Your dog eats too fast, you would like to slow down this behavior? Here I propose to understand why your dog is a real glutton at mealtime and especially how to slow down when he eats too fast.
A dog that eats too fast: not necessarily alarming!
First of all, you should know that a dog that eats quickly is not necessarily a bad thing.
So of course, there is "fast" and "fast" I mean well. But you should know that a dog who eats his bowl in less than 5 minutes: it is not serious because dogs do not need, as we do, to chew well to digest properly. On the other hand, a dog that eats in a few seconds: yes, indeed, it is a problem!
Then, in general, you will see that if your dog eats too quickly, digestion problems will follow. We will then see what your dog risks if he eats too quickly, but above all how to slow him down.
Why does my dog eat too fast?
There are several reasons why your dog may eat too fast, here are the main ones:
• Reason n°1 : Your dog comes from a rather large litter and reproduces the competitive attitude he had during the meal in his kennel to be sure not to miss and/or that "someone" eats his share.
• Reason n°2 : Your dog has been deprived of food in his past, perhaps he has a history of malnutrition which makes him still have the reflex to throw himself on his bowl for fear of missing.
• Reason n°3 : The food you give your dog may not be rich enough in terms of nutritional intake and your dog is so hungry that he always throws himself on his bowl.
• Reason n°4 : The quantity you give your dog may not be sufficient, he lacks food and therefore always feels hungry which would explain his behavior.
• Reason n°5 : You have several dogs and your dog is afraid that someone will take his food (always in connection with the memory of what happened with his siblings).
What are the risks of my dog eating too fast?
The main risks that your dog "takes" by eating too fast (even if he is not aware of it, let's be clear...) are generally stomach and digestion problems such as vomiting, stomach turning, bloating, indigestion, etc.
You should definitely watch out for what is called EDS (Stomach Dilation-Torsion Syndrome). EDS occurs when a dog eats too fast, swallows air while eating and then follows up with intense physical exertion.
If these three elements combine, the air that has entered your dog's digestive tract could cause the stomach to expand and possibly twist. And this is a life-threatening emergency! Go immediately to your veterinarian or to the nearest veterinary clinic.
The best solution being prevention, here are a few rules to follow to prevent this from happening.
The dog's meal: rules to respect
Indeed, first of all you must set up a framework and well defined rules and especially respected by all the members of the family concerning the meal of your dog:
Rule n°1: The dog eats alone. No need to stay with him, it is better to leave him alone during his meal.
Rule n°2 : The dog eats in less than 15/20 minutes, if at the end of these 20 minutes, the bowl is not finished, we remove it and we will propose it again at the next meal (by adding the necessary portion to the daily ration). Don't worry, a dog will never die of hunger (except in exceptional cases linked to a pathology/illness).
Rule n°3: The meal must be offered by the owner once, twice or three times a day and must not be self-service. Self-service means making the dog understand that if he wants to eat, he can do so, and when he wants to... But when he cannot (for x or y reason), he will be frustrated and will make it clear, sometimes through behaviors that may be undesirable (barking, growling, insistent attitude, etc.). The master must remain in charge of this main resource for his dog. On the other hand, self-service increases the risk of stomach turning. Indeed, since the owner does not manage this resource, he does not really know when his dog is eating and could very well offer him a play session while the dog is in the middle of digesting.
Rule n°4: In the same logic, the dog must wait for the master's indication before throwing himself on his bowl. The learning of "not moving" or "you wait" will then be essential.
Rule n°5 : The meal must be taken in a quiet place, without too many passages and distractions. If the dog is not at ease, he will either not eat, or he will eat too quickly for fear of being disturbed so much that he cannot finish, or he will become aggressive to avoid being deprived of his resource.
In short, these are the 5 rules that you must put in place with any dog, whether he eats quickly or not, in order to frame this moment so that it does not become problematic later on.
Solutions to slow down your dog who eats too fast:
• Offer your dog an adapted bowl, the ones called "anti-slurping bowls". There are different models: either in the shape of a maze, or with small studs on either side of the bowl to encourage the dog to take his time to find all the kibble.
• If you don't want to invest in this kind of equipment, you can simply turn your dog's bowl upside down or put a heavy ball (like a petanque ball) in the middle of the kibble to invite your dog to go around it to get to the kibble.
• An even more economical solution that has a double effect is to offer your dog's food in the form of a tracking game: by spreading the kibbles all over the garden, on your terrace, in the garage or in the living room, depending on where you feed your dog. This will encourage your dog to take his time, but above all, it will stimulate his sense of smell and thus spend him mentally and olfistically: it's all good!
• If you feed your dog once a day, you can divide his daily ration in two parts. If you are already feeding your dog in two parts and your schedule allows it, you can multiply the feeding times, but only up to 3 times a day. However, don't give your dog too many meals, as this would mean that your dog is still digesting a little and this is not right. There are also dispensing toys, such as Kong, but I am not really in favor of this technique because it implies giving the toy to your dog all day long so that he can retrieve the kibble as he pleases and this is not consistent with the need to manage this resource as a master.
• If you have several dogs, and one (or all) of them eats too fast, don't hesitate to separate them by offering them a serene and quiet place so that they can enjoy this moment in all serenity and without being afraid that someone will "steal" their food.
• Finally, and this is perhaps the first thing to do: check the quantity and especially the quality of the food you offer your dog. Don't hesitate to ask your veterinarian about the nutritional needs of your dog because not all dogs have the same needs (depending on their breed, age, morphology, physical activity, possible medical history, etc.).