It may be time to ditch your pet’s dog bowl and instead get them an interactive feeder. That’s a feeding device that drastically limits how much food they get at one time.

So if your dog normally wolfs down dinner in 60 seconds flat – with an interactive feeder, it may take him 20 minutes – to 2 hours to get all the food! Plus, your pet will get a bit of physical and mental activity while they’re at it.

Experts say it’s potentially a lifesaving move for your pet. Because statistics show that more than half of pets are overweight or obese. And lugging around all those extra pounds boosts their risk of developing deadly heart and lung conditions, as well as diabetes.

For example, take the Green Interactive feeder. It’s a patch of green plastic grass and food is dispersed among the fake, soft blades - which your dog has to push aside with their nose to reach. And if your cat’s getting a little chubby, check out the SlimCat ball, which releases a small amount of food every time your cat uses their paw or nose to tip it, so they get a mini work-out while they eat!

Our friend, veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker from VetStreet.com swears by these – he uses them with his pets. And he says this is the way dogs and cats were MEANT to eat. Their ancestors weren’t given a bowl of food twice a day. They had to hunt for food – and that kept them physically active and mentally sharp. These devices tap into an animal's natural hunting instincts – which release brain chemicals that make them happier and less likely to suffer boredom. That’s why the same type of methods are used in zoos to feed wild animals.

So look for an interactive feeder at any pet store. And when your dog has to chase a ball around for hours to get his dinner, he’ll lose weight, burn energy, and stay mentally acute. And that’s the recipe for a well behaved dog.