of the slow dog bowl, the slower is the feeding time of your dog.
However, you should also be careful not to make it too difficult, otherwise, your dog will simply give up eating and instead chew on the next thing it catches its attention.
Check the description of the dog slow feeder you want to buy and decide if you want ABS, plastic, or stainless steel as the material used in the construction of the bowl. Watch out for the usual suspects – the harmful chemicals – like phthalates, PVC, and BPA. Steer clear of these.
Take a look at our guides on Stainless Steel Dog Bowls and Collapsible Dog Bowls.
Your dog will try to maneuver its way around the dog slow feeder. As such, it is inadvertent that it will push the bowl in an attempt to dislodge its contents. Having a non-skid base, preferably one with a strong surface grip should help keep the bowl in its place and prevent spilling the contents onto the floor.
Depending on the amount of food that your dog can consume or needs to consume per meal, you’ll need to choose a slow feeder dog bowl that has a capacity commensurate to this amount. For example, if your dog can finish 2 cups of dog food per meal, then you need a dog food bowl that can accommodate 2 cups or perhaps even 3 cups, just to give some allowance.
The good thing about today’s slow feeder bowls is that they can already be cleaned in the dishwasher. If not, then be ready to clean them by hand. Otherwise, just choose whichever is a lot more convenient for you to clean.
Check out our article on the Best Raised Dog Bowls.
Obviously, the kind of dog that needs a slow feeding dog bowl is one that eats too fast. This is to help prevent gulping air which can lead to bloat and gastric dilatation volvulus. This will also help prevent choking or gagging as well as indigestion since eating too fast often leads in food particles not broken down into smaller pieces.
Obese dogs that need to lose weight can also benefit from slow feeding dog bowls. These typically serve as portion control. Since the dog will be forced to eat at a much slower pace, it will feel full a lot faster. This will make the dog eat less and hopefully lead to a more ideal body weight.
Slow feeding dog bowls are also important for certain breeds of dogs such as large and giant breeds as well as those that have deep chests. Dogs that are at high risk for bloat also need slow feeding dog bowls. Examples of these dogs include Great Danes, German shepherds, Basset hounds, Weimaraners, Boxers, Akitas, and a whole lot more.
You may also like our ultimate guide on the Best Dog Bowls.
Using slow feeder dog bowls is typically the same as any other dog food bowl. After all, the only difference between the two is the presence of ‘obstacles’ in the surface area of a slow feeder bowl. However, here are some tips to help you maximize your dog’s use of a slow eating dog bowl.
A: These are pet food bowls that come with ridges and valleys in various patterns and mazes just to break up the feeding surface area of the food bowl. These are primarily intended to slow down the pace of gulping in dogs and other pets with the end-goal of preventing bloat, indigestion, and other potential health problems caused by the ingestion of air with each gulp.
When dogs and other pets gobble up their food at a blistering pace, they inadvertently swallow air with each gulp. This mixes with the food and fluid already present in the pet’s stomach which can expand the volume of the stomach. This leads to a condition called gastric dilatation. The problem is that as the stomach continues to expand it inadvertently twists on its axis leading to the medical emergency called volvulus. The reason for the emergency is quite simple. With the twisting of the pet’s stomach, it becomes virtually impossible for anything else, especially blood, to pass through. If blood supply is cut off the dog can go into hypovolemic shock and can lose its life if surgery is not performed immediately. Sadly, most of the cases of gastric dilatation-volvulus don’t end well for the dog.
Aside from the risk of gastric dilatation-volvulus or GDV, rapid eating can also lead to gagging or choking since the pet will not chew its food properly. Even if it manages to swallow its food, it can also lead to indigestion since the food is not broken down properly in the mouth.
Slow feed bowls aim to address these concerns by slowing down the pace at which a pet finishes its food.
A: The typical food bowl consists of a high-sided dish with a very large open space in the middle where you put pet food in. In this setup, pets have very easy access to their food, allowing them to gobble up everything in mere minutes.
Slow feed dog bowls, on the other hand, feature valleys and ridges or any other mechanism that breaks the open space design of conventional food bowls. Dogs will have to work their way around these ‘obstacles’ if they want to get their food. For example, if a dog can finish everything within 5 minutes, it will take about 20 minutes or so for it to finish the same amount of food placed in a slow feed bowl.
As such, the effectiveness of slow feed dog bowls is inherently tied to the complexity of the design of the ‘obstacles’ in the food space. The more complex it is the slower is the dog in finishing its meal. This is how slow feed dog bowls work.
A: There’s really nothing you can do to keep your dog from chewing up its slow feed bowl since it is already inherent in dogs to chew. What you can do, however, is to choose a slow feed bowl that is more resistant to chewing. Food bowls that are made of plastics and other similar materials are not really resistant enough to chew. You can go instead for stainless steel or some other type of material that is sturdier against chewing. Alternatively, you can keep an eye on your dog as it feeds. Once finished, you can remove its slow feed bowl so it won’t have any chance of chewing it.
A: The correct bowl size is determined by the number of cups that you are giving to your pet. For example, if your dog receives 2 cups of dog food per meal, then you can choose a food bowl size that can hold 2 cups or even 3 cups to minimize spilling the contents. You can then check the individual capacities of the different food bowl products in the market.
A: Most slow feeder dog bowls in the market can be cleaned by putting them in the top rack of a dishwasher. Some products are best cleaned and washed by hand. Check the product you bought how it should be cleaned.
A: It’s no secret that many dogs today are overweight. Usually, this is a result of a high-calorie diet and too little exercise, although there can be exceptions of course (certain health issues can lead to obesity). And while helping dogs lose weight seems simple in theory (just give them less food and make them exercise more), in practice, it can really hard. Dogs love their food and are not afraid to show it – that’s probably why you’re reading this article in the first place! If your pup gobbles up anything you put in front of them and does so in a span of a few minutes (at best!), you know the troubles of trying to reduce the amount of food you feed them. Often, no matter how much food you give your pooch, they will want more. But did you know that this can be a result of fast eating, not actual hunger? That’s right, dogs that inhale their food instead of eating it don’t have a chance to actually chew it and properly and slowly digest it, which can lead to a false feeling of hunger.
Thankfully, this issue can be resolved with an effective slow feeder. By employing various obstacles, mazes, valleys and ridges, slow feeder bowls make eating somewhat of a challenge. Instead of gobbling up whatever is in front of them immediately, dogs eating from slow feeders actually have to chase their food around in the dish in order to get to it. They eat at a much slower pace, allowing their stomach to digest food even before they finish the plate. This leads to feeling fuller sooner and therefore less eating.
A: If your dog is wolfing down whatever you put in front of them instead of actually eating it, it’s more than likely you have to deal with vomit cleanup from time to time. The good news is, with a good slow feeder bowl, you can help your dog say goodbye to vomiting after eating. How is this possible, you ask? It’s all pretty simple actually – by prolonging the time your pet spends on eating, a slow feeder allows them to properly digest smaller amounts or pieces of food.
A slow feeder bowl is just a piece of the no-vomit puzzle though. To further ensure proper digestion, it’s also important to feed your pet the right way:
A: Generally speaking, slow feeders are safe (all 10 products on our Top list certainly are). However, some bowls that are made made of low-quality plastic and other flimsy materials can be dangerous to aggressive chewers as they can bite off small pieces of the bowl and ingest it. But cheap plastic feeders are not the only offenders – some dogs can chip a tooth on ceramic feeders as well. That all being said, your dog can chew off a part of a regular plastic food bowl and swallow it, just like they can chip their tooth on a traditional ceramic food bowl. In other words, these are possibilities with any type of bowl, including the slow-feeding ones. To ensure your pet is safe and their bowl in one piece, all you have to do is:
Overall, there’s really no reason to worry with slow feeding bowls, as most are designed to withstand a lot of chewing, licking, chasing and pushing. That said, it’s always a good idea to encourage positive and gentle eating habits and discourage aggressive and negative ones.
Outward Hound’s Fun Feeder Slo-Bowl easily bests the other contenders for the best slow feeder dog bowl. The designs on the food surface area ensure the maximum amount of time that dogs will finish their meal. The materials used in its construction are pet-safe and are sturdy enough to last many years of use. The non-slip base also keeps the dog food bowl in place and it can be easily cleaned in the dishwasher. While it is only available in 2 sizes, it is more than enough to cover all breed sizes of dogs. The 4 color options are a welcome addition, too.
You may be amused with just how fast your dog eats. But if you’re not careful, this behavior can turn out deadly. If not, you’ll be faced with the prospect of a really obese dog and the many health problems that are associated with canine obesity. Temper your dog’s dining habits with any of these best slow feeder dog bowls we’ve shared with you.
A freelance writer and word nerd, Wendy is a content writer with a knack for getting into the nitty-gritty of pet ownership. For the past three years, she’s been researching and writing a huge range of different topics – but always comes back to her beloved pet articles. Lover of all things four-legged and owner of Harley, Pepper and Rush, Wendy is currently completing her MNSW at Edge Hill University.