Do you have a little monster that devours its meals in seconds? While having a healthy appetite is, well, healthy, eating too fast can have devastating consequences for small pets.
What’s so dangerous about eating too fast?
The effects of fast eating can have on an animal vary greatly from one to the next. Signs can be as minor as an occasional gastrointestinal discomfort, or light vomiting, but don’t let it fool you – they can also quickly escalate to life-threatening conditions.
Other than the obvious choking threat, eating too fast can also lead to a condition called food bloat (or GDV- Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus). Food bloat happens when an animal swallows air along with the food, which causes its intestines to inflate. Sometimes the intestines then twist around themselves, inflicting a lot of pain on the animal, and, when left untreated, sadly resulting in its death.
Don’t worry though, we got you covered with plenty of tips, tricks, mats, bowls, and other fun ways of slowing your dog‘s eating.
Stopping your little monster from gulping food
Slow feeder mats or chew treat balls are a great place to start if you want to slow your dog‘s eating. These products are designed to break the surface area of the bowl (or mat) and prevent your dog from inhaling his food all in one go. Apart from slowing your dog‘s eating though, slow feeder bowls and pet food mats offer yet another equally important benefit. They help keep dogs mentally stimulated as they require figuring out the best way of getting to the food, just like in nature.
Not all dog slow feeder bowls and pet food mats are created equal. When choosing the one that’s best for your furry friend, it’s important to make sure that they’re made from food-grade, pet safe materials, and that the animal can’t easily find a way around them (like knocking the bowl over and eating straight from the floor for example).
On a tight budget? You can also try…
Another simple and easy trick to slow an animal’s eating is to simply make the food sticky enough to physically prevent it from being gulped up. Adding a bit of pumpkin paste, goat milk, or even water to your pet’s food can have a huge impact on its eating pace.
You can also try to reduce the amount of food you give your dog, and hide the rest of it throughout the house. This will mimic a more natural way of “catching” the food and keep your furbaby both physically and mentally stimulated.
To wrap things up
Similarly to humans, eating too fast isn’t healthy for pets, but unlike us, when it comes to smaller animals, fast eating can also have life-threatening consequences. Luckily there are plenty of options for slowing your dog’s eating in fun and engaging ways. Our final tip is no matter which method you find that suits your furry friend best – ALWAYS stick to a strict feeding routine. Pets that are fed sporadically and don’t know when will be the next time they’re going to eat tend to eat faster and more than they actually need.