I am always on the lookout for new style bowls, enrichment mats, or puzzle style feeders. After publishing a video on why I am not a fan of most all of the hard plastic slow feeders, The Puzzle Feeder reached out to me to ask if they could send me one of their bowls to test out and give some feedback on.
Before I agreed I wanted to check out what their bowls were all about and more about the company. This was back in November 2022 and they got started through KickStarter. I went through their website, and learned more about the bowls, how they are made, and the values of the company.
Their bowls are made from compressed wheat stalk and with no toxic materials. This was a very big win for me as I really wanted to find a feeder that wasn’t made from plastic, and didn’t run the risk of having toxic materials. I had been using the Pet Platter for many years, a big selling point for the platter it is made from non-toxic materials
The bowl itself is pretty big and could easily hold all of my dogs food, whether that was my Grandma Lucys, raw, or kibble. The bowl also features a spinning “bone” attachment to add another layer of difficulty. I wasn’t sure when I first got the bowl if the bone was really necessary, or if i would like it. But i have been using these bowls for months now and the spinning bone has become my favorite part!
Measurements – Its just under 10” in diameter and 3” tall. With a capacity of 8 cups of food.
As of right now you can purchase either the Slow Feeder bowl or the Lick Mat bowl. And these inserts are interchangeable and later this year you will be able to purchase just the insert, so you can change what insert you want with a single bowl.
Slow Feeder Insert
I was prepared to not like the Slow Feeder insert as I am very picky about slow feeders.
They are usually made from a hard plastic, and I have used many different brands with the same result, they push up on the dogs nose. While this may not seem like a big deal, the nose is very sensitive with many nerve endings, and watching dogs having to push their noses into the slow feeder makes me cringe.
I have also seem a lot of frustration from dogs using a hard slow feeder, or even ones with a lot of small hard to get to spaces. I am pretty sure I have used every slow feeder on the market, and they all seem to have the same result.
When I first opened the Slow Feeder insert I was immediately happy with how soft the silicone is, as well as the “wave” pattern. This offered enough difficulty to help my dogs slow their eating, but not to the point to cause frustration, or pushing their nose into the small crevices.
Ally becomes very frustrated with slow feeders and tends to either lose interest in eating, or jam her nose harder to try and get everything out. I wasn’t sure how much the Wave pattern would really help this, and i think that it a huge help in frustration levels, not pushing on their sensitive nose, while still slowing their eating time.
Lick Mat Insert
I really loved the Lick Mat insert, it has different patterns within the mat for different textures for the dog, as well as using different kinds of food.
Both of the inserts can be removed from the bowl and washed. (All pieces of the bowl are dishwasher safe) I will say that the Lick Mat insert was a little hard to get out the first few times, but I figured out how to grab the middle and pull it out of the bowl.
How I use the bowls
What excited me the most when looking through the Puzzle Feeder website was all the different ways I could use these bowls.
I could use either the LickMat insert or the Slow Feeder insert to adjust the level of difficulty, or vary the style of enrichment style feeding, as well as use the inserts without the spinning bone to lesson difficulty. I could also put food in the Lick Mat insert and then freeze just the insert for a longer lasting enrichment session.
I love this bowl for my old girl! I use just the bowl (no insert) and the spinning bone. She has some pretty severe cognitive issues and sometimes things like Toppls, or even Lick Mats are hard for her and she loses interest in eating, which is not a good thing at this age.
So for her, using just the bowl with the spinner provides some enrichment, without being too hard. And I want to use things like this with her that provides enrichment, and works her mind so she doesn’t decline even faster.
Overall I like these bowls, I was sent the first two (one with the slow feeder and one with the lick mat) but I then went and purchased another two bowls so all my dogs had one.
I use them almost daily with all my dogs (another post coming soon on why i switch up how my dogs eat ) and I can switch how I use them for each dogs and their needs, or to give them variety in the bowls for enrichment and difficulty.
The bowls have held up well with no wear in either the bowl itself or the inserts.
I am looking forward to their new product this spring, a Sniff Mat insert! The pictures on the website of the Snuffle Mat insert look very cool and I am excited that I can add that to my bowls to once again add some variety in how I feed my dogs, all with one feeder.
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