Could your best buddy benefit from a slow feeder?
Walk into any pet store and you see a variety of brightly colored plastic feeders designed to slow the speedy eater. There are different designs, from plastic nobbles to whirly maze-like patterns, so the dog has to push food with their paw or tongue to get access and stop a chow hound in their tracks.
To the uninitiated, slow feeders may seem like a fad, another way of manufacturers getting money out of beleaguered pet parents. But slow feeders are anything but a gimmick and are beneficial to your dog’s health for a number of reasons.
For example, pet parents of deep-chested breeds, which are at increased risk of bloat, are recommended to switch to slow feeder or puzzle feeders to reduce the amount of air the dog wolfs down. In respect of reducing a risk factor for bloat, slow feeders have the potential to be life-saving.
But slow feeders have other benefits, such as reducing flatulence in greedy dogs! If you’d like to clear the air and bone up on slow feeders, let’s look at the pros and cons.
Does your dog inhale food? Is the bowl empty before you’ve straightened up from putting it on the floor?
Eager eaters like these often ingest air (aerophagia) as well as food. The best case scenario is the air travels along the gut and is released as flatulence. This isn’t too much of a health problem (for the dog) but can make a nose peg for the owner seem a good idea.
On the other paw, air in the stomach can cause it to swell up and bloat. If that dog then runs around or plays, they are at greater risk of the stomach flipping over to cause a GDV (gastric dilatation and volvulus). The life-threatening condition requires emergency surgery, and even then lives are lost. Which makes anything that makes eating safer seem a good idea.
A slow feeder does what it says on the label: Slows up the ingestion of food so the dog swallows less air.