Is your dog the type that gulps down their food as soon as the bowl hits the floor? It’s ok, you can tell us!
The truth is, it’s normal for dogs to eat their food in less than 5 min. In fact, dogs do not need to chew their food as much as us to digest.
However, if your dog licks their bowl clean in a matter of seconds, it can lead to digestion problem.
Let’s have a look at some of the reasons why some dogs eat fast and what you can do to slow them down.
Reasons why your dog eats quickly
Most of the reasons why your dog eats fast are behavioural. For example:
- Your dog was raised with a big litter and has learnt to eat fast to not miss on the opportunity for food or to not have their food stolen by the other dogs.
- Your dog may have been malnourished or lacked food in the past, as is often seen in rescue dogs, and now jumps on their bowl to try and palliate for the lack of food.
- The food you feed your dog is not rich or balanced enough. It does not provide them with the required nutrients and your dog is hungry or
- The portions you feed your dog are too small. Your dog is ravenous.
- Your dog does not eat alone. If you have more than one pet, and you feed them together, one pet may eat faster than their fur sibling to prevent them from stealing their food (again, referring to the way they would have been raised in the litter).
Sometimes, the reason why your dog eats fast can be medical.
Stomach parasites can prevent your dog from absorbing all the nutrients they need, and this will make your dog gulp their food. You may also notice your dog being underweight even though they are eating.
Thyroid and hormone issues can also prevent older dogs from feeling full, so they’ll eat really fast.
If you’re concerned about your dog eating too fast, it’s always a good idea to take them to the vet to rull out any medical problems.
The Labrador syndrome
Some dogs, especially Labradors, do not have an off-switch when it comes to appetite. You might think your dog is just a greedy guts, but did you know that a gene mutation can explain Lab’s insatiable appetite? Because the POMC gene is changed, Labradors lose the ability to feel full.
They always appear hungry even thought they have just eaten!
Ways you can help your dog eat slowly
Thankfully, they are various ways you can help your dog slow down when eating, resulting in better digestion and less risks of bloating (which can be fatal to dogs).
- Feed your dog away from other pets. If you have more than one pet, feed them separately. That way, your dog can take its time to eat without feeling any competition.
- Mealtime should be quiet. Make sure your dog eats in a calm environment, away from family members or kids walking past. The laundry is usually the place of choice but if you don’t have one, you can choose to feed your dog outside, or at a time the house has the least occupants.
- Do not stand by your dog and watch them eat. Some dogs will fear you’re here to steal or take away their food and therefore rush.
- Use creative ways to slow down your dog's eating: it can be a slow feeder, food puzzle, snuffle mat, muffin tins or try scattering the food on a baking sheet or in the garden.
- Hand feeding can also help your dog slow down but we would not recommend this if your dog has resource guarding issues.
Our favourite slow feeders
In our opinion, THE most effective way to slow down your dog when eating are slow feeders!
Our favourite if you’re feeding dry food is the Slodog. Its design allows you to spread the kibble on a large plate that will divide the food into smaller pockets or portions.
The Toppl is the perfect stuffer, with a small opening that will require your dog to use their tongue to scoop out their food. It can also be frozen to add more time to your dog’s breakfast or dinner.
The Lickimat Slomo features a dual textured surface, with four sections for endless food combos.
Finally, we love the Wobble! A challenging feeder that keeps wobbling and will keep your dog focused on the task. The rubber dimples on the inside will promote licking. It is the perfect replacement to a traditional dog bowl.
Is your dog a fast eater?
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The Doggy Grub blog is dedicated to helping dogs and their owners achieve happier, healthier lives, changing the way we feed our dogs one bowl at a time! If you would like to know more about our fresh food head to Doggy Grub