Many dogs consume their food at an excessive pace, with some swallowing their food without chewing. Feeding time can be particularly challenging in a household with multiple dogs.
Naturally, some dog breeds, such as Pugs and Beagles, are opportunists and competitive feeders. They have a survival mechanism to gulp as much food as possible before anything else can get to it. Other types of dogs who may exhibit fast eating behavior include rescue dogs and dogs that have exercised more than usual. Rescue dogs may have previously been neglected or malnourished. Dogs that have exercised more than usual may feel hungrier.
Of course, not all dogs display these issues. But for fast-eating pups, slow feed dog bowls can provide a solution. Slow feed dog bowls were specifically designed to reduce the feeding speed. Generally, these bowls have a simple but challenging design that provides a sufficient barrier to slow a dog’s chowing speed.
While there are hundreds of products on the market, selecting the best slow feed dog bowl can be difficult and overwhelming. We have researched and rounded up 5 of the best slow feed dog bowls, so you don’t have to! We have also included a complete buyer’s guide to help you decide which dog bowl is right for you and your canine companion.
- 1 The 5 Best Slow Feed Dog Bowls
- 2 Slow Feed Dog Bowls: Buyers Guide
- 2.1 What Are Slow Feed Dog Bowls?
- 2.2 Problems Associated with Eating Fast
- 2.3 Benefits of Slow Feed Dog Bowls
- 2.4 Challenges of Slow Feed Dog Bowls
- 2.5 How to Choose the Best Slow Feed Dog Bowl
- 3 Final thoughts
The 5 Best Slow Feed Dog Bowls
Below, we have listed 5 of the best slow feed dog bowls available. All the products are highly recommended and highly rated. These were selected based on durability, safety and stability.
1. Outward Hound Fun Feeder Dog Bowl
This colorful bowl is a great way to slow down your fast eater while giving them some mental stimulation at the same time. The manufacturer says this bowl can help your dog eat 10 times slower. You can get a small bowl, which holds up to 2 cups of dry food, or a large bowl, which holds up to 4 cups of dry food.
There is non-slip material on the bottom of this bowl so your dog can focus on getting to their meal. The bowl itself is made from food-safe materials that contain no Phthalate, PVC, or BPA. It is easy to clean this dog food bowl as well. Simply throw it on the top rack of your dishwasher.
This bowl is made in five colors – orange, blue, teal, purple, and mint. Each of the colors has a different maze design to it. Having more than one can help keep your dog entertained while also helping their digestion.
2. Siensync Slow Feeder Dog Bowl
Here you have a very affordable option for a puzzle bowl for your dog. It is available in gorgeous shades of blue and red. These bowls are made of completely safe, food-grade materials that are free of PVC, BPA, and Phthalate.
The puzzle design of this bowl is designed to slow your dog down. The manufacturer claims that it makes your dog’s meal go further, meaning they get full on less food. As a result, this bowl is a great option for furry friends who are on a diet.
One of these bowls will hold up to two cups of dry food. There are five little feet on the bottom of the bowl to keep it from sliding around while your dog eats. The feet are also great for preventing your dog from spilling their food, which is something trickier pups may attempt at first. This bowl is dishwasher safe.
3. Simply Pets Online Slow Feed Dog Bowl
This bowl contains no plastic but is instead made of natural bamboo fiber that is completely safe for your pet. One great thing about this product is it is 100% recyclable and made from recycled materials. You can throw it in the dishwasher when it becomes time to clean it.
Designed by two veterinarians, this bowl slows your dog down to an optimal eating speed. They made this bowl to use in their busy veterinary clinic, so you know it is durable. This bowl works just as well for small breeds as it does large breeds. That being said, it only comes in one size as well as one color.
While this bowl is a bit more expensive than some of the other options on the market, there is a 100% satisfaction guarantee with this product. The fun design and environmentally friendly manufacturing process make it worth the price.
4. The Company of Animals Slow Feed Bowl
This super fun slow feeder is designed to look like a patch of grass. It presents your dog with enough of a challenge to make them slow down and savor their meal while looking like a little art fixture. You can use this bowl with either wet or dry food. Since it is not a traditional “bowl,” you can add as much food as you need to.
The oval design to this feeder is meant to keep it from tipping over. There are little feet on the bottom to keep it stuck in one place. When your dog is done with their meal, you can easily throw this product in the dishwasher.
This is a BPA and Phthalate-free product. There is a lot to love about this feeder, but keep in mind the price tag is quite a bit higher than others. If you have a dog with a long snout, however, this may be the best bowl for you. The length of the “grass” can present them with a bigger challenge that bowls that are more shallow.
5. PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Dog and Cat Feeder
While not considered a typical slow feed dog bowl, this automatic feeder also reduces the chowing speed. If you are ready to get really fancy to slow down your quick eater, this may be the best option for you. This automatic feeder can be linked to your Apple or Android device. Once you have done that, you can feed your dog from anywhere. You can program up to 12 upcoming meals at a time.
What qualifies this product as a slow feeding bowl is one of its features. If you turn on “Slow Feed,” the meal will be dispensed over the course of 15 minutes. The meal size can range anywhere from 1/8 of a cup to 4 cups.
Despite looking somewhat complicated, this device is easy to clean. Almost all of the pieces are dishwasher-safe. This product is made of BPA-free plastic as well as stainless steel. It comes with an AC adapter, and you have the option of using D batteries as well. Due to the way it dispenses the food, this product is only appropriate for kibble.
Slow Feed Dog Bowls: Buyers Guide
Investing in a slow feed dog bowl is a simple but effective way to slow down a dog’s feeding speed and prevent fast-eating associated problems. Not only will these bowls keep your dog healthy, but it can also be super fun and mentally stimulating.
This buyers guide takes a closer look at:
- What slow feed dog bowls really are
- Problems associated with eating fast
- Benefits and challenges of slow feed dog bowls
- How to choose the best slow feed dog bowl
What Are Slow Feed Dog Bowls?
Slow feed dog bowls have a simple but challenging design. These designs provide a sufficient barrier to slow feeding time. The idea is to prevent a dog from gulping a large quantity in one go and instead take more time to feed on food.
Problems Associated with Eating Fast
If a dog consumes food at an excessive pace, this means they are not chewing their food in a thorough manner. Speedy eating can lead to choking, gagging, vomiting, stomach discomfort and bloat. It is also linked with greedy behavior.
According to the American Kennel Club, bloat (formally known as gastric dilatation volvulus, GDV) is a serious medical condition that arises when the intestine expands. As the intestine increases in size, it can twist around itself resulting in bowel obstruction. This barrier makes it is impossible for anything to pass through the stomach to the intestines. If this happens, it immediately becomes a life-threatening situation. This is because dogs will go into shock within a short space of time. The act of eating too fast increases the likelihood of gulping down an excessive amount of air along with the food. This creates expansion, increasing the chances of bloat.
Benefits of Slow Feed Dog Bowls
As well as the most obvious advantage of slow feed dog bowls (to reduce your dog’s eating pace!), there are also a number of other benefits:
- Addresses some of the health implications associated with eating fast
- Brilliant for keeping dogs busy
- Provide a challenge to stimulate the mind. Mental stimulation is important for a dog’s wellbeing, and reduces boredom and destructive behaviour
- Act as a treat toy
- Can also be used for cats
Challenges of Slow Feed Dog Bowls
While slow feed dog bowls are highly recommended, it is important to understand some of the potential challenges associated with these bowls before purchasing one:
- More difficult to clean than ordinary bowls. While most are dishwasher safe, it is likely that you need to put in some cleaning effort to prevent the accumulation of harmful bacteria
- Some dogs may be smart enough to topple over the bowl, so the desired effect of slow feed dog bowls is diminished. But rest assured, all of the bowls that we have listed are the best with regards to stability. Therefore you should not have many problems with food spillage with any of our recommended bowls.
- Plastic bowls can become damaged over time. In such cases, a dog may accidentally ingest the non-edible material, which can then lead to gastrointestinal discomfort. Be vigilant of the condition of such dog bowls and replace when necessary.
- One size does not fit all. In fact, slow feeder dog bowls vary in shape and size so it is important to select one that is right for your dog. This is because dogs with smaller snouts, for example, may find it challenging to eat around barriers. This can run the risk of the teeth from chipping.
How to Choose the Best Slow Feed Dog Bowl
Here, we have listed a few factors you should keep in mind when shopping for a bowl that suits your dog’s needs: material, design, size and other considerations.
Perhaps the most important consideration when it comes to selecting a slow feed dog bowl is the manufacturing material. Slow feed dog bowls can be made of stainless steel, ceramic, plastic or silicone.
Stainless steel bowls are considered safer than those made of non-metallic material because of the absence of plastic chemicals. However, due to their relatively simple designs, they do not considerably slow down feeding time in comparison to plastic or silicone bowls. Furthermore, some dogs may risk damaging their teeth by chewing the bowl as an attempt to retrieve the food. Plastic or silicone bowls may also be preferred due to its portability, and can even be carried in dog backpacks.
More recently, some manufacturers have introduced ceramic slow feed dog bowls. These are durable, safe and have greater stability due to its heavier weight. They are also more aesthetically pleasing, keep its contents cool and safe to use in the dishwasher and microwave. Though, ceramic slow feed dog bowls tend to be more costly than stainless steel or plastic bowls.
As mentioned previously, slow feed dog bowls can range in many designs. This includes obstructions such as domes, mazes, puzzles and pillars. Metallic bowls are relatively limited in their designs in comparison to plastic and silicone bowls.
A common design is the puzzle or maze shaped bowl with a low profile and non-slip bottom. These bowls are specifically designed to prevent dogs from toppling the bowl over and ensure it stays in one place.
A second common design is mat-shaped. These bowls have grass-type obstacles, such as The Company of Animals – Slow Feed Bowl, ingeniously reflecting how a dog would eat food outdoors. However, mat-shaped bowls can get a little messy due to the side rims. It is likely that kibble will drop onto the floor, so homes with carpet rather than tiles or wooden floors may find this less ideal.
Research the designs available and read the reviews to establish if a specific slow feed dog bowl is right for you and your canine companion.
Similarly to other bowls, slow feed dog bowls range in different sizes to suit a dog’s breed, age and weight. Slow feed dog bowls are typically larger in size than general feeding bowls of the same capacity due to the obstacle design.
In addition to the bowl material, design and size, there are other factors to consider that can influence dog owners to choose one bowl over another: color, manufacturer support and automatic feeders.
While pooches may not be overly concerned, dog owners may wish to select a dog bowl color that suits their dog’s personality or home interior. The Outward Hound Fun Feeder Dog Bowl certainlyticks this box, available in a range of five colors.
The service and support provided by a manufacturer can be important as a consumer. The majority of best slow feed dog bowls have standard 30-day return guarantees, with some providing replacement options should your bowl get damaged.
Automatic feeders with a slow feed option, such as the PetSafe Smart Feed Automatic Dog and Cat Feeder, are a great alternative to generic puzzle slow feed dog bowls. The innovative design not only slows down quick eaters, but food can also be dispensed when you are not at home and controlled via mobile devices. However, a downside of automatic feeders is that they do not utilize mental stimulation compared to other slow feed dog bowls.
Slow feeding dog bowls are valuable purchases to prevent your furry friend from gulping its food. The most common circumstance of eating too fast is bloat. As it is potentially fatal, anything that can be done to prevent it from occurring is worthwhile. Even if your pooch does not have a problem of eating too fast, slow feeding dog bowls hold greater benefits including promoting mental stimulation and acting as treat toys.
With so many designs, shapes and sizes, we hope this article helped you in selecting the best slow feed dog bowl that is right for you and your dog. Did you purchase any of our 5 best products? What has your experience been while using slow feed dog bowls? Our readers (and us!) should love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below!