Hi, my name’s Irena and I have four dogs; Sherlock, Oliver, Lipstick and Aphrodite.
Sherlock is the youngest at five years while the others are all coming up to fifteen. The one thing they all have in common is that they eat too fast and this isn’t healthy for dogs.
I am thinking of getting them slow feed dog maze bowls as they can help in this respect.
I’ve done lots of research on these types of feeders and want to share my findings with you. If you have the same problem as me this article should prove interesting.
What is a Slow Feed Dog Maze Bowl?
You may not be aware of slow feed maze bowls, but they have ridges, projections and curved surfaces that look like a maze and your dogs have to navigate around them to get to their kibble.
This takes much longer than eating from a normal bowl and will make your dogs eat slower. It will also give them mental stimulation.
Why is it a Problem if your Dog Eats Too Quickly?
From my experience most dogs eat too quickly. They are descended from wolves who eat quickly so that their fellow pack members don’t get their food.
The instinct is still imprinted in the minds of your dogs. If you have more than one dog it can make them compete for food. I have this problem with Aphrodite and Lipstick.
Aphrodite is always trying to get Lipstick’s food even though she has her own. I have to stand guard while they are eating.
The problem with dogs eating too quickly is that there can be health risks. Firstly they can choke on their food or they can gag which leads to them vomiting the food back up.
Eating too much can lead to obesity so you need to be careful how much food you give your dogs.Just because they eat quickly doesn’t mean that they need more food.
Obesity can lead to serious health problems such as hip dysplasia, diabetes and arthritis. Being overweight can also shorten the lifespan of your dogs.
The most serious condition that can be caused by eating too fast is bloat which is also known as gastric diatation-volvulus.
This happens when your dogs gulp down air as well as food. Taking down too much air can cause the intestines to expand.
They then twist and shut off the blood supply. Signs that your dogs have bloat include a tight and bloated abdomen, too much pacing and drooling, and trying to vomit but with no success.
Bloat is a life-threatening emergency so if you think that your dogs have this you need to rush them to the vet straight away.
How to Stop Your Dogs from Eating Too Quickly
This article is about slow feed dog maze bowls, but there are other tricks you can use to try and stop your dogs from eating too quickly.
If you have more than one dog it is a good idea to feed them separately.
Then they won’t feel as if they are fighting for their meal and may slow down. It’s that wolf instinct again.
I always make sure that my dogs are far away from each other when I feed them and I keep an eye on them as well to make sure that none of them steal the food of the other dogs.
Another thing I do is feed them smaller meals. Instead of giving them one meal a day, I give them three.
They don’t get more food than if they had just one meal, but it’s spread out over the day. However, they can still gulp their food so it’s not a long term solution.
Feeding by hand is another option. You can give your dogs just a little kibble each time you feed them.
However, this can get tiring after a while, so again it’s not the best long term solution.
An alternative to a dog maze bowl is to use a dog feeding mat and spread the food out all over it.
Your dogs will have to move towards the food in the different areas so it will slow them down a little.
In the summer you could put the food all over the yard so they have to hunt for it. This also provides some mental stimulation.
You could switch to wet food as it’s not as likely as dry food to cause choking. Because it has a lot more moisture than kibble it is easier to digest.
However, there are disadvantages. For a start it does work out more expensive than dry food and then it’s usually higher in carbohydrates which can lead to obesity.
Another very simple tip is to put a ball in the food bowls. Then your dogs will have to eat around it and it can take them a while.
However, dogs aren’t stupid and it won’t take them long to figure out that if they take the ball out it will be easier for them to eat.
These are all good ideas, but they’re not as convenient as a slow feed dog maze bowl.
Not only do they stimulate the minds of your dogs, but they can make them eat 10 times slower.
They’re not that expensive so they are a good investment. I know you all want to reduce health issues with your dogs and they are a top choice if you want to stop such complications as bloat.
In addition to making your dogs eat more slowly they can stop them eating as much.
If they eat slowly there is more time for the food to reach their stomachs which means that they will feel full before they have eaten everything.
Should You Seek Professional help?
Eating too fast is a behavior problem just as not walking to heel is. It can be cured and you could take your dogs to a behaviorist.
They should be able to work with your dogs to get rid of this bad habit.
You can also try medications as a last resort. There are animal drugs similar to Prozac which help stop dogs eating so quickly.
However, they should just be used in extreme cases and only with approval from your vet.
In the end, isn’t it just easier to buy a slow feed dog maze bowl? They slow down the eating habits of your dogs in a completely natural way and in addition stimulate their minds.
They are great if you are out for more than a few hours a day as they give your dogs something to do.
Top 5 Best Slow Feed Dog Maze Bowls
1) Outward Hound Fun Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl
This is our number one choice as it can keep your pups engaged in their meals for up to 10 times longer than if they were eating from a normal bowl.
It has plenty of ridges and mazes to keep their minds occupied while searching for their food. It can help to reduce the chances of bloat, regurgitation and obesity.
The bowl has a non-slip bottom which keeps it in place and stops spillage.
It can be placed in the top rack of the dishwasher which means that all the crevices will be cleaned thoroughly and so reduce any health risk.
It is made with safe material and there are no phthalates, BPAs or PVC which means that these harmful chemicals won’t seep into the food.
The bowl is available in two sizes, mini and regular, and there are three colors and designs on offer. The regular bowl can take about 1 cup of dry dog food, the mini a little less.
2) Aikiou Slow Feed Dog Bowl. Hexa Maze Design
This slow feed dog maze bowl can hold up to 2 1/2 cups of dry kibble.
It is challenging as the ridges are 3/4 inch apart so your dogs will have to use their tongues to get the food out.
They certainly won’t be able to get their snouts in so they will really have to work for their meal.
All this helps to avoid indigestion, inhaling of food and bloat. It is also good if your dogs are on a diet.
You can put in the required amount of food and because they are eating slower they will feel full after less food.
This bowl is one of the safest out there. It isn’t made with PVC or ABS but of human-grade polypropylene.
Polypropylene doesn’t contain BPA, BHT or phthalates, all of which are harmful chemicals and can seep into the food. It’s not toxic and is made from recyclable plastic so is good for the environment.
Don’t worry about bits of kibble being left in the bowl. It is dishwasher safe as long as you put it on the top rack. You won’t end up with any moldy bits which could do your dogs harm.
This bowl is great for expending extra energy and it stops your dogs getting bored and destructive. If you are out all day at work, leave some kibble in the bowl for them to enjoy when they are on their own.
3) Aikiou Junior Dog Slow Bowl
This bowl must be mentioned as it is a great twist on the traditional slow feed dog maze bowl. Your dogs will have to spin the rotating lid to find the kibble hidden inside.
This will both give them mental stimulation and will slow down how much food they eat.
If they are eating slowly they will become full before finishing all the kibble and this will reduce the amount that they eat.
The bowl has small spaces so your pups will have to use their tongues to search out their food.
This bowl is made from human-food grade polypropylene plastic which is BPA free.
It is also dishwasher safe so any remnants of food will be washed away and your pups won’t get sick from eating old food.
The bowl also has a few special openings where you can insert treats.
They stop the wheel from rotating so your dogs have to work harder, but in their eyes it will be even more fun.
It’s great if you have to leave your dogs for a long length of time. Their minds will be exercised while their stomachs will be satisfied.
It is possible to freeze this bowl with the food in. If you do this it will take much longer for your dogs to work through their meal and they will probably eat less as a result of this.
This dog food bowl comes in a choice of 3 colors, blue, fuchsia and green. It is best suited for small to medium dogs.
4) Ethical Pet Slow Feeder Dog Bowl
This dog bowl has a unique spiral shape that will help your dogs eat slowly and stop them gulping food down which can cause indigestion and bloat.
This particular dog feeder is excellent for barrel-chested breeds.
This bowl can hold up to 2 cups of dry food so you can regulate what you give your dogs. The bigger your dogs the more food you can give.
You can even put wet food in this bowl and it will still take as long for your dogs to figure out how to get to their meal.
This slow feed dog maze bowl is not recommended for small dogs, but for dogs that weigh between 50 and 70 pounds.
Smaller dogs might be able to get the food out a bit easier as the maze is a little bigger than some.
These bowls come in 3 different colors so can match your décor. They come in blue, green and purple, not that your dogs will mind what colors they are.
They have a non-skid rubber ring on the bottom which helps to stop the bowls from sliding all over the floor and causing spillage.
5) Northmate Green Interactive Dog Feeder
This dog feeder is a great challenge for your dogs. It’s shaped like tufts of grass and it’s up to your dogs to forage for the food.
You just have to scatter the amount of food you think is good for your dogs and then let them have a go.
It lengthens their eating time and so reduces the risk of indigestion and bloat. It also stimulates them mentally and is especially good if you have to be out for a significant part of the day.
This slow feed dog maze is designed for all dogs, no matter what size or weight they are. In addition, you can put both dry and wet food in it so if they prefer one to the other they should be satisfied.
The bowl is phthalate-free so there will be no seepage of chemicals into the food. It’s also dishwasher safe so you can rest assured that there won’t be any remnants of old food left in the bowl.
I think I have shown that it is a great benefit for your dogs to be given slow feed dog maze bowls.
They can stop all sorts of health problems including bloat which can be fatal.
This is reason enough to go out and get these bowls for your dogs and in fact that’s what I am going to do myself.
After all we want our dogs to live healthily for as long as possible.