As soon as the food is in the bowl, your dog greedily gulps it down. Sounds familiar? Many dog owners are justifiably worried about their furry friends, because eating too quickly is unhealthy for pets. But what can you do to give your dog more time to eat?
Causes of Eating too Fast
There are different causes that can cause your four-legged friend to fall into his instinctive behaviour of hasty food intake:
First of all, gulping is the normal behavior of prey eaters, i.e. all animals that catch their food. They fill their bellies in order to get as much off as possible before other animals take it away. They then vomit up parts of the prey in a quiet place and then eat again. This is usually followed by a longer fasting period during which they cannot find any food. In nature, this innate behaviour is vital. Of course your dog doesn’t need to carry out this behaviour any longer, unless he’s forced to.
The reason for domesticated dogs eating too quickly is usually the living conditions. If the highlight of the day is the bowl set in front of them, this moment is not being savoured, but enjoyed as quickly as possible. Dogs usually learn this behavior at the animal shelter. However, dogs who get little distraction, for example because they are alone for long periods every day, often get used to hasty eating. Feed competition can be another or exacerbating cause. If many puppies or dogs are kept together and fed from the same bowl, it only makes sense that they don’t want to miss out.
What are the consequences of hasty food intake?
The health consequences of eating too quickly can be diverse. Some animals show no consequences whatsoever, others get serious problems. The following symptoms may occur:
- Flatulence and cramps from swallowed air.
- Stomach problems and hyperacidity, because hardly any saliva is produced when swallowing (AniForte® Elm Bark has a soothing and supportive effect).
- Vomiting because the stomach cannot keep up and becomes overloaded. The food reaches the stomach in large chunks and requires more energy to be digested.
- Bad teeth due to lack of chewing, mouth odour (AniForte® Denta Clean & Care can help).
- Obesity, as the dog becomes satiated slower and therefore demands more food.
- The risk of stomach twisting increases because the stomach can bloat.
What can I do to help my dog eat more slowly?
A quiet place
Choose a quiet and undisturbed place to feed your four-legged friend. If no other dogs, cats, children or other people bother you, your dog can focus on his meal in peace.
The right bowl
To prevent your dog from gobbling up everything too fast, there are special bowls with built-in obstacles in the middle of the bowl that make it difficult to pick up feed quickly. Alternatively, you can place a small bowl bottom-up inside a larger one so that the bowl surface is reduced and your dog cannot take in as much food at once. If you are raising several puppies, it is important to think about enough bowls and to teach the small dogs that each one eats from their own bowl. In this way you can avoid feed competition or feed aggression right from the start. Of course, the same applies to households with several dogs.
The right amount
Instead of giving a lot of food at once, it makes sense to split up the food into several smaller meals. An important basic consideration when giving food is the appropriate size of the pieces: a large dog should not be given pieces of food that are too small, otherwise he will automatically eat faster than he should.
Make it a game
Many dog owners also find toys helpful, which support the dog in working for his food more slowly. Purchase a Kong (a rubber toy with a hollow center), and hidden food games are also a god idea.Each of these methods will help you support your dog in eating slower. However punishment by food deprivation is always counterproductive, because it causes the dog to gobble down the next meal that