What Can I Do To Slow Down My Dog’s Eating?

1 11 2008

First things first, dogs do not really “chew” their food.  However, they should not be gulping down the entire bowl so fast that it causes them to choke!

Try feeding your dog out of your hand, one piece at a time, rather than tossing their food in a bowl.  Notice that I am talking about dry dog food here.  At least 90% of the food your dog eats should be dry food, since canned food is just a treat on top of their everyday diet.  Dry dog food gives them stronger teeth and jaws, since it requires more activity and mastication than wet food.  Dry dog food can also help to eliminate mouth odor issues, since the kibble helps break up any tartar that may have formed.

Wet, canned food should only be used sparingly as a treat, or if you are trying to entice your dog to eat more because he is underweight.  This can be especially helpful if you foster a dog that was neglected, or if you adopt a dog from a rescue or the pound (aka “Puppy Jail”).  Wet food can also be helpful in hiding ground up medicine.  Mom thinks she has me tricked with this, but it’s WAY too much work to eat around the medicine.

Next, think like your dog and consider why your dog may be gulping the food.  Does he gobble it down to keep another dog from getting it?  Sometimes, dogs that do not have access to food all the time (i.e. they do not “free feed”) will act like they are starving to death when their food is presented.

To a dog, there is nothing special about food other than its ability to sustain life.  Yes, we do like certain foods or treats over others, but we do not make plans based on thoughts of a tasty steak for tonight’s dinner.  Food is our number one motivator that you can control, and if you want a dog to do something, remember, we don’t work for free.  Mom is single-handedly keeping the dehydrated treat company in business to bring you this info.

While food is our biggest motivator, and we do many things with the promise of food to come, there are still some dogs that will eat rotten food they find on the side of the road.  Is this because they are so hungry that they cannot pass it up?  Not always.  Is this because they are motivated to do something?  Yes.  The dogs that are motivated to eat rotten food off the side of the road can even be well-fed, deeply cared for dogs.  Why?  Because they can.  This is why most dogs should not be roaming freely.  There are times that our instincts can not distinguish between what IS good for us and what IS NOT good for us.

Our instinct tells us that no matter what it is, good or bad.  If we can not play with it or make puppies with it, then it must be eaten.  And no, we do not ever savor the flavor.  It is in the mouth, maybe a couple of crunch, crunch, crunches and to the stomach it goes.

It takes people entirely too long to eat!  I suppose it is because you have domesticated yourselves so much that you need to chew and savor the flavor of every bite.  If dogs are destined to be domesticated to that extent, then leave me here!  I do NOT want that life.




One response

24 01 2009
Go Fetch Gifts

I disagree about dry food. I think canned food is way more nutritious than dry, which is so over-processed that any semblance of nutrition is sucked, dried, and baked out of it. And don’t even get me started on the grains, which dogs were not meant to eat. I believe the canned/dry ratio should be at *least* 50/50, if not heavier on the canned or eliminating dry altogether.

Giving them crunchy foods can help a little with dental health, but that can be in the form of a treat. Nothing will help more than brushing their teeth will. Humans wouldn’t go their whole life removing tartar by chewing on crackers and cookies. And chew toys are great for exercising jaws. You even said yourself in the first sentence – they aren’t even really chewing it.

So what is the answer to the question in the title? How DO you slow down your dog when he eats? I personally don’t have this problem, but I have seen dog bowls with “poles” in them, so that your dog has to work to eat around the pieces of the bowl that are in his way.

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