It’s time for breakfast. You place a food bowl filled with kibble on your sofa before heading to the kitchen. Suddenly you hear the sounds of a dog gulping. You come out of the kitchen only to find the food bowl empty. You start to wonder; my dog doesn’t chew his food? Some pets have a nasty eating habit, gulping meals faster than necessary without tasting or chewing.
Your pet eating habit and speed should concern you because gulping can lead to gagging or choking, putting the pet’s life in danger. I became worried that my dog doesn’t chew her food, but luckily, it is a solvable problem. Although dogs swallow food naturally and do not chew like humans, I apply various strategies when my puppy doesn’t chew her food.
Why dogs don’t chew their food?
You need to understand the root of the behavior before attempting to modify your pet’s eating habits. In the wild, mealtime is a competition for the pack of dogs. It explains why my dog does not chew his food. They eat fast and move on for safety reasons. Another reason why dogs gulp food is because of their stretchable canine throat, and it allows them to swallow a large chunk of food with ease.
Dogs can grab and eat large pieces of food with their pointy teeth without choking, unlike humans with flat teeth. I didn’t know why my dog does not chew her food until I go to the veterinary. Of course, parasite infections and nutritional deficiency in food can also lead to an abnormal eating pattern. Also, the environment is another factor worth noting. For instance, if the noise of nearby neighbors frightens your puppy while eating, fear can make the dog swallow the meal without chewing. My dog does not chew his food in the presence of my neighbors.
Dogs are intuitive, so if you have two or three puppies, the fear of fighting for food can cause gulping. Even though we keep puppies as pets, we must ask ourselves, is it bad if my dog doesn’t chew his food because they retain their ancestral instincts? Swallowing food is not the best eating habit for pets, but dogs swallow food naturally, unlike humans. The best way to solve this problem is to identify the cause of the problem and solve it with effective strategies.
How to solve the problem
Swallowing food is the nature and habit of dogs, but if you want to eradicate the obsessive eating habit and encourage chewing, follow these effective strategies:
1. Use puzzle bowls
These bowls come with embedded obstacles to prevent dogs from taking large bites. While it significantly reduces your puppy’s eating speed, it also encourages chewing. It is advisable to control meal times and portion sizes to avoid gluttonous character. You can also make a slow feeder bowl by putting a small item inside the large food plate. It slowly eradicates the obsessive eating habit and encourages chewing.
2. Put hard-to-swallow objects in the food bowl
Placing items like balls or toys in the food bowl can also discourage the puppy from swallowing. Eating around hard-to-swallow objects will help the pet understand the concept of chewing food. Consuming meals reckless or taking larger bites will become a thing of the past with this effective strategy. Hygiene is another critical factor to consider as infections can also cause gulping or obsessive characters. Keep the environment in good condition and consider using a plastic or ceramic plate to minimize noise and prevent soiled food.
3. Eradicate bowls
You can turn mealtime into a fun time for your pet if you eradicate bowls for meal purposes. You can turn the session into playtime by dispensing kibble one after another. While this method significantly reduces your pet eating speed, it can also serve as an exercise for you. Toys like blanket taps and snuffle mats ensure a lasting challenge and stimulate the pet mentally.
4. Change food type
Adding nutritious meals to the dog’s menu will help you control your excessive eating habit. If your dog consumes only dry food, it’s time to switch the food up and introduce wet food. Although meals moistened with water encourage pets to chew, sticking to dry, larger kibbles can also do the trick. Kibbles with holes quickly get stuck on a dog’s teeth forcing it to chew instead of gulping. Whichever method you decide to use, ensure you have a left-over layer in the bowl. It will help you control portion sizes and spread meal times.
5. Create a safe and calm environment
If you want your dog to eat slower and chew before swallowing food, create a safe and secure environment. Keep any noise-generating elements or high-spirited kids far away because they frighten pets. If the serving bowl is a stainless plate, it’s time to change it to a plastic or ceramic plate to prevent noise. It is advisable to keep the bowl at a good height for the pet to access with ease. You can feed the dogs separately if you own a few. Keep your dogs spaced out or in different cages to prevent aggressive characters, especially during meals.
Find out some frequent questions or concerns regarding how you can get your dog to chew his food:
Is it OK if my dog doesn’t chew his food?
Although dogs are capable of swallowing food without chewing, it can also be dangerous for the pet. Food digestion is a challenge for dogs that swallow food without chewing, leading to choking and gagging. The obsessive eating habit can cause stomach upset, vomit, or GDV (gastric dilation volvulus).
How can I get my dog to chew his food?
If you’re having issues with your dog chewing food before swallowing it, solve this problem by creating a safe environment and reducing the pet’s eating speed. Encourage the pet to chew by introducing harmless items like a toy or ball into the food bowl to discourage the puppy from swallowing.
Why is my dog only eating half his food?
The problem can arise from the loss of appetite, overfeeding, or dislike for the food. I wondered why my puppy does not chew his food until I changed the food. If the problem is not overfeeding, consider changing the dog food brand and serve the new one in small quantities and increase gradually. Also, mix the food with domestic meals like chicken soup, etc.
Although watching your dog swallow a large chunk of food without chewing can be worrisome, the excessive eating habit of dogs is their ancestral instinct. The best solution to the problem is creating a safe environment, controlling meals, and minimize eating speed. While keeping the pet safe from damaging parasites is advisable, introducing good hygiene and nutritious meals will ensure good health. You can achieve success using various strategies like placing harmless objects in the food bowl or changing the bowl. If you want to encourage chewing, these strategies will ensure success and improve your chance of nurturing a happy and healthy dog.