Ho do you train your dog not to gulp/inhale food and treats?
I have a female pit bull that inhales/gulps her treats or dog chews. I fear that they would lodge in her GI system or be unable to pass it in her stool. My 2 other dogs will chew theirs normally but my pittie is frantic to chew/eat as quickly as possible. She is not food aggressive but just wants to make sure she gets her share. Thank you.
on Dec 1st 2010
in Behavior & Training
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For a dog owner who wants to prevent his pet from gulping his food, the idea often seems futile. It is in a dog's nature to do so, much like it is to sniff the hindquarters of other dogs, or to bark when a stranger nears. But foremost, a dog wants to be praised by his owner. He is constantly seeking approval, and this empowers the owner to train the dog not to gulp his food. This practice is not only good table manners. It also prevents acid reflux, digestive problems, excessive overeating, erratic eating, as well as nausea in dogs.
Now, perhaps it seems a little obvious, but try feeding the dog small portions at a time. A dog will not exhibit self-restraint on his own. All he knows is that you've given him a large amount of food, and that you expect him to eat it. If you want the dog to eat 1/2 cup over an hour, then give the dog 1/8 cup every 15 minutes. If the dog knows he is being fed frequently, he may become comfortable with eating at a slower pace. Steadily build up to larger amounts at a time to see if the dogs practices the same slow eating technique as the amount gets larger. Much of the time, a regular eating schedule will give the dog the stability he needs to refrain from gulping his food.
Another way is to change the feeding method. Offer the dog the food with your hand, but only allow him to have it if he takes it patiently without gulping. This will require much trial and error, as a dog's mouth will often act more quickly than our hand will pull away. A dog will not comprehend that gulping will cause hiccups and indigestion. In fact, after getting sick from eating too quickly, most dogs, like children, will purge and then eat again once their appetites recover.
Whenever a dog does not gulp when you offer him food, praise him immediately. A dog more than anything enjoys praise and acceptance from his owner, and your immediate praise will encourage his choice to eat slowly. You can also offer treats that don't require immediate consumption, such as sugar cubes - that a dog can lick, but not consume, in one gulp. Because sugar is not good for dogs' teeth, this method should be utilized in moderation.
If you have multiple dogs, make sure that each dog has his own food and water available. It is the animal instinct to devour food in order to prevent others from taking from him. The dogs must know they each have their own food and are not competing for a share of the same food. Over time, these techniques will teach the dog to eat slowly, and will offer better digestive health, and fewer accidents, along with the structure and security that every pet desires.
Blue answered on 12/1/10. Helpful? / 1
The easiest way to prevent gulping down regular food is to change food dishes. Try a cookie sheet so she can't just gulp huge mouthfuls or there are specially made dishes with a raised part in the center which requires the dog to eat around the center, thereby slowing them down. You can also put some large, CLEAN round stones in the dish, but make sure they are big enough to not be swallowed! It is also helpful to add more water to her food.
Many times the problem is due to competition... it would probably help if she were fed in another room away from the other dogs as well.
Hand feed treats and break them into smaller pieces. Again, keep her separate from the others when she gets them so the competition is not there, since this problem CAN escalate to her becoming food and resource aggressive, which can be a source of fighting among the other dogs.
Here is a food dish that you can check out -
What I did to get my dogs to take food easily from the hand was to take a piece of food and put it in my hand, put my hand in a fist and have some of the food hanging out from the side of my hand and I'll say "easy" and if the dogs tries to snatch at my hand I'll say "easy" and until the dog can get to take the good easily, feed it to him.
Howard answered on 12/1/10. Helpful? / 1
I do not agree with Toto on the fact on putting a Stone in the food..For instance the dog may not know that the stones in there and you know that your dog gulps down food really fast that it doesnt see what hes doing?..Well he could do that, then that stone could break or crack one of his canine teeth etc..
But I agree with Dagger, His answer is more protectiable, and I also agree with Howard as well:D
Kids, Toto was talking about a Big stone, not some little rock that the dog could easily pick up in it's mouth.
There are also large silver colored balls available to buy. They can go in food or water bowls to slow down a fast eater.
Cindy (RIP) answered on 12/1/10. Helpful? / 1
Krypto, when you copy someone else's answers you must credit the author/source...Amanda Simington, from
Guest. I have a gsd who eats very fast also. The large rock/ball does work. I use a kong ball & put some of his dinner inside, as well. He has to push the ball around to get all the kibble out a bit at a time. It has slowed him down a lot. Some of those special food bowls look pretty cool...I may try one.
I'm going with Howard, the bowl that slows them down will help alot.
Dieta answered on 12/2/10. Helpful? / 0
I was talking with a trainer the other day and he said, "who says dogs need to eat out or bowls? Do you see dog bowls in the wild?" He recommended buying several original Kong toys (enough to hold an entire feeding), put the dog's food into them, add water, freeze them, and give them to the dog at meal time. Instead of wolfing down the meal it may take up to an hour or more. There are also food-based toys such as the Buster Cube which dispense food slowly as your dog plays with them. If you follow either of these you may want to separate the pittie from the other dogs so she has enough time to get the food. Also, the Kong solution may be messy so I'd recommend not giving them on carpet.
I also second other suggestions such as a bowl with raised pattern in the middle, feeding slowly, and feeding out of your hand/rewarding the dog for doing a trick with a small handfull of food. Same with treats, and always supervise her with edible "velvet" bones to be sure she doesn't choke.
Tavie answered on 12/2/10. Helpful? / 1