Speed Eating in Dogs

Living with a dog entails a lot of responsibilities besides the beautiful feelings such as love and loyalty. First of all, you should ensure that the dog you care for lives in a loving environment. While the keyword is love here, if you have questions like “Is loving my dog enough alone?”, “How should I care for it?”, “What should it eat and not eat”, let’s see the answers together.

Reasons for Speed Eating in Dogs

Speed eating is generally an eating disorder. For dogs, eating disorders might arise in different types and from different reasons. Speed eating problem basically involves swallowing the food without chewing adequately. In order to eliminate the misperceptions of the dog owners about speed eating, they should firstly know that speed eating does not always mean that the dog is very hungry.

Speed eating is caused by varying psychological reasons as in the case of other eating disorders. Any change in your pet friend’s mood might lead to that behavioral problem. Negative feelings such as insecurity, competition or being abandoned are the basic psychological factors for the development of speed eating. Speed eating problem might result from a past emotional change; however, it might also be observed in such dogs that have never experienced such conditions.

Besides emotional factors, it should be noted that your dog might actually be hungry. Particularly, speed eating might also result from long-term hunger or lack of physiological fullness owing to several factors.

Possible Results of Speed Eating

Speed eating might lead to various digestive system problems from relatively simple symptoms such as vomiting and swelling to critical conditions such as twisted stomach.

If the food is swallowed quickly without being chewed adequately, it might go down the wrong way leading to respiratory system problems, even choking by blocking the respiratory track.

Chewing increases the surface area for the digestive fluids to act on by dividing the food into small pieces. If food is swallowed without being sufficiently digested (chewed) in the mouth, it is harder to digest that food in the stomach and bowels. Accordingly, swelling, vomiting, stomach ache and diarrhea might arise.

How Can Speed Eating Be Prevented in Dogs?

First of all, the reason should be revealed. To this end, if necessary, you should seek help from a specialist and create a roadmap accordingly.

In the first stage, that reason should be eliminated.

– Taking the food away from a dog while feeding is among the factors that trigger speed eating. If your dog feels that the food will be taken away, you should firstly instill a sense of confidence in this regard. For example, you can serve its food at a quiet place where anybody (even you) cannot disturb, and quietly wait for it to finish its course.

– For such dogs that share the same kennel with other pets, the sense of competition might lead to speed eating. In such a case, you can serve the food in different bowls (if possible, in different rooms).

– Serving food at such places where there are many dogs (e.g. parks and gardens) might trigger the sense of competition. In this regard, it is not appropriate to offer food when there are many dogs around.

– The dog owner might want to feed the stray dogs encountered on the streets during any walk/exercise. But this behavior might cause speed eating because your dog might feel that its food is being given to other animals.

– Serving the daily amount of food by dividing it into courses will cause your dog to feel that it is allowed to feed more than once a day, so this will enable your dog to develop a sense of confidence. This practice can help stop speed eating.

– When you see your friend eating fast, do not worry right away because dogs are very sensitive in perceiving emotions. If you feel uneasy, this might cause your dog to get more worried and eat the food faster.

– In any case, never disturb a dog, which shows speed eating behavior, during feeding. If you have to observe it while feeding, you should stay in a distance which will not bother your dog, and if possible, you should stay out of its sight.

– You can also prefer the smart bowls which contain games for dogs. But when using smart bowls, the first point to take into consideration is how your dog will react on the first try. If it shows an aggressive attitude because it has difficulty in reaching the food, this might encourage speed eating. In such a case, you can change the bowl gradually. For example, you can serve the larger portion of a course in the old bowl, and once you are certain that your dog is full, you can serve the remaining smaller portion in the new bowl.

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