Friday, March 21, 2014

Dog food dispensing toys: comparing a few options and showing how they make your dog healthier

I’ve been looking and trying dog toys – in particular food dispensers – for my Lhasa Apso as a way to challenge and make him more active while indoors. So far, the Mushroom Toy was the best, surpassing all expectations, and improving his meal time greatly in many ways. I made a video to demonstrate exactly that, and to compare with the Kong Wobbler which is also a great option.

Other toys we've tried were not that satisfactory. KONG Extreme Dog Toy, for example, only fits certain threats and the dog only needs to move his tongue to use it -- not to mention it gets quite dirty. The Treat Ball Dog Toy is somewhat similar to the mushroom but my dog does not like it much -- I guess the round shape makes it monotonous and not challenging. The mushroom shape allows for more leverage to push it hard and eject the food.

Basically, as I show on the video, when my dog eats the usual way – in a bowl – he devours his dog food all at once very quickly (about 2:30 min). With the Kong Wobbler he takes more than 7 minutes until he eats all the food. One minor drawback is that it usually releases too much food at once and there's no way to adjust that.

Now, with the Mushroom Toy, he takes more than 12 minutes to eat and does it one kibble at a time.  And that’s on the easiest level – yes, you can adjust it to release kibbles even more slowly if you want.

I think that both toys provide a calmer, healthier experience while eating, even more given that the dog is exercising the entire period, patting the toy all over the place. It’s indeed a therapy for the dog and the owner – I personally love to watch him playing. 

The Mushroom Toy is very easy to use, resistant, and stays clean – dogs don’t seem to get interested in licking or chewing it. I’ve recommended it to a few friends and they all approved it. My brother gave it to his puppy (a Shitzu), and although it was the small size (it also comes on large), it was still slightly too big for her. Anyway, she plays a lot with it and as she grows it’ll get better.

Toys we've tried:

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