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If 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, 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.
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 some 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.
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.
Slow eating bowls are specially designed to slow your dog down while eating and come in many different varieties.
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.
Even just a simple scatter hunt as opposed to feeding your dog from a bowl can already make a huge difference and it’s quick and easy to integrate to your daily routine.
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.
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.
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