a small white dog

The 3 Best Slow Feeder Dog Bowls for Your Dog`s Digestive Health

Many dogs eat too quickly, which can lead to regurgitation, vomiting, and more. Slow feeder dog bowls are a safe option for pet parents to slow their dogs down at mealtimes. Here are the 3 best slow feeder dog bowl types to help maintain your dog’s digestive health.

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For many dogs, mealtime is a race to the finish line, especially if there are multiple dogs in the house. This can cause problems for their pet parents since it can lead to vomiting, regurgitation, or just a big mess on the floor. Slow feeder dog bowls can help.

Keep reading for information about why your dog eats so fast, answers to the most common questions about slow feeder dog bowls, a list of the best slow feeder dog bowl types for different dogs, and tips on more ways you can protect your dog’s digestive health.

a dog is eating

Why Does My Dog Eat So Fast?

Wolfing down their meals is a trait that dogs share with, well, wolves. When wolves eat their meals, they usually eat quickly so that they get their fair share - and to make sure they beat any opportunistic scavengers who want a piece too!Our dogs share similar instincts. Even though we know there’s no rush, their doggy instincts tell them they need to gulp down their food or risk losing out.

You may find this to be especially true if you have multiple pups in your household. Your dogs may be gulping down their meals to ensure their roommates don’t steal their food.

dogs competing for food

Are Slow Feeder Dog Bowls Good for Dogs?

Slow feeder dog bowls slow your dog down while they eat, which can prevent digestive problems.

When your dog eats too quickly, they may regurgitate their food. Regurgitation is when your dog throws up food that they’ve recently eaten that hasn’t got to their stomach yet. This is different from vomiting, which happens after the food reaches your dog’s stomach.

As unpleasant as this is for your pup, no dog parent likes cleaning up regurgitated food, either.

sick dog needs a slow feeder bowl

Providing a slow feeder dog bowl slows your dog’s eating pace and helps them enjoy their food without regurgitating or vomiting. It also lowers the amount of air they swallow while eating, which some believe can help prevent bloat.

Another benefit of slow feeders: mental stimulation! If you have a bored dog on your hands, adding a puzzle element to meal time can help.

Can Any Dog Use a Slow Feeder Bowl?

Slow feeder bowls don’t have any breed or size restrictions, but it’s always a good idea for pet parents to monitor their pups the first few times they use their new slow feeder bowl. Watch out for dogs that aren’t food-motivated and don’t take the time to eat all their food in their new bowl. If your dog is a “wolf down their food” type, though, this isn’t likely to be a problem.

Should I Use a Slow Feeder Bowl with My Puppy?

Many puppies eat too fast (and then regurgitate!), so slow feeder bowls can work wonders for slowing them down.
two puppies are eating

Make sure to use a puppy-sized slow feeder bowl. You want them to take their time and work for their food without making it too difficult or impossible for them.

Can You Put Wet Dog Food in a Slow Feeder Bowl?

Definitely! Most slow feeder bowls will specify that they can be used with both wet and dry food.A word of caution though. Wet food can be harder to clean out of the little nooks and crannies of slow feeder bowls, but it’s definitely doable. Some slow feeders are even dishwasher safe.

3 Best Slow Feeder Dog Bowl Types

1. Best Slow Feeder for Average Dogs

If your dog is “average” in that they don’t have a flat nose or a tendency to chew their bowls, a standard hard plastic or silicone slow feeder bowl is a great choice.

These bowls are sometimes called “puzzle bowls” because they often look like the maze puzzles you may have done as a child. They will have many individual raised sections all over the bottom of the bowl like little pillars. These pillars make it impossible for your dog to inhale their food all at once but force them to take their time.

They also come in a variety of colors and, for some extra flair, you can get bowls where the little pillars are in fun shapes like hearts or bones.

a dog is eating from a bowl

2. Best Slow Feeder for Short-Nosed Dogs

Short-nosed or brachycephalic dog breeds include bulldogs, pugs, Shih Tzus, and more. Because they have shorter than average snouts, they may have difficulty getting into the nooks and crannies of a regular slow feeder bowl.

For these pups, a slow feeder mat may work better. You’ll also see it called a snuffle mat.

These flat mats have just as much texture as their bigger slow feeder counterparts so they can catch and separate your dog’s food. However, the hills and valleys are more shallow, making it easier for short-nosed dogs to get their whole meal.

I happen to have a brachycephalic dog - a bulldog named Bruno. He is one of those dogs who loves their food and practically inhales it. A similar product that really works for Bruno is a combination slow feeder and treat puzzle. Not only does it slow his eating pace down, but the puzzle provides mental stimulation. Please note that it can only be used for dry food (we feed Bruno kibble, so it\'s not really an issue for us).

3. Best Slow Feeder for Dogs that Like to Chew

Some pups never seem to outgrow their puppy chewing phase. It can be frustrating to purchase a new item for your dog only to have them chew it to pieces a day or so later.

For those pups, a stainless steel slow feeder bowl is a great option.

a dog is eating from a bowl

Since metal isn’t as form-able as plastic or silicone, these bowls usually only have a single large pillar in the middle of the bowl. While it may not slow down your dog as much as the multi-pillared bowls, it will still improve your pup’s digestion while remaining pretty much indestructible.

The Final Woof

If your dog regularly wolfs down their food and then regurgitates it shortly afterward, it can be frustrating and a headache to deal with. However, slow feeders and snuffle mats will help slow your dog down and make meal time a more pleasant experience for you both. By picking the slow feeder that’s right for your dog, you’ll ensure happy meal times for years to come.
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