Sparing canine tummy trouble…
Such a dining tool is referred to as a slow-feed or no-gulp bowl and there’s also such a thing as a slow-eat mat! While most doggo’s ‘woof’ down their food with no issue at all, others gulp air as they go which can result in some serious, even dangerous bloating. This danger is amplified if the dog food contains starches or carbohydrates that can potentially take bloat to a serious level. The pH level in a dog’s stomach reminds us it is suited to a raw diet but whatever the diet is, if speed-eating is an issue a slow-feed bowl is cheaper than a timed automatic dog feeder.
Dogs don’t chew food well in the sense we do. Their system uses a basic scissor action jaw, breaking food down into smaller pieces. Sometimes there is no chewing at all, more like ‘throwing back’ food down the hatch, relying on their stomach acidity to do most of the work. (Dr. Clare Middle describes this part beautifully in her book ‘In search of Real Dog Food’.)
One reason some dogs ‘speed eat’ is the presence of others which may compel them to get the food in ASAP for fear of missing out or before confrontation begins. If you have multiple dogs you may have seen this. Other dogs have just carried over the habit from puppyhood when competition for food meant either get in quick or go hungry.
You’ll find slow-feeders available in plastic, stainless steel & ceramic. Depending on the size of your dog’s snout etc. you’re looking for a bowl where the gaps are not so wide it allows ‘too-easy’ access but not so tight it prevents the dog from eating. If you have a flat-faced breed you’d be looking for one where the ridges are lower. As well as a variety of configurations, the bowl size still needs to be proportionate to your dog.
Any bowl with a non-slip base is a definite plus, preventing the vessel from skidding across the floor while your doggy works for his/her meal. If going for plastic opt for food safe materials e.g. BPA free. Slanted outside edges free of gaps helps stop dogs from being able to flip the bowl and spill the food to get at it. An elevated slow feeder would suit a dog suffering with spinal issues or arthritis. Another consideration of design and configuration is washing up. Some can go in the dishwasher but with most the alternative is to roll up your sleeves and scrub them out. Bon Appetit !
Leah & Angela OMearaHound Dog Day Care (Specialists in Dog Minding & Dog Boarding, Pet Sitting Brisbane & Doggy Day Care Brisbane)