Pearl has always had a problem with gulping her food, sometimes so quickly that she throws up right after eating. Since we’ve had her, we have gone through several types of bowls designed to slow her down when eating.
The first bowl we tried was the durapet slow feed bowl.
We chose the durapet bowl because it was stainless steel, which is less likely to harbor bacteria than plastic. But it didn’t slow Pearl down enough when eating, so next we tried a plastic slow feed bowl with a different design from Petco. I think this one slowed her down a bit more, but unfortunately, Pearl bit a hole in it pretty soon after we got it.
We tried using a Kong wobbler to feed her for awhile, but it didn’t hold more than a cup or so of kibble and we hated how loud it was banging against the floor and walls and how Pearl would get frustrated and send pieces of kibble flying across the room and under the couch, where she would frantically try to reach them until we moved the furniture and made sure she could see there was nothing else under there. Then I came across the aikiou bowl (pronounced “IQ”) online. We started using it at the end of February, and the fact that it has lasted this long is pretty impressive in itself.
The aikiou bowl is made of plastic and shaped like a paw print. Food goes in separate compartments with sliders that go back and forth on the toes and a wheel that spins on the main part of the paw so that only one compartment is accessible at a time. The aikiou is supposed to provide mental stimulation for your dog as they eat, similar to a Nina Ottosson puzzle game.
One thing I really like about the aikiou is that, unlike a Kong Wobbler or other similar toys that sit upright and dispense food as your dog paws it, you can put any type of food in it, dry or wet. Although it does take a little longer to prepare her meals (have to divide the kibble among all of the little compartments instead of just dump it in the bowl), it definitely slows her down more than anything else we have tried, although that typically means it takes her 90 seconds to eat instead of 20 seconds. Unlike the Kong wobbler, it holds up to 3.5 cups of kibble and Pearl does not seem to get frustrated with it (to be honest, she figured it out way faster than we thought she would and ideally I wish it was a little bit harder). Pearl has no trouble getting the food out of the compartments and, although the bowl itself is big, it seems like its a good size to accommodate a wide variety of dog sizes, except for the smallest dogs, who might struggle a bit. Also, all of the pieces come off and are dishwasher safe, which is super convenient.
I tried to take a video of Pearl’s morning meal to give a sense of how the bowl works and its size. (Sorry about the poor quality of the video, I do not have steady hands and the mooing at the end is my phone getting an email)
Has anyone else tried the aikiou bowl? Do you have any other creative solutions to slow down a fast-eating pet?