We all want what’s best for our dogs. We want them to have the best of everything, that includes at mealtimes. So, what makes slow feeding best for meal time?
Using a slow feeder like our Fenrir Puzzle Bowl can really take meal time to the next level. Puzzle bowls have a variety of benefits when used at meal times when compared to a normal food bowl.
If you’ve got a dog who eats too quickly or gets too excited at meal time you may be concerned and rightfully so. Every dog owner has experienced at least once where their dog eats too quickly and then vomits only a few minutes later.
Thankfully, slow feeding can help to break this bad habit and instil better mealtime habits for your dog.
We’ll take a look at this benefit and many others that make slow feeding the best.
Slow Feeding Helps Change Eating Behaviours
Puzzle bowls work by obstructing your dog’s normally clear path to their food. The raised ridges of the bowl allow the kibble to fall between them and your dog has to pick them out.
This prevents them from eating as quickly as possible and taking in a big mouthful of food all at once. A dog who normally finishes their meal in only two or three bites is forced to slow down and only get a few kibbles at a time.
A lot of dogs will find it fulfilling to work for their food and overtime this can shape their eating behaviours. They’ll stop trying to eat so quickly and slow down to enjoy the process a puzzle bowl provides them with when they’re eating.
Slow Feeding Reduces the Likelihood of Overeating
Have you ever been excited for your favourite meal only to overindulge? Your dog is prone to the same urge.
The difference is that they don’t understand the consequences of overeating and they don’t understand that eating too much is what causes them to feel ill. This means, they may overeat at every mealtime.
What a slow feeder does is give their stomach a chance to fill slowly. This gives their stomach a chance to signal to their brain that they’re full.
Your dog is more likely to stop eating before they make themselves ill if they receive those fullness queues.
Reducing overeating can improve overall health as it decreases the amount of digestive issues and reduces the likelihood of obesity.
Slow Feeding Reduces Gastrointestinal Discomfort
Eating too quickly doesn’t only lead to overeating. It can cause stomach and intestinal discomfort.
If your dog isn’t chewing their food properly, their stomach will fill with large pieces of food. These pieces of food are difficult to digest.
This longer than usual digestion period can lead to bloating, gas, and even diarrhoea or constipation. Your dog may even become lethargic because they aren’t feeling well.
Slow feeding forces your dog to slow down and gives them a chance to chew their food instead of swallowing it whole. This reduces the chances of gastrointestinal distress.
Slow Feeding Improves Digestion
The combination of not overeating and chewing their food more thoroughly is good for your dog’s digestive system.
Digestion actually starts in the mouth and not the stomach. Enzymes in saliva and the action of chewing starts breaking down food before anything else. So, your dog chewing their food is step number one in improved digestion.
These smaller pieces of food are much easier on the stomach than big pieces of kibble that haven’t been chewed at all. The stomach has less work to do and is less likely to become upset.
This thoroughly digested food is then passed to the small intestine where most of the nutrients are extracted. Less strain on the system makes this job easier as well.
So, slow feeding doesn’t just keep your dog from becoming ill, it helps their body get more out of their food.
Slow Feeding Reduces Choking and Vomiting
The slower pace of eating and chewing their food instead of swallowing it whole has other benefits as well.
Swallowing food whole can be dangerous as your dog may choke. Sometimes they may be able to dislodge the food on their own, but the coughing may cause them to vomit as well.
Other times, you may need to assist your dog by removing the food manually with some tweezers, your hand, or the Heimlich.
If you aren’t sure what to do while your dog is choking or they’re unable to make noise, you should call your vet. Choking can be an emergency when their airway is obstructed completely.
Vomiting can also happen without choking. Sometimes your dog might eat too quickly and upset their stomach which causes them to vomit.
Slowing their pace allows their stomach to settle and helps prevent the upset that causes vomiting.
Slow Feeding Reduces the Chance of Bloat
It's caused when the stomach fills with air, food or fluid and then twists over or flips on itself. This causes loss of circulation to the digestive system and also doesn't allow for food to pass or digest properly.
It's a medical emergency that needs to be addressed by a vet immediately. It will require surgery to fix or it will cause death within hours.
One of the biggest culprits of bloat is your dog gulping air while eating. They get a big mouthful of food and in doing so, can also ingest a lot of air. The stomach will become overly full with air and then twist.
Slow feeding limits the amount of air your dog swallows with their kibble and reduces the number one cause of bloat.
Slowing how quickly your dog eats gives their stomach a chance to settle between bites as stated earlier. This is also important because taking in too much food at once can also cause bloat.
Slow Feeding Prevents Boredom
Slow feeding dog bowls are also called puzzle bowls, because they provide your dog with a problem they need to solve.
These types of dishes can be especially good for high energy dogs that need tasks to complete throughout the day. Did you know that mental stimulation is just as good as - if not better than - physical exercise when it comes to tiring your dog out?
Your dog is much less likely to display unwanted behaviours if you give them plenty to do during the day.
Dogs who are given tasks are much less likely to do things such as chew on shoes or furniture, tear up carpet, or dig in the yard.
Slow feeding is the best way to feed your dog for a lot of reasons. It can help with gut health as well as manners at meal time and other behaviours.
You should check with your vet before making any major dietary changes, but puzzle bowls are appropriate for dogs of all ages and breeds. They may take a little getting used to, but then they can reap all of the benefits.
How has having a puzzle bowl transformed your dog’s meal time habits? Have you tried a puzzle bowl before or been recommended one?
Come over to our social media page and tell us all about it. We can’t wait to hear from you.
FAQs About Slow Feeding Being the Best
Can slow feeding improve my dog's overall health?
Yes, slow feeding can contribute to better overall health by reducing the risk of digestive problems, obesity, and choking.
How can slow feeding reduce gastrointestinal discomfort in dogs?
Slow feeding encourages dogs to chew their food thoroughly, preventing large pieces from causing digestive issues like bloating, gas, diarrhoea, or constipation.
Can puzzle bowls help with weight management in dogs?
Yes, using a puzzle bowl can aid in weight management by reducing the chances of overeating and promoting a feeling of fullness.
Why should I use a puzzle bowl for my dog?
Puzzle bowls help dogs eat more slowly, which can improve their digestion, reduce the risk of overeating, and prevent choking and vomiting. It also provides mental stimulation, reducing boredom.
Can all dogs benefit from using puzzle bowls?
Puzzle bowls are suitable for dogs of all ages and breeds. They are especially useful for dogs that eat too quickly or need mental stimulation.