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Enjoy the taste: Slow Feeder Device Test

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Can your dog make a whole bowl of food disappear faster than you can say, “Bon appetit?” Has he ever inhaled a bowl of food so quickly that he vomited it up a few minutes later? Do your seemingly hectic consumption lead to gagging or suffocation?

If any of these scenarios sound familiar to you, consider checking out one of the many slow feeders available commercially or experimenting yourself to help your dog determine its speed.


Eating too quickly can lead to choking and suffocation. In addition, speed eaters tend to swallow air when they dip deep into the bowl. This excess air can disrupt digestion, cause gas, and even cause stomach enlargement and volvulus, commonly known as “bloating”. This is a potentially fatal condition in which the stomach fills with excess gas and turns itself over, restricting blood flow and taking lives. Save emergency surgery.

Slow-feed bowls and other tools can also help make mealtime an enrichment opportunity. Using a slow feeder will allow your dog to draw on their problem-solving skills as they maneuver the device. This occupies his brain more than simply dipping his face into an open bowl of food first. Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise in creating a well-rounded canine companion.

The ability to slow a dog’s eating is also critical to the success of certain training protocols. For example, if you are working with a dog who has a tendency to protect its food, it helps if it eats slowly enough to give us time to conduct some behavioral interventions.

A common approach to positive reinforcement when working with a dog protecting its food is to walk past the dog as it eats and drop something that is considered “better” than what is in its bowl. This helps counteract the dog’s attitude towards a human approaching his food. However, if the dog inhales the contents of the bowl before you can approach, it will be difficult to achieve!

Who needs a bowl?

While slow-feeling bowls are helpful, another approach to slowing down a speed hog is to ditch the bowl in favor of filled food puzzles, scheduled flushing options, or even hand-feeding through exercise. There is no rule that says dogs must eat from a bowl at set times! Highly energetic dogs often benefit from an activity where they sit quietly and take color, such as walking around. By extracting a portion of a meal from a well-stocked frozen Kong or Toppl toy, and it’s easy to divide a dog’s daily kibble ration into three or three.More puzzle toys appear at different times throughout the day offered.

Snuff mats allow dogs to use their olfactory senses to the full as they poke through the strips of fabric in search of nibbles. You can even offer a widespread nibble in the yard like you’re feeding chickens! (Granted, these last two techniques work better with nibbles than with homemade or raw diets, but these work well in kongs and toppls.)

And of course there is training time! On strenuous training days, my dogs always ate very little from a bowl. Rather, I use their daily caloric intake to generously reinforce the desired behavior – especially when I work with them as young puppies.

Don’t be afraid to throw away the dog bowl in order to develop more feeding strategies that will support your training goals and the development of a harmonious household!

SPEED TESTS

We have selected five commercially available products that are marketed to slow down a quick eater. We determined how long it took our test dog Saber, an 8 year old Golden Retriever, to navigate through each bowl. Each timed attempt was compared to its baseline of 2:00 to eat a meal consisting of two cups of snacks with a small amount of water (to dissolve a powdered supplement) from a standard stainless steel dog bowl.

We understand that our test dog’s standard approach to a bowl of food does not necessarily qualify as a “quick eater” – many of you may have faster Chow Hounds – but it is in no way a “picky eater”. He dips into the bowl, eats enthusiastically and only leaves the bowl when the food is gone.

Aside from how long it took to empty each bowl, we also considered the cost, materials, ease of use and ease of cleaning of each product. Would like more? Here’s what we discovered, listed in order of least to most additional time it takes to finish a meal.

DOG PIG

Dog pig

The Dog Hog is a weighted stainless steel ball reminiscent of the eye balls popular in backyard gardens in the early 1990s. It comes in two sizes: the small Dog Hog measures 2.88 inches in diameter and weighs six ounces and the large one measures 3.5 inches and weighs 8 ounces.

The Dog Hog is super easy to use. Just put it in your dog’s bowl and add food. The slick, slippery nature of the dog pig makes it difficult for a dog to successfully lift it from the bowl in order to better reach and devour the food. Its weight makes it difficult to push out of the way. It’s certainly not that difficult that it is tilt be moved, but in our test it was not easy to be chased around the bowl by an enthusiastic snout.

It should be noted that sound sensitive dogs may not appreciate the sound of the stainless steel ball rolling around in a stainless steel dog bowl.

The simple design gives Dog Hog high marks for ease of use both in the bowl and at the time of cleaning the device. However, it only added 1:02 minutes to the time it took Saber to finish a meal, increasing his total eating time to 3:02.

WOBBLER SLOW FEEDER

Wobbler slow feeder

When I unpacked the wobbler, I was reminded of the classic children’s toy from the 1970s and its ringing: “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall!” This fishbowl-shaped slow feeder works in a similar way. It can slide in any direction, but thanks to its weighted silicone base, it does itself right once it’s released. You pour your dog’s food into the fishbowl, um, the bowl, and your dog has to stick his head in to chase the food inside the bowl.

The wobbler is about 5.5 “tall, about 4” deep, and has a 5 “opening. The top 2 inches can be unscrewed and removed, reducing the overall height of the wobbler to 3.5 inches. More importantly, however, the depth is reduced to just 2 inches and the diameter increased to 6.5 inches. This is great for smaller dogs – or any dog ​​who is suspicious of lowering their head in a relatively small space.

The bottom half of the wobbler ball has an inner shell with a series of ridges inside, creating channels around which the snack will fall. This inner bowl spins inside the outer ball, but when we turned it by hand we felt some friction so we’re not entirely sure how much, if at all, spins when the dog eats.

When it came time to clean the bowl, we couldn’t figure out how to remove the internal bowl and were ready to toss the product altogether. Cooler heads prevailed, however, and the WDJ editor pointed us to a video on Wobbler’s Amazon page that showed how it can be done. Okay! It was being tested again.

According to the manufacturer, the wobbler holds up to four cups of food, is made of food-safe plastics and is BPA-free. We appreciate his unique ability to adapt to both large and small dogs.

The wobbler added 1:50 to the time it took Saber to finish a meal, increasing its total eating time to 3:50.

GOBBLESTOPPER

Gobble stopper

When selecting the products to review, “Ease of Use” was one of the attributes we were looking for and the Gobblestopper looked very easy to use. That’s why we tried it.

The Gobblestopper is made of a molded plastic bone on a 1-inch bottom that will suck on the bottom of a flat-bottomed dog bowl. The dog has to eat around the obstacle and use his tongue to sweep the food out from under the bone.

We used the gobble stopper in a stainless steel bowl that was 7 inches inside diameter, leaving about 1 to 2 inches of space between the device and the walls of the bowl. It took Saber an additional 2:51 minutes to finish a meal, bringing his total eating time to 4:51.

We had an issue with the suction cup not sticking well to the bottom of the bowl and towards the end of the meal we noticed it was being pushed around as Saber was working to get the last few nibbles out. The suction cup itself is extremely flat, which will likely make it difficult to achieve a strong seal. Adding water to Saber’s food may have reduced the seal’s strength as well.

Had the suction cup done a better job, we’d give the Gobble Stopper better marks for being easy to use, easy to clean, and more than doubling the time our test dog took to eat. Since it sometimes doesn’t stick to the bowl for the duration of the meal, we’re unfortunately less enthusiastic about recommending it.

BRAKABLE BOWL

Braking fast

Many people prefer stainless steel bowls because of their non-porous quality. That’s why we’ve added a slow stainless steel feeder to our roster. The stainless Brake-Fast Bowl is essentially a standard three dog bowl detachable Contributions to the food being added. This bowl is available in small (1 liter), medium (2 liter) and large (3 liter) sizes. We tested the 2 liter bowl.

With more than 2 inches of space between the posts themselves, we admittedly didn’t have much to do with challenges, and we were surprised to discover that this increased our test dog’s eating time to nearly 3:00 AM and increased the total eating time to 4:52!

Interestingly, we found that Saber took in and chewed food bites more frequently with this bowl compared to other bowls, and nibbles between a post and the side of the bowl seemed particularly difficult to extract. The Brake-Fast bowl has a non-slip edge, but it slipped a bit as Saber worked to get the final pieces of food.

While we loved the unexpected challenge this bowl posed for Saber, we were less than thrilled to discover that the product comes with five-part cleaning instructions.

To properly clean the bowl, according to the manufacturer, you must first unscrew the posts, hand wash all parts with warm, soapy water (taking care not to submerge the posts), dry them thoroughly, and then tighten the posts again without removing them too tight to tighten. That’s a lot of steps!

The company also makes a low-speed plastic shell with molded permanent stanchions, and as much as I like stainless steel, I’d prefer the ease of hand washing of the plastic version, which doesn’t need to be taken apart and reassembled for cleaning.

DIY slow feed bowls

Chances are you already have items around the house that can be used in a slow feeding bowl for your dog. Try experimenting with one of these DIY alternatives to a commercial slow-feed bowl:

* Add a small upside-down terracotta pot to your dog plate. The placement of the pot creates a “moat” from which the dog can get the nibble. You can also put a large stone in the middle of the bowl. (To protect its teeth, make sure the dog isn’t trying to pick up the stone.)

* Turn a muffin pan into a food puzzle. Add varying amounts of snacks to each individual muffin bowl. Top cups with dog-approved items that must be removed first, such as: B. a tennis ball or a Kong toy.

FUN FEEDER SLO-BOWL

Our winner in the dog slowdown competition? The Fun Feeder Slo-Bowl, which increased the time it took Saber to finish a meal by a whopping 8:15 am, for a total of 10:15 am!

Fun feeder slow bowls

The Fun Feeder is available in three sizes, five colors and four challenging designs. We tested the large / regular Purple Flower Fun Feeder, which is 11.75 inches in diameter, two inches deep, and holds up to four cups of food. The Mini Fun Feeder of the same design has a diameter of 8.5 inches, a depth of 1.75 inches and holds up to two cups of food.

This entire feeder is a complex challenge. There isn’t a single area in the bowl that offers the opportunity for an easy-to-grasp bite. The widest part inside the design is only about 1 inch, making it nearly impossible to reach into a swallow of food and “bite” it. Rather, it seems that food has to be scooped into the mouth with the tongue as a spoon. If you have to Really slowing a dog down, this seems like a good option.

My dog ​​would probably be happy to know that the bowl was created Challenges for me too. I add a powdered supplement to Saber’s food and mix it into his food with some water, but since this slow feeder doesn’t have a bowl-like area to mix the supplement into the food, I had to use a separate bowl for mixing and then toss them into the Fun Feeder, scraping as much (expensive!) supplement off the sides of the first bowl. Kind of a pain.

The narrow channels also made hand washing difficult, but according to the manufacturer, it is dishwasher safe. It is also free from PBA, PVC, lead and phthalates.

DIVERSITY, SPICE OF LIFE

I’ve always been a fan of dog food puzzles, especially young puppies. All of my dogs regularly ate at least part of their daily food ration from frozen, filled kongs or topping toys or from some kind of snuff mat.

While I’m not concerned about the general speed at which Saber eats his meals, I still chose to keep the Dog Hog, Wobbler, and Fun Feeder in weekly rotation for a little more variety and hopefully mental stimulation for offering what is possible an otherwise very predictable dining experience.





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