Most dogs love to eat. Unfortunately, some seem to skip the process of eating and instead inhale their food; no sooner as the bowl has been placed in front of them, it’s gone. One way to combat this is to use an eco-friendly slow feeding dog bowl.
Slow feeding dog bowls have several purposes, the foremost being to help slow down your dog’s feeding so that he will not gulp down and take in an excessive amount of air which can lead to bloat, which is a common symptom of GDV (Gastric Dilation Volvulus).
GDV can be a life-threatening disorder when a dog’s stomach becomes filled with gas and subsequently twists. It can occur in all dogs; however, it is more prevalent in deep-chested and giant breeds of dogs, including Great Danes, Weimaraners, Setters, Dachshunds, Doberman, Greyhounds and Hungarian Vizslas.
At Doggie Approved, we are concerned with the environmental impact we as dog owners have on the planet and, as such, are aiming to focus on looking for ways we can reduce our carbon pawprints. In this review, we are looking at eco-friendly slow feeding dog bowls.
This review started for two reasons. Firstly, being dog owners ourselves and looking to do all we can as individuals and share what we find, Lisa was also looking for an eco-friendly slow feeding dog bowl for her Vizsla, who, as it would seem, couldn’t eat his dinner fast enough!
At the time of writing, the choice and selection of eco-friendly slow feeding dog bowls are limited; to say the least, we managed to find only two worthies of recommendation.
These bowls had to meet the following criteria:
1) To have the proper eco-friendly credentials
2) To actually work on slowing your dog’s eating habits
3) Are available to be purchased now
Simply Pets Online Slow Dog Bowl
Simply Pets Online Slow Dog Bowl has been designed with a series of almost triangular shapes and sticking up buttons. If you are new to slow feeding dog bowls, they work the same way as regular bowls; simply fill the bowl with your dog’s food and place it down.
It definitely works to slow down eating. My concern was that my dog would become frustrated due to the time it took to eat, yet this wasn’t the case and still isn’t; my boy really seems to enjoy his meals now.
Materials: Sustainable Bamboo fibre and Cornstarch
Diameter: 33 cm
Size: Length 33 x Width 34 x Height 6.5 cm
Weight: 921 g
What We Like
- Designed by UK based vets
- BPA Free
- Promotes better digestion
- Slows down meal times
- Made from eco-friendly and sustainable materials – bamboo fibre and cornstarch
- Dishwasher safe
What We Don't Like
- Personally, I would prefer a deeper bowl; however, there is no chance of my boy knocking this over, so that’s a plus.
- It does slide, so you need to sit on a food mat, such as the Beco Pets Dinner Place Mat, but I would rather that than for the bowl to have plastic stoppers.
- I feed my dogs twice a day, so don’t put my dog bowls in the dishwasher. Washing by hand takes a little longer as you need to get in all the nooks and crannies.
PET IMPACT Slow Feeder Dog Bowl
This eco-friendly slow feeder dog bowl from PET IMPACT meets our review criteria to slow your dog down and is made from bamboo fibre, making it eco-friendly.
This bowl comes in two sizes (medium and large) and includes an anti-slip base. The design incorporates curves and towers; just fill in the gaps and feed. I soak my dry kibble to prevent some possibility of bloat but have found that I need to dislodge it slightly to make it easier for my boy.
Materials: Bamboo Fibre and Cornstarch
Diameter: 19 cm (Medium) 26 cm (Large)
Size: Medium – Length 19 x Width 19 x Height 5 cm | Large – Length 26 x width 26 x 6 cm
What We Like
- Approved by vets
- Stimulates and engages meal times while slowing greedy eaters!
- Non-slip bottom
- Ideal for dry, wet and raw food
- Eco-friendly, made from bamboo fibre and corn starch
- Packaging is eco-friendly from recycled cardboard
- Dishwasher friendly
What We Don't Like
- It’s slightly challenging to wash and dry, but not a criticism of the Pet IMPACT Slow Feeder bowl; it’s the same for all slow feeder bowls and just part of the design.
- Some greedy dogs may find this frustrating at first
- Again, this is a shallow dish at 5 cm but standard for slow feeder bowls
What are Slow Feeding Dog Bowls?
Slow feeding dog bowls are specifically designed to slow the rate at which your dog eats its food. Their design is constructed with obstructions that protrude from the base of the bowl.
You then place your dog food, wet, dry or raw, evenly within the gaps in the bowl. The obstructions, or if you like humps and bumps, make it more challenging and stimulating for your dog to eat their food which in turn slows down the pace at which they eat.
There are many different designs, yet most are like puzzle mazes, from triangle shapes to cones and even spirals.
Are Slow Feeders Frustrating for Dogs?
Most dogs will take well to a slow dog feeder bowl; however, a few dogs will get frustrated and either chew or paw to eat their food faster.
Like all things new, we recommend just trying small amounts in the first instance, testing with a few broken treats and build up.
For you as an owner, well, you may have a little more mess; after my boy’s morning meal, I give a drop of goats milk, which I now find spills a little, but nothing that can’t be cleaned up with a quick lick then a follow-up wipe from me.
Washing up is a little slower too. It can be challenging to get into the nooks and crannies, yet if you soak your bowl briefly after feeding, it really isn’t a problem, and I don’t see these minor issues as a drawback to buying a slow feeding bowl.
Do Slow Feeders Stimulate Dogs?
Dogs are clever. You can experiment with simple enrichment games that you can play with your dog, including grabbing a handful of food and sprinkling it around your garden, then watching your dog enjoy the hunt. We can also take this one step further to think about how dogs in the wild have to work to get their food.
Plonking their food in a fancy-shaped bowl may seem a little gimmicky; however, we think slightly differently. Having watched my dog eat using his slow feeding bowl, I am convinced that he enjoys working to figure out how best to get every last morsel out.
Thinking games are also great for our dogs. They reduce boredom and help overcome frustration which can lead to unwanted behaviour.
What are the Benefits of Using Eco-Friendly Slow Feeding Bowls?
It’s not good for dogs to eat their food fast, particularly large-chested dogs. There are five main issues that can potentially cause harm for your dog, which, when using an eco-friendly slow feeding bowl, can be reduced or illuminated*
1. Less Chance of Choking
When dogs eat super quickly, the chance of choking is increased. In some cases, your dog may seem to almost inhale their food. If they are eating too fast, you may hear them making some strange gagging noises and moving their head forward and back as they try to let in more air. Other signs that your dog might be choking besides signs of distress are:
- Rubbing their face on the ground
- They may paw their mouth
- Pacing around
2. Improved Digestion
If dogs eat too fast, there is every possibility that they may be sick after eating their food. When you use a slow feeding bowl, you are ensuring that your dog has more time to properly digest their food. Even though being sick is unpleasant and a waste of money, it also prevents your dog from getting all the nutrients it needs to be fit and healthy.
3. Feeling Fuller for Longer
Like us, if we eat our food too fast, we don’t always feel full after eating, leaving us looking for more and increasing our calorie intake, which over time will result in us gaining weight. Using a slow feeding dog bowl will give your dog more time to digest its food and feel less hungry, reducing scavenging for more. (Well, there is no guarantee of this, of course, and some dogs are naturally worse than others…think Labrador).
4. Mental Stimulation
While your dog is eating at a much slower pace, the puzzle maze is challenging him to get to the food. This is great mental stimulation and will help to keep your dog’s mind sharp.
5. Bloat/ Gastric Dilation-Volvulus (GDV)
You may have read or heard of bloat, a condition that occurs when a dog’s stomach expands and twists, cutting off the blood supply and filling it with air. We don’t know for one hundred per cent what causes bloat, though one school of thought is that eating too quickly may be a cause, so a slow feeder can be one preventive action you can take, especially if you have a large breed dog or dog with a deep chest.
Why Buy an Eco-Friendly Slow Dog Feeding Bowl Made From Bamboo?
If you are starting to do more to become eco-friendly, you will notice more and more products made from bamboo, from toothbrushes to slow feeding dog bowls. But if you are wondering why we are promoting and are fans of bamboo, here’s our quick lowdown on bamboo:
- Bamboo is exceptionally fast-growing – some species can grow at 1.5 inches per hour!
- It naturally renews as for any tree-like grass
- It’s low maintenance for farmers
- It doesn’t need any pesticides or herbicides
- It’s not thirsty…it requires very little water
Bamboo is Amazing for our Environment!
- Bamboo is clever stuff – it not only absorbs carbon dioxide (nasty air pollution) but produces oxygen too.
- It’s renewable and isn’t impacted by logging or deforestation due to how it is harvested; in a safe, renewable and sustainable manner.
Can You Recycle Bamboo?
Yes, bamboo is considered to be grass, and therefore yes, bamboo can be recycled, and in the UK, this falls under our classification of ‘garden waste’. But you will need to consider that some elements of your bamboo products, such as in the case of hairbrushes, may need to be removed first if they have synthetic components.
What Else do I Need to Know About Bamboo?
With plastics taking between 200 and 500 years to break down, bamboo is fast replacing single-use plastic. Products like eco-friendly slow feed dog bowls made from bamboo are extremely sustainable and biodegradable as well as containing antibacterial properties.
For me, when I could see my dog inhaling his food, I was concerned; the thought of him choking and, on a few occasions, I was very worried was enough to send me to do my research and buy an eco-friendly slow feeding dog bowl. I am not disappointed; they truly work. My problem now is preventing my pup, who eats at a normal pace, from trying to snuffle his big brother’s food.
Eco-friendly slow feeding dog bowls can be slightly more expensive than their plastic counterparts; however, at Doggie Approved, we think this is a small price to pay for a product that works and will last you for many years.
If you are still sitting on the fence, and a little unsure if a slow feeder dog bowl will help you and your dog, you may like to try inserting a smaller bowl, upside down in your current dog bowl and filling your dog’s food around the edge. It won’t be the same as a puzzle feeder, but it will give you an idea of how this may work before investing in an eco-friendly slow-feeding dog bowl.