Stop Your Dog From Eating Too Fast
If your dog inhales his food like a Hover vacuum cleaner, then you know the struggle. Eating too fast can result in choking, gagging, vomiting and swallowing excessive air, which causes bloating (accumulation of gas in the stomach). So it’s important to slow down your dog’s eating habits.
For the most part, I’ve always shared my home with fast eating dogs, so I’ve gotten used to this behavior. However, just because I’m used to it doesn’t mean it’s allowed to happen. I take many precautions to stop my dogs from eating too fast, which I’ll happily share with you. 🙂
Spread Out the Goodness
By far, this is the easiest (and cheapest) way to make your dog eat slower. Take your dog’s daily meals and spread them out on a rug or smooth surface. At first, you should make it easy for your dog to eat by sprinkling food in clumps on your cement patio (weather permitting).
Once he gets really good at eating his food spread out, increase the distance between the kibble by fanning out his food in a larger smooth-surfaced area. By increasing the distance between the kibble, you’re forcing your dog to search for each kibble. To make it even harder, sprinkle his kibble on a large rug where he must hunt through the fibers for his food. This makes a great rainy day game. If you want to make it even more challenging, sprinkle his kibble in a shag rug. It could easily take 30 minutes for him to find all his food.
Refrain from tossing your dog’s kibble in the yard. It’s very difficult for your dog to find each and every piece plus it attracts ants and rodents. Tossing your dog’s meals into your yard is like tossing a free meal out, which isn’t fair to your dog. Don’t be surprised if your dog starts fighting wildlife once he learns you give out his meals on a daily basis.
Slow Feed Dog Bowls
Slow feed dog bowls are flat on the bottom and usually contain lots of hiding places for your dog’s food. You fill these dishes with food and place them on the ground during meal times. While they’re interactive, they don’t move. They sit in place like your dog’s regular food bowl.
Lately, there’s been an explosion of dog food bowls promising to slow your dog’s eating habits, but I don’t believe these bowls work for all dogs. Most dogs that eat fast slightly suffer from an underlying anxiety, which can cause them frustration while trying to chase or lick food trapped between barriers and crevices. If they can’t get to the food fast enough, most dogs will flip over the food bowl to gain access, then it’s a feeding frenzy.
If you decide to give an interactive feeding dog bowl a whirl, make sure it’s big enough for your dog. Choosing a dog bowl too small will surely cause frustration. When introducing your dog’s new dish, make the game easy in the beginning–no one wants to keep chipping away at a new game that’s way too hard, especially when you’re hungry!
Interactive Dinner Toys
These dog toys are filled with your dog’s daily meals. You give them to your dog with which he can chew, paw and lick clean. For the most part, these toys promote gnawing and chewing, which is very satiating and will certainly extend dinner meals from 10 seconds to 20 minutes, depending on the chosen toy.
When introducing an interactive dinner toy, make the game easy for the first few days. Loosely sprinkle food inside and outside the toy, so your dog learns to associate food with the toy. Over the next few days, start to tightly pack food in by using peanut butter or wet food as a binder. My favorite interactive dinner toy is the Kong Wobbler. It’s really good!
Try rotating between each option to make eating even more challenging for your dog. Soon your dog will learn to enjoy eating slowly!