Is your dog a chow hound who finishes his meal in a matter of minutes? Seconds even? Some dogs plow through their food, practically inhaling every serving. And while it might seem to be a typical, dog-like behavior, you might want to consider slowing down your gobbling pup.
Here are a few reasons why you should make meal time last as long as possible for your dog:
Fast Eating Can Be Dangerous
Choking, gagging, vomiting… all disgusting and dangerous results of eating too quickly. Plus, wolfing down his food can make your dog feel pretty uncomfortable, result in a ton of gas, and affect his digestion. Not to mention the risks of bloat–a life-threatening condition where the stomach twists in the abdomen–which some breeds are prone to experience.
Stave Off Boredom
If you work outside the home, chances are your dog spends large parts of his day alone. Making a meal last as long as possible, especially if it’s the meal right before you leave for the day, can make your pup feel more engaged, which keeps him from feeling bored.
The Enrichment Factor
Meal time can be one of the most rewarding parts of your dog’s day. Using puzzle feeders or turning mealtime into a game can provide your dog with mental and even physical stimulation. Slowing down the process–by, say, hiding food around the house in various puzzle feeders, or by having him forage for his food –keeps his brain and his body working longer and harder to earn his meal. He’ll not only feel satiated after a meal, but he’ll also feel satisfied.
The longer your dog’s meal lasts, the safer the eating process, the less boring, and the more enriching his food becomes. After all, a well-fed, mentally-exercised pup is a happier, better-behaved pup!