Sunday, October 18, 2015

Product Review: Kyjen Slo-Bowl Fun Feeder

Kyjen's Slo-Bowls are designed to make dogs eat as slowly as possible. These Fun Feeders each have a raised pattern that basically turns them into a maze. Dogs can't really inhale their kibble using one of these bowls, instead they have to carefully work individual pieces out with their tongues, pushing them through the maze until they get each piece to a spot where they can pick it up. The bowls come in multiple colors and patterns, and two different sizes for large and small dogs.
Kyjen Outward Hound Fun Feeder bowl
Photo by Erin Koski

Eating too fast can be a huge problems for a lot of dogs. At worst, they eat so fast they just barf their food back up right away. At worst, they can develop bloat. This is a condition where a gas-filled stomach twists, cutting off the blood supply to all sorts of body systems. Bloat is a medical emergency, and even recognizing it and getting help immediately may not be enough to save the animal. It is most common in large dogs, particularly deep-chested ones like Great Danes. Preventing the dog's stomach from getting too full of food, air, or water seems to help a lot.

Slowing down a fast eater can also help prevent bloat, dogs that inhale their food also inhale a lot of air at the same time. Spending time and effort to eat a meal also helps a dog expend some mental energy. That is the purpose of our many puzzle toys, and it's also the purpose of the Slo-Bowl.

As a side note, Outward Hound was formerly a sub-brand of Kyjen. The company has apparently decided to rebrand everything as Outward Hound only. This is unfortunate, as I had long associated Kyjen with high-quality puzzle toys and games, and Outward Hound with low-quality pet carriers, travel bowls, and other products that often seemed like they were designed by people who would never use them. A lot of their stuff reminds me of Ruffwear gear, only cheaper and without the quality or guarantee. Outward Hound's current "About Us" page has a lot to say about them being a new company designed to improve the lives of dogs and their people. In reality the brand has been around since the 1990's, and their products have dominated the travel section of big box pet stores for a good chunk of that time. Outward Houd/Kyjen was acquired by the Riverside Company in 2013. They also acquired the Bionic company in January of this year, and Nina Ottoson's puzzle toys last month.

So the Kyjen Slo-Bowl has been rebranded as the Outward Hound Fun Feeder. This seemed to coincide with them changing all the brightly-colored bowls to be the same weird greenish-gray hue for a while. Happily they've changed them back. Unhappily, the Hills bowl shape doesn't seem to have been included in the Outward Hound line. Ours is the bright pink flower shape.

Pros: Brightly-colored and highly durable. Has a no-slip rubber bottom and is top-rack dishwasher safe. Really seriously slows down rushed eaters, even with tiny amounts of food. When I had a total of five dogs here for a week, the Slo-Bowl turned my fastest eater into the slowest. Works with kibble, canned, raw, freeze-dried, and basically any kind of food.

Cons: Is exactly as obnoxious to clean as it looks. If the dog doesn't clean every last molecule of wet food out of the bowl, I have to use three different-shaped scrubbing tools to get it clean. Really-determined food-inhalers at work have been known to flip the bowl over, or even throw it against a wall the reduce the challenge.

Bottom Line: My dogs mostly only eat things like pumpkin and salmon oil out of bowls, but when I'm feeding kibble I sometimes put Brisbane's in this instead of one of our many puzzle toys. He doesn't seem to mind it, but he doesn't get all excited about it, either. They call it the Fun Feeder, but it's still a dog-thwarting device and the dogs know it.

Does your dog attempt to inhale their food?

1 comment:

  1. my dog is not really a eater let alone a fast eater, but I bought one of these at TJMaxx/Hoemgoods the other day ... just cause. I figure it'll add some challenge to his life like with puzzle toys. You should definitely check out TJMaxx/Homegoods if you have one near you. They have VERY good dog stuff, old Kyjen stuff too at cheaper prices!