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Ditch the Dog Bowl

by Dennis ODonnell on April 29, 2020

Your dog is bored. There it is. We said it. He eats the same food from the same bowl in the same room every day, twice a day. Boring! And to think, your dog’s nose and brain were made to hunt, track, burrow, sniff, snort – WORK – for his meals. So let’s mix things up and put those instincts to good use, shall we? This week, ditch the boring old dog bowl and try out one of these three other ways to feed him and see what happens.


A mental workout is more powerful than a physical one and just as important to the health and happiness of your dog. Get his mental muscles pumping hard by dishing out his meals in a puzzle. It’ll take him longer to eat—good for his digestion—while engaging his mind. Have a couple options on hand to swap them out regularly and keep the challenge level high. Even a puzzle becomes boring if it’s the only one you do every day!

Nose work

Scatter your pup’s meal around your home or yard, and let him “hunt” for his food. This plays on your dog’s natural instincts and encourages his body and mind to work in harmony to forage. If you work away from home, this can become a fun game for him if you release him to “go find” as you walk out the door. (Use common sense: If your dog can “hunt” safely without your supervision, then it’s a great game; otherwise, stick with supervised nose work.)


It’s easy to forget, but treats used in dog training count towards your dog’s total calories for the day. Earmark some (or all!) of your dog’s regular meal rations for dog training. For instance, if your dog eats a cup of kibble for dinner, set aside half to work through some of his favorite tricks, then let him eat the other half out of a bowl or—for bonus points!—a puzzle.

Meal time doesn’t have to be a boring, head-down-face-in-bowl activity. Take advantage of your breakfast and dinner routines to make mealtimes an enriching experience for your pup!


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