Don't worry. You are not alone. Fast eating is quite common in dogs.
Unfortunately, eating too fast may cause digestive problems. But, there are effective solutions to solve this problem.
Common ailments for dogs that eat too fast include:
In addition, gulping can be dangerous for breeds that are susceptible to bloat, which is a serious and life threatening condition
But, there are some effective options to help your dog slow down...
If your dog eats too fast and suffers from digestive problems, then select an option from below to help him slow down.
Option 1: Slow Feed Dog Bowls.
A slow feed bowl is a special dog bowl which is specifically designed to slow a dog's eating down. It has one or more domes or raised partitions that serve as an obstruction. The idea is that the obstruction causes a dog to slow down because he has to maneuver around the raised portions of the bowl to get to his food.
Option 2: Spread the Food Out.
Instead of placing your dog's food in a bowl, select a small area of your home and spread the food out on the floor or use one or two large cookie sheets. Your dog will be be forced to move around to get the food. Of course, a cookie sheet is more convenient than the floor if you feed canned dog food as opposed to dry.
Option 3: Smaller Meals.
Feed two or three small meals per day instead of one large meal. This is one of the recommended preventative measures for dogs that are prone to bloat. If you feel that your dog still eats his smaller meals too fast, then combine this with another option such as a slow feed bowl.
Option 4: Create Your Own Slow Feed Bowl.
Place a tennis ball, softball, or baseball into a regular dog bowl to serve as an obstruction. Your dog will be forced to eat around the ball. Of course, make sure that the ball is big enough to avoid accidental swallowing. This option does not always work because some dogs will just remove the ball from the bowl and then eat.
This option has actually been made into a commercial product. It gets mixed reviews at amazon.com. If you plan to try it, I recommend getting the stainless steal version as opposed to the porcelain. One reviewer mentioned that his dog picked up and dropped the porcelain version and it shattered.
It really depends on personal preference and what works best for you and your dog. There is no "one size fits all" solution.
Personally, I prefer to feed from a dog bowl instead of the floor or cookie sheets. Using a tennis ball isn't desirable because then I feel like I have to wash the ball and periodically replace it to keep things sanitary. But, it could serve as a short term, temporary solution.
After your dog stops gulping his food, you should notice an improvement or elimination of his digestive problems. If you do not notice a change and your dog is still experiencing problems of concern, then contact your vet to determine if there is another cause.
My dog, Hunter!
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