The Benefits of a Slow Feeding Bowl

- Why your dog should be on it!

Last Updated 4th October 2021

This article is written by Pet Circle veterinarian, Dr Leonardo Hartono, DVM

I remember the first time I went to my friend’s house to dog-sit his golden Labrador Joey, I didn’t hesitate. After all, I love dogs especially big ones that I can cuddle with. That’s when I first noticed that he has included a slow-feeding bowl in his feeding instruction. He told me that Joey would tend to throw up after eating unless he ate from this special bowl. It was then that I always recommend my clients to stock this miracle product handy at home. 

Maybe your dog is the same. Inhaling down anything in sight, ask questions later.

It turns out, there are dangers when dogs eat too fast. Dogs who gulp their food too quickly may cause them to vomit and worse, get painful gas and bloating. Chances are, you’ve felt bloated at times when you’ve eaten too much. But if you lay down and rest, it eventually goes away. 

In dogs, it’s different. When a dog’s tummy fills up fast it sometimes expands and presses against the surrounding organs. And since they are not exactly an upright species, they are unable to belch the accumulated gas within their stomach, causing them to swell inside. This causes the intestines, liver, and gall bladder to be squeezed, which can cause the blood flow to slow down because there’s not as much room as before for the blood to circulate. When the blood can’t flow freely, it’s not making its way to your dog’s heart and everywhere it needs to go which can cause your dog to go into shock. This is what we vets termed as “bloat” and it can be fatal if left unchecked. Sometimes it can even cause your pet’s stomach to twist (we call it GDV) and this can cut off the blood flow to other organs, leading to a very urgent and oftentimes costly emergency measures! Thus, it is best to prevent this from happening by using these slow feeder bowls that we stock on our website.

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Some breeds of dogs are even more predisposed to this due to them being deep-chested. This includes German Shepherds, Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Weimaraners, Irish Setters, Gordon Setters, Standard Poodles, Basset Hounds, Doberman Pinschers, and Old English Sheepdogs. It must be noted that any dog can bloat, even Dachshunds and Chihuahuas so this condition is caused by eating habits rather than genetic.

A slow feeder does what it says on the label: Slows up the ingestion of food so the dog swallows less air. With less air swallowed, that means less chance of bloating and more time for your dog to digest their food. This brings more benefits such as: 

  1. It can help your dog lose weight. When your dog slows down their eating pace, they’ll chew more. Instead of inhaling and then looking at you for more, they’ll take an extra minute or two. When dogs chew and swallow their meals, they end up eating less and feeling fuller longer. 

  2. Reduce dog vomiting after meals. So, less cleanup for you. If your dog vomits frequently after eating, it could be because they inhale a lot of air with their food and vomiting it helps the body regulate itself. 

  3. Prevents choking. In the same boat as preventing vomiting, slow and smaller portion sizes will also prevent your dog from choking. Dogs eat fast. Especially when they are really hungry, and this can often lead to both choking and vomiting. This is especially important in dogs who suffer from megaoesophagus – a condition where the animal’s throat is hyperdilated and unable to swallow food properly thus causing them to vomit it back up. This condition can be acquired if your animal tend to eat a lot very quickly.

  4. Prevents gastrointestinal discomfort. When dogs eat too fast, they pile too much food in their bellies at one time and it can really cause them some discomfort. It can also cause them to pass a lot of gas. If your dog is stinky and had a bowel movement, it could be because they are farting from eating too fast. 

Now that you know the benefits of these slow feeders, why don’t we check our range of products. We also stock feeding puzzles as well, which also give the same benefits while providing mental stimulation for them on top of that! Here are a few of our favorite food puzzles! Using food puzzle toys for feeding meals helps to stretch out mealtime, so he feels full even though he's eating less food, and it also helps to keep him active while he's eating. 

Products I recommend:

Kong Classic: It is made using KONG classic, all natural rubber which is specially designed for average chewers. The KONG is also available in KONG PuppyKONG Extreme and KONG Senior rubber types to satisfy the instinctual chewing needs of dogs of all shapes, sizes, ages and breeds. The KONG Classic also makes a great fetch toy and has an erratic bounce to keep your pooch guessing. Providing enrichment through play, chewing and interactive toys like the KONG Classic helps to reduce boredom and can be a powerful tool in addressing behavioural problems such as separation anxiety. The KONG Classic can be stuffed with pastes, treats or your own custom filling recipes to keep your dog occupied and mentally stimulated. Fill and freeze for an extra challenge! 

Paws for Life Slow Bowl: Paws for Life provides convenient, practical and all-round pawesome products that your cat or dog will absolutely love - at a delightfully affordable price that youll absolutely love! The Paws For Life Slow Bowl has internal pillars that your dog must navigate, helping to slow down their rate of eating. This bowl is an ideal choice for dogs who gulp their food quickly. Slow feeder bowls are recommended for deep chested breeds that are prone to Gastric Torsion and Volvulus, such as German Shepherds.

Scream Slow Feed Interactive Bowl: The Scream Slow Feed Interactive bowl is the healthier way for your dog to enjoy their food. Wiith obstacles for food pieces to hide in, dogs are forced to eat slower. This prevents food from being gulped too fast. Anti-Gulp bowls are recommended by vets for any dog at a higher risk of developing Gastric Torsion and Volvulus, such as deep chested breeds like the German Shepherd or Greyhound. The coloured centre can be removed when first introducing this bowl to your dog, to allow for an easier transition. Up to 6 cups of food can be held in the bowl.

Dogit Anit Gulp Dog Dish: The Go Slow Anti-Gulping Dog Dishes are designed to help your pooch slow down while eating, featuring raised contours that dogs need to eat around and preventing them from taking large mouthfuls of food. Plastic contours help minimise gulping of food, and the bowl is available in both black and white. This bowl is particularly recommended for deep-chested dogs such as German Shepherds, Dobermans, and Great Danes.

Outward Hound Fun Feeder Slo Bowl: Outward Hounds Fun Feeder bowls feature a variety of puzzling ridges and mazes to slow down your dog during meal times. The Fun Feeder keeps your dog engaged for up to 10 times longer when eating, which improves digestion and common issues such as bloat, regurgitation and over-eating. The Teal Mini Fun Feeder has a target design for smaller mouths and is suitable for both dry or wet food. This bowl slows down pace of eating up to 10 x compared to normal dog bowls.

Kong Tiltz: KONG Tiltz is a clever, no mess, treat dispensing toy designed to keep your dog mentally stimulated. Treats are erratically released as the toy is spun and tilted, keeping your dog occupied and engaged for hours. Treat dispensing toys like KONG Tiltz are also a great way to slow down mealtimes for dogs who are prone to eating quickly or gulping down their dry food. 

Loving Pets Gobble Stopper: Loving Pets pride themselves in developing safe and affordable pet products for dogs and cats, made from healthy, natural ingredients and superior materials. This innovative product is compatible with most bowls and slows down feeding by up to 500%, preventing dangerous conditions such as bloat. Easily attached to the base of most bowls by a large suction cap, Loving Pets Gobble Stopper forces your pet to seek out food under the canopy, eating their regular food with no gulping. It's also dishwasher safe for easy and hygienic cleaning.

Ruff Play Foam Treat Ball: This toy is made from durable lightweight foam that floats on water and retains its shape, perfect for throwing, bouncing and chewing, with slots in the foam where kibble or treats can be inserted.

Paws for Life Snuffle Feeding Mat: Keep your doggo entertained and slow down their mealtime with this interactive feeding mat! Sprinkle their favourite treats or mealtime kibble through the various textured sections to provide a fun and interactive mealtime. This product is perfect for dogs who guzzle their meal too quickly, or who need a bit of extra puzzle-solving fun. Simply add your pups kibble and let them go nuts when theyre home alone for a long lasting, tasty and brain-stimulating exercise! 

Paws for Life IQ Puzzle Feeder: Keep your doggo entertained and slow down their mealtime with this interactive puzzle feeder! Add their favourite treats or kibble through the various holes and containers to encourage problem solving and instinct-satisfying foraging. This product is perfect for dogs who guzzle their meal too quickly, or who need a bit of extra puzzle-solving fun. Simply add your pups kibble and let them go nuts when they're home alone for a long lasting, tasty and brain-stimulating exercise! 

Kong Goodie Ribbon: The KONG Goodie Ribbon is a mentally stimulating puzzle, feeder, and chew toy in one! Made from high strength durable polymer, this toy will withstand even the mightiest chewers. The four spaces can be stuffed with treats, and the inner ridges add some extra challenge. Your pup will be kept occupied for hours working the treats or paste out of the spaces. And, if you have a dog that tends to eat too fast, you can use the KONG Goodie Ribbon as an alternative to a dog bowl to help extend mealtime, while providing exercise for your dog. Available in different sizes. 

Slow feeders are available for cats too!

While any of the above bowls can be used for cats, too, see our range of cat-specific products:

Catit Senses Digger

This puzzle feeder encourages cats to work for their food and also helps to prevent binge eating

Catit Senses Food Maze

This puzzle feeder also helps to prevent binge eating, as it allows cats to move their treats through the maze by pawing at them through the openings and forcing them to the bottom of the maze to eat

Kong Cat Wobbler

This is a food-dispensing toy that when nudged by your cat's paw or nose, dispenses food as it wobbles, spins and rolls

Petsafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed

This features a slow feeding option, perfect for pets who eat too quickly or gulp their food.

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Further Reading

New kitten guide

Premium Pet Food: Is It Worth It?

The Best Indoor Cat Toys

How to Make Pet Care Environmentally Sustainable

Risks and Benefits to Raw Feeding