When it comes to supper, there are two kinds of canines. The first ones are slow eaters, taking their time to enjoy every little piece of treat. Then we have fast-eating dogs, gobbling up all of their food in an instant as if it's gonna self-destruct, making you wonder, "why on earth is my dog eating too fast?"
Well, there can be a number of reasons why your dog might be inhaling his food in a flash. It is possible that the fido may have to compete for food as a puppy. Though the doggo is older now, the habit of munching as much food as possible may still linger. Regardless of the reasons, speed eating is a worrisome habit that can lead to numerous health concerns.
This article will look for the possible symptoms, reasons, and cons of speed eating. Read on for pointers to learn more!
Dog eating too fast symptoms
Here we have listed some of the most common signs that your dog may be devouring is food too quickly.
- A dog eating too fast usually vomits after every meal.
- Fast eaters consume their food so voraciously that they may start choking, which is a life-threatening condition.
- Such dogs are obsessed with mealtime. No one and nothing can distract them from eating.
- A speed eater may suffer from bloat or gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV), a painful, deadly health concern causing the stomach to expand and rotate uncontrollably. Canines suffering from this disease may look exhausted and uncomfortable after eating.
Why my dog eats too fast?
While it is possible that your furball really likes his food, there are some other reasons why he may be eating too fast.
Have you ever heard someone saying "wolfing down treats?" the ancestors of captive dogs are believed to be the wolves. These wild ancestors of domestic dogs do not get a chance to eat every day, and their feeding habits mainly depend on prey availability. Thereby, wolves may go several days without nibbling on anything, and when they have access to food, they start devouring it or what we humans may call "wolfing down." They have no idea when they can eat again. So wolves take this opportunity and digest as much food as they can. It is presumed that some dog breeds still base their food ingesting habits on this premise.
- Past history
Many rescued canines have a history of being malnourished. Such dogs may show extremely possessive behavior over the food. Fidos lacking regular access to food often develop speed eating habits because they are scared of starvation. This behavior is pretty standard in shelter dogs.
In addition to speed eating, dogs having a history of food insecurity may constantly ask for food. Most of these dogs don't even mind going through the trash. Owners may also observe other obsessive food-related behaviors such as ripping open food bags and counter surf.
- Sibling rivalry or competition
If you live in a multi-dog house, your pooch may feel the need to eat faster to prevent other dogs from stealing his food. There is also a possibility that the fidos may have to compete for "their meal" as a puppy with their siblings. This feeling of competition is instinctive, which means even if your pup is the only doggo in the house, he may still eat faster, considering you and other animals a competition.
- Irregular meal timing
If you have got your fast-eating dog from a shelter, there are some pretty good chances that the previous owners did not follow a regular feeding routine. They may not be able to keep to a proper feeding schedule, leaving the pooch uncertain of the next mealtime. The same goes for formerly stray dogs who had to find food in the wild and in trash bins.
Sticking to a proper feeding schedule is critical for your dog's health. It can wipe out eating concerns, anxiety, and destructive behaviors. Plus, with proper care and lots of love, you can help your canine understand that the next mealtime isn't that far away!
- Poor nutrition
In some cases, the quality of food you are offering your furry pal might be to blame. After all, not all dog food bags available in the market are well-balanced. Consult your vet to ensure that your four-legged friend is getting proper nutrients. Your vet can also recommend some high-quality dog food.
- Underlying health concern
If you notice that your dog has suddenly started eating much faster, do not ignore this clue! There is a chance that an underlying illness is making your canine feel excessively hungry. Health concerns like Cushing's disease, hormonal imbalance, diabetes, and thyroid can cause a rapid increase in hunger, which leads to faster eating and excessive weight gain.
There can be a lot of reasons why you notice your dog eating too fast. But some dogs are just fast eaters! Dog breeds such as Labradors are simply food motivated and love to eat faster. So the best thing you can do is visit your vet and find the actual reason behind fasting eating without getting panicked.
The risks of dog eating too fast
Yes, we know the struggle! Preventing your canine from eating too fast is a real challenge! Yet it is crucial to break this habit as it can lead to severe health concerns. One of the most noticeable side effects of speed eating is bad gas. In fact, this is what leads many pet owners to learn more about dog fast eating habits in the first place!
Let's look at some other side effects of dog fast eating.
- Bloating AKA Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV)
Dogs who like to eat faster swallow too much air in the process, causing their stomach to rotate and swell. This condition puts extra pressure on other body organs, and the food, air, and water get trapped in the stomach. Bloating can quickly become a life-threatening condition, leading to low blood pressure, shock, and internal organ damage.
The primary symptom of bloating is unsuccessful vomiting. A dog suffering from bloating tries to vomit, but nothing comes up except for some foamy saliva or mucus.
Other symptoms include uncertain behaviors, anxiety, and pain.
Bloating is a highly severe condition that can cause immediate death. It requires immediate medical attention, or the pet can kick the bucket in less than an hour.
Symptoms of gastric dilation volvulus include
- Shallow or rapid breathing
- Inflated stomach
- Attempting to vomit with no luck
- Choking and gagging
Dogs that eat a bit too quickly don't chew their food entirely, leading them to choke over inhaled pieces of food. Some common signs of choking include:
- Inability to breath
- Opening mouth and moving the body forward to dislodge the object
- Pale gums
- Pawing the face
Choking can quickly become a life-threatening condition, especially if the pooch cannot cough his food out. It is a severe medical emergency that can rapidly escalate to breathlessness and even demise.
The canine stomach can't handle a large amount of food at once, and that is why quick eating causes stomach contractions, usually followed by vomiting. Vomiting is unpleasant for the dog and can cause harm to body organs like the esophagus.
- Dental Issues
The texture of dog food helps your pooch remove any unwanted plaque and tartar from his teeth. Nonetheless, when canines start gobbling up their food rather than taking their time and chewing it thoroughly, this advantage is omitted, leading to dental issues such as bacteria.
How to get your dog to eat slower
Sadly, many canine owners don't understand the severity of this problem and assume that it's just a regular habit that will go away itself. But the truth is that without taking proper steps, the situation may worsen. Fortunately, some remedies can help you tackle the problem of your dog eating fast. Some of the tricks are mentioned below:
Start by consulting with your vet
Find out if your pup is dealing with any parasites. Ensure that the little fella is getting all the nutrients necessary for an active, healthy life. Talk to your vet about including proteins, vitamins, and minerals in your dog's diet.
Use a snuffle bowl or slow feeder dog bowl.
Snuffle bowls and snuffle mats like these ones provide an interesting way of feeding your pooch. Simply spread the food or treats throughout the mat or put them on the surface of the snuffle bowl. Call your dog and let him work a little harder for some delicious treats!
These bowls are effective for a lot of canines. They keep your dog from munching faster by letting them use their mind and nose to get the treats out of the bowl. Snuffle bowls work as a dog slow feeder and have built-in obstacles designed to make your dog eat a bit slowly.
Some dogs are pretty clever, and they figure out these bowls quickly. They use their doggie brain and flip the bowl to access food easily. So if you are dealing with such an intelligent canine, grabbing a good quality snuffle mat like this one can do the trick.
Offer smaller but more frequent meals.
Serving your dog the same quantity of food over the course of multiple mini-meals may help. The thought behind this is that even if your dog is still eating fast, the meal is in smaller quantity, decreasing the risk of bloating, choking, or regurgitation.
Try floating kibble
Want to try some home-based tricks to slow down your fido's eagerness to eat? Look no further than your kitchen cabinet! Simply pour a cup of water into the food bowl and add some kibble. The floating kibble is slightly harder to "catch" and will eliminate the fast eating. Other than that, this trick also helps release the gases formed in a compacted food pack. Pet owners can also add some ice cubes to the bowl.
Use a food puzzle
Food puzzles are an incredible way to slow down your canine's eating. These puzzles comprise multiple crannies for your dog treats to fit in it, thereby making it impractical for the pup to take huge bites.
Make mealtime fun
Offer your furball an entertaining treat by feeding him through a food-dispensing toy.
These toys release only a few pieces of trees at a time, so there is no risk of speed eating. You can also DIY your own version by spreading the food in the compartments of a muffin pan.
If you have a small breed dog with a small mouth, placing a softball in the center of the food bowl can force the dog to work harder to eat. Just make sure the ball isn't too lightweight for the dog to pick up.
Eliminate the sibling rivalry
As stated earlier, some canines display competitive tendencies while eating near other pets. To help them feel that no one else will steal their food, separate the animals while feeding. You can also eliminate sibling rivalry by offering food in different corners of the same room.
Turn the feeding time into a training session.
Instead of offering your dog some food to gobble up, be a little creative and use the mealtime to practice some basic dog training commands such as sit, paw, and stay. Then instead of treats, let your dogs have some bites of their meal as a reward.
Give your pooch a hand.
Literally! Letting your dogs eat from your hand is one of the most efficient ways to eliminate speed eating issues. It also boosts the mental simulation of your pooch and slows down the eating process by offering food in multiple increments.
Just make sure you don't hand-feed a dog who wants to chew your hand!
Once your dog quits fast eating, you will surely notice an improvement in his digestive health. Moreover, you can also quit worrying about other threats like choking and bloating.
Keep on trying different tricks and keep your dogs on their toes!
Happy Pet Keeping!