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!
disclaimer: I have included a couple of links to the products that I have chosen, I am not affiliated with these companies and I have paid for these products myself.
Summer has arrived and so have the high temps!
It seems like every summer I get caught off guard when a heat wave arrives. We go from high 70’s to low 90’s in a flash. It usually only lasts for 2 or 3 days, but I have found several things that seem to relieve the dogs’ discomfort while we wait for the normal temperatures to return.
- Ice in the water bowl: In a addition to keeping their water cool, they like to bob for the ice. Getting their snout all the way into the water seems to cool them off quickly, I just need to keep my feet out of the way because it’s pretty cold when they come by with water dripping out of their jowls!
- Cooling mats: Over the years I’ve tried several different brands. The options are limited for big dogs because many of the mats are too small but last year I found one that is big enough and isn’t too heavy to move around. It’s gel filled and claims to keep cool for about 6 hours. It is self cooling, no need to refrigerate and isn’t filled with water. We had one of those years ago and it leaked which made a big mess. At night Annie moves from her bed to the mat and then back again and seems to be very comfortable when she’s on it. https://www.thegreenpetshop.com/product/cool-pet-pad.html
- Cooling vest: In addition to being a senior, black dog Annie’s body temperature is consistently on the high side of normal. I don’t walk the dogs when it is over 80 degrees, we try to go out in the morning or evening when it’s cooler but even then I noticed Annie slowing down and panting a lot. I found a cooling vest for her and it really did seem to make her more comfortable. We still go on shorter walks but with the vest, she keeps her regular pace. It’s easy to use, I soak it and then wring it out. It keeps her cool without saturating her fur, she really isn’t wet when I take it off but her fur is noticeably cooler.https://www.chewy.com/techniche-international-evaporative/dp/141830
- Backyard kiddie pool: we don’t go to the beach if it’s too hot. There is not enough shade and the sand can be too hot for their feet. Our backyard is very shady so I fill the pool and they can wade in and splash around when they want to. Dogs cool through their paw pads, so a quick dip will give them immediate comfort.
- Fans, fans, fans: I keep a fan on the floor and at any given time there is at least one dog in front of it. I think they like the feel of the wind in their hair and it helps to keep the air circulating when they are in their crates. Because I hate how dirty the blades get and I worry about long dog tail hair getting caught in the fan I just ordered a bladeless fan with and an attached air purifier. With 3 dogs it seemed like a good idea. It didn’t arrive in time for this heat wave but I look forward trying it out. Saving the best for last,
- Frozen treats: After searching for all natural brands and spending too much money on “doggie ice cream” made by other people I decided to do it myself. I use unsweetened natural yogurt as a base and blend in different flavorings. On this day I made a batch of peanut butter banana and blackberry. I also put watermelon chunks in the blender and made watermelon ice. They get so excited when I pull these out of the freezer. It’s their favorite after dinner treat!Because it is so important to be aware of the signs, here is a link for an article about heat stroke in dogs. It’s a serious threat for our beloved pets and can be fatal if not attended to quickly http://www.preventivevet.com/dogs/heat-stroke-in-dogs-what-is-heat-stroke-and-when-does-it-happen