Do you have a dog that eats too fast? Whilst not all dogs are gluttonous eating machines, I’ve seen plenty of my canine clients scoff down their food in a matter of seconds, and eagerly looking up at me with big dog eyes begging for another morsel … or ten!
There can be some risks when you have a dog that eats too fast, particularly if they swallow too much air. This could result in an upset stomach or vomiting after eating, whilst a deeper chested dog that eats too fast can be at greater risk of developing “bloat” which is a life threatening condition that is caused when gas builds up in a dog’s stomach and it can’t be released, causing the stomach to swell and twist.
Dogs that eat too fast can also be at risk of choking. Sadly, I knew and loved a little Pomeranian called Begonia, who used to inhale her food in seconds and one day I took the gut wrenching call from her owner in great distress because Begonia had choked on her kibble.
It can be hard to know why some dogs do this and, assuming this has not suddenly started to occur (which should be further investigated if so), it’s important to find a way to help slow down your dog that eats too fast. By slowing them down, it is also a great way to imitate the time consuming process that a dog would face in the wild. Think about the hunt, kill and then how long it would take to pull apart their prey – and how different it is when we simply feed it to them all at once in a bowl once or twice a day!
There are a number of slow feeding bowls on the market that can assist if your dog eats too fast, whilst a slow release treat toy can provide added benefits by providing the dog with added mental and physical stimulation, as they have to work to get their food.
These are also great to use if your dog has to be left at home alone as it can provide environmental enrichment to keep their brains and bodies active (also useful as part of a treatment plan to help a dog with separation anxiety or destructive chewing).
Find out more: Aussie Dog Products
About the Author: Lara Shannon is co-Host of Pooches at Play and has completed a Certificate III in Dog Behaviour & Training with the National Dog Trainers Federation. Lara also runs her own dog walking, dog minding and dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area.