I have always loved exuberant eaters. Babies, kids, adults, dogs. Bailey loved food so much that she would race through her meal hoping for seconds. Charley became a fast eater because he didn’t want Bailey to get his food. Even though it was entertaining, it’s not good for them so I was very relieved when Maisie did not do this. In fact she is the opposite, she’s the first dog I’ve ever had that will walk away from her bowl when she’s finished even if that means there is still food left!
Now we find ourselves back in a familiar situation. Annie loves her food but she doesn’t have all of her teeth so that slows her down to a healthy rate. She generally finishes before Maisie, but will stand patiently by her side and wait to see if she can claim any leftovers. I would put Winn in the fast eater category. Recently she seems to be speeding up so that she finishes first. I’ve caught her shoving her head into Annie’s bowl, obviously this not good for so many reasons. (Maisie now eats in her crate because she didn’t like the pressure of having the other two watching her after they were done.)
I’ve always been terrified that one of my dogs will get bloat. It’s a deadly condition that primarily happens in big dogs and eating too fast is thought to be one of the causes. You can read more about it here. It’s such a concern that my vet was telling me about a technique that can be done to tack her stomach so it won’t twist if she does bloat. I need to do more research about this and it would be done while she has her spay surgery but we won’t be doing that until she is over a year old so I’ve got time to decide.
Eating slowly is better for dogs. A slow eater is at less risk for bloat and obesity. One of the ways to slow down a fast eater is with a puzzle bowl. I first noticed them a couple of years ago and wished I had gotten one for Bailey. Since I want her to have healthy habits, I got one for Winn. This bowl style challenges them and allows them to eat like they would in nature by using foraging techniques.
So far I would call it a success. This morning Annie finished eating and let herself out and Winn was still eating. It doesn’t seem to frustrate her. She uses her nose and tongue and spins around to change angles. I just hope she doesn’t get too dizzy while she eats!