Do you have a dog that is comparable to a vacuum cleaner when it comes to hoovering up food at the speed of light? If so, you’re not alone. Many dogs wolf down their food without taking the time to chew properly. You may think there are bigger issues like, ‘how do I stop my dog from burying my underwear in the backyard?’ But dogs eating too quickly can actually be in danger of gagging, vomiting or choking.
WHY DO ANIMALS EAT SO FAST TO BEGIN WITH?
For wild dogs, eating quickly was a survival tactic. They needed to eat fast and get out of there before the bigger animals came along and stole their food or attacked them. This behavior has been passed down through generations of dogs and is still evident today.
BOREDOM OR LONELINESS
Another reason your dog may eat too fast is out of boredom or loneliness. If your dog feels isolated, they may see meal time as an opportunity to socialize and eat quickly so they can get back to you sooner.
FEAR OF LOSING THEIR FOOD
Some dogs may have had a traumatic experience in the past where they were deprived of food or their food was taken away. This can lead to a fear of not having enough food or losing their food, which causes them to eat quickly.
SOLUTIONS TO STOP YOUR DOG FROM EATING TOO FAST
Now that we know some of the reasons why dogs eat too fast, let’s look at some solutions to help solve the problem.
INVEST IN A SLOW FEED BOWL
One option is to purchase a slow-feed bowl. These are designed to make your pet work a little harder for their food and hopefully stop them from eating so quickly. There are a number of different designs available, but they all essentially work in the same way – by making it more difficult for your pet to access all of the food at once.
However, some studies say that fast eating is linked to dogs who suffer an underlying anxiety disorder which can cause frustration at feeding time trying to eat out of a slow feed bowl. If this is the case with your dog, make sure you get an appropriately sized bowel that slows down the feeding without making it close to impossible to get a mouthful.
We know, we know, we barely have time to schedule in time to cook dinner, let alone by on stand by to hand feed our dogs theirs. We’re simply saying, IF you have the time, try hand-feeding your pet. It’s a great way to bond with your animal while also getting them to take their time with their food.
ADD FOOD PUZZLES TO MEALTIME
Another option is to add food puzzles to mealtime. This could be something as simple as scattering their dry food around the house or yard, or hiding pieces of kibble in a toy. Not only will this make mealtime more fun for your pet, but it will also slow down how quickly they eat.
Or, in our case, get the kids on the case and play ‘hide-and-seek’ doggy edition. Have the kids scatter the food around the house, with your supervision of course, and then let your pups loose to munch up the biccys one by one as they discover them.
SPREAD OUT MEAL TIMES
If you’re feeding your pet once a day, try spreading out their meals. Instead of one large meal, opt for two or three smaller ones. This will help to regulate their hunger and make them less likely to scarf down their food.
However, it’s important to keep in mind to not overfeed your pup. To make sure you’re not going overboard on the biccy’s, measure your dog’s regular once-a-day meal and split that serving two or three ways. That way you ensure your pup is getting the same size serving in the 24 hours, just more frequently.