By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CB) – Dogs love to eat. But if your pooch is a rapid and voracious eater and gobbles down food in record time, you need to help him/her slow down for the sake of your dog’s health.

The proper rate of ingestion is so important for your dog’s overall well-being. Eating slower greatly helps to improve digestion and nutrient absorption. When a dog eats too quickly especially on a daily basis, this can create digestive upset, gastrointestinal problems, stomach issues and in many larger dogs, bloat, which can lead to death.

You can purchase specially designed feeding bowls with built-in obstacles such as section dividers that separate his/her food to help slow down the quick ingestion of food all at once. These types of bowls encourage your dog to eat around the obstacles, making it extremely difficult, if not impossible for him/her to gobble down a meal full force. You can also place specially made feeding balls (large enough so your dog can’t swallow it) in the bowl as these also create a way to slow down as your dog eats around it.

Adding water to dry food also greatly helps to slow down the rapid eating process (and to avoid bloat) and it also ensures extra water in the diet as well.

To train to eat slower, at playtime try a specially made toy which is hollow and allows for dry kibble or treats to be placed inside. The food or treats are slowly released through an opening as he/she plays with it. And always teach your dog to “sit” before you place the food bowl down. It not only helps the dog to calm down first, but reinforces good leadership and focus on you.

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