Slow feeders serve a dual purpose in our opinion. Most importantly, they serve to slow down the feeding frenzy that some dogs display. Gulping food can translate to gulping air as well, so the risk of vomiting and bloat can increase. Monica’s dog would gulp so much that he’d gasp for air and sometimes food would go down the wrong way. The answer was to use a slow feeder as well as enrichment, so this post shows some of the items we use.
Slow feeders are more than just a different type of bowl device. They can fall into the category of enrichment because they help the dog experience something new. In fact, use different feeders and some food puzzles and you are providing some engagement to encourage healthy brain function as the dog ages.
This is the large Green Feeder that would probably work for a much larger dog than Hudson (toy poodle), but we like the size because he needs to walk around it a bit, so he eats more slowly. It’s also available in a smaller size which is probably fine for dogs that are less speedy at the sight of food.
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This bowl is really basic. The ‘bump’ in the middle of the bowl forces a dog to slow down. It’s less of a challenge for a small face, but would be fine for medium size dogs.
The Kong Wobbler was Hudson’s first feeding toy/game and it had become obvious he had no clue what to do with any toy much less this wobbly thing. Imagine the thrill when he figured out what to do and was rewarded with food! We were feeding kibble at that point, but started weaning to fresh food. Adding tidbits of apple for a few days, then a little cooked chicken to test his tolerance to foods made this game even more fun as he gained confidence along the way.
This feeder is fun because it has little areas for food, so you can offer different things without making a mess. Ok, your dog might make a mess anyway, but it’s generally cleaner than some other feeders. This product is especially interesting for flat-faced breeds because the pockets of food aren’t separated by elongated areas. That’s not easy criterion to find!
This next one is a lot of fun. Lots of twists and turns means fresh foods and can be placed in groups. Veggies here, ground meat there, dabs of yogurt to the left, a few berries to the right. Dogs gets excited and remains safe from gulping.
We’re big fans of dog puzzle games, but not the high prices that are often attached to them. The ones we’re showing are priced fairly in our opinion. Games certainly enrich the dog’s life and engage the brain. They’re also another way of slow feeding. We sometimes use 2-3 puzzle games for part of a meal and a slow feeder for the rest. Sometimes we combine DIY items like a dish towel tied into knots around bits of freeze dried or dehydrated treats and a puzzle or slow feeder for the meal. Switching it up is fun for the dog and his/her people as well.
This Trixie game was the first for Hudson. It’s easy which might not seem great, but being given a chance to be successful at a game is no small thing in a dog’s world. Confidence builder game gets a thumbs up from us!
Trixie’s Move-To-Win game is more challenging. The middle lever is the issue here – can your dog do it?
The Mini-Mover (Trixie again) is Hudson’s favorite. Doesn’t seem to matter how many times he plays it, the excitement never wears off. In fact it’s so engaging for him that this is the game we offer when there’s a thunder storm. It may not be the perfect answer, but the difference it’s made in him is really something!
This may be one of the most popular games ever. The brand is respected and has some unique features which have been copied by others over the years. It stands alone in innovation (at least we think so) and has brought many hours of fun for many dogs. Hudson has a small mouth and is missing teeth, so this game isn’t his best event, but he still likes it enough to play it over and over.
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