It’s no secret that my dog has an eating problem, or as I like to say, he has special needs. I was trying to break his habit of doing this bouncy dance accompanied by annoying whining when I walk in the door after work. Not because he’s happy to see me but because he wants to be fed. Then upon feeding him watch in horror as he stumbles about the room hyperventilating and pacing because he vacuumed up too much food in his craw and can’t swallow. Like I said, he’s all kinds of special. So I got him the slow down bowl that has huge eating obstacles designed to slow the eating process. After about a month using this bowl I found bloody marks on the eating obstacles. Being the worried furkid mom I am I immediately took to the internets for a better solution. Thoughts of being a bad mom and thinking Boo’s poor mouth! Sparing no expense to help my poor spoiled dog I got the Petmate Le Bistro auto feeder. Now dubbed the magic bowl.
The magic bowl was perplexing to my special needs dog at first because he didn’t know when it was going to spill out munchy goodness. He decided just sitting in front of it for long periods of time and staring directly at was going to get it to drop the goods. Luckily he figured out the timing schedule (a month later) and now enjoys portion controlled mini meals three times a day. It’s not only fixed his hyperventilating food problem but amazingly, instead of feeding him a bunch of food at once the spaced meals have shown improvement in his weight.
The magic bowl not only helped my poor neurotic dog, I’m not accosted with the whiny happy dance anymore. Yes it was extremely expensive for a dog food bowl (also considering I had to buy two since it seems my kids cannot “SHARE NICELY”, no matter how many times I yell that to their faces) it was worth it. They look healthier and on the plus side I can go on vacation for a weekend and not worry about them getting fed.
There are a couple of things to consider making this purchase though; here’s a list of cons I’ve found after using the product for 6 months:
1. Food size is a big consideration. You have to get kibbles that are evenly sized (better if they are all uniformity close to being round) and are not too large or too small for the small rotary array in the food dispenser.
2. Try refilling the container when you’ll be around for the next dispensary. I’ve found that just dumping the food in can cause the rotary wheel to lock up (too much pressure on it). Usually tipping it up and down will fix this problem.
3. Replace the batteries regularly. Even if they’re not bad try replacing your batteries every six months. Not doing so can slow down the rotary wheel and will make the timing go off randomly.
4. The dog will eventually learn that slapping the machine will produce one or two kibbles after it dispenses. Don’t worry, these machines are built tough. Mine’s been pounded on by the special needs dog a lot with no problem affecting the dispensing. This machine is not suggested to those with smarter animals i.e. cats. They will figure out how to sabotage the machine.