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.
Best Slow Feeder Dog Bowl Buying Guide & FAQ
Things to Consider When Buying Slow Feeder Dog Bowls
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.
- Non-skid base
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.
- Ease of cleaning
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.
What Kind of Dog Needs a Slow Feeding Dog Bowl?
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 Review of the Best Dog Bowls.
Tips for Using Slow Feeder 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.
- Always choose the most appropriate slow feeder dog bowl for your pet. Choose a food bowl that has the right level of difficulty to slow down you’re your pet’s eating while making sure that it’s not too difficult your pet might give up eating.
- Use a slow feeder dog bowl that has the right capacity commensurate to the amount of dog food that your pet requires every meal.
- Remove the dog food bowl from the floor right after your dog is done eating and place this on the countertop or wash and clean it immediately.
- Read the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to properly care for your dog bowl. Many products can be cleaned in the dishwasher, although some may need to be hand-washed.
Best Slow Feeder Dog Bowls FAQ:
Q: What are slow feed bowls?
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.
Q: How do slow feed dog bowls work?
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.
Q: How do I keep my dog from chewing up his slow feed bowl?
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.
Q: How do I determine the correct bowl size?
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.
Q: How do I clean my slow feeder dog bowl?
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.
Our Top Pick
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.