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If you’re like most dog owners, you’re always looking for ways to make your pet’s life better. One way to do that is by using a slow feeder dog bowl.
Does your dog inhales their food, rather than eat it at a normal pace? Fear not, you’re not alone! While some dogs eat their food slowly, many dogs are gobblers.
So much so that there’s an entire industry that specialises in products that can help your dog to eat more slowly, like snuffle mats or slow feeder dog bowls, but we’ll get into that later.
In this article, we’ll explore the reasons behind why your dog might eat quickly, the effects of eating too quickly, and how you can help to slow down your dog’s eating with tools such as slow feeding bowls.
Can dogs eat too fast?
Yes, dogs sure can eat too fast. If you ever ate your meal too fast, you know it can have painful consequences, and it’s not much different for our dogs.
If dogs eat too fast, they may gulp down a big amount of air along with their food, which can cause their stomach to expand, which can lead to painful bloating.
Why your dog might eat too fast
There are a number of different reasons why your dog might be eating too fast, so let’s look at them one by one, including what you can try to help your dog eat more slowly.
1. They don’t get enough mental stimulation throughout the day
Dogs need to exercise their brain as much as they need physical exercise. Some breeds more than others, but all need some form of mental stimulation throughout the day.
A lack of enrichment can often lead to dogs eating too quickly. It’s easy to understand why. Think of it this way: If your dog’s day is SO boring that the highlight of their day is meal-time, they may find it hard to control their excitement and gobble down their food.
The good news is that even if you’re stretched on time, you can actually provide your dog with mental stimulation during their meal-time by incorporating enrichment feeding into your routine.
2. Social Pressure
When many dogs are fed at the same time or together from just one bowl, a competitive situation can develop in which dogs start to eat quickly in order to get enough food.
If you experience this at home, try to let your dog eat in a quiet place where they won’t be disturbed by others.
Sometimes it’s just your dog’s instinct that causes them to eat quickly. After all, fast eating happens to us humans sometimes too, even though we know that it’s better for us to properly chew our food and eat slowly so that we can tell when we’re full.
Do slow feeder dog bowls actually work?
Slow feeder dog bowls are specially designed to slow your dog down while eating and come in many different styles.
They work by adding some physical barriers to the accessibility of food for our dogs. So, in other words, it’s just a little harder for our dogs to get to the food, so they’ll eat more slowly.
Which slow feeder is best for dogs?
Ok this question is a bit of a tough one, because the answer is that it depends a little on your dog. For example, Frenchies might find it challenging to get all the food out if the physical barriers of the slow eating dog bowl is too high. So you might have to try a few different designs before you find out which one works the best for your dog. The two dog slow feeder bowls that are featured below are a great place to start at reasonable prices with great reviews from other dog owners.
Can you put wet food in a slow feeder dog bowl?
Yes, you can absolutely put both dry and wet food into slow feeder dog bowls. In fact, your pup will probably love the variety! But try to rinse the dog slow feeder shortly after your dog is done eating, to make sure it won’t get annoying to clean.
How do you wash a dog with a slow feeder?
Some pet parents use a Lick Mat with suction as a hack to make it easier to wash their dog. The purpose is to reward and distract your pup while you do something that they feel a little anxious about.
So, you’ll use the suction to attach the Lick Mat on the tiles near your tub or shower, and then you’ll fill it with peanut butter for your dog to enjoy while being washed.
Will a slow feeder help my dog loose weight?
No, a slow feeder will not help your dog loose weight. There are many other factors at play when it comes to weight loss in dogs, including the amount of calories consumed and physical activity. If you think your dog needs to loose weight, it’s important to discuss the topic with your regular vet first before you take any other steps.
Is it bad if dogs eat too fast?
The thing is that dogs that eat too fast often don’t chew their food adequately. As a result, large pieces of food end up in their stomach, which can lead to digestive issues.
Also, when dogs eat fast, too much air can enter their digestive system, which can increase the likelihood of bloating and passing of gas.
Lastly, when dogs eat too fast, their food intake can increase too. In other words, it will take longer for your dog to notice a feeling of satiety.
Dog’s who eat this way are therefore more likely to end up overweight, which is especially true for breeds that have an increased risk of rapid weight gain to begin with.
More things you can try to slow down eating
In many cases the quick eating is a learned behaviour that can be difficult to un-learn once developed. That said, there are several more external tools we can use to help our dog’s to eat more calmly.
Learn about Enrichment Feeding
Interactive Food Toys
Studies suggest that “dogs may experience positive affective states in response to their own achievements”. By using interactive food toys, our dogs need to develop and apply problem-solving skills, which can be a rewarding experience.
Just make sure they’re adequate for your dog and step in if you notice your dog getting frustrated.
Snuffle Mats are a great way to get started with Enrichment Feeding.
It’s is an interactive enrichment puzzle that will engage your dog’s mind.
A favourite for many dog owners as it allows dogs to work for their food by engaging natural instincts.
This toy provides mental and physical stimulation while promoting oral hygiene at the same time.
Let your dog eat in a quiet environment and don’t let multiple puppies eat from the same bowl as they might start competing for food which will cause them to eat quicker.
Mix it all up
Keep your dog’s mind engaged by adding some variety to meal-times when you can. For example, feed your dog from a slow feeder on one day, then from an interactive food toy on another day, then do a scatter hunt…. you get the idea 🙂
- Fetch by WebMD. “Flatulence in Dogs”. https://pets.webmd.com/dogs/flatulence-dogs#1
- PetMD. “Dog breeds prone to obesity”. https://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/6-dog-breeds-prone-obesity
- National Library of Medicine. “Positive affect and learning: exploring the “Eureka Effect” in dogs”. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24096703/