If you have a pooch anything like my staffy, meal times mean business! Actually, I am pretty sure that she doesn't even taste her food - rather just inhales it.
Enter the topic of slow feeder bowls, lick mats and snuffle mats!
Luckily companies have thought about our pain as consumers when it comes to our pets eating habits, particularly those pets who are partial to devouring their dinner.
Gorging, rushing and practically swallowing food whole is obviously not good news, and can cause a range of issues for our beloved companions. These issues can range from anything from stomach upsets and digestion issues, intestinal or bowel obstructions or even worse, could cause choking or death.
I know this all sounds doom and gloom, but these are the very real possibilities of dogs who consume too much, too fast, and with not enough chewing.
Thankfully we now have access to a range of options aimed at slowing down fast eaters.
Lets go through these options now:
Slow Feeder bowl The slow feeder bowl is designed to have grooves, channels and crevices in which the food goes into, meaning the dog has to work harder to actually get the food into their mouths. These bowls are the perfect option for biscuits or even wet food, still having capacity to hold a conservative amount of food.
Lick Mats Lick mats are exactly that. A silicone mat, often with suction caps on the back to allow the mat to adhere to a suitable surface, complete with small ridges allowing smooth food to be smeared over the mat. These mats would only suffice as a meal delivery system to either small dogs, or even cats, but can also be used for treats. The mats are often used in situations like bathing your pet, to keep them occupied and entertained, and can be covered with healthy treats like Peanut Butter (MUST be Xylitol free).
Snuffle Mats Snuffle mats come in a range of shapes, sizes and designs, and are often made of materials like felt, wool or cotton. The mat features hundreds of strips of material, and are designed for use with biscuits or small dry treats. The biscuits or treats end up working between the strips of material, meaning your dog needs to 'snuffle' them up. Not only is this option good for treats, or even dogs who have biscuits as a meal, but it is an excellent form of mental stimulation for your pooch.
A cheap and fairly effective way to create your own Slow Feeder bowl is by added a couple of tennis balls to the bowl with its time for Fido's dinner. This may not work for all dogs (as i am sure some will be smart enough to remove the balls and go for gold on their food), but is a great way to test a slow feeder option!
Whatever option you go with, remember that it is important we supervise dogs at meal times to ensure we prevent any avoidable mishaps, and keep our pups happy, healthy and with full tummies.