Which is better? Snuffle mats or slow feeder dog bowls? This is one of the tricky questions most pet parents are faced with when purchasing their pet supplies. In this article, we’ll talk about what snuffle mats are, what slow feeder dog bowls are, when they are used, and which of the two is better.
Why Slow Down a Dog’s Eating?
According to the American Kennel Club, eating too quickly can be intensely risky for dogs, so aiding your fur-baby to eat slowly and carefully is essential. Eating too quickly can:
- Cause your dog to choke
- Increase the risk of your fur-baby suffering bloat (bloat happens when the stomach grows and may twist within the abdomen and this is instantly life-threatening as a dog can go into shock very quickly)
- Cause pain and discomfort because when dogs swallow their meal too fast, they ingest air along with their food, and food and air expand in the stomach
- Cause gastrointestinal issues and vomiting
What Is a Snuffle Mat for Dogs?
A snuffle mat for dogs, generally, is a mat with a bunch of fabric tied to it meant for many purposes. Snuffle mats are considered puzzle toys for dogs that are specifically designed to hide dry dog food, kibbles, or treats to make mealtimes slower and more challenging. Dogs enjoy the use of snuffle mats as these mats encourage them to use their innate capabilities to smell to look for food.
There are different kinds of snuffle mats available in the market. A snuffle mat for dogs can come in different shapes and sizes. They may also be washable or are made from fabric, rubber, or bendable plastic. The best snuffle mat for dogs will be made from a quality, non-abrasive material so that your dog’s nose is safe and the mat does not fall apart from use.
Snuffle mats offer the following benefits to your fur-baby:
- Relieves stress
- Offers mental stimulation for dogs
- Promotes slower eating habits to prevent bloat
- Encourages sniffing and foraging functions of the brain, which are fun and satisfying for your dog
- Can double as dog enrichment toys
- Helps with separation anxiety in dogs, as they provide a valuable distraction for your dog
Additionally, when cleaning snuffle mats, you can simply wash it or shake it out and get rid of any food or kibble crumbs left in the mat. The best snuffle mat for dogs will be on that is machine washable and will not fall apart when cleaning.
What Are Slow Feeder Dog Bowls?
A slow feeder dog bowl is a food bowl for dogs that are designed specially to slow dogs down while they are eating. They may also be referred to as dog food puzzle bowls or puzzle food bowls. The goals is that they will not be able to gobble their food so fast and to make mealtimes lengthier but more enjoyable. Most slow feeder dog bowls, or dog food puzzle bowls, have raised patterns inside which dogs must eat around, thus hindering them from eating fast. Other dog feeders make use of ridges and other obstacles that your dog must deal with so they are able to eat. Some of these obstacles look like mini labyrinths, and others even look like games or puzzles, but these bowls can help prevent serious medical conditions and circumstances.
Some of the advantages of slow feeder bowls include:
- Portion Control: Because your dog spends more time eating, they more easily feel full after eating because their stomach has caught up with the food.
- Less Choking Hazards: Slowing down your fur-baby’s eating means a much less likely chance of your dog choking on their food.
- Improved Eating Habits: A slow feeder bowl pushes your fur-baby to improve their eating habits into a safer amount of time.
- Better Digestion: Some dogs who eat fast vomit thereafter. Slow feeder bowls present your dog the time to digest their food properly.
- Better Memory Skills: These bowls not only slow down your dog while eating but can allow dogs to memorize the patterns.
However, the advantages also come with some disadvantages:
- Anxiety can easily kick in on dogs that eat fast because they are frustrated that their food is trapped between some obstacles. If your fur-baby can’t get the food fast, they may attempt to flip over the slow feeder dog bowl, making a mess!
- Some dogs find it difficult to grasp a complex feeder.
- If your dog is extremely passionate while eating, there is a risk that they might damage their teeth if using a ceramic or stainless steel slow feeder dog bowl.
- Some puzzles are too deep for dog snouts, making it impossible for the dogs to reach the food and causing frustration.
- If you purchase a slow feeder dog bowl that is made from plastic, your fur-baby may end up ingesting some parts of it.
- Washing these bowls is a challenge.
Which Is Better?
Slow feeder dog bowls do not promote natural dog behaviors like the ability to smell, hunt, and forage. Unlike slow feeder dog bowls contain the same puzzle every time, snuffle mats provide unique puzzles each time. Plus, they have the same benefits of slowing down meal time, while encouraging natural instincts.
Snuffle mats are the better choice.
Snuffle mats are provide beneficial mental stimulation for dogs and slow feeding. According to Puppy Leaks, mental stimulation for dogs enriches your fur-baby’s life by providing them with significant things and activities to do. These activities help steer clear of boredom, helping to curb some behavioral issues of your dog such as excessive chewing, digging, and barking.
A snuffle mat for dogs offers the following advantages when used:
- Slows down eating
- Food settles uniquely and diversely every mealtime so your fur-baby is always up to a new experience
- Relies on your fur-baby's innate foraging instincts
- Heightens your fur-baby's powerful sense of smell
- Mentally stimulating
- Provides a proportional challenge-reward ratio
- May substitute the classic dog food bowl
- No specific type of dog training is needed for your dog to be able to use it
Both snuffle mats and slow feeder dog bowls have their fair share of advantages. The best snuffle mat for dogs will be one that mentally stimulates them and is made of high-quality materials. Unlike slow feeder dog bowls which has the same puzzle every time and does not stimulate their natural instincts, snuffle mats provide unique enrichment every time. Snuffle mats for dogs can replace slow feeder dog bowls and still provide the same benefits with extra dog enrichment and fun.