Some dogs (and cats) simply live to eat, and enthusiastic eaters can often demolish their meal in mere seconds. Luckily for these fast foragers, there are a great many options to choose from that can help them to savor their supper a bit more. Stick with us to learn more about slow feeders and how this strategy can benefit your ravenous pal.
Why Do We Care?
When pets eat too quickly, we worry about more than the fact that they don’t even get to taste their food. There are certainly some negative implications for pets who gulp their grub too quickly.
When animals eat too quickly, they are:
- Prone to overeating and thus obesity if portions are not controlled.
- At higher risk of choking.
- At possible increased risk of bloat (gastric dilatation volvulus), a true pet emergency.
- More likely to experience vomiting or regurgitation.
- Not benefitting from any mental stimulation at meal time.
Slowing down your pet can definitely be beneficial!
Slow Feeders to the Rescue
So what’s a pet parent to a voracious eater to do? Don’t worry, there are lots of options to help!
Sometimes simply making some modifications can be very helpful. For example:
- Try feeding smaller, more frequent meals.
- If you have an only dog or cat, you can just feed outside of a bowl to make the little glutton have to work a bit harder! (This can cause some competition issues in multipet homes, though).
- Place a smaller upside-down bowl in your pet’s bowl to create a food “moat” for your pet to have to eat from.
There are some great slow-feeder solutions out there, and if you look you are sure to find the right one for your pet. Check out things like:
These are all wonderful options from which your pet can enjoy even an entire meal! You can also use some of them to make a special treat last a bit longer during things like baths or nail trims. Another great option for times when you need a little distraction is using a lick mat with a spreadable temptation like peanut butter, spray cheese, canned food, or liver paste.
Tools like these can also be extremely helpful for encouraging mental exercise and providing environmental enrichment. This can curb destructive behavior, help with separation anxiety, and be beneficial when working with many other pet behavior issues.
Having a chow hound for a pet can be challenging, but with the myriad of options that exist, there is a solution for everyone. And, as always, if you are having trouble trying to slow your pet down, give us a call at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital. We are always happy to lend a paw when it comes to our favorite patients.