Does your dog or cat devour their food in the blink of an eye? Inhale it without even chewing? Or are you looking for a meal time enrichment tool for them? Wanting to make meal time more fun or last longer? Perhaps you need a slow feeder bowl.
Why use a slow feeder bowl
Some dogs or cats eat too quickly, gulping their food and often air at the same time. This can cause choking, vomiting, gastrointestinal discomfort or life threatening bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus). Slow feeder bowls can slow down how fast the food can be eaten. This inturn helps to prevent these issues from occurring. Eating slower and smaller amounts at a time encourages the animal to chew their food which is better for digestion and nutrient absorption. The action of licking also creates an endorphin release which may be beneficial for anxious pets.
Slow feeder bowls and mats are specially designed to make it harder for your dog or cat to eat quickly. They have obstructions, ridges or barriers to modify their eating behaviour. This forces them to take smaller mouthfuls of food. It therefore stops them from gulping it down and devouring their meal in seconds.
Slow feeder bowls are not only for those that eat too quickly, they can be suitable for all pet’s. These bowls make meal time challenging providing mental stimulation and enrichment for your pet. The obstructions and shapes of the slow feeder bowls mean that your pet has to find a way to get the food out and think about it. They are also a great boredom buster, keeping your pet entertained and making food last longer.
How to choose the right slow feeder bowl
When choosing a slow feeder bowl or mat there are a few things to consider. Think of the consistency of food you are feeding (eg. wet or dry), and how large the pieces are, making sure they will fit. Check that the feeder has the capacity to hold the amount of food you need to feed your pet or you might even consider multiple feeders.
Consider the pets face and nose shape and size. If they have a short nose, high ridges may be too hard for them. If they are a large dog you need to make sure there is enough room between obstructions for them to get access to the food.
Also consider the level of difficulty, you don’t want your pet getting frustrated and giving up before they finish their food. Generally the bigger the ridges and grooves the harder it is to get the food out. As with most enrichment devices, you may need to spend some time teaching your pet how to use it. To keep things interesting and challenging for your pet have multiple different slow feeders used on a rotation.
The bowls also come in a range of different materials, so consider what is right for your pet. There is the chance of hard materials causing teeth to chip, especially if the pet is rather eager to get their food. Make sure that the bowl doesn’t become damaged. Ensure that your pet isn’t pulling pieces off it and ingesting the bowl material. They can also be tricky to clean with all the grooves and ridges trapping the food with only some bowls being dishwasher safe.
Shop for your slow feeder bowl or mat
There are many different slow feeder bowls and mats available. They come in different shapes, sizes, are made from different materials and available in a range of colours. The obstructions are different from spirals, mounds, puzzle or maze styles and mats that they need to lick the food from.
With many types of slow feeder bowls and mats available there is sure to be one that suits your pet’s needs. Here are a few of our favourites.
Shop for your pet’s slow feeder bowl online here.