Managing the tempo of your dog’s food intake can be essential to their overall health and wellness, and the best dog bowls for fast eaters help you do that more easily. You may have already learned the hard way that scarfing down food can cause your dog to vomit, but it can also lead to issues like gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), more commonly known as bloat. A slow feeder is an excellent aid for improving your dog’s digestive health, but before you choose one, there are a few factors you should consider.
Some slow feeders are simple and come in a bundt pan shape, slowing down ingestion by forcing your dog to eat around the edges. Others are a bit more intricate and look more like puzzles. These can slow down your dog even more while also providing a bit of mental stimulation. However, keep your dog's personality in mind; purchasing a slow feeder that’s complicated and frustrating for your dog can be counterproductive.
Puzzle feeders are commonly made of plastic, so you'll want to get a BPA-free model for safety. Stainless steel bowls are another option that's sturdy and durable, though they tend to be a little less intricate in design. Also consider if you want a dishwasher-safe model.
When it comes to finding the right size, a slow feeder is no different than purchasing a regular dog bowl. Be sure to look at the bowl's capacity to make sure it's right for your dog's size, and don't forget to consider their snout shape, too. Some bowls are less compatible with flat-faced dogs, like pugs and bulldogs.
Whichever type of bowl you choose, just be sure to keep an eye on your dog when they first use it. If your pup is an especially aggressive eater, there is a chance they could give themselves sores or cuts on their mouth by being too forceful.
With all that in mind, read on for four great dog bowls that can help your pet eat at a more reasonable pace.
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1. The fan favorite
This slow feeder encourages dogs to forage for their food, making their mealtime approximately 10 times slower, according to the manufacturer. This plastic bowl is dishwasher safe, has a non-skid bottom, and comes in three sizes as well as five designs. It's also BPA-, PVC-, and phthalate-free.
With more than 10,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, it's a customer favorite. Many reviewers even reported getting more than one for variety and new challenges for their pet. One drawback: This pick is probably not a good option for flat-faced dogs.
One reviewer wrote: "It's perfect! The non-skid bottom keeps it in place on the wooden floor and the smooth channels mean no teeth impacts. It's large enough to stay steady and make sure the food is at the bottom of the channels. Eating time has extended from 7 seconds to between 3 and 5 minutes. That's huge. He also seems far more satisfied when it takes him longer to eat, which is wonderful."
- Available sizes: Small (3/4 cups), Medium (2 cups), Large (4 cups)
2. The stainless steel one
The solid centerpiece of this slow feeder puts the brakes on your pup by making them eat around the outer edge. When they get close to the end of their meal, things tend to slow down even more because they’ll have to chase the last little bits around the bottom. This slow feeder has a removable silicone ring to prevent sliding and tipping, it’s dishwasher safe, and it works for dogs with long snouts as well as those with flat faces. With over 700 positive reviews, this seems to be one of the best stainless steel slow feed dog bowls on Amazon.
One reviewer wrote: "Our 2 year old boxer has a bad habit of scarfing down her food in less than a minute, eating whole pieces of dog food, which causes her to throw up at times. To get her to eat slower, we have to wait between each of the 3 scoops she gets. This bowl slows her down enough to make her chew once she gets a piece out. She even has to chase the last few pieces to get them out. Love the stainless steel construction and the non-slip ring. Easy to clean and no pushing the bowl around.”
- Available sizes: Medium (1-2 cups), Large (2.5-3.5 cups)
3. The extra-large one
For a larger slow feeder dog puzzle bowl, this pick can hold up to 6 cups of food at a time. Made of BPA-free plastic, it has a wide base that prevents tipping, and it's dishwasher safe. Available in both black and light blue, this pick also comes with a collapsible silicone dog bowl that's perfect for travel and camping. However, this is not a good choice for short-snout breeds.
One reviewer wrote: “I wanted to give this a thorough review, so I pulled out my stopwatch. My dog is a one-year-old German Shorthair Pointer who is also a rescue. With his bowl and a toy thrown in to slow him down, he finished his meals in 8 seconds. I was skeptical about this bowl but decided to try. His time? Five minutes and ten seconds. That’s a HUGE improvement. So good that I’m ordering another for our Labradoodle and will use these in the future for our larger breed dogs. I got the standard size bowl as we feed twice a day, and it was enough room. If your dog eats two cups or more at a time, you’ll need the larger.”
- Available sizes: 2 and 6 cups
4. The slow feeder & water bowl combo
If you’re short on space or you simply want to keep things streamlined, this nonslip combination slow feeder and water bowl should do the trick. This slow feeder has a low difficulty level but still slows dogs down enough to be effective, and it works for all breeds. It's made of durable plastic that's free of BPA, PVC, and phthalates.
The food bowl holds approximately 2.5 cups of food, and the water bowl holds approximately 8.5 cups of water. The raised cups on this slow feeder are gentle on teeth and gums and shallow enough for flat-faced breeds. Available in four colors, this bowl is dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. There is also a food-only version in 2.5- and 6-cup capacities.
One reviewer wrote: "My 2-yr-old Rottweiler threw up all the time. We took chew toys away, we took bones away, we tried a dozen different WAY overpriced, super high-quality dog foods. We had vet visits, tests, etc... BUT he still kept throwing up [...] And then I decided to try a slow feeder bowl. I read a bunch of reviews and decided on this one. Really?!? Why didn't I think of getting this bowl 2 years ago?!? We've been using it for 1 month now. How many times has he thrown up since we started using this? ZERO. My floors (and my early AM barefoot toes) are soooo happy!”
- Available sizes: 2.5 cups of dry food with 8.5 cups of water