5 WAYS TO SLOW YOUR GREYHOUND’S EATING
You may have seen that video of the spaghetti eating competition between a Golden Retriever and German Shepherd. It perfectly illustrates the huge differences in speed with which our dogs eat. While some dogs delicately chew each piece of food others inhale their dinner within seconds. If your Greyhound is eating too fast there is a valid reason to be concerned — it can be dangerous to your dog’s health. Fast eating can lead to gagging, choking, vomiting, indigestion, even bloat.
Most dogs love to eat, but problems can arise when dogs eat their food too fast. Fast eaters tend to swallow more air than do slow eaters, which is a risk factor for a potentially fatal condition called gastric dilatation and volvulus (GDV), especially in large and giant breeds of dogs.
Why do some dogs eat so fast? Some do it because they feel like their food will get eaten up by someone else if they don’t get to it first, some eat fast due to certain medical conditions or medications, and others eat fast due to excitement. If you have multiple dogs and one of them is a fast eater, try separating them for mealtime; it should help cut down on the feeling that dinner time is a race.
If you can’t figure out why your hound is eating so fast, consider making an appointment with your veterinarian. A physical exam and some simple lab work will rule out most of the diseases that can make dogs perpetually hungry.
If you’ve eliminated physical reasons why your dog eats so fast here are a few things you can do to help slow them down.
PLAY “FIND IT”
Make them work for their dinner – this turns mealtime into a scavenger hunt. Have a treat or piece of dry food in your hand. Let the dog sniff it. Then say “find it” and toss the tidbit in plain sight. Repeat. Next hide the food next to some furniture in an easy place. Then say “find it”. Repeat. Now with your dog out of sight, hide the food throughout the room and release him while saying “find it”. Nose work like this is fun for dogs and obviously this will slow down mealtime.
A snuffle mat also works out their nose but confines the food to a much smaller area. Instructions for DIY
SLOW FEEDER BOWL
“Find it” is probably not practical for multi-dog households or if you feed raw/wet food. In that case, a slow feeder bowl will work much better. They come in so many shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common — they’re designed with obstacles inside to make it hard for your dog to gulp down their dinner. Some are a lot more complex than others. Depending on how fast your dog eats, and how good they are at solving puzzles you might want to opt for a more complex one. A bowl with just three solid raised ridges in the middle won’t slow down your dog nearly as much as one with a more complex maze design.
If you want a pretty easy DIY option try feeding your dog out of a muffin tin. Spreading their food out among the muffin cups should slow down their eating. If it doesn’t slow them down enough you can make it a bit more challenging by adding some tennis balls on top. Another easy idea is to simply place a smaller bowl upside down in a larger one.
FOOD DISPENSING TOYS
Food dispensing toys are awesome for keeping your dog mentally stimulated, but when it comes to feeding your fast eating pup they come with an added benefit — they make it impossible for your dog to scarf down their food. Food dispensing toys (sometimes called treat release toy) are designed to only let one or two pieces of food come out at a time.
They’re available at most pet stores (and online), and they’re easy to fill up, use, wash and reuse the next day. You simply fill it up with your dog’s meal, give it to them and encourage them to engage with it. As they roll it around the food will start to spill out. Feeding this way is a great form of enrichment. Your dog has to figure out how the toy works, and gets their food in small pieces. That’s bound to slow them down.
The ideal treat dispenser should be tough enough for your dog. Some toys (especially the ball shaped ones) are made of soft plastic that probably won’t hold up very well if your dog is a big chewer. Also, your dog’s food should fit through the hole, or the holes should be adjustable. And it should be dishwasher safe.
Here’s a DIY food toy idea: using non-breakable containers of different opacities, flip them upside-down, and put the food in small portions under the containers. Your dog will have to flip the containers to get to the food.
See this article for more DIY toy ideas https://bit.ly/DogToystoDIY
Some Greyhounds love being hand fed. While many owners don’t necessarily have time to sit there and hand feed their dogs, you can use training time as mealtime. Use your dog’s regular food as rewards during obedience training or any other training. Consider working on various tricks for food, and break everything down into small steps. This makes mealtime fun and safe, since your dog won’t be able to inhale large amounts of food. Using your dog’s food as a training reward not only helps slow down their eating, it can help boost their confidence, keep them mentally stimulated, and improve their focus.
WATER DOWN THE FOOD
Whether you feed wet or dry, consider watering it down. Either way, your dog will have to drink the water to get to the food, which could slow down the eating process.
Whichever method you pick, make sure your hound is still able to eat the amount of food necessary to maintain his body weight. You don’t want to frustrate him to the point where he stops eating, just slow him down a bit to keep him safe.