Some dogs eat their meal in a matter of seconds. As common as it may be, it can harm your pooch; which is why you should know how to stop your dog from eating too fast.
Fast eaters can develop a medical condition called ‘bloat’ which can even cause death if they don’t immediately seek veterinary care isn’t sought.
If your dog gorges on his food, you should address the behaviour as soon as possible because bloat is just one of the few hazards of eating too fast. Here are some things you can do to reduce their speed.
Why Do Dogs Eat Fast?
Some dogs enjoy the texture and the taste of food and chew it down slowly. But with fast eaters, it’s the opposite. They seem to not even be aware of what they’re eating. Dogs are scavengers and are opportunists when it comes to eating. So, every time they see food, they try to eat it.
If they feel insecure, or unsafe, they might eat quickly. Many develop this eating habit by competing against their littermates during their puppy years. Whatever the reason may, you should never encourage them to eat quickly and try to correct the behaviour.
The Potential Harm Of Eating Too Quickly
One of the risks of eating fast is choking on food. When a pup eats quickly he gulps down more food than his throat can swallow, this leads to choking.
Another risk, as we mentioned above, is bloat, also known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). It’s the condition where your dog’s stomach expands and twists itself in the abdomen.
When a dog eats quickly, he ends up swallowing a lot of air and this causes the stomach to expand. Bloat can make your dog go into shock and they can die if not treated immediately.
How to Stop Your Dog from Eating Too Fast
We do not have an option where we can sit by our dog and tell them the dangers associated with wolfing down food. So, here are some ways to stop your dog from eating too fast.
1. Modify Your Dog’s Bowl
A fast eating dog sticks his mouth in the bowl and starts gulping down the food. The purpose of modifying his bowl is to make eating a little difficult, thereby slowing him down. Place a smaller dog bowl upside down right in the middle of your dog’s dish and then serve food.
This will compel your dog to make his mouth move around that small bowl and eat from the narrow passage. Your dog will have to put more effort into positioning his mouth differently and will be slowed down this way. This method works almost all the time but you may want to try other creative ways too.
Alternatively, you can put a clean rock instead of a small bowl. Ensure that rock doesn’t break because dogs can swallow small rocks. If you have a puppy, putting two-three golf balls or rubber balls in the bowl will work too.
2. Buy a Slow-Feed Dog Bowl
Another option is to buy a slow-feed dog bowl from pet stores or online stores. These are also called break-fast bowls, or slow feeders. These bowls have plastic knobs in the centre. Plastic knobs don’t come with a grip ring and hence can slide in grooves.
There’s a variety of such bowls with small puzzles in it, also known as puzzle feeding toys. The purpose of such bowls is to stop your dog from eating fast and to provide mental stimulation. Check out slow feeder dog bowls by doglovesbest.
3. Divide Your Dog’s Food into Small Portions
Serve a small amount of food in a few saucers or bowls and place them around the house. Don’t make it too hard for them to find it.
When your pooch will move from one bowl to another, he will get enough time to breathe in between mouthfuls. They will also have to do some nose work to find their food.
4. Eliminate Competitive Eating
If you have more than one dog, they may indulge in competitive eating. A dog, scared of getting their food stolen, would eat quickly. Subsequently, a dog who wants to steal the other dog’s food would also scoff down their meal so that they can go and attack the other bowl.
To avoid competitive eating, you can feed them in separate feeders in separate rooms. If you can’t feed them in separate rooms, consider using crates so that your dog feels safe during mealtimes.
Moreover, if one dog finishes his food and wants to go over to the other dog’s bowl, distract him with the ‘sit’ command and praise them for listening to you. This way your dog will learn how to behave in the presence of another eating dog.
The End Note
Conclusively, it’s easy to break down this habit if you are consistent with their training. But at the same time, it’s quite crucial that you correct the behaviour as soon as possible because eating fast can be life-threatening.
Feed your dogs regularly at the same time each day because if a dog doesn’t get food at the usual time of the day, he would search for his mate’s bowl and other sources of food out of insecurity. This can eventually lead to them eating fast and stealing food.
If you have any questions or want to share your experiences with us, please let us know about it in the comment section below.
The above article was written by Clara from doglovesbest.com.