It’s a Monday evening and you just got home from work. You know it is time to prepare dinner for yourself, as well for your dog. You pull out their dog bowl and the food you are going to serve her. Your dog begins squirming with excitement and wagging her tail. You pour her meal into her bowl and mix it up, putting it down at her feet. Soon enough, she is occupied at a fast rate, eating her food. Minutes later, it is gone. She looks at you and you look at her, wondering how it went so quickly. Dogs tend to eat their food quickly and understanding why can help us better take care of them.
The Root of the Behavior
Every behavioral pattern comes from somewhere, and dogs tend to create most of their behavioral patterns when they are puppies. A common behavior that is created is when dogs eat their food too fast. This can stem from a few reasons, but the most common reason is due to competition. If dogs are living in an environment where there are other dogs, they may feel as if eating has to be a competition. This may be because your pet feels as if they were competing against other dogs, as a puppy, for food, or they feel threatened in some way, currently. If your dog does not live in an environment with other dogs, they may still act in a competitive manner, due to habit or fear. Another reason has to do with their breed. Most dogs have the tendency to carry a competitive nature, simply because they have a wolf-like tendency. This means that the faster they finish the food, the better chance they have for survival, and it also ensures that other dogs won’t get too much of their food when they have the chance to steal it.
There are other reasons as to why dogs eat their food fast, which falls more along the lines of health concerns. A common issue may be that your dog has parasites living inside of their body, which is causing their food to not be digested, properly. If you feel your dog has a health reason, it may be wise to check for diseases with your veterinarian, like Cushing's Disease. You may, also, want to look into the brand of food you are feeding your dog. If your dog is not getting the nutrients their body needs, they will eat quickly and feel a lot hungrier than they would if they were getting their needs met. If you feel your dog may have some of these issues, it may be wise to get them checked by a veterinarian and consider changing their lifestyle to some degree, if you feel it is necessary.
Encouraging the Behavior
If your dog has a habit of eating their food at a fast rate, it is suggested to not encourage the behavior. Most times, your dog will not be eating at a fast rate due to survival needs or competition. If they are, it may be best to make some lifestyle changes as to where they are eating, or what they are eating. If your dog is eating their food fast, it may actually cause health issues with their body. The first issue with this is that your dog is not properly chewing and digesting their food. Along with this, their gulping of food can lead to extra air in their body, that is not healthy for them. They may be in pain due to this, and can even choke if they swallow it wrong. There is a condition called gastric dilatation-volvulus, which can be life-threatening for your dog. It is said to be caused by the combination of air and food. Your dog could go into shock from this condition and could possibly be at risk of death. It is also wise to not teach your dog this behavior, simply, because it is showing your dog that greedy attributes can help them succeed. This could play out in other situations in their life, that could get you both in trouble. It is suggested to teach your dog and sooth them if you see this as an issue.
Other Solutions and Considerations
If you spot your dog creating a habit out of fast eating, it is suggested to get your dog checked by the veterinarian, so the habit can be changed. It may be wise to give your dog a bowl that has obstacles. This could be through putting toys and objects in their bowl, or purchasing a slow-feeder bowl that has a maze or narrow spaces that the food is filled with. This will cause your dog to have to move around while eating their food, and it will make it difficult for them to gulp the food they are eating. Another suggestion is changing how they eat. If they are eating two meals a day, you could change that. Serving smaller meals, for your dog, throughout the day. This can help them adjust to a slower temperament, as there will not be as much food.
Every dog is different in how they eat and the habits they create. If your dog tends to swallow their food like it’s running away, you may want to consider trying out some new options and helping them create healthier habits. It will make all of the difference in your life, as well as theirs.