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Dog time: Slow down your dog's fast eating

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Eating too fast can be fatal for a dog. Your fast-eating dog may choke on food or die from bloat. Change the meal routine and you will reduce vomiting and gagging, as well as bloat from gulping food.

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Meals - Divide your dog’s daily ration into two or three meals. When she has more frequent meals, she does not get over-hungry and attack her food. Or split each meal into portions, giving her one portion, waiting several minutes and then feeding another portion until the meal is done.

Offer quiet time. She may be eating too fast to keep other dogs from getting her food. Feed her in another room or put a portable gate between her and the food-grabbing dog buddies. Keep mealtime quiet for people and dogs. It reduces the anxiety that triggers food-bolting.

Bowls - Designed to slow fast eaters, special dog bowls such as brake-fast bowls are made with built-in bumps. Your dog eats more slowly as she hunts for kibble between the obstacles. Dog suppliers also make dishwasher safe balls such as the Portion Pacer and other objects for her food bowl. The bowl inserts fit in water or food bowls to slow down dogs from eating or drinking too fast.

Make your own diversion by adding a large rubber ball or several tennis balls at meal time. The ball rolls around in the bowl so that she must nose around to kibble-munch. If her bowl has a doughnut-channel on the bottom, turn the bowl upside down and pour her food in the channel. She must munch around the rim for her rations.

Games - Play with her food. Scatter a handful of dry kibble on the patio or a pizza pan. She cannot bolt her scattered food and nibbles it a piece at a time.

Put her food in a kibble ball or treat dispenser. She works it around the room with nose and paws, getting kibble as it falls out. Be sure the ball dispenses enough food to keep her happy and healthy.

If one method does not put the brakes on your fast-eating dog, try another method. And be sure she is healthy. The American Kennel Club suggests a vet visit to ensure your speed-eater does not have an underlying medical condition.

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