Dogs that eat too fast. This can be a source of frustration for owners. At one time or another, perhaps you have owned a dog that eats too fast. This is not a rare problem and seems to be more common in terriers and some sporting breeds, as well as in dogs housed in large numbers. Instead of meal times being pleasant they can become quite a mess. Dogs that eat too fast may gag, cough, vomit and may be at increased risk for a life threatening condition known as gastric torsion (bloat).
Dog behaviourists have two theories about dogs that eat too fast. The first is that because dogs have competitive instincts, whichever eats the fastest is in a better position to survive. The second notion is that wild dogs never know when they will get their next meal, so they eat quickly and as much as possible so the other dogs in the pack would not steal from them.
So how can we slow down dogs that eat too fast? Combining games and other approaches into your dog’s mealtime can help as well as provide a bonding experience.
The following are a few suggestions:
- Allow your dog to use his sense of smell to track down his food. Place the food in various spots throughout the house and yard.
- Give your dog toys that are designed to hold pieces of food. The toys are fun to play with and your dog gets rewarded with his favorite food at the same time.
- Measure out the food your dog gets each day and over the course of the day incorporate a few training exercises using the dog’s food as the rewards.
- Place your dog’s food on one (or several) cookies sheets. Rather than eating the food out of a bowl, your dog will have to eat one kibble at a time, making his way across the cookie sheet.
Whichever suggestion you choose, your dog will maintain better health, have more fun, and may even begin to enjoy the taste of his food. Have fun!