Yeah, you with the dog that eats too fast.
Do you want to know everything there is about slow-feed dog bowls, including which is best for your precious pooch?
Well, you came to the right place.
We spent over 120 hours testing 35 different slow-feed dog bowls. With the help of our dedicated doggy testing team, we created the most detailed guide to slow feeders ever.
Trust me when I say…
You’re gonna love it!
- Which slow-feed bowls did we test?
- How did we test the slow-feed bowls?
- Who tested the slow-feed bowls?
- Best all-around slow-feed dog bowl
- Runner-up best all-around slow feeder
- Best stainless steel slow-feed dog bowl
- Best ceramic slow-feed dog bowls
- Best slow feeder for large dogs
- Best slow feeder for small dogs
- Best slow feeder for flat-faced dogs
- Best elevated slow feeder
What is a slow-feed dog bowl?
As if the name wasn’t a dead giveaway, a slow-feed dog bowl is designed to do one thing:
Stop your dog from eating too quickly.
How do the slow-feed dog bowls achieve that? Well, it’s actually quite clever – the bowl features raised sections that prevent your dog from eating his food all at once.
Without easy access to his food, your dog can only eat small amounts at a time, extending his mealtime.
The exact arrangement of these raised sections varies from bowl to bowl.
Some have spirals…
Others have humps…
All told, slow-feeder dog bowls come in hundreds of different patterns.
While each slow-feed dog bowl may look different, they all are designed to slow any dog who wolfs down their food.
With that said, some patterns are more suitable for some breeds of dog than others.
Why do you need a slow-feed dog bowl? Let me explain…
Which dogs need a slow-feed bowl?
It might surprise you to learn that there aren’t many dogs that don’t need a slow-feed dog bowl.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most compelling arguments for using a slow-feed bowl…
Are you worried about bloat? Well, you should be!
Does your dog eat so fast that he throws up?
Is your dog gassy after eating?
Does your dog steal from other dogs at mealtime?
Does your dog need an easy puzzle to solve?
When bloat strikes, your dog’s stomach twists or swells, which in turn can cut off the blood supply to vital organs. In severe cases, bloat is deadly.
A slow-feed bowl is much cheaper than a vet bill for bloat surgery.
When your dog eats too fast, he swallows larger pieces of kibble without chewing or takes in air with each mouthful.
A quick vomit may make your dog feel better, but it can leave you with a stained carpet and a mess to clean up or worse… you have to watch your dog eat his puke.
Stop that gulping with a slow feeder to save yourself from the hassle.
Swallowed air from eating too quickly can also cause gassiness. If you’re lucky, it will be nothing more than a burp. Otherwise, that swallowed air is coming out the other end.
I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
Dog farts are disgusting.
Gas is a particular problem in breeds with pushed-in faces including Boxers, Bulldogs and Pugs.
Again, a slow feeder is the simple solution to air gulping.
If you have multiple dogs, then this scenario may be all too familiar…
One dog gulps down his food as quickly as possible, knowing that once he is finished, he can then steal food from his slower-eating friend.
Give your food thief a slow-feed dog bowl. By doing so, you give your other dogs a head start in finishing their meal.
Many dog behavioral experts recommend using a puzzle feeder to provide much-needed stimulation to bored dogs.
Just one problem: What if your dog can’t solve the puzzle?
This was the problem my previous neighbor faced.
You see, she was the proud owner of a Pekingese. It so happened that it was a Pekingese who could not figure out any puzzle feeder she was given. She knows the food goes in. She can smell it. She wants it. But she could never figure out how to reach it.
It turned out that a slow-feed bowl was as much puzzle as she could handle – it honestly added 30 minutes to her feeding time.
If your dog is a little slow and you want to offer them a challenge they can complete, a slow-feed bowl could be the answer you are looking for.
Did you find yourself nodding at any of the above?
Then, your doggy is a suitable candidate for a slow-feed dog bowl.
If you are still on the fence, why not give one a go? Slow-feed bowls are an affordable product that offer a variety of advantages to your traditional dog bowl.
During our research, the feedback on slow-feed bowls was overwhelmingly positive.
However, that doesn’t mean that this product is foolproof…
We heard on more than one occasion that some dogs refused to play the slow-feeder game. When presented with a slow-feed bowl filled with food, the fussy canine simply chose to flip the bowl instead.
With his meal scattered across the floor, the dog was free to eat his meal just as quickly as before – leaving the owner to clean up any pieces that he missed.
Another issue came from a dog owner who claimed that her dog bit the slow-feed bowl, cracked it and ate the shards along with her food. The result was a rather expensive vet bill.
I must stress that these experiences were uncommon. Almost everyone we spoke to had universal praise for slow-feed bowls.
It is also worth mentioning that both these issues can be solved by choosing the correct slow-feed bowl for your dog.
For example, choosing the right slow feeder for your dog’s size will stop your dog from flipping it.
Similarly, a well-constructed slow feeder, or even one made from ceramic or stainless steel, won’t crack when bitten.
But that won’t be a problem for you. You can use this guide to find the perfect slow feeder for your dog.
We tested 35 slow feeders with a wide variety of dogs. Speaking of which…
Our testing process
At DogLab, we take our reviews seriously. We never recommend a product without thoroughly testing it first.
By the end of the process, we spent 120+ hours researching, testing and reviewing the most popular (and even some unpopular) slow-feed bowls on the market.
No dogs were overfed or starved during our testing process. But rather, they seemed to enjoy the entire process.
Who could blame them? Cuddles and food? That would be anyone’s dream job.
Want to learn more about our testing process? Read on!
Which slow-feeder bowls did we test?
First, we had to decide which slow-feeder bowls we would test.
It might surprise you to learn that there are hundreds of different slow-feed bowls on the market.
Yep! It turns out that dogs eating too quickly is a pretty common problem. And, plenty of manufacturers want you to pay them to solve it.
Slow feeders come in a ridiculous amount of shapes, sizes and colors. They come with prongs, wedges, valleys and mazes. They come in jumbo, extra small and every size in between. There are flat-feeder mats and feeders with high sides. They come in plastic, stainless steel or ceramic. The options are seemingly endless.
So, the first thing we did was narrow down our selection.
After researching every different slow feeder on the market, analyzing user reviews and interviewing experts, we narrowed the selection down to 35 bowls.
Now this may seem like a lot, but it is worth mentioning that many of these slow feeders were variations offered by a single brand. You see, some brands offered slow feeders in different sizes, shapes and materials.
By the end, we put 16 different brands to the test …
- Animal Planet
- Ethical Pets
- JW Pet Company
- Loving Pets
- Mr. Peanut’s
- Neater Pets
- Outward Hound
- QT Dog
With our list complete, it was time to go shopping. Each slow feeder on this list was purchased from Amazon.com. Yep! At DogLab, we buy every product at the same price you pay. We don’t receive discounts for reviewing these products.
Once our mountain of slow-feed dog bowls arrived, it was time to test them!
How did we test the slow-feeder dog bowls?
Now that we had our pile of slow-feeder dog bowls, it was time to compare them to each other, to determine which was truly the best.
To find the number one slow-feed bowl, we used the following tests:
How much time did the slow feeder add to feeding time?
Let’s face it… You are buying a slow-feed dog bowl for one reason and one reason only…
To stop your dog from gulping down his meal too quickly.
With this in mind, we decided that the time taken to eat a meal should be the number-one ranking factor.
After all, if your dog eats just as quickly from a slow-feed bowl, then why would you pay extra for a specialized bowl?
You wouldn’t, right?
Well, neither would we. That’s why we decided to test how much time each slow-feed bowl added to feeding time.
And to do that, we first needed food. We used two different types of dry food during testing, one for big dogs and one for little ones…
No, Rachel Ray did not pay for this mention, although I am a huge fan. Rachel, if you read this, I love you!
So, over multiple feeding sessions, I timed how long it took our team of dog testers to eat ¼ cup of dry food from a regular dog bowl.
Why a quarter? Well, we had a lot of bowls to get through, and we didn’t want to overfeed our dogs.
But don’t worry – once we narrowed down our top picks, each bowl was rigorously tested with full-sized meals.
Two different sizes of kibble were used during testing – one for small dogs and the other for medium to large.
The time started with the dog’s first bite and stopped once the last piece of kibble entered the dog’s mouth.
We then compared this with the time it took to eat from each slow feeder on this list. Again, we did this over multiple meals.
The slow-feeder bowls that extended our dogs’ eating by the largest amount of time were the winners.
The score given was weighted the heaviest when we chose our winners.
Does it spill?
We soon learned that slow-feed dog bowls only work as long as the meal was inside them…
If your dog flips or spills the bowl, he is once again free to chow down on his dinner at a rapid pace.
Not only is this undesirable for your dog, but also for you, who now has to clean up a mess of dog food crumbs.
So, we tested each slow-feed bowl across four different surfaces:
- Tile flooring
- Wood decking
The winners were slow-feed bowls that moved less than 2 inches on all four feeding surfaces.
Any bowl that was upended on three or more occasions was given an instant fail. None of our top picks were upended during testing.
It is worth mentioning that no bowl could be called spill-proof when used on grass. Because grass has a certain amount of give, larger dogs could squeeze a paw or nose under the bowl and flip it.
When you first introduce your dog to a slow feeder, I recommend doing so on a hard, flat surface.
Suitability for different breeds of dog
From tiny Pomeranians to hulking Alaskan Malamutes, dogs come in all different shapes and sizes. And so do their mouths.
This is important to note because a slow feeder that works well for a large dog might not challenge a dog with a small mouth. Throw flat-faced dogs into the mix, and it’s almost impossible that a single slow-feed bowl could work best for everyone.
The amount of dog food each slow feeder can hold also came into play. If your large dog eats 6 cups of kibble per meal, a slow feeder that only holds 2 cups isn’t going to cut it.
Because of this, we broke down the performance of slow feeders into different categories, awarding a winner in each.
Any slow-feed bowl that prevented a dog from adequately obtaining their meal was omitted as a contender in that category.
Further testing observations
1. Wet and raw food
Slow-feed bowls are most commonly used with dry food. With that said, we also wanted to test their performance with wet and raw foods.
For our wet food test, we used Rachel Ray Nutrish Wet Dog Food.
And for the raw food, liver and kidneys came from the local butcher.
I found that the more complicated the feeder, the worse it performed with wet and raw dog food.
For starters, it required a spoon to mash the food into the gaps of the maze. If you skipped this step, the food would sit awkwardly on top of the bowl – which didn’t slow down mealtime.
When it came to wet food, the simpler slow feeders outperformed those with more complex mazes. Stainless steel and ceramic bowls with a hump were the easiest to fill with wet or raw food while providing enough of a challenge to slow down our fast-eating dogs.
2. Ease of cleaning
It goes without saying that slow-feeder bowls are more challenging to clean than your regular dog bowl.
Especially when used with wet or raw dog food.
You know those dried-up specks of food that refuse to come off your dog’s bowl? Well, imagine adding a maze of swirls, bumps and crevices for the food to get stuck in.
Yeah, it doesn’t exactly make washing up fun.
Fortunately, most slow-feed bowls we tested are top-rack dishwasher safe. All our top picks will survive in your dishwasher.
Slow feeders made from ceramic proved to be the trickiest to clean – the leftover dog food just didn’t want to let go.
Fortunately, a quick soak in hot, soapy water was all it took to loosen the caked-on dog food. A brief hand wash later and the bowls looked good as new.
Some of you will only clean your dog bowl once a week (if ever). That’s cool – you won’t spend too much time cleaning anyway.
But for those who are everyday cleaners and feed your dog wet food, I recommend choosing a slow feeder made from any material except ceramic.
Who tested the slow-feeder bowls?
Now that you know what and how we tested, it’s time to introduce you to those who tested the slow-feed dog bowls.
We used eight team members to test and review our collection of slow feeders.
Let me introduce you…
Breed: German Shepherd and Border Collie mix
Don’t be fooled by her size! Harper is a puppy at heart. She enjoys ruining the toys of the children who live with her and chasing the vacuum cleaner. She is afraid of umbrellas and roller skates.
Breed: Bernese Mountain Dog
Lucy is never sad. She lives on a horse farm and is quite convinced that she actually is a horse. She enjoys pizza crust and galloping around the yard doing her best imitation of a horse.
Breed: Pit Bull Mix
Chloe is always smiling and getting into mischief. She loves belly rubs, chasing the four wheeler and tries to devour Fiona (our next tester) whenever she gets a chance.
The tiniest of our testers, Fiona is a little snuggler. She loves barking and hates looking at cameras. She is skilled at avoiding Chloe’s attempts to eat her.
Breed: Yellow Labrador Retriever
Weighing in at 130 pounds, Tucker is a monster for his breed. He enjoys begging and letting the dogs down the street in through the front door.
Breed: Black Labrador Retriever
Cooper is a tad overweight and dangerously friendly toward anyone with food. He likes stealing frying pans off the stove and getting into cars with people he doesn’t know.
Breed: Valley Bulldog
Also answers to Liv. Enjoys beach vacations and the dog park. She also loves to wiggle and is always happy, even if you can’t tell. This is her happy face!
Me – lover of dogs and coffee! Dropper of the 40-pound bag of food. Unprofessional photographer and enthusiastic reviewer.
And before you ask:
No, I didn’t personally test any of these bowls. I eat my meals slowly, chewing every bite – I don’t need a slow feeder.
Which slow-feed dog bowl was best?
To start with, I am going to declare an outright winner. The slow-feeder dog bowl that is most suitable for the widest range of dogs.
After that, I will list suitable options for those of you who are looking for something a little more specialized, including slow feeders for large breeds as well as stainless steel, ceramic and elevated options.
Best all-around slow-feed dog bowl: Fun Feeder Slo-Bowl
To say this slow feeder is popular is an understatement. During our research, it was the most recommended slow feeder by dog users and store owners alike.
I suspect that part of the reason for the popularity is that the Fun Feeder Slo-Bowl by Outward Hound is suitable for a broad range of dogs. With four different styles and two sizes, Outward Hound offers something for big, small and flat-faced dogs – something that no other brand delivered.
So, you might be asking yourself…
Does the Fun Feeder Slo-Bowl live up to the hype?
I can confidently answer that with a solid YES!
All four styles of the bowl performed well, considerably increasing the amount of time it took our doggy testers to finish their food.
The non-slip base stopped the bowls from sliding around at mealtime and performed well on all surfaces. Even our most excited dogs were able to eat their meal without food spilling.
The solid construction becomes particularly apparent when compared with other slow-feed bowls on the market. I was particularly impressed that food-safe plastic is used – no BPA, PVC or phthalates. I would feel comfortable eating out of this bowl myself if the situation arises!
Once feeding time is over, the Fun Feeder Slo-Bowl is easily cleaned with a trip through the dishwasher (top rack only!).
Can’t figure out which style of Slo-Bowl is right for your dog?
I found that one design, in particular, was suited for the widest range of dogs – big, small and flat-faced…
The purple bowl.
The pattern on the purple bowl featured lower ridges and shallow valleys and was the only style that every dog we tested with could comfortably and confidently eat from.
If you have never used a slow feeder before, I highly suggest starting with this one.
Runner-up best all-around slow feeder: Dogit Go Slow Anti-Gulping Bowl
Dogit comes in at a very close second with a great-performing slow feeder.
The Dogit Go Slow Bowl comes in a single design, available in four different sizes ranging from extra small to large.
I found the product to be sturdy and well-designed. However, the edges of the bowl and ridges on the inside made it too difficult for Olivia, our flat-faced dog, to reach the food.
The non-skid base worked wonderfully, preventing the slow feeder from moving around during feeding. Unfortunately, the opening at the bottom of the feeder meant that dogs could accidentally slide their foot under the bowl and flip it.
The one major advantage that the Dogit Go Slow had over our top pick is its suitability for wet foods and liquids. In fact, this plastic slow feeder was best suited for these types of foods.
For wet foods, the less complicated design allowed me to easily spread the food around the bowl. Our testers also saw an advantage to this. They could easily lick out the wet food from every nook and cranny, which was something they struggled to do with slow-feed bowls having more complicated designs.
As for water, the wider, open spaces made it so that our testers could easily scoop up water with their tongue with minimal splashes and spills.
Best stainless steel slow-feed dog bowl
Not feeling our plastic recommendations? Maybe a stainless steel slow feeder is what you need.
There are many reasons why dog owners prefer stainless steel to plastic. Not only are they easy to clean, but they are virtually indestructible. Perfect for those unstoppable chewers who have to gnaw on everything in sight.
The only downside to stainless steel slow feeders is that metal is harder to work with than plastic, which means the patterns found on these slow feeders are much simpler than those made from plastic.
The result? All the doggy testers were able to finish their meals quicker with a stainless steel bowl than a plastic one.
However, stainless steel slow feeders offered a noticeable improvement in feeding time. From our testing, our number one slow-feed dog bowl tripled the time it took for dogs to finish their meal compared to a regular dog bowl.
Out of all the stainless steel slow-feed bowls we reviewed, one stood out…
Mr. Peanut’s Stainless Steel Bloat Stop Feeder
When it comes to stainless steel dog bowls, this is as good as it gets. Mr. Peanut’s is a family-owned business that tests all the products they manufacture on their own dogs… And, it shows.
While the design may look simple, the gap between the hump and the sides of the bowl were precisely measured. It is the perfect distance to slow down your dog’s feeding time while still allowing him access to his food.
Other stainless steel bowls either made the gap too wide, allowing dogs easy access to the food, or too tight, preventing them from eating altogether.
The non-skid silicone base did exactly what it claimed, preventing our dogs from pushing their bowl across the floor.
My only concern is that Mr. Peanut’s only offers two sizes – medium and large. While the medium size still slowed down small dogs, I cannot help but feel that a smaller size would work better.
Best ceramic slow-feed dog bowls
I’m going to be straight up with you. At the time of writing this, ceramic slow feeders aren’t great. Here at DogLab, we do not recommend products that we wouldn’t use ourselves. Because of this, I find myself unable to declare any ceramic slow feeder an outright winner.
First, ceramic slow feeders are much more expensive than their plastic or metal counterparts. Now, don’t get me wrong. I am happy to pay more for a product that performs. But the ceramic slow-feed dog bowls I tested did anything but. Every ceramic bowl was flawed.
The best-performing ceramic slow feeder, the Magisso Happy Pet Project Ceramic Bowl, was unsuited for wider snouts and flat faces. The sizing also ran small making this bowl unsuitable for larger dogs.
The Petrageous Slow-Feed Bowl had a raised paw print design that allowed kibble to fall between the gaps, slowing down feeding. However, the imprint sat low in the bowl and could be covered with a single cup of kibble. Any additional cups saw it function as a standard dog bowl.
The Petacc Ceramic Anti-Choke Bowl was the only ceramic feeder suitable for flat-faced dogs. However, it’s more like a plate than a bowl. Without sides to the dish, your dog’s meal goes flying, making a mess.
Finally, many ceramic slow feeders are not dishwasher-safe. If you want to clean these bowls, you must do it the old-fashioned way – roll up your sleeves and start scrubbing.
Now, this isn’t to say we are opposed to ceramic slow-feed bowls. If a better performing ceramic slow feeder is released in the future, I’ll declare it the winner of this category.
However, right now, I see no good reason to choose a ceramic slow feeder over our other recommendations.
Best slow feeder for large, small and flat-faced dogs
Okay, so up until now, our top picks were aimed at everyone. They were the best slow feeders for most dogs. Chances are that no matter what breed of dog you own, your dog will be very happy with our recommendations.
However, if you have a bit more experience with slow feeders or just want an alternate suggestion for your special dog, then check out our following recommendations!
Best slow feeder for large dogs
The Animal Planet Maze Feeder is somewhat of a hidden gem. No consumer or storekeeper we interviewed was aware of the product.
If your furry friend is better described as a beast than a dog, then this is the slow-feed bowl for you.
The Animal Planet Maze Feeder holds an impressive amount of food – up to 10 cups. Even if you use the largest-sized kibble, you’ll be hard-pressed to fill this bowl to capacity.
My initial concern with recommending a plastic slow feeder is that big dogs like to play rough. However, this slow feeder impressed. Its thick walls are extremely durable and, unless you have a notorious chewer in your home, should hold up to years of use.
Our large testers, like Lucy and Chloe, nudged and pushed the bowl with all their force – trying desperately to get every last piece of kibble as quickly as possible. I am happy to report that the rubber grips held strong, preventing the bowl from sliding around the floor.
The wider valleys in this slow feeder made it the easiest plastic slow feeder to clean. I was easily able to worm a sponge around the bowl to clean it. But if you don’t have time for that, you’ll be pleased to know that the bowl is top-rack dishwasher safe.
Best slow feeder for small dogs
The flaws that made the Dogit Go Slow Bowl place second in our best all-around slow-feed dog bowl category basically disappeared when used with a small dog.
While larger dogs were easily able to flip this bowl, smaller dogs didn’t have the same problem.
Dogit was also one of the only manufacturers to offer a slow-feed dog bowl in extra small. At just 5.6-inches (14-cm) wide, this bowl was the perfect size for pint-sized Fiona to eat her meal without needing to climb on the bowl.
Best of all, this slow feeder is darn affordable – you can pick it up for less than $5.
Best slow-feed dog bowl for flat-faced dogs
Most slow-feed dog bowls are unsuitable for dogs with a pushed-in snout. The tall ridges and deep valleys made it impossible for our flat-faced friend to get to her meal.
The result? Olivia, our Valley Bulldog, became frustrated and flipped the bowl in disgust.
Only one slow-feed dog bowl catered to Liv’s flat face…
The Fun Feeder Go Slow Bowl by Outward Hound
But make sure it’s the purple one!
You see, this slow-feed dog bowl is available in four different sizes, but only the purple model was appropriate to our flat-faced tester.
The lower ridges and more open design allowed our hungry pooch to reach her meal while still providing enough of a challenge to slow down her eating.
Best elevated slow feeder
Does your dog suffer from a medical condition such as arthritis or spinal issues? An elevated dog bowl may provide much-needed relief because your dog will no longer need to bend down as far to reach his food.
However, just because a dog has arthritis doesn’t mean that he won’t gulp down his meal when given the chance.
That’s where an elevated slow feeder comes in – offering both relief and a solution to your gulping dog.
At the time of writing, there were only two elevated slow feeders available. Fortunately, one of them is nothing short of amazing…
The Neater Slow Feeder comes in a kit allowing you to choose between 5 and 7.5 inches (13 and 19 cm) for your feeding height. You can even remove the legs completely allowing you to use this as a regular slow-feed bowl.
Even though this feeder is on the larger size, the Neater Slow Feeder could be used by dogs of any size. Best of all, its unique egg-crate design slowed down all types of dogs during feeding – even flat-faced dogs!
The large size of the Neater Slow Feeder made the bowl difficult to tip over, and even our overly food-excited yellow Labrador, Tucker, failed to push the bowl around while eating.
However, the larger size had one drawback. At 10-inches long and 15.5-inches wide (25 by 39 cm), this elevated slow feeder might be too large for small dogs. Our Chihuahua tester, Fiona, had to pace back and forth and even climb into the bowl to get her small meal. This is a minor issue as elevated slow feeders are not aimed at small dogs anyway.
But for medium to large dogs? This is as good as it gets.
The slow-feed dog bowls that didn’t make the cut
Unfortunately, you can’t have winners without losers. While our top picks stood out as the best slow-feed bowls, the following contained flaws that held them back.
Now, that doesn’t mean that these are necessarily bad slow feeders. If they work for you, then I am happy to hear it. However, based on our testing, we see no reason to choose these over our top picks.
The AmazonBasics Anti-Bloat Slow Feeder came in three different designs that performed worse and felt less sturdy than our top pick. Given that this is competing at a similar price, we find little reason to recommend it.
Based on the name, JW Skid Stop Slow-Feed Bowl, you would assume this slow feeder doesn’t skid, right? Well, let me assure you that this is one of the slipperiest slow feeders we tested, sliding over tiles, wood and concrete with minimal effort from our dogs.
Ethical Pets had an interesting idea. Their Animal Instincts Slow-Feed Bowl features an opening, just like a snail shell. Dogs can worm food around with their nose, and it pops out the side. Unfortunately, this worked better in theory than practice. The high ridges were only suitable for pointier-nosed pups, and the bowl was a no-go for wet food. The bowl also had a sliding problem with the non-skid base failing to hold the bowl in place while our dogs feasted.
I really wanted to like the Gobble Stopper because the idea behind it is unique. Instead of buying an entirely new bowl for your dog, you add the Gobble Stopper to your pet’s current bowl, and it obstructs your dog, slowing him down during feeding. Unfortunately, it had one significant flaw – the dog-bone shape basically encourages your dog to chew and lift it. Our larger testers, like Lucy and Cooper, overcame the suction cup in seconds, discarding the Gobble Stopper every time it was added to the bowl.
On the stainless steel front, the DuraPet Slow-Feed Dog Bowl hardly slowed down our hungry dogs at all. The distance between the hump and the edges of the bowl was too wide and allowed even large snouted dogs to scarf down their food. On average, the DuraPet stainless steel dog bowl only added an extra 20 seconds to feeding time.
Finally, we have the QT Dog Brake-Fast Bowl, another stainless steel slow feeder. The detachable prongs were a poor choice allowing water and other gunk to sneak inside the cavity underneath and rot.
Alternatives to slow-feed bowls
If you don’t want to spend your money on another bowl for your dog, then why not try one of these tricks to slow down your dog’s mealtime?
Full disclosure: We didn’t have much success with any method. But that doesn’t mean you won’t. As for me? I’m sticking with a slow-feed bowl.
1. Use your yard
It turns out that the answer to your getting your dog to eat slower is below your feet.
Sprinkle kibble around your yard and your dog will have to spend time finding it.
During testing, we discovered two drawbacks to this method.
First, it’s not suitable for wet food. But the biggest problem comes when your dog doesn’t find every last piece of kibble…
Any uneaten food is an invitation for unwanted guests, such as raccoons and squirrels, to set up home in your yard.
2. Use a muffin pan
This was the most common advice I came across when researching how to get a dog to eat slower without buying a slow-feed bowl.
It seems simple enough. Fill each cup with a small amount of dog food and give it to your dog.
Unfortunately, it’s also the method that I had the least success with.
Maybe it was just my muffin pans, but all dogs – large and small – were able to tip and spill their food when they placed a foot on the edge of the pan.
3. Place a tennis ball in your dog’s regular bowl
By placing a tennis ball in your dog’s bowl, your dog will be forced to eat around it, slowing down his mealtime.
While this slowed down smaller testers, larger breeds were able to remove the ball from the bowl – either by accident or on purpose.
However, if you decide to skip the slow-feed bowl, then this is my next best recommendation. It added the most difficulty to mealtime without making a mess.
Ordinarily, our testers would devour their meal in seconds. Especially our Labrador duo of Tucker and Cooper, who gulp down their food more like ducks than dogs – who needs teeth if you don’t chew?
However, after introducing them to slow feeders, they magically turned into slow and considerate eaters – the type you would happily invite to your fancy dinner party.
If you are on the fence about buying a slow feeder, then I can assure you that they are not gimmicks. A good slow feeder will extend your dog’s dinner time by a substantial amount.
All you need to do is choose the right slow feeder for your dog. And with hundreds to choose from, narrowing it down can be a difficult choice.
But by choosing one of our top picks, you can be confident that your dog will slow down at mealtime.
What has been your experience with a slow-feed dog bowl? Let me know in the comments below!