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From interactive toys to daily walks and regular playtime, we want the very best for our pets. That sentiment, of course, extends to their diet. If you have a pet that eats too quickly, you know that it can often lead to digestive issues, like vomiting and gas. One way to prevent this and keep your furry friend's stomach happy is by investing in a slow feeder bowl.
"A slow feeder is any kind of bowl that is designed to prevent your dog from ingesting their food too quickly," says Sy Woon, DVM, a veterinarian with The Vets. "Oftentimes, the bowl contains raised ridges, spirals, or other sections, creating a maze via which your pet has to navigate to reach their food."
By stopping your pet from eating too quickly, slow feeders improve air gulping and digestion, as well as prevent the risk of vomiting after a meal. "The bowls are also great to improve your pet's mental stimulation—they are excellent for both dogs and cats of all ages—and even add in some exercise," says Carly Fox, DVM, a senior veterinarian at Schwarzman Animal Medical Center.
Consider buying a slow feeder if your pet has anxiety, exhibits signs of food guarding, or eats too quickly; it can improve each of these behaviors. The device is also ideal for large dog breeds and dogs who suffer from gastric issues. If you're not sure which one is right for your four-legged friend, consider these veterinarian-approved slow feeder recommendations.
Outward Hound Fun Feeder
This slow feeder has ridges shaped like a flower; it will encourage your pet to eat slower. "It comes in two sizes, is easy to clean, and increases your pets eating time 10-fold," says Dr. Fox. "This product does not slip on the floor and is dishwasher safe."
EveryYay Blue Ceramic Ombre Slow Feeder
As eye-catching as it is functional, this slow feeder is available in a range of sizes to match your animal's food needs. "Each size features a unique design and rubber feet to prevent slipping and scuffing, and there is also a version for cats," says Whitney Miller, DVM, MBA, DACVPM, a chief veterinarian at Petco.
Fatcatjoy Slow Feeder Bowl
The shallow ridges on this feeder are ideal for both dogs and cats. "This feeder bowl is slightly raised to improve any neck burden and is flat to improve whisker fatigue," says Dr. Fox. "The bowl works with both wet and dry food."
UPSKY Slow Feeder
With flatter, spaced out ridges, this iteration is useful because it doesn't have overly narrow gaps. According to Dr. Woon, this makes it easier for pets with shorter muzzles to access their food.
EveryYay Blush Lick Mat
Ideal for wet food, lick mats are a great choice for fast-eating cats. While wet food can be added to either a lick mat or a slow feeder, your pet may find the former easier to use, says Dr. Miller.
Fable The Game Slow Feeder
Ideal for treating anxiety and boredom, this feeder has a section for spreadable treats, like peanut butter, as well as dog food. "I love this slow feeder because it can hold up to 1 1/2 cups of dry food and offers your dog lots of interactive play time," says Dr. Fox. "You can adjust the puzzle inside to increase complexity."
Ito Rocky Interactive Dog and Cat Food Puzzle Toy
This option's cylindrical center, which has an adjustable height, offers your pets an interactive way to feast. "When pets turn the cylinder either way on its stand, the food will then fall through the leak holes and into the maze bowl below," says Dr. Woon.
Outward Hound Fun Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl
Particularly useful for preventing regurgitation, bloating, and weight gain, this feeder has spiral edges that prevent your pet from eating too quickly. Its punchy orange hue also adds a splash of color to your four-legged friend's dining space.
SPOT Push N' Pop Interactive Slow Feeding Dog Food Dispenser
This award-winning option from SPOT is great for dogs who typically nudge their food. As your pet pushes into the dispenser, they'll be rewarded with several pieces of kibble. "It's durable, inexpensive, and provides great stimulation for your pet," says Dr. Fox.
Iris Slow Feeding Bowl for Short Snouted Pets
"If you have a short-snouted dog, you may want to choose an option with shallower pockets, like the Iris slow feeding bowl," says Dr. Miller. Designed with non-slip rubberized rims, you won't have to worry about the bowl sliding or being knocked over by an eager eater.