When it comes to feeding time, every dog has a different preference to his or her feeding behavior. One may choose to take his sweet time and savor every bite, while another may decide to do her best to inhale the entirety of her bowl in one fell swoop. While the former may be a bit funny to watch, if a little frustrating when trying to figure out when to schedule a bathroom break, the latter can be alarming at best and downright dangerous at worst. For larger dogs especially, eating too quickly may make them more susceptible to a condition known as gastric dilatation-volvulus, or what is more commonly referred to as “bloat”. Bloat can be harmful and even deadly in the wrong circumstances, so food regulation can mean the difference between a happy pup and a medical emergency.
Food habits are best established when your dog is still in his puppy stages. Bad habits can be hard to break and change and health problems can arise the longer he has to form these habits. Starting regulation early on can prevent some digestive issues and promote a healthy and happy journey through the first years of your puppy’s life.
When beginning with a puppy, forming a plan of action for feeding time will generally take very little time at all. While your puppy may need some time to adjust to the introduced method, it should take no more than two to four days for him to grasp what to do when that bowl of food hits the floor. It’s important to remember that your puppy’s eating habits may change as he grows, so prepare to adjust your feeding practices to his growing needs!
While you really only need your dog’s food and a bowl to get started on food regulation in general, there are other items you may want to consider if you opt to go for a more specialized method. Slow feeder bowls are available at many different pet supply stores and you can easily make a treat dispenser with a plastic bottle from your own home. Have these items prepared when you first begin your puppy’s feeding routine to give him a good head start at meal time.