Dog slow feeders have helped me tremendously to get my pup Wally to slow down eating. Three particular ones to be specific!
Wally’s raw-fed and eats mostly my own raw dog food. Every now and then, I also feed him store-bought, pre-made raw meals. I buy them whenever I can get a deal on them.
Wally takes his time whenever he’s eating my own meals since they feature larger cuts of meat as well as raw meaty bones.
However, his eating speed increases drastically when his bowl features ground raw dog food. Whenever that’s the case, Wally inhales his food like he hasn’t eaten in days!
How To Make Your Raw-Fed Dog Eat Slower: Dog Slow Feeders
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What Happens If A Dog Eats Too Fast? Bloat Explained
Dogs who eat too fast can throw up their food. It can even cause bloat. Bloat is a serious condition where the stomach fills with gas.
It can be fatal if the dog’s stomach ends up twisting on itself and doesn’t get treated by a vet right away. According to Dr. Becker, bloat has a 30% mortality rate.
Signs of bloat: Bloated belly, abdominal pain, unproductive retching, pale gums, state of shock, shallow rapid breathing, and lethargy.
Breeds that are particularly prone to bloat are:
- Great Danes
- Saint Bernards
- Irish Setters
- Gordon Setters
- Standard Poodles
- Basset Hounds
- Old English Sheephounds
- German Shorthaired Pointers
- German Shepherds
Did you know? Most kibble can contribute to bloat. That’s because it’s high in carbs which are fermentable and cause gas. If the gas gets trapped within the body, the risk of bloat occurs.
My Favorite 3 Dog Slow Feeders
I’m happy to report that I’ve managed to find 3 dog slow feeders that make Wally eat his raw dog food more slowly.
First, a simple ice cube tray.
Next, a stuffable KONG toy.
Last but not least, a slow feeder bowl.
Tip: They also work for kibble and wet dog food.
Solution 1: I Fill His Ground Raw Dog Food Into Ice Cube Trays
I found these particular ice cube trays on Amazon, priced at around $8.00 for a set of two.
Features of the ice cube trays:
♥ Made of food-grade silicone
♥ Top-rack dishwasher safe
♥ They come with lids
Tip: They also work great to store ground secreting organs in the freezer. They’re an essential part of raw dog food, but some dogs are super picky and won’t eat them whole. Simply pop one or two out come feeding time and add them to your dog’s raw meal.
Solution 2: I Fill His Ground Raw Dog Food Into KONG Toys
Features of the KONGs:
♥ Top-rack dishwasher safe
♥ Made of natural, non-toxic rubber
♥ Made in the USA
Solution 3: I Fill His Raw Dog Food Into A Slow Feeder Dog Bowl
I can also fill a regular raw dog food meal into the Outward Hound Fun Feeder Slo Bowl. The bowl itself is large enough for me to put some smaller raw meaty bones and whole fish in there. For example, duck wings or feet, thread herring, as well as smaller cuts of raw meat and/or puréed veggies.
The Fun Feeder is available on Amazon and retails for $14.99. That’s for the medium size. It’s also available in small and large.
Features of the Fun Feeder:
♥ Non-slip base
♥ Food-safe materials
♥ Top-rack dishwasher safe
All I have to do for all 3 options is scoop Wally’s raw dog food into the ice cube trays, the KONGs or the fun feeder and serve! I can freeze the trays and the KONGs overnight or at least for a few hours. That way, they’ll last even longer.
That said, the frozen KONGs last Wally the longest, about 10-15 minutes. He empties the frozen ice cube trays in about 2-3 minutes and needs about 1.5 minutes if they didn’t go into the freezer. That’s the same amount of time he needs to empty the Slo Feeder.
Overall a drastic difference in time needed to finish his raw dog food compared to when it’s simply served in a bowl!
Why Do Dog Slow Feeders Work at Slowing Down a Dog’s Eating?
Dog food puzzles really are a wonderful invention. They essentially make it harder to get to the dog food by spacing it out (like in the ice cube tray) or by making access to it trickier (like in the KONG and the Fun Feeder case).
Dogs who have to figure out how to get to their food are presented with a problem they’re needing to solve. Coming up with a solution for this burns mental energy. Additionally, it leaves a dog calmer than if he got to inhale his food without having to think about it.
Why My Dog Eats His Ground Raw Dog Food So Fast
I can only speculate as to why Wally inhales his ground raw dog food. My guess is that it has to do with his opportunistic doggie nature.
Dogs who had to hunt for their own meals didn’t necessarily get lucky every single day. So when they managed to capture their prey, they dug in since they couldn’t be sure when the next meal would come their way.
Another reason that seems plausible to me is that the ground food simply enables fast eating. After all, it doesn’t require him to chew, which he has to do when I put my own meals together. That’s particularly the case when they feature raw meaty bones.
Wally Takes His Time Eating Raw Meaty Bones As Part Of His Raw Dog Food
Wally is really good about eating his raw meaty bones (RMBs) slowly. If you’re new to the concept of raw dog food and raw meaty bones, I suggest you hold one end of the RMB and let your dog start crunching on the other end.
That way, you ensure that your dog doesn’t swallow the bone whole without having crunched down on it a few times. It also teaches your dog polite manners around food items he considers to be of high value. I assure you RMBs fall into that category! It also teaches him that it’s perfectly acceptable and normal that a human touches his food.
Dog Slow Feeders: Bottom Line
I found that dog slow feeders work well to slow Wally down when he’s eating his raw dog food.
The ice cube trays, KONGs, and the Fun Feeder work wonders for this purpose, and clean up is a breeze since all are top-rack dishwasher safe.
Fun Fact: When I surveyed my K9s fans in an Instagram story, they told me that 44% use dog slow feeders to slow down their dog’s eating.
What about you? Do you use a slow feeder for you pup(s)?
Leave your comments or questions in the comment section below!