Every dog loves dinner time. For our furry friends, it’s probably their favorite time of day. How does your dog respond when you set the bowl down on the floor? Some dogs idly wander over and begin to eat slowly, taking breaks in-between their feeding.
However, some dogs can’t wait for the bowl to hit the floor and the millisecond that it’s in front of them, they rush to gulp down their food as quickly as possible. We call this kind of feeding behavior “greedy eating.”
Greedy eaters are a problem. Certain breeds, like the Cane Corso, are at risk of developing a condition known as “bloating,” if they eat too quickly. Bloating can lead to rapid death in many different breeds.
Fortunately, there’s a relatively inexpensive strategy you can use to ensure your dog doesn’t gulp down their food. A slow-feeder or puzzle bowl is an effective means of slowing down the rate at which your dog eats. Slow feeders and puzzle bowls come in different shapes and sizes for all breeds and sizes of dog.
A slow-feeder or puzzle bowl helps your dog save them from themselves when dinner-time comes around. Here are the top advantages of using these feeding systems.
1. PREVENT CHOKING
Giant and large breeds love wolfing down their food. In some cases, some large dogs can finish a bowl of food in less than a minute or two. Dogs are competitive eaters, and they learn to compete for food while they are still puppies. Those that are quick to the feed tray end up growing, while the runts get pushed to the side.
When you bring your dog home from the breeder, they still have this feeding behavior embedded into their mind. Even though they no longer have any competition at meal times, they always choose to wolf down their food as fast as possible.
2. ELIMINATE BLOATING AND IMPROVE DIGESTION
Eating fast can lead to bloating and digestive problems that cause severe complications with your dog’s health. Using a slow-feeder or puzzle bowl interrupts your dog’s regular feeding behavior.
Your pooch has to navigate their way through a maze or puzzle to reach all of their food. This feeding tool allows you to slow down your dog’s eating, and get them to chew on their food before swallowing.
It may sound tedious… but eventually, it’ll become second nature.
3. CHANGE EATING HABITS
Rescuing a dog from the local animal shelter has a similar effect to buying a puppy from a breeder. Shelters may or may not feed their dogs inconsistently due to constraints on their budget. Dogs housed in shelters tend to eat their food as quickly as possible because they don’t know when they will get their next meal.
Using a slow-feeder or puzzle bowl helps your dog break their bad eating habits and realize that they aren’t competing for food any longer.
4. IMPROVED CONTROL OF FOOD
If your dog gulps down their food, the chances are that they’ll look at you for more after they’re finished. Dogs that are greedy eaters finish their meal so quickly that their stomach doesn’t have enough time to signal the brain to tell it that the bellies full. As a result, the dog still feels hungry.
This behavior may entice you to feed them more at dinner time. However, feeding the dog more won’t change the situation, all this strategy does is make your dog overweight as your pooch eats more food than is necessary. A puzzle bowl gives the stomach time to digest the food and improves satiety.
TIPS FOR SIZING YOUR DOGS SLOW-FEEDER OR PUZZLE BOWL
Always check with the brand manufacturer for the correct size of slow-feeder or puzzle bowl for your dog. There are different configurations and puzzles to suit all types of breeds. Smaller dogs may enjoy puzzle bowls with mazes, while large and giant breeds need a slow feeder with concave sides to prevent them from shoveling food into their mouth.
It’s best to buy two or more different bowls for your dog and experiment with them to see which one works effectively.