Most dogs love food and love to eat. But does your dog eat like they are never going to eat or see the food again? Does your dog swallow the food down so fast that they barely have time to chew it? If this seems like your dog, mostly he/she is having behaviour issue that needs to be modified.
Why is eating fast bad for your dog?
From the physical health perspective, when a dog eats slow or at normal speed, it helps to improve digestion and absorb nutrients. If a dog eats too fast on a regular basis, this can choke him/her. On top of that, he/she can get upset digestive system and gastrointestinal problems. The rapid eating or gulping habit cause excessive air, fluid and food filling the stomach. When the stomach expands and twist around, the food cannot pass through the stomach to the intestines. Bloats can potentially lead to death.
Secondly, rapid eating is a behaviour issue. This reflects the dog is greedy when it comes to food. It can lead to food aggression. If another pet and/or person comes near the dog while he/she is eating, he/she may exhibit aggressive behaviour to protect the food. The dog is perceiving the another pet and/or person is his/her competitor for the food.
How can you stop this behaviour?
There are several ways that you can modify your dog’s eating habit:
1. There are dog food bowls that are designed to slow down the dog’s eating speed. There are section dividers in the bowl that prevents the dog from gulping the food. As your dog needs to eats around the dividers.
2. You can also place a feeding ball in the food bowl, so that your dog cannot grab large bites and needs to eat round the ball. Make sure the ball is large enough so that your dog cannot swallow it.
3. If time is not an issue, you can divide the meal into small portions, like a 6-8 kibbles for each portion. Put the small portion in a bigger bowl, the food is scattered in the bowl, so that your dog cannot gobble large bites. When your dog has finished, you can put another small portion in the bowl again.
Remember: Get your dog to ‘sit’ and wait until you place the food bowl on the ground and your release command before eating the meal.
If your dog is starting or already exhibiting aggression while eating, please seek professional advice. As it can be dangerous for your other family members, animals and people around you.