Why are so many Labrador retrievers named Hoover? Because they inhale their food.
One of the most common concerns among dog owners - especially large breed dog owners - is their dog eating too quickly. This often results in the dog throwing up their food, leaving a nice little mess on the family room carpet.
There are many reasons why certain dogs consume their food too fast. Perhaps it dates back to their wild ancestors, where meals would have to be eaten immediately due to competition. Fast eaters are at high risk for nausea and vomiting, as well as stomach torsion or bloat. Bloat is an especially dangerous condition that can be fatal in a short amount of time.
The type of food your dog eats is a big factor, too. Dogs eating raw diets are at less risk of digestive issues from speedy eating because they are more water-dense, which makes it easier for the body to break down quickly. Kibble, on the other hand, is processed and does not break down as quickly as unprocessed raw food. Dogs also tend to drink more water after consuming kibble, which can add to digestive discomfort. Speed-eating dogs on kibble may benefit from having their kibble moistened with warm water prior to feeding.
But how can I slow down my fast-eating dog?
There are many ways you can help slow down your dog’s rate of consumption! First, consider feeding your dog in stages. Divide each meal into three parts, and feed them fifteen minutes apart. For those who need a more automated solution, timed feeders are a good option. With a timed feeder, you can program the frequency and amount of food dispensed at times you choose. This is a popular solution for families with bustling households.
A great solution to speed-eating is a slow-feed bowl. These clever bowls are designed like a maze, with channels and grooves. Instead of having unrestricted access to food in a traditional dog bowl, slow-feed bowls will greatly slow down a dog’s rate of consumption. When you slow down their eating, you lessen the risk of your dog bringing up their meal.
In multiple dog households, food competition is common, and a driving force behind speed-eating. Getting back to their wild ancestors fighting for every scrap of food, many of today’s domesticated canines still share that very same mentality. In these situations, it is best to separate them during meal times. When there is no threat for food security, a dog will typically lower their guard and eat at a normal rate.
With all that said, there are many Hoovers out there who will never have an issue with their digestion. They power through each meal at record pace and are never worse for wear. Conversely, vomiting food, and other recurring digestive issues may be a symptom of an illness. Be sure to have your dog examined for proper health if you have any concerns.
Brandon Forder – also known as The Pet Expert - is vice-president of Canadian Pet Connection, a family-owned and -operated business located in Meaford. He has over twenty-five years of experience specializing in pet nutrition, behaviour, and healthy pet lifestyles. Canadian Pet Connection is an industry leader committed to providing their clients with the highest levels of personal, attentive service. Learn more at www.CanadianPetConnection.ca.