by Andrew Garcia
Apr 12, 2022
4 minute read
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What Causes Speed Eating in Dogs?
- What Are the Effects of Fast Eating?
- What Is a Slow Feeder?
- Pros and Cons of Slow Feeders
Dogs of all ages – senior, middle-age, young dogs, or puppies – love to eat. However, they eat the food faster than they should be swallowing it in some cases. You will sometimes be surprised at how quickly some pups can finish the food in their bowls. According to research, speed eating can be harmful to your furry pal. Dog owners are advised to look out for ways to correct this behavior, including investing in a slow feeder dog bowl.
What Causes Speed Eating in Dogs?
There are several reasons behind fast eating. We have identified a few common reasons below. Daily training can correct some of these reasons, while you may need to consult your vet for others.
A Habit Adopted During Puppyhood
The destructive eating habits in dogs are not innate. Instead, they learn it in their early years. During puppyhood, dogs tend to compete with their mates leading to fast-eating. If you have many dogs in the same space, you’d be surprised to see how fierce the competition can be. Dogs may also develop this habit if there is limited or communal food, as seen in many shelter dogs.
Not Eating the Right Food
If you feed your dog the wrong food, it will likely feel hungrier more frequently. The right dog food should contain the right amount of essential nutrients, preventing them from scarfing down meals. Dogs having a constant appetite for food is not normal. It is wise to consult your vet if you notice this.
The Breed Types
Certain dog breeds tend to eat quicker than others, especially if they are not the only pets in the household. You may notice a wolf-like approach in certain dog breeds. That is because they believe finishing the food faster is crucial to their survival.
Some Medical Conditions
Your dog may eat faster than usual if it has parasites in its system. Parasites are known to rob dogs of the essential nutrients in their foods. Medications may be another reason your dog develops an increased appetite, especially as a side effect. If you think your pet’s health is not optimal, please consult your vet for a check.
What Are the Effects of Fast Eating?
As mentioned earlier, dogs are not expected to eat fast naturally. However, if they develop the speed-eating habit, it would come with a few adverse effects, including health issues. Read on to learn about the dangers of fast eating.
When food is stuck in your dog’s throat, it obstructs its airway leading to choking. Watch out for signs like excessive drooling and pawing of the mouth and consistent choking sounds. Such dogs may also show signs of severe distress. Similarly, fast eating may force the food down the wrong tube, causing gagging.
Your four-legged friend is at a higher risk of vomiting if it eats too quickly because it gulps air alongside the food particles. The air and food particles mix irritate, forcing the dog to throw up undigested or unprocessed food. In addition, gagging forces the stomach acids and food particles up the throat and esophagus. If this continues, it may cause organ damage to your furry buddy.
Gastric Dilatation Volvulus
Gastric dilatation-volvulus or bloat happens more frequently in dogs with deeper chests if they eat too quickly. When air finds its way into your pup’s stomach, it causes abnormal expansion. Asides from the distress, it can harm the dog in other severe ways. The expansion of the stomach means the food cannot move to the intestines from the stomach.
Obesity also occurs in dogs. In North America, obesity is the most common preventable disease in dogs. Dogs that eat too fast are at high risk of canine obesity. The first symptoms include severe discomfort and indigestion. It prevents the dog from exercising as expected. The resulting sedentary lifestyle makes the pup add more weight. Once you cannot feel your dog’s ribs, waistline, or spine easily, it is near obesity.
What Is a Slow Feeder?
There are special food bowls built with a few obstructions and raised sections, helping to reduce the eating rates of dogs. These bowls are called slow feeders and are available in different materials, including ceramic, stainless steel, and plastic.
You may find several partitions in some bowls to regulate the speed of feeding. There are others with a donut shape and a rounded center knob. The various patterns, including rounded spikes, ridges, bumps, and spirals, force the dogs to do more work to assess the pieces of food. Therefore, they eat slower and avoid choking, bloating, vomiting, or obesity.
Pros and Cons of Slow Feeders
Slow feeders are not perfect. While they can be beneficial to fast-feeding dogs, there are also reasons you may want to avoid these bowls.
Why Use a Dog Slow Feeder?
- It prevents dogs from choking. Slow feeders have unique obstacles that prevent fast eating in dogs. When dogs eat slowly, they are less likely to choke.
- It prevents vomiting. Dogs that take smaller portions of food at once will most likely not vomit. As a result, digestion is faster and easier, helping the dogs feel more comfortable.
- It helps avoid gastrointestinal issues. Dogs feel discomfort if they stuff more food in their belly than normal. In addition, dogs that speed eat will experience bowel movements and farting, causing them to stink.
- It helps maintain weight. Obesity will not be an issue for dogs that eat slowly. Obesity in dogs can be prevented in this way. This is why slow feeders are recommended rather than forcing your dogs to do more sports to lose weight.
Downsides of a Dog Puzzle Feeder
Away from the advantages, let’s highlight a few downsides of a puzzle feeder.
- It makes feeding harder. Due to its unusual shape, some dog breeds may struggle to feed properly with a puzzle feeder. Reaching the food at the base of the slow feeder dog bowls is a work most dogs will be uninterested in. We recommend starting with simple puzzle bowls followed by complex ones.
- It causes plastic ingestion. Most slow feeder dog bowls are made of plastic, which means there is a risk of plastic ingestion after prolonged use. To prevent this and the health issues that come with plastic slow feeder bowls, it is better to go for those made of ceramic or stainless steel.
Fast feeding should not be encouraged in dogs – it’s a bad eating habit that must be corrected. Correction can be done in different ways, including reducing food portions and using a dog slow feeder. After all, your pup friend deserves to enjoy their meal without any health consequences.
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