Some pets eat in light speed – as if they were never to see food again. They don’t taste, they don’t chew, and while it might be funny to watch it is an unhealthy behavior that you will want to work on.
Why does my pet eat so fast?
Maybe when your pet was young, they were competing with their litter mates for food and this habit was formed. An ongoing competition in multi-pet households is as well a common reason for pets to gulp down their food. There could also be medical reasons like parasites which could lead to your dog’s excessive appetite. Another possibility is that nutritionally inadequate food leaves the animal feeling hungrier than it should as a result.
Why is it bad?
Rapid eating can easily lead to choking or gagging as well as a bad stomach. The most serious health threat from this affects mostly large-sized dogs: gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). The rapid eating and gulping results in excessive air, fluid and food filling the stomach, making it swell and possibly twist around. If this occurs, the animal can go into shock and die quickly.
Generally, the behavior of rapid eating (without any medical cause) can lead to food aggression where the pet gets angry when someone, human or animal, comes near their food.
How can I make my pet eat slower?
A very effective and easy way is to acquire a slow-feeding bowl. These special pet bowls are made with different size knobs and shapes at the bottom. This slows the dog’s eating down because it has to fish out the food instead of gobbling it down. If you are on a budget, you can also try to either add objects to your dogs bowl (like a tennis ball) or to place a bowl upside down inside the feeding bowl. Put the food in so that it goes around the inner bowl, allowing the dog to only eat bit-by-bit.
You can also try to feed your kibble in a treat-release toy. It will not only slow your pet down but also stimulate their mind and mentally challenge them. A treat ball (dog & cat) , a plastic bottle with cut holes inside (make sure to smoothen the edges with a lighter), a treat puzzle, a muffin tin or a stuffable toy (in case you feed wet food) – you can be creative and go for whatever your pet enjoys the most.
If all fails and you have enough time to always be there when your pet eats, you can simply feed your pet their food in several phases or schedule a number of small meals instead of one or two big ones.