- The #1 Best Overall slow feeder bowl for dogs is the Neater Feeder Stainless Steel Slow Feeder Bowl.
- Eating too quickly can lead to many different health problems in your dog — including bloat.
- There are many different types of slow feeder bowls available with varying degrees of difficulty and choosing the right one can be daunting.
- It’s important to choose a slow feeder bowl that is the appropriate level of difficulty for your pet as if it’s too easy then they won’t slow down, while if it is too difficult then you risk frustrating your dog.
Dogs are like humans in their eating habits – some are picky eaters who choose each piece carefully and take hours to finish, while others scarf their food almost faster than you put it in front of them. Fast-eating dogs are quite hilarious, however, the implications this has are not.
When dogs scarf their food down without chewing, they can choke or vomit or cause themselves a serious upset stomach. A serious medical implication can from this: bloat. Bloat, medically known as gastric dilation-volvulus (GDV) is life-threatening in dogs. The stomach fills with air, overstretching it and causing it to rotate which cuts off blood flow from the abdomen and legs from returning to the heart. Toxic hormones are released by the pancreas and, in short, your dog’s heart can stop as a result.
A slow feeder bowl looks like a maze filled with food. It contains many obstacles, including elevated ridges and curled corners, to get the food. To get the food, your dog has to focus and concentrate. He must insert his nose and paws to pull the food out. For most dogs, this is an enjoyable game. If your dog is of the super-smart variety, you can move up to advanced slow feeders that are even trickier. This mental stimulation is one of the major benefits of a slow feeder bowl.
Slow feeders aim to increase the time it takes for your dog to get food out of the bowl, allowing food eaten to settle in the stomach and for your dog to actually chew their food before swallowing. The opportunity for food to lodge or for your dog to gulp in too much air are significantly decreased, helping them feel better and improve digestion.
So, let’s look into how slow feeders can help save you time, money, and improve your dog’s overall digestion.
The Best Slow Feeder Bowls for Dogs: Ranked
#1 Best Overall: Neater Pet Stainless Steel Slow Feed Bowl
The best overall slow feeder bowl is the Neater Pet Stainless Steel Slow Feed Bowl.
This bowl is a simple slow feeder that is best for dogs who don’t require a truly difficult challenge. It is designed as a simple donut-shape where the food sits in a ring around a raised center piece. This is enough to slow down speedy eaters without making them frustrated.
A non-slip, silicone ring on the bottom prevents the bowl from tipping over as your dog eats. Stainless steel is naturally resistant to odors and bacteria, so this bowl is a great choice if you want a durable, easy-to-clean option. The bowl also comes in two sizes: 1.5 cups and three cups. However, this is not sufficient for many larger dogs.
Pros and Cons of the Neater Pet Stainless Steel Slow Feed Bowl
|This food bowl has a simple donut design which slows dogs down without being too challenging for them.||The bowl is not big enough for larger dogs.|
|It has a silicone ring on the bottom which prevents it from sliding or tipping over.|
|This bowl is made from durable stainless steel which is also easy to clean.|
2. Best Elevated Feeder: Leashboss Elevated Slow Feed and Water Bowl
If your dog requires an elevated feeding arrangement, we recommend the Leashboss Elevated Slow Feed and Water Bowls.
This elevated feeding station has a modern, bamboo stand which is adjustable to three different heights — 8, 11, and 14 inches. The elevated design is great for older pets or those that suffer from joint disorders such as arthritis. However, the lowest height is too big for smaller dogs.
A stainless steel water bowl partners well with the BPA, toxin-free puzzle bowl that sits next to it. Both bowls are easy to clean and food-safe for your pet’s health. The slow feed bowl will hold wet food, dry food, or raw food. A great feature is the non-slip grips that keep it securely in the elevated insert. You can also purchase a matching floor mat from the same manufacturer.
Pros and Cons of the Leashboss Elevated Slow Feed and Water Bowl
|The elevated design of this feeding station is ideal for older pets or those suffering from joint issues.||It is not suitable for smaller dogs.|
|It is adjustable to three different heights — 8, 11, and 14 inches.|
|It has a BPA-free slow-feed puzzle bowl and a stainless steel water bowl.|
|The slow-feed bowl can hold wet or dry food.|
3. Best Puzzle Bowl: Outward Hound Fun Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl
The Outward Hound Fun Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl is our favorite puzzle bowl because it comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.
This bowl is unique as you can choose from a variety of different patterns, grooves, and shapes to help slow your dog’s eating and increase their digestion. For pets that don’t require much of a challenge or are likely to get frustrated then you can choose a simpler design while for those that love to scarf down their food you can choose a trickier one to keep them occupied for longer.
The bowl itself is made of non-toxic material that is BPA, PVC, and phthalate free. Easily washable, this bowl can be thrown in the dishwasher or hand-washed. A non-slip base keeps the bowl in place while your dog uses it. It is available in a variety of sizes to suit most dogs and is suitable for wet and dry food. Plus the affordable price is almost as attractive as the colorful design!
Although this fun bowl undoubtedly has a lot going for it some customers have reported that the non-slip base is not strong enough to hold it in place for large or particularly enthusiastic dogs. Also, some found that the grooves can be too deep for some pets. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider the size of your pet when choosing which design option to purchase.
Pros and Cons of the Outward Hound Fun Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl
|This bowl is available in a variety of different puzzle patterns and shapes to suit the needs of different dogs.||The non-slip base is not strong enough to hold it in place for large or particularly enthusiastic dogs.|
|It has a non-slip base.||The grooves can be too deep for some pets.|
|It is made from non-toxic, BPA-free plastic.|
#4 Best for Enrichment: Outward Hound Interactive Puzzle Dog Bowl
Some dogs are just more energetic than others and need a little more enrichment, so for these pets we have chosen the Outward Hound Interactive Puzzle Dog Bowl.
Puzzle bowls are great for mental stimulation, keeping your pup’s mind sharp and attention ready. Different from other puzzle bowls, this interactive bowl requires the owner to hide pieces of food or treats under moveable pieces that the dog has to figure out. This bowl is great for enrichment for rambunctious puppies or adults who need a little extra energy released after a long day. Outward Hound offers four levels of differing difficulty, with level four being the hardest. This means that you can select the one that you think will suit your pet the best, or even work up to the toughest level as they get the hang of using it..
While the parts are moveable, they are not removable, so you don’t have to worry about your dog swallowing one. The bowl is made of composite plastic that is free from BPA, PVC, and phthalates. Only mild soap and warm water are required to clean this bowl between uses.
However, owners have varying views of this product. Some found that overly eager pups were able to break it quite easily, while others found that their clever pets simply found the treats too easily.
Pros and Cons of the Outward Hound Interactive Puzzle Dog Bowl
|This puzzle bowl works by hiding treats underneath moveable parts.||Some customers found that eager pups could break it.|
|There are four different designs available which have different levels of difficulty.||Very clever dogs can find the treats too quickly.|
|It is made from strong BPA-free plastic.|
Why Should You Use Slow Feeder Bowls?
There are several reasons to use a slow-feeder bowl for your dog which we have outlined below.
Some dogs eat too quickly. It could be genetic, it could be a breed issue, or your dog might be a former stray who learned to eat whenever food was available. Unfortunately, this fast eating can lead to serious health concerns:
- Vomiting: Some dogs eat so quickly that they throw up their food immediately after they eat. This is unhealthy for them and a mess for you.
- Bloat: Bloat is a serious illness that can reduce blood flow to important organs and cause tears in the stomach lining. Bloat is fatal. Many things can cause bloat, but eating too quickly is one cause. Dogs with deep chests are particularly prone to bloat.
- Stomach upset: Even if your dog’s condition isn’t as serious as bloat, it could be unpleasant for your dog to feel stuffed and sluggish after bolting down his food.
- Choking: Dogs that chow down too quickly can start choking and gagging. Any dog benefits from slower eating.
Intelligent dogs need mental stimulation. If your dog is easily bored, a slow feeder is a great way to keep her mentally occupied while waiting for her food.
A slow feeder is like a puzzle game for your pup. It imitates the infrequent feeding your dog’s canine relatives get in the wild. Dogs who enjoy working for their rewards will enjoy using a slow feeder.
You’re Away All Day
Do you leave food out for your dog while you’re out and come home to empty bowls? If you put out enough food for the day, your dog is likely to inhale it at one meal. A slow feeder will help your dog eat a normal amount of food.
You Have Other Pets
Have you noticed that your dog swallows his food and then moves on to the bowls belonging to the other dogs or the cat? It’s not much fun for them or you. If you use a slow feeder bowl, your other pets will have time to eat their meals in peace.
Our Criteria: How We Chose the Best
As animal lovers and dog owners, our team at A-Z Animals strives to find only the best products on the market for you to choose from in our reviews. We sift through the multitudes of options looking for options that are most practical, original, inclusive, high-quality, and affordable. We understand the desire to find top-notch products that won’t break the bank and will last as long as you need them to.
There are various types of slow feeders on the internet from snuffle mats to puzzle bowls to automatic feeders. Choosing the right one for your dog is no easy feat, however, as long as you understand your dog’s eating habits and personality, you are sure to find one that suits them perfectly.
The best example I can give is my own: I am the proud owner of a young rough collie who is absolutely food motivated. When food is introduced into any situation, it’s all he can focus on; all training goes out of the window. So, I have used a puzzle bowl for him ever since he was young. As a collie, he has a long snout, and is able to bypass a lot of puzzle bowls so finding the right one wasn’t easy. However, it was totally worth it and I did find the perfect one that he is now accustomed to and easily eats his food but is slowed down so he doesn’t choke or bloat. When looking, I made sure to choose one that is large enough for his food amount and has deep grooves to keep the food away long enough for him to remember to chew and swallow before taking another bite. I also know he will knock over any elevated bowl or one with tippable rims, so, I have a low-set bowl with a silicone, non-slip bottom.
In sum, knowing your dog’s personality is key and you may have some trial-and-error before finding the perfect bowl.
What To Look for in a Slow Feeder Bowl
What features should your slow feeder bowl have? Consider the size of your dog, your budget, and whether the bowl is dishwasher safe.
Stainless steel: This durable, rust-resistant metal is an excellent choice. Some stainless steel bowls are not dishwasher safe, so they may be the healthiest materials for pet feeders.
Rubber or plastic: Modern rubber and plastic blends are sturdy, durable, and easy to wash. Whether you’re buying plastic for your use or your dog’s, look for materials that are free of toxic bisphenol A (BPA) and other additives.
Ceramic: While ceramic is normally a great choice for pet bowls, it isn’t right for a slow feeder. Since the bowl requires a lot of interaction, a ceramic bowl would be likely to break. We didn’t find any ceramic bowls that were designed as slow feeders.
The size of your dog will determine your bowl size. Choose a bowl that’s large enough for your dog’s nose and paws. If you have a raised feeder, be sure you find a bowl that fits the insert on your feeder.
While a lightweight bowl is fine for small dogs, the largest dogs will need sturdy bowls that can stand up to heavy use.
Consider the design of the slow bowl or slow feeder. Does it seem like it would be right for your dog? Would it be too tough or too easy? It’s better to start off with an easier bowl and switch to a harder one if necessary.
The Best Slow Feeder Bowls: Summary
A slow feeder bowl is a great choice for pets that eat their food too quickly as eating too quickly can lead to health problems such as bloat. There are many different types of slow feeder bowls available and it’s important to choose one that is not too challenging for your dog as you could risk them becoming frustrated. We hope that this product review has given you some useful information to help you understand what to look for in a slow feeder bowl as well as provided a good selection of choices for you.
- The Best Snuffle Mat for Dogs: Reviewed for You — Snuffle mats are another great way to slow your dog’s eating and give them some enrichment at the same time!
- The Best Dog Bowls: Reviewed for You — If you aren’t sure what bowl is right for your dog, take a look at our reviews of varying options.
- The Best Dog Bowl Stands — Some bowls just need a stand so they don’t slip and slide on the floor. Check out our favorites!
The Best Slow Feeder Bowls for Dogs FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
Can any dog use a slow feeder bowl?
Most dogs will figure out quickly how to use the bowl. Keep in mind how much of a challenge your dog will enjoy. Simple bowls like the Neater or TANDD are good choices if you don’t want to make feeding too complicated.
Don’t give up too soon, but be realistic. If a slow feeder is too frustrating for your dog, you may have to try a different type of slow feeder. Switch to an easier design, or try another technique to slow your dog’s eating.
How much do slow feeder bowls cost?
They are affordable solutions that can range in price from under $10 to $20 for a large one. You’re sure to find one that is within your budget.
Are they only for dry food?
No, they’re not. They will work with dry food, wet food, and raw food.
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.