Colourful slow feeding dog bowls

Dog Slow Feeder Bowls: Benefits and Risks

Dogs can be ravenous little fellas, gulping down their food like there’s no tomorrow. Is your beloved mutt eating so quickly they throw up, have difficulty digesting or choke on their food? A slow feeder may be the perfect solution to prevent them from inhaling their kibble.

Our team explored dog slow feeders and their pros and cons. Are you wondering if they’re the right choice for you and your pet? Continue reading!

What Is a Dog Slow Feeder?

First of all, a slow feeder or interactive feeder is a dog food bowl or mat that has multiple obstacles that the pup needs to get around to reach their food. They force your pet to figure out how to get to the food, and then work for it. 

Sorry doggies, it can’t be that easy! These types of feeders slow down how quickly dogs can eat, preventing them from inhaling their food along with large gulps of air.

A slow feeder or interactive feeder can be shaped like a bowl, but there are also mats, balls and other shapes. They have ridges, nooks, lumps and bumps that your dog has to negotiate around. They come in a variety of materials, from plastic and silicone to stainless steel.

Slow feeders may look like toys, but they can help improve your dog’s health and comfort and prevent serious medical conditions.

Grey interactive slow feeder bowl for dog

Benefits of Slow Feeders

Complications can arise if your mutt eats too fast, particularly for large breeds. When devouring food, dogs can also ingest a large amount of air, causing many issues. 

Slow feeders and interactive feeders slow your dog down, thus limiting these issues.

Reduces Choking and Vomiting

A slow feeder slows down the eating process, giving your dog time to chew properly before swallowing. Just like your mom told you when you were younger, chewing food properly is very important, for humans and dogs alike!

Slowing down means your furry friend has less chance to choke on their food, or even vomit. 

It also gives them time to digest their food properly. Nutrients are better assimilated, and throw-ups are less likely to happen.

Prevents Gastrointestinal Discomfort

Eating fast can lead your dog to pile too much food at once into their stomach and swallow a lot of air. This can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, gas, bloating and belching. Eating slower can help your beloved pet with these problems.

Good digestion makes for a happy pup! And a happy owner, if your dog is a gassy one.

Promotes Mental Stimulation

Many slow feeders are designed to make eating more of a challenge for your mutt, by making it more difficult to access the food. This turns meal times into a kind of puzzle, providing mental stimulation for your dog.

They need to think about how to get to the food, and use their memory. This replicates natural behaviour, as your dog will need to use problem-solving skills to find their food.

More mental stimulation = less boredom, which in turn means less problematic behaviour!

Australian  Shepherd  licking a healthy snack from interactive lick mat

Photo courtesy of:@zeketheaus

Disadvantages of Slow Feeders

A slow feeder might not be the right fit for your pup, however. Here are a few disadvantages of these types of feeders.

Tooth Damage

There’s a small possibility that your dog could become frustrated when trying to get at their food, and bite around the slow feeder’s barrier. If the bowl is made of a harder material, your dog could chip their teeth.

Plastic Ingestion

If the slow feeder is made of plastic and is a cheaper build quality, your dog might end up eating small parts of it. Plastic ingestion could lead to health issues. Making sure the feeder you buy is not made of cheap plastic will prevent this.

Picky Eaters

If your dog is not food-motivated and is a picky eater, a slow feeder bowl is not for them. To make sure they don’t starve, a regular old-fashioned bowl is a better bet.

Best Slow Feeders for Your Mutt

Do you think a slow feeder would be the best choice for your furry friend? Here are a few options to help you select the best one for your dog.

Interactive Slow Feeder

These bowls have multiple barriers around the food, encouraging your canine friend to “hunt” for each bite.

Messy Mutts’ Interactive Dog Slow Feeder, 3 Cup Capacity has a simple flower design that helps slow down food consumption.

Australian shepherd ready to eat food from slow feeding bowl

Photo courtesy of:@aussiealaska