Does your dog eat like it hasn’t seen food in years? For some dogs, food motivation is so high that setting their food bowl in front of them is an invitation to see how quickly they can inhale the food. Fast food eating can create a number of problems in dogs, namely choking as one of the number one hazards, or post-meal vomiting. In larger deep chested dogs fast eating can bring on a condition commonly called “bloat” (gastric dilatation volvulus) which almost always leads to death if not treated very quickly. Such high food drive an also be related to poor resource control on the part of the human which we will address in a future blog.
One of our favorite ways to slow down fast eating is feeding with a puzzle feeder. Not only do puzzle feeders help to slow the food but also provide mental stimulation for the dog which is especially helpful to owners who may work long hours or on day when Mother Nature just does not allow for outside play or stimulation. These puzzle feeders provide just that, a puzzle, that the dog must think through in order to get the food which generally forces them to slow down eating and works that brain muscle. Click here to see our favorite puzzle bowl. We also love the KONG Genius Mike Dog Toy, Large (Colors vary) for an additional fun game. The dog must turn the toy end over end to get the food to fall out. This is a great activity to do not only when feeding but also just as a way to stimulate the dog. Fill it with a mix of kibble and treats so that each flip is a surprise.
Another way to slow dog’s meal times down is to turn the meal in to obedience activities. We highly recommend portioning out your dog’s kibble one time per week and using that kibble as reward for obedience skills. Go through a series of commands and each command is rewarded with a small handful of kibble. This is a great way to continue working on focus and obedience.