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This past weekend, I was out of town, and my family was left to care for my dog  Gwynn.  In their infinite wisdom, they delayed (accidentally) his evening meal on the first day that I didn’t come home by about 2 hours.  Not a problem, his evening meal isn’t always at the same time.  Their mistake was in thinking something along these lines:  poor guy, he must be so hungry.  I’ll feed him in his bowl instead tonight.

Feeding him in his bowl, as opposed to feeding him in his Kong Wobbler, that is.  Well, I wasn’t there to witness him hoovering up his food in the amount of time it takes to inhale twice – because the entire schedule is ‘off’ and anything could happen next!  MUST finish food before something else that is new happens!  I wasn’t there to discover the giant pile of vomit he left on the carpet – or to clean it up.  I also wasn’t the one to come into the room just as he was considering re-eating that particular meal.  Part of this might have been due to stress (the boss is gone!  WHYYYYY?!), but a larger part of this was likely the fact that he inhaled his food that quickly.  For the same reason as it is regularly said that eating slower is better for human digestion, it is better for a dog’s digestion as well.

There are a few ways to slow down your dog’s eating.  There are dog bowls with large bumps in the middle of the bowl –the kibble is spread out all around the edge of the bowl, and he’ll have to go hunting a bit to get all the pieces.  If you’ve already got more dog bowls than you know what to do with, or a nice pretty bowl you don’t want to switch out, a big rock will accomplish the same thing.  A rock that doesn’t have any sharp corners, that your dog can’t pick up, and that fits loosely into your dog’s food bowl will require him to go hunting for the food, instead of inhaling it.

Gwynn wasn’t and isn’t (usually) that kind of speed-eater, but he was still finishing his food in record-time, and then immediately trying to beg food off me if I was eating.  The solution I found, and use, is the Kong Wobbler.  The bottom is weighted so that the dog can’t just lay it on its side and pour all the food or treats out.  I love it, and Gwynn seems to really enjoy it as well.  He gets all his mealtime kibble in this, and it slows his eating as well as making a game out of his meals.  Check out a video here .

Pros:

  • Dishwasher friendlyE
  • Easy to open and fill – and it holds at least the 1 cup of kibble the company says it can hold.
  • Gwynn treats it like a game
  • It slows down his eating (which is particularly great if you have something you need to get done – I make my lunch for the day distraction-free while Gwynn eats his breakfast)
  • The food hole is big enough for a wide variety of sizes of treat – no buying refills or any particular brand of treat.
  • Entertaining to watch.

Cons:

  • It would scratch up hardwood flooring (we have ceramic tile, luckily, but you could easily put a mat down to protect your floor)
  • It makes a fair bit of noise as Gwynn pushes it around the kitchen
  • It gets stuck under furniture, and occasionally scatters kibble under the oven.
  • There are usually two or three pieces of kibble he can’t get before he gives up on them.
  • The plastic is definitely chewable and destroyable, unlike the Kong-rubber.  Don’t let your dog get a hold of either the top or bottom piece by itself, because it is kibble-smelling and apparently very enjoyable to chew.  The top part of ours has a chewed bit, but we still manage to twist the Wobbler pieces together.

There are other similar toys – the kind that require your dog to roll something around and slowly deliver the food or treat.  I love the Kong Wobbler because it can fit his entire meal into it, but if all you want is something for treats or snacks, there are plenty of toys that require your dog to puzzle out the treats.

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