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What is a Slow Feeder Dog Bowl?

fenrir canine leaders what is a slow feeder dog bowl

You may have heard of this type of food bowl before.  It can help reduce the chances of unwanted medical conditions and even boredom. But, what is a slow feeder dog bowl?

These specially made dog bowls have raised ridges or indentations where kibble gets stuck.  Your dog then has to pick the dog food from between the ridges or out of the indentations. 

This action slows your dog while they eat, because they can’t swallow a large mouthful of food at once.

Slowing your dog’s eating with a slow feeder has a lot of benefits.  It can decrease the risk of health complications like bloat and obesity.  These food bowls also add an extra dose of work to your dog’s day and can stave off boredom.

They come in all shapes and sizes as well, so no matter what breed of dog you have there’s an option for you.

We’ll be taking a look at all of these features in-depth down below, so if you’re still asking yourself ‘What is a slow feeder dog bowl?’ this is the blog post for you.

What is a Slow Feeder Dog Bowl Designed to do?

Puzzle bowls come in several different designs, but they all share a common goal.  They slow how quickly your dog can eat their kibble.

The most common style of this specialty bowl is the maze bowl.  Something like our Fenrir Puzzle Bowl is a great example.

The way these bowls work is you place your dog’s kibble in the bowl and the pieces of food fall down into the indents created by the raised ridges of the “maze.”  Your dog then has to pick the pieces of kibble from the bowl, one or two at a time.

Another style you may see will have a few small, shallow wells that your dog can scoop the food out of with a paw.  They’ll still only be able to get a few pieces at a time.  It’s just a different design.

The last popular style also had shallow wells, but there are usually more of them and there are covers that slide to hide the wells.  You can fill all or just some of the compartments and then cover them all. 

With this design, your dog will have to find the hidden food and also scoop it out of the well before they can eat.

This action of picking up only a few pieces of kibble at once is what causes your dog to slow down while eating.  They’ll get only a small amount of food, stop to chew and swallow, then dig in for some more food.

What are the Health Benefits of a Slow Feeder Dog Bowl?

Slowing the pace at which your dog eats has a wide range of health benefits.  If you’re worried about bloat, vomiting, or obesity a puzzle bowl can be a great option to help reduce the chances of these things. 

fenrir canine leaders what is a slow feeder dog bowl reduces chances of bloat

Reduce Chances of Bloat

The medical term for bloat is Gastric dilatation-volvulus (GVD).  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.  Thankfully, the survival rate is quite high when treated quickly.

A puzzle bowl is a great way to help prevent this medical emergency.  Bloat is much less likely if your dog is eating more slowly.

This is because your dog’s stomach will fill with food more slowly and your dog will take in less air than they would if they were gulping down large mouthfuls of food at once.  This eliminates the two most common causes of bloat: eating too much food in one bite and ingesting too much air while eating.

Reduce Stomach Upset and Vomiting

We’ve all been excited for a meal and then eaten too much, too quickly.  Your dog is much the same.  

They get excited at meal times, but they don’t realise there are consequences for scarfing down their meal.

Slowing them down at meal times with a maze bowl can help reduce or prevent stomach upset and vomiting. 

Your dog’s stomach will have a chance to settle between bites and the bites will be smaller.  This not only gives your dog’s stomach a chance to settle between bites, but it gives their stomach a chance to say “Hey! I’m full!”

They’re much less likely to eat too much and upset their stomach.

Reduce the Chance of Obesity

Did you know that 50% of dogs in the UK are overweight or obese?  This is partially due to over eating at meal times.  Aside from making sure you use a measuring scoop to feed appropriate amounts, this is a great place for a maze bowl to help your dog.

Eating more slowly allows their stomach time to communicate with their brain.

Have you ever eaten a lot too quickly and you don’t feel full until it’s too late?  You’ve overeaten and you don’t feel well.

The same happens to your dog.  They eat too quickly and don’t have a chance to realise they’re full.

If they slow down while eating, they’re much less likely to overeat and they’ll stop once they’re full, because their stomach has had a chance to send signals to the brain stating that it’s full for now.

This can help to decrease food intake to an appropriate amount and help to stop weight gain.

fenrir canine leaders what is a slow feeder dog bowl reduces ricks of chocking

Reduce the Risk of Choking

We’ve all eaten a little too quickly or swallowed incorrectly and choked on a piece of food.   It happens.  It can also happen to our canine companions.

However, they can’t ask for help or tell us something is wrong.  We need to be vigilant and watch to make sure they aren’t coughing or having trouble breathing while eating.

They’re much more likely to choke if they’re eating big mouthfuls of food at once.

With a puzzle bowl, they only get a few pieces of food that they have to chew before they swallow.

They’re much less likely to choke if they’re chewing their food and not swallowing a bunch of whole kibble at once.

What are the Mental Benefits of a Slow Feeder Puzzle Bowl?

Puzzle bowls are great for helping keep your canine companion healthy, but they can also be a rewarding experience.  They offer another way for you to build play and mental stimulation into your dog’s day.

This comes with a lot of benefits like preventing boredom and reducing unwanted behaviours.

Reduce Boredom

Giving your dog tasks and things to do is important.  It’s even more important for highly intelligent breeds and working breeds.

They need jobs and things to keep them mentally occupied or they get bored.

If you don’t give your dog a job, they’ll make one for themselves to occupy their minds.

A maze bowl is a good way to include another small task during the day to help keep them engaged and fulfilled. 

fenrir canine leaders what is a slow feeder dog bowl reduces unwanted behaviours

Reduce Unwanted Behaviours

Reducing boredom goes hand-in-hand with reducing unwanted behaviours.

A bored dog might chew up the carpet, shoes, or furniture.  They might dig in the trash can.

By presenting them with a puzzle bowl, you help direct their energy to a productive task.

Did you know that mental stimulation is just as good at tiring a dog out as physical exercise?  A tired dog won’t be nearly as interested in chewing up your new slippers or digging up the garden beds.

Reduce Age-Related Cognitive Problems

Older dogs start to slow down just like older humans do.  If they aren’t challenged regularly, they may start to show signs of cognitive dysfunction.

Canine cognitive dysfunction is a behavioural syndrome that affects senior and older dogs.  Symptoms often present in changes in your dog’s behaviour and personality.

A dog with cognitive dysfunction may become anxious- especially at night, they may have changes in their sleep schedule, and they can even begin to show signs of fear aggression towards familiar people and situations.

Think of a maze bowl as a daily crossword puzzle for your dog.  Just like crosswords, word searches, and other types of puzzles can help keep senior humans mentally sharp, a puzzle bowl can do the same for your older dog.

It can help to slow the progression of and prevent canine cognitive dysfunction.


We hope this blog answered your question: What is a slow feeder dog bowl? 

They have so many benefits from digestive to mental health.  The best news is, they’re accessible and affordable. 

There’s no reason not to give one a try today!  It might even become your dog’s new favourite toy.

Do you already have a puzzle bowl?  Does your dog love it?  How do you use it

Come over to social media and tell us all about it.  We can’t wait to hear from you.

FAQs: What is a Slow Feeder Dog Bowl?

Are slow feeder dog bowls suitable for all dog breeds?

Yes, slow feeder dog bowls come in various shapes and sizes, making them suitable for all dog breeds.

Are slow feeder dog bowls suitable for older dogs?

Yes, slow feeder bowls can benefit older dogs by providing mental stimulation and helping to slow the progression of age-related cognitive problems.

Where can I find slow feeder dog bowls, and how do I choose the right one for my dog?

You can find slow feeder dog bowls at pet stores, online retailers, and specialty pet product shops. When choosing one, consider your dog's size, eating habits, and preferences to select the most appropriate design for them.

Can slow feeder dog bowls prevent bloat (Gastric dilatation-volvulus or GVD)?

Yes, slow feeder dog bowls can help prevent bloat by reducing the chances of dogs gulping down large mouthfuls of food, a common cause of GVD.

Do slow feeder dog bowls provide mental stimulation for dogs?

Yes, slow feeder puzzle bowls can help reduce boredom and provide mental stimulation for dogs, especially for highly intelligent or working breeds.