Pet Parent Resources: Do slow feeder bowls really work?
Slow feeder bowls for dogs who eat too fast…
Most dogs are speed eaters…but Turnip was the first time I had a dog in the house who ate so fast that he vomited his food right back up within minutes.
Turnip came here as a foster dog. Given Turnip spent most of his life outside on a chain and terribly neglected I can understand why he eats while the eatin’ is good. But we had to find a solution to help him keep his food down as he was a very thin dog with looming health issues.
I feed my dogs a mix of premium kibble and homemade doggie casserole (fresh chicken, veggies and fruit). My own four dogs are used to eatin’ yummy food but for Turnip it was such a bonanza that his food disappeared in seconds. For weeks I was hand feeding Turnip tiny bits of his meals at a time to keep him from vomiting or gagging. But with six dogs and three cats in the house I really needed to find a long term solution to help him keep his food down that was a little more time efficient for me than hand feeding.
I had certainly heard of slow feeder bowls but never used one before. I picked up the Martha Stewart slow feeder bowl at Pet Smart (it was about $20). It worked remarkably well in terms of slowing Turnip down. Turnip always gets served his bowl of food last (out of six dogs) when he was speed eating he would always be the first one of the six dogs eating (unless I hand fed him). With the Martha Stewart bowl Turnip now is munching his meal long after the other dogs are finished and he has not vomited up a meal since we started using it.
I chose this particular slow feeder bowl because it has a no slip bottom and the three feeder lumps in the middle seemed more likely to slow down food consumption (which is exactly what they did). The only thing missing about this bowl is that it not on a pedestal or riser; we had to make a small riser for Turnip to eat comfortably at the appropriate level. We give this bowl a rating of four out of five paws.
The only reason this bowl didn’t get a five paw rating is that it is made of melamine. Melamine has long been used for dishes and has been deemed safe. However, if you remember back in 2007/2008 there were pet poisonings related to melamine that was used as a filler in pet food. So melamine in any form needs to be used with caution. Tableware made of melamine is deemed safe by the FDA (click here to see the guidelines and comments by the FDA). However, when using anything made of melamine it should NOT be put in a microwave or a dishwasher (if you do this by accident I would throw the bowl away even if it says it is dishwasher safe).
Because of the melamine issue I also tried out a stainless steel slow feeder. We tried the Durapet Stainless Steel Slo Feeder (Small). I ordered it off of Amazon for $12.00. This bowl gets one out of five paws…and only because its the only stainless steel option do I rate it at all. I prefer to use stainless steel dog bowls from a safety and sanitary perspective but from the perspective of slowing down Turnip’s eating pace…it made little to no difference at all. I don’t recommend this bowl.
We also tried the Kyjen Slo-Bowl Slow Feeder Slow Feed Interactive Bloat Stop Dog Bowl. I ordered it off of Amazon for $13.00. This bowl gets four out of five paws as well. It did a great job of slowing down Turnip’s eating…just as good as the Martha Stewart bowl. However, it is a little more challenging for me to keep clean. Again, this one is made of plastic and while it is BPH free, etc. it is still plastic…so no microwave or dishwasher action.
Turnip is rotating between eating out of the Martha Stewart bowl and the Kyjen bowl and we no longer have issues with him vomiting up his food.
What if your dog just lifts the slow feeder bowl and dumps it? While he is a fast eater Turnip was not impatient enough to lift up the slow feeder bowl and dump his food. I have watched several video reviews of slow feeder bowls being picked up and dumped over by larger breeds who were frustrated with having to work to get their food out of the bowl. Clever dogs…but not helpful if you are trying to slow down the dog’s eating pace. If this were the situation with Turnip I would still have worked with the slow feeder bowls. However,I would have integrated the bowl more slowly and trained him to use it. I would have done this by only putting a small amount food at a time in the bowl and rewarding (him) with more food in the bowl for working at getting the food out of the bowl without dumping it. This would be a great time to bring out the clicker!
I hope this was helpful! Check out my Pet Parent Resource Guide for other reviews and tips I have written for pet parents! Also keep in mind that I sell my Pet Rescue Art and Pet Adoption and Pet Sympathy Cards at my Rescue Mama ETSY Shop!