Join Date: Jul 2005
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I don't care if my dogs eat fast. Frankly I don't even care if a puppy eats so fast that he pukes it back up--I just let him eat it again which he's thrilled to do.
Like 4x4 bike (John) I always wet the food down--it slows the dog down a little and makes the kibble slide down a little more easily. I really, really don't want to mess with the eating process much because after years and years of male conformation dogs you can almost count on them going into a "I don't want to eat..." spell just about the time they hit puberty--hormones often leave an intact adolescent puppy much more interested in anything other than food. And inevitably all the disinterest in food shows up just about the time the dog is starting to be competitive. I've definitely found that the less fuss I make about food the more likely the dog is to eat quickly and eat it all.
As Melbrod said--dogs don't really chew their food--one look at the mouth of an ordinary dog will tell you that they don't have the right kind of teeth to chew it. They are pretty much designed to tear off bites an gulp it down--and in the wild canid that is good survival practice. Ditto for the point about saliva in the canid not being step one in digestion which does start in the stomach.
So on average--one on of my adult Dobes eats about 2 cups of kibble twice a day--a little less in the summer an a little more in the winter and I rely on looking at my dog all the time to see if his weight is right--I try to actually weigh growing dogs at least once a month and most vet clinics will have a scale in the waiting room and will let you weigh your dog (even if they aren't your vet) if you ask.
I've never actually had to make one of my puppies eat from a special bowl to slow them down. I did resort to a cookie sheet for a puppy I was growing out for a breeder who came to me at 11 weeks and was, at that time, still eating with a litter sister and a litter brother--he ate like a demented dog--so for the first 10 days I had him he got his food dry on a cookie sheet. I feed my dogs separately so that they don't feel they have to compete with another dog (or in my case another cat--there is one who is restricted to the bathroom when I feed the dogs because he'll try to eat their kibble and will, if allowed to, push them out of their own dish).
If any of my dogs take more than about 3 minutes eating a meal I start watching them to make sure they are well and not in pain from something going on physically.
I don't use treat feeders or treat toys but that's just me--they work well for some dogs but I nearly always have multiple dogs and don't want them with dispensing toys as it means I'd have to separate them to allow one dog access to something like that.
And I feed all puppies in a crate--I find that it focuses them on what they should be doing and they can't accidently wander off--they have 15 minutes to clean up their food and if they don't eat it in that length of time that's all they get until the next regularly scheduled meal.