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The Benefits of Slow Feeding For Your Dog

WHY SLOW FEEDING IS A GOOD IDEA FOR DOGS

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When my friend asked me to dog sit for her black and white terrier mix, I didn’t hesitate. After all, I’m a huge dog lover. But when she gave me feeding instructions, I was surprised. She fed her dog in a special bowl to slow his eating because he ate like it was the first and only opportunity he’d ever get in life. She told me he tended to throw up after eating unless he ate from the special bowl.

Maybe your dog is the same. Inhaling down anything in sight, ask questions later. 

It turns out, there are dangers when dogs eat so fast. It can make them vomit and worse, they can get painful gas and bloating. Chances are, you’ve felt bloated at times when you’ve eaten too much. But if you lay down and rest, it eventually goes away.

In dogs, it’s different.

WHY IS DOG BLOAT DANGEROUS?

When a dog’s tummy fills up fast it sometimes expands and presses against the surrounding organs. This causes the intestines, liver, and gall bladder to be squeezed, which can cause the blood flow to slow down because there’s not as much room as before for the blood to circulate. When the blood can’t flow freely, it’s not making its way to your dog’s heart and everywhere it needs to go which can cause your dog to go into shock.  

It can also cause your pet’s stomach to twist and this can cut off the blood flow to other organs.

You don’t have to be a doctor to see this can be a dangerous event. The symptoms of dog bloat include: Difficulty breathing, drooling, and pacing. If your dog seems stressed after eating, don’t hesitate to call your veterinarian.

Besides reducing the risk of dog bloat, there are other benefits of slow feeding too.

It can help your dog lose weight. When your dog slows down their eating pace, they’ll chew more. Instead of inhaling and then looking at you for more, they’ll take an extra minute or two. When dogs chew and swallow their meals, they end up eating less and feeling fuller longer.

Slower eating can also reduce dog vomiting after meals. So, less cleanup for you. If your dog vomits frequently after eating, it could be because they inhale a lot of air with their food and vomiting it helps the body regulate itself.

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HOW YOU CAN HELP YOUR DOG EAT SLOWER

If there are other animals in your house and your dog feels territorial about his food, you can try feeding him separately. Try a small amount of food at a time in a different part of the house and that may work.

If you don’t have other pets waiting to pounce on Max’s food, then you could play a version of hide and seek by tucking bits of kibble around your house and dinner time.

You can also try one of those puzzles or slow feeding bowls. Slow feeders are designed to make it just a teensy bit harder for Max to gobble everything down in seconds. With puzzles, your dog paws the right block or solve some other problem to release the kibble. Some dogs love these as it as it also engages their brains.

Hopefully, if you have a fast eater, you can see how it’s beneficial to slow your pup’s eating. My friend found the slow feeder bowl worked well for her pup. Which method will you try?

Slow feeders are available for cats too! You can get them at your local PetSmart or Petco.

Written by Jen Phillips April

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