Fast-eating and drinking: curbing a dangerous habit
>The lesser-known risks
It may be a normal occurrence for your hungry dog, but eating and drinking too fast is never a good thing. When your dog frantically ingests food or water, large amounts of air are inhaled into his stomach. This can cause a condition known as bloat – dogs’ second leading cause of death behind cancer. Excessive air enlarges and twists the stomach, blocking blood flow to vital organs and can prove fatal in less than one hour. Although most common in deep-chested dogs like German Shepherds, Great Danes, and Dobermans, bloat can happen to any dog. If it seems like your dog is starving at mealtime, and he hurriedly gulps bite after bite like his food’s about to be stolen, he’s eating too fast.
How to break the habit
Follow these tips to calm your fast-eating or fast-drinking puppy and make meals healthier:
- To avoid extreme hunger that leads to fast-eating, feed your dog at least twice daily.
- Avoid exercise for an hour before, and especially after a meal.
- The design of the bowl determines how fast a dog can eat from it. Use a cookie tray so your dog has to pick the kibbles one-by-one, or add a large (big enough to not be eaten) rock to the middle of the bowl so he has to eat around it. There are also segmented dog bowls which have the same effect as the rock.
- At mealtime, some dogs get anxiety when around other dogs or humans. If they don’t eat as quickly as possible, they feel that their food could be stolen. Give your dog some space, and if you have more than one dog, separate the two during mealtime.
- If the above suggestions still don’t work, or don’t seem like much fun, consider a food dispensing toy to keep him busy! Take a look at this video to see one in action
Your dog may have been eating and drinking too fast for his whole life, so it could take some time for him to learn otherwise. Be patient, and if you consistently work to prevent it, your dog’s dinner manners will be impeccable!