Common Questions & Concerns
Absolutely! Sign up and ditch that bowl! The longer you are participating during the month of July, the more chances you will have to get your name entered in drawings for prizes. However, even joining on the last day still gets you at least one entry into the drawings. Plus, it gets you started down the road to environmental enrichment with your pet, which is wonderful any time of the year.
Absolutely! While you can get really creative and spend time coming up with elaborate feeding routines, this is absolutely not necessary. Check out our ideas, there are simple and quick one's, as well as more involved and challenging ways to feed.
Yes! You can introduce any type of pet at any age to puzzle feeders and foraging. If you have a pet who has never eaten out of anything except a bowl before (or hasn’t shown too much interest in toy feeders), make sure to start out easy. If you make the game too difficult too quickly, many pets will get frustrated and give up. Imagine someone plopping a calculus problem in front of you, but you’ve never even been taught how to add. Check out our “how to” page. We've got lots of ideas for every difficulty level.
Check out our “how to” for ideas on how to Ditch the Bowl. There are lots of ideas for every skill level.
I have no doubt that your pet is happy now. It's possible, though, that they could be happier! My dogs love meal time out of a bowl. They love forgaging more. They usually get a little bit of food that wouldn't fit in a toy given to them in a bowl. They will leave it for last, eating the food out of the toy first.
Yes! In fact, posting pictures and ideas on social media will help give people just starting out more ideas on how to Ditch the Bowl. Plus, you’ll be entered in the drawings for prizes, so please join us!
Well, first, it doesn’t matter. There is no need for this to take a long time. The point isn’t to make your pet work for hours, just to give them a little challenge and something to do. There are some days where I swear it takes me longer to stuff the toys than it does for my dogs to unstuff them. That being said, there are ways to extend the amount of time meals take. It usually involves increasing the challenge, so you need to work your pet up to it. If your critter has mastered certain toys, check out our list of ideas and try something new.
No. While the more you embrace the challenge, the more likely you are to see benefits, you do not need to give up the bowl 100%. My girls eat mostly raw and I can’t always fit their whole meal in the toys I’ve picked. I leave the rest in the bowl, but I usually put the feeder toys in the bowl, too. Eating around the toys, or getting them out of the way, becomes part of the puzzle.
If you’re in a super hurry one day, or you aren’t feeling well enough to put a lot of effort in to this, use one of the easy ideas from our “how to” page. Don’t have time in the morning to wait for your pet to finish eating out of a toy? Then only do it for dinner. Or, plan ahead! On a day when you have time, stuff several meals worth of toys so they're ready to go when you're in a hurry.
Really, this should be fun, not a stressor for you. Keep it simple and do what works. Need more help to figure out how to fit puzzle feeding in to your life? Come talk to us, we’ll help you work it out.
Yes! You may need to get a little creative, depending on your pets, but it's not too difficult, once you figure out a system. I put our two dogs in different rooms while they eat and we have no problems. I try to give them toys that they'll finish in a similar amount of time, but even if one finishes first, it's a great opportunity to teach patience while they wait for the other one to finish.
When we had two bunnies, I used the Eggcersizer to feed them pellets. Each bunny got an Eggcersizer with their portion. Often, our more active bunny, Penny, would finish hers and then steal Frank's. This really wasn't a problem as they had plenty of hay, and Frank had already eaten some by the time Penny took it.
The safest way to do it, is to separate everyone. If you don't separate, watch them in the beginning to make sure your pets are comfortable and happy and everyone gets to eat.
Yes, for several reasons. First, mental health and behavioral benefits tend to be cumulative. Meaning, the longer you do this, the more difference you're likely to see. We have two young, active, crazy dogs. I haven't used a bowl to feed in 2 or 3 weeks and the girls are significantly calmer. They are still active, they still chase each other and play, they still bark outside at squirrels, so it hasn't made them perfect. But they are calmer about all of it. Their play doesn't spin out of control, their barking is easier to stop, they settle down for bed more quickly. Kaylee, our problem child, shows the improvement even more.
Even if you don't have behavior issues you are trying to alleviate, this is still a great way to provide some stimulation with minimal effort. Imagine if your whole world was your house. You didn't have a computer, tv, or smartphone. You may have a few books or magazines, but you've read them 50 times already. Having someone give you your meals in an interesting way would help to pass the time, and be more satisfying, than just eating off of a plate.
No! Anyone anywhere can participate. We won't ship prizes out of the area, but I strongly encourage you to do this anyway. Your pet will thank you.