Some dogs just have bad eating habits. They eat as if they will never do it again, and gulp their food down so fast. Some of them even behave obsessively towards their food.
If you discover some troubling eating habits in your dog, here are some tips that you can follow in order to control the gustatory behavior of your pets.
Fast-Paced Eating: Bad For Your Dog?
When your dog eats too rapidly, chances are they are not chewing their food thoroughly, making them prone to choking or gagging. At the same time, such kind of eating may be associated with greedy behavior. This will result to the dog acting aggressively if another pet or person comes near during mealtime. If you have children and other pets in the house, your dog may be a risk to anyone whom it perceives as a competitor for its food.
A medical condition called gastric dilatation volvulus may inflict animals, especially large dog breeds . This health condition is characterized by rapid eating and gulping. When this happens, excessive air, fluid and food fill the stomach, followed by swelling of the stomach cavity. The expansion of the stomach results to the twisting action of the axis, making it difficult for anything to pass through the stomach to the intestines. The condition can cause the animal to go into shock and sudden death.
Reasons For Bad Eating Habits
For some puppies and kittens, mealtime may come to them as some sort of a competition with adult animals. This kind of mindset may have started during the time when the puppy was still being nursed. This may become a pattern of behavior and is carried over to the new home. The behavior becomes more obvious in the presence of other animals in the home, and even if there is no competition.
A number of underlying medical conditions may also cause such behavior. For one, your pet may have a parasite infection that affects their body’s ability to absorb nutrients in the food. Another possible reason is that the food just lacks the nutrients for the animal’s need, leaving them feeling hungrier than they should be.
What Pet Owners Can Do
There are several options that you can choose to modify the behavior of your pet. One effective way is to place different objects such as toys or balls that are too large for them to swallow in the food bowl. This strategy makes them eat around the object and not gobble the food immediately.
Another method is to partition the food by placing a smaller bowl inside the larger bowl. Turn the smaller bowl upside down, pour the food into the spaces around the larger bowl allowing your dog to take just small bites from the small spaces. If you have enough time to prepare your dog’s food, you may feed your pet with small meals throughout the day so they would not consume large amounts right away.
Feeding Methods Explained
The best way to feed your dog depends on your pet’s size and personality. When you place a big bowl of food in front of them, will they stop eating when full or would they continue to eat until the food has been totally consumed?
Here are two methods that you may want to consider:
- Free-choice feeding: Fill your pet’s bowl with dry food in the morning and let them eat throughout the day when they feel hungry. This way, they would eat more or less as their appetite fluctuates. An extended morning walk would result to your pet eating more food. When less active, your pet would eat less. This method is best done for laid-back eaters.
- Timed feeding: In this method, you provide your dog with food two times every day. You allow your pet to eat for 20 minutes before removing the bowl. This way, you establish a routine and give them just the perfect proportion for their calories. This is recommended for overeaters, large breeds, and obese dogs.
Choosing High-Quality Dog Food
One of the most convenient ways of ensuring the quality of dog food is by inspecting the ingredients on the label of the product that you are buying. Dog nutrition does not depend on the price or popularity of the brand, but on the nutrients that the product contains. Pet food must be well-balanced in terms of nutritional value, and should contain appropriate vitamins, minerals, and proteins that their bodies need.
Dog food manufacturers classify their products into various life stages so you can choose the right food for your pet:
- Growth (for puppies)
- Adult maintenance (for grown dogs)
- Gestation or lactation (for pregnant and/or nursing female dogs)
- Senior (for elderly animals)
- All-life (appropriate for all dogs throughout their lives)
Another factor for choosing dog food is the personal preference of your pets for taste, their lifestyle, health problems, and personal environment. Some dogs love the crunchy feel of dry dog food on their teeth, while others prefer moist and easy-to-chew food products. In relation to this, some dog foods are more easily digested than others.
You can experiment with different brands and product variants in order to find the best dog food that your pet will enjoy. Consider this an exploratory tour of the best meal plans that will suit your pet so that they can grow healthy and strong and fully enjoy their life.
Developing Healthy Eating Habits In Your Dog
One of the first considerations in helping your dogs eat right is the frequency of feeding. Over-feeding your pet can result in them becoming lazy and fat. Most dog food packages provide guidelines on the amount and frequency of feeding your pet. However, you have to freedom to use your own discretion in the matter.
Poor weight management in dogs may have unhealthy repercussions. It is very important to help your pets maintain the right weights so that that they can live longer and stay happy. In addition, their feeding habits may also be regulated based on their life stage. For instance, a puppy may need more calories and nutrients than an adult dog.
Energetic and active puppies tend to burn more calories than their adult counterparts. During their weaning stage, puppies need to be fed three times a day until they reach the fourth to sixth month. You can start reducing their feeding by then to two times a day, in order to make it easier on their digestion.
For adult dogs, you need to be careful with the amount of food you will feed them as they may become obese. One or two meals a day is enough for them. The older the dog is, the less active they become.
In summary, controlling your pet’s eating habits is essential to extending their life expectancy and keeping them healthy.