Tips on feeding a Gulper

This is a dedicated place for all of your questions and answers about Raw Diets. There are also some really cool groups like "Raw Fed" on the topic you can join. This forum is for people who already know they like the raw diet or sincerely want to learn more. Please remember that you are receiving advice from peers and not professionals. If you have specific health-related questions about your dog's diet, please contact your vet!

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Layla CGN

oh the life of a- princess!
Barked: Wed Apr 4, '12 4:48pm PST 
Layla is not only a gulper, but she has a touch of possessiveness. She is the only dog in our pack still on kibble and mostly because I don't know how to feed her. She weighs about 40 lbs, so would eat 1 lbs a day (meat, bone & organ). That would be roughly a chicken leg. But I'm worried she won't chomp on it properly and will try to swallow a piece that is too big and choke! shock

The Beginner's Guide for Prey Model Raw has a section for feeding gulpers. Here's an excerpt:

"Several things you can try:
- Feeding foods larger than your dog's head so the dog has to chew"
ok, but since she shows possessiveness, how do I take away something as valuable as raw food ?

"-Feeding foods that are frozen"
ok, I can do this for sure.

"-Feeding hard to eat foods that are awkwardly shaped such as racks of ribs"
That is fine if I can find ribs for a decent price.

"-Holding the food until your dog learns how to eat correctly"
She would probably wait until I let it go before actually eating it... due to the possessiveness.

Any suggestions? shrug

I'm triple- superior MAD- now!
Barked: Wed Apr 4, '12 5:13pm PST 
I have experimented with forcing the knobby end of a wing or drumstick into a kong. That works for Max, he just gnaws down to the kong. He gets mini meals of meat stuffed chicken foot topped frozen kongs too, freezing it would definitely make it more difficult to gulp. You could try clamping a vise grip on if you don't think she would go nuts and try to break the metal.

I have fed Artie in an exercise pen. I show him the goodie and when his head is turned toss it and quickly put the panel of the pen over the food so it is out of the pen. In an emergency I can see doing that, basically treating the panel like a pig crowd panel to keep your hands away from the object of interest.

It isn't recommended but you can cut meat into small bits and hand feed her. Chicken necks could be pounded and cut into bite sized bits. Sassy was always very anxious about food and after she learned doggy zen where she had to make eye contact before my hand opened and she got the cookie I moved to airplane cookies where a very slow moving cookie moved toward her and if she lunged the cookie moved away. It turned out my moving fast caused her to move fast, she was mirroring my behavior all those years. Needless to write, that would need to happen away from the other dogs.

Max isn't super nuts about food but did have a couple of redos when he was a bit stressed out. He noticeably calmed down once he got to eat big. Maybe after she has been on raw for a while you can give her her two days, three days and maybe up to a week's ration to eat as she pleases and she can get good and full and might calm down a little.
Jake Earned- his wings- 10.02.15

I am Murphy's- Law Embodied! <3- Me!
Barked: Wed Apr 4, '12 7:40pm PST 
my little beagle is a gulper. We've had a few instances with defrosted food where he's coughing it back up cuz he choked on it like a fool.

I give it to him frozen or semi defrosted.I alwyas make sure its larger then his head forcing him to chew it. CHicken quarters are about the size of his head and he gets one of those a day. Its about 1lb of food. and two chicken livers. Yesterday he got lucky and i happened upon a flank steak on mark down and it was about .80lbs so he had a whole steak for dinner. But only if its larger then his head. I've been known to freeze ground beef underneath the chicken skin so that hte legs and thighs are bulked up so that he can't just swollow them whole.

Recently he's gotten into being able to eat slightly smaller things like chicken legs and tights. But usually if it's fresh its larger then his head and usually only if i happen upon a steak on mark down. Everything else is frozen semi solid.

** I should put this next bit on what mistakes did you make when starting out.

I gave jake his first bone in raw meal and got nervous when he got to the drum stick due to his gulping habit and like an idiot put my hand in his crate to take it away. I will never forget the look my sweet gentle beagle gave me. I think he wanted to take my hand off. Biggest mistake i ever made. Didn't get bit though. But i realized i had something else jake wanted. Jake loves eggs. So i went to the kitchen and showed jake the egg i had in my hand. I told him to drop what he had with a 'drop it' command and then gave him the egg and took the chicken drum stick away. He ate the egg i had all 8 fingers and two thumbs and we were both happy campers.

My suggestion with possessive nature and the bolt gulper if she is one is serve it frozen and large and have a treat she loves ready at hand to take the food away. You can use a liver cookie you can use peanut butter. Jake will drop a chicken leg in a second for a spoon with peanut butter to lick. I've even found canned tripe to work. though canned tripe is stinky. Once i even used Jack LInk Beef Jerky cuz i was in a bind and he woulnd't let go of the bone.


I dig in mud- puddles!
Barked: Wed Apr 4, '12 8:35pm PST 
What about feeding food that is frozen onto a plate or cookie sheet? (providing that you have the freezer space for this)

It might force her to gnaw away at the food rather than gulp it down as fast as possible.

The world is my- food bowl!
Barked: Thu Apr 5, '12 9:54am PST 
Hi Layla. My Charlie is also a serious gulper with resource guarding habits towards food. Never doubt any of the tips people give you before you try them out smile.

We make sure to feed cuts that are large enough to force him to chew, or we feed him boneless/organ meals in tiny pieces that I tossed to him. I always feed boneless by hand now, because I once gave Charlie an entire pound of boneless pork and he swallowed it whole.. only to pace around, bloated, and then slowly and miraculously hack it up. That was the most terrifying moment for me as a pet owner, so I never risk it anymore. I cut his boneless meals and organ into 1-2 ounce bits and toss them to him one at a time.

Another thing I wanted to recommend to you is to feed very large cuts one day, and then small bits of boneless and organ the next. It's alright to feed 3% one day, 1% the next etc etc. We have built up to gorge/fasting in the past, so once every 2 weeks I allow the dogs to eat huge salmon heads (4% for Charlie, 8% for Zelda) and then not eat the next day or so at all.
Zoey, Shellie & Griffin

Natural & Loving- it!
Barked: Sun Apr 8, '12 10:05am PST 
Shellie was a huge gulper on kibble....for whatever reason on raw she is a very slow eater....Griffin on the other hand has choked a couple of times because he won't slow down, if I hold his food he gulps faster, if I feed frozer he gulps faster then screams cause it's cold.....he's a stinker pot. I just cut into chunks than he can't choke on and feed that way....only way to get him to slow down...he gulps it all then is upset when his meal is gone in 1/2 a second. Brat dog! I feed him some meals out of his kong but he has excellent slurping skills and usually has it gone in under a minute.....sometimes I think he's Ziva reincarnated LOL! She was the same way.
Layla CGN

oh the life of a- princess!
Barked: Tue Apr 10, '12 9:12am PST 
Wow thanks for the tips everyone! dancing

I think I will start with giving her frozen and one meal a day, which will keep the portions fairly large. I hadn't thought about giving a large meal one day and a small meal of organs/boneless the next. That's a pretty good idea!

I'm not quite ready to put her on raw yet, but in the meantime I am working hard on teaching her to Give/Drop it. She's is doing really good with her favorite toy! snoopy

Barked: Tue Apr 17, '12 5:01pm PST 
I'm curious, why are you allowing your dog to be possessive with food? There should be no question that you run the show, and if you need to take away something from the dog it shouldn't be a big deal. I know my GSD when she was a puppy got possessive with a bone once, but she was corrected for it big time. Whether it be a bone or anything else, I want my dog to spit out whatever may be in her mouth the first time I ask.

If it is something that persists you might want to see a behaviorist for because it can lead to bad things behavior wise.

On a side note I share your concerns about feeding a gulper. My dog inhales her kibble and chokes on it every once in awhile. I am trying to freed her portions solid for awhile to see if it will slow her down. (She starts in two weeks)

How You Doin'?
Barked: Tue Apr 17, '12 5:13pm PST 
A tip I saw on another site is to freeze meat cuts together so they form strange, awkward shapes, feed them frozen and then trade. What's left can be refrozen with other meat cuts.

The world is my- food bowl!
Barked: Tue Apr 17, '12 7:38pm PST 
I'm curious, why are you allowing your dog to be possessive with food? There should be no question that you run the show, and if you need to take away something from the dog it shouldn't be a big deal.

Please don't believe that we "allow" our dogs to behave badly. Resource guarding is an instinctive behavior, and it's not easy to fix.

I have two young dogs that have problems with resource guarding over food, and it can quickly become a terrifying situation that is difficult to deal with. I've been bitten by both dogs, each time once to show me that there was indeed a problem. Nowadays if I need to remove a bone from the dogs, it's a team effort with my fiance to draw the dogs out of their crate with something tastier, close a door behind them and allow myself to retrieve the bone.

I have never found a SAFE quick-fix. We are content with planning out meals that won't involve us stepping in our dogs' space. And that's just the thing.. I can't really be up-in-arms over the fact that my dog is being just that, a dog. I try to avoid it if possible and do what I can to improve the behavior, but I don't really expect it to go away.
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