What problem does a slow feeder solve?
Dogs love their food, sometimes so much that they gobble it down too quickly which can cause serious medical issues. Did you know that dogs eating too fast can be life threatening? Slow feeders for dogs are more than just a toy puzzle while they’re feeding. They’re a vet recommended tool which could help save your pets life. This is why encouraging your dog to eat slower is something you should be actively facilitating.
How do they work?
Slow feeders are a relatively simple concept. They make feeding slightly more difficult by placing minor obstacles or activities in the way of their normal feed. This could be something simple like a flat board where food is spread out through gaps or something more complex where they need to actively press a button or move something to get more food. These minor obstacles force your dog to eat slower by introducing gaps between eating and/or searching for food or completing an activity to get more food.
Nowadays there is much more science and technology which makes the slow feeder not only a food bowl but also a type of game, puzzle or activity that is developed to adequately slow the feeding process without causing additional anxiety or frustration.
Why do dogs eat too fast?
Identifying the exact reason why your dog eats too quickly might be a major win for you because then you can also work on those particular issues with your dog in partnership with your vet. This may help solve the problem all together or it may still require a slow feeder during meal times.
Some of the common causes of eating too fast are;
Feeling excessively hungry – which may be triggered by long intervals between meal times. If dogs are only fed once a day or twice a day with a large gap between meals they may be feeling very hungry.
Your dog just loves their food. Let’s face it, humans do the same.
Anxiety is a very strong behavioural driver. Eating too quickly could also be linked to food security or personal security which is an instinct developed over thousands of years.
Feeling bored at home
Parasites can consume a significant amount of nutrients resulting in your dog feeling more hungry or feeling uncomfortable which they think food will help solve.
Competition from other dogs or a fear that food will be removed is another strong driver linked to a form of food anxiety.
What are the risks to dogs when they eat too fast
Eating too fast can have real, life threatening risks for your dog. The most severe of which are a twisted stomach or bloating. There are other risks too, choking, burping, flatulence, vomiting and air being taken in. Some breeds are at higher risk than others so it’s also really important to have a conversation with your vet about your dog and the risks associated with them to limit their exposure to serious medical complications.
Dogs and dog breeds most at risk are large or giant breeds, deep-chested dogs, dogs who like to run immediately after eating and puppies.
Should I get one for my dog?
Absolutely! A slow feeder is a simple, peripheral tool that has proven benefits in lowering risks to serious complications. A modern slow feeder will also stimulate your dogs mind and help them keep it active while learning and enjoying the games associated with the slow feeder. It’s an absolute must for high risk breeds.
What other benefits can I expect
- Healthier eating habits
- Mental stimulation
- Feel full sooner
Try different slow feeders
More regular feeds – automatic feeder or treat dispenser
Help your dog learn to trust – sometimes dogs eat fast because they’re scared their food will be taken away
De-worm them regularly