How To Choose A Slow Feeder Bowl
Although all doing the same thing, slow feeder’s diverse patterns can often make choosing one very difficult. But rather than just choosing between a tricky design and one that just slows down chow time, there are plenty of other factors you need to consider.
It’s not just plastic which can be easily morphed into slow-feeding grooves and there are plenty of other materials which can be used to form a slow feeding triumph. However, they all have pros and cons, so you need to be aware of these before making a purchase.
If you’re looking for a budget option, a plastic bowl is nearly always your best bet. They are usually dishwasher friendly and shatter-proof, coming in various colours, designs and moulds.
But although highly practical, they are lightweight and easily damaged. This means they are more likely to be knocked over by playful pups and chewed up by persistent biters. For chewers in particular, this is a problem, especially if hard, jagged pieces of plastic end up being eaten by your canine. Some dogs also develop allergic reactions to plastic, so beware of any changes to their skin if using plastic bowls. Try and pick melamine options if possible, which are food safe and stronger than ordinary plastic.
These are probably the most popular form of dog bowl and even new and innovative bowls often contain a stainless steel insert. Their strength and durability means they won’t be chewed up or damaged by your hound and they’re also incredibly easy to clean. They’re also the most cost-effective option out there, as they’re likely to last you a very long time for very little price. They can become a problem in the winter if you keep your dog outside, as your dog’s tongue could become stuck or injured on a severely cold metal dish. They are also far and away the noisiest dog bowl!
For those that treat their pups like royalty, there’s probably no option that will satisfy you as much as a ceramic bowl and they often come in the most fashionable and stylish designs. They have good durability, and their weight ensures they won’t move around too much and risk spillage. However they are subject to breaking or chipping if dropped, and their porous material means they need hand-cleaning rather than a quick dip in the dishwasher. Be careful when purchasing your ceramics too, as poor quality ones sometimes contain cheaper, nastier substances such as lead which aren’t healthy for your dog!
Lightweight and durable, silicone is the newest craze when it comes to dog bowls. In feel, they are like a hybrid of plastic and rubber, offering flexibility and strength. They’re also a perfectly safe material as many come with food-grade certifications, so you can rest assured it won’t ruin your pup’s meal!
You can quite clearly see from looking at a bowl’s design whether it’s going to be beneficial for your dog, or just a ridiculous chore. Too complicated and they will lose interest, too simple and it won’t solve their problem. Think about how much longer you want your dog’s mealtimes to be and then make a decision. As a general rule, the more intricate a design looks, the longer your pup is likely to spend eating from it!
It’s obvious that you’re going to need a larger bowl for a larger breed of dog, but what you need to remember is that a large amount of this bowls surface area is being taken up by ridges and obstacles. Therefore it can’t hold as much food as your average dog bowl and so you need to pay attention to the capacity. Most product descriptions should reveal how much food the bowl can hold, often in the form of cups of dog food.
Anything that promises non-slip feet or a rubber base is going to be infinitely better than a dog bowl without. Until dogs learn to use a knife and fork, there’s always going to be the likelihood they may knock over their bowl! Rubber bases prevent bowls from slipping from underneath your pup while eating – meaning less spillage clean up for you!
Easy To Clean
Cleaning up dog food is not a nice business and so any bowl that can make things easier on you is a must-have. Try and choose a model which is dishwasher compatible to save you slugging away at the sink twice a day.
Brachycephalic breeds (short-snouted dogs like Pugs) can often have trouble eating from normal dog bowls due to being unable to reach the corners, so you have to keep this in mind when buying an even more difficult slow feeding bowl! Generally, deep maze-like designs are going to be far too hard for your little-headed pup to get at. Remember, you want to slow down their eating, not starve them! Instead, opt for a bowl which has two or three large grooves/pillars. These will slow your pup down, but won’t border on the impossible!
These days you’ll often find lots of dog bowl products describing themselves as BPA free. This means it is food grade approved and nasty chemicals won’t leach from your bowl into your pup’s meal. BPA has been linked to horrible hormonal conditions and even cancers, so it’s best to find models which advertise themselves as free from any such toxin!
Also, anything that advertises itself as chew-proof is a big bonus as there’s nothing more dangerous than a dog ripping up their bowl and exposing themselves to jagged pieces of material!