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How To Keep Your Dog From Eating Its Food Too Fast
If you have ever placed a bowl full of food down for your dog and then looked again to see that the bowl is already empty, you may have a dog that eats his or her food too fast.
How fast or slow a dog eats depends on its temperament, mood, and life experience.
While some dogs don't seem to be bothered by being speed eaters, others may end up throwing up or facing more serious health issues.
Even if your dog seems okay for now when he or she eats too fast, there are reasons that you want to slow your dog down.
What Health Issues Can A Dog Who Eats Too Fast Face?
One of the most visible issues when a dog eats too fast is vomiting. Dogs who eat fast will sometimes throw up most of their food within the first few minutes after eating.
According to Petsmart.com there are other health issues your dog could face including:
Trying to take food in too fast can lead to choking or aspirating the food into the lungs. This can lead to your dog not being able to breathe or developing lung problems such as pneumonia.
What To Look For With Canine Bloat
Dogs who eat too fast may consume too many calories. It is important to measure and control portions for these dogs. Feed according to weight and vet guidelines.
- Gastric Torsion
Gastric Torsion or Canine Bloat involves the dog's stomach and intestines and can happen after a dog has eaten too much, too quickly or drank too much, too quickly. The stomach can get more food or liquid than it can handle. Symptoms include visible bloating, drooling and increased heart rate.
If you suspect that your dog may be suffering from this, it is important to seek vet care immediately as it can be fatal if not treated.
Easiest Way To Help a Dog Who Eats Too Fast
One of the best ways to help combat the problem of a dog eating too fast is to create artificial obstacles that the dog must work around in order to get to its food.
Some suggest putting balls or toys in the bowl. I caution against doing this, especially if you have a large dog as he or she may accidentally try to ingest the toy.
Smart dogs may also simply pick up the toys with their mouth and move them out of the bowl and then vacuum their food down very quickly.
Slow feeder bowls are the best option for getting a dog to slow down. The obstacles are part of the bowl so there is not a chance of the dog accidentally trying to eat the obstacle. The bowls come in all kinds of patterns and designs so if one design doesn't work for your dog, you can try a different one.
Think of it as a puzzle for your dog and the reward is the food in slower and more digestible amounts.
Other Ways to Help Slow Down Your Dog
According to dailypuppy.com, there are also other ways you can help to slow down your dog's food intake.
The main consideration is portion control and making sure you don't have too much food, easily available all at once.
You can use the food as a reward after a task is performed. You can purchase a treat toy but put food in it and make the dog work for the food (much the same way the slow feeder bowl works).
You can hide food for it to find or spread the food out flat so that the dog is not digging straight down in the bowl.
You can also feed your dog 3 or 4 very small meals a day, reaching it's recommended daily amount of food by the end of the day.
While all of these are good short term solutions, ultimately some type of obstacle bowl will help your dog slow down long term and may be the best for busy pet owners.
How To Help An Underweight Dog That Eats Too Fast
Sometimes a dog may eat too fast because it is underweight or hungry. A dog may be underweight because it was not cared for, because of an illness or because it was a stray or lost for a period of time.
It is important to consult with a vet if you are working to get an underweight dog up to a healthy weight.
Your vet may recommend a higher calorie food or a high calorie supplement to add to the dog's diet.
If you are looking for a higher calorie food, look for the work "active" on the label or bag. These foods, made for active dogs such as hunting or working dogs, usually have more calories than regular food.
As with any dog that eats too quickly, it is important to monitor the underweight dog and give it smaller meals more frequently or feed it in a slow feeder. The dog may instinctively want to try to overcompensate for its time without food and it is up to its owner to help it achieve full health, gradually.
It Can Be Frustrating
Having a dog that continuously eats too fast can be a frustrating experience for the owner and the dog. Remember that he or she is acting within its natural and primal instinct and is unable to understand the consequences of its actions.
This is where a responsible pet owner can step in and help their dog develop healthier and more responsible eating habits.
By giving the dog a slow feeder bowl and breaking meal times up into smaller events throughout the day, your dog can re-learn how to eat to maintain health and happiness.
As always, consult your vet for dietary needs tailored to your dog and for any underlying health issues.