When you are a dog owner, you want to understand every aspect of it in order to take proper care of it. One thing you may have observed is how your dog eats.
While dogs are always excited about food, you may have noticed that your dog gobbles food very fast. Is this normal? Do you need to be concerned? It is essential to understand the feeding habits of your dog. This article will help answer some common questions you have about your dog’s eating habits.
Do Dogs Chew or Swallow Kibble?
Most dogs swallow kibble without caring to chew. This behavior is not unusual, seeing as how dogs are fast eaters. The dog will not take time to savor food as humans do. A dog’s instinct is simply to fill its belly rather than taste the food.
Is It Normal for Dogs Not to Chew Their Kibble?
Do not be alarmed if you have noticed that your dog is swallowing its kibble instead of chewing. Also, do not start thinking that your dog is greedy. This is typical behavior among dogs. However, the problem is that sometimes swallowing fast without chewing can lead to a stomach upset and even cause your dog to vomit whole food pieces. However, more often than not, your dog will be fine after swallowing kibble without chewing.
What Happens When My Dog Does Not Chew Kibble
Your dog risks choking by eating whole foods without chewing. They could also throw up, which is not a pleasant experience for both you and your dog. Puking is always nasty, and you also have to worry about cleaning it up. In addition, if your dogs are constantly eating and throwing up, they risk malnutrition. Chewing aids in digestion, and the fact that your dogs are not chewing, means they may not be benefiting fully from that food.
Why Doesn’t My Dog Chew Kibble?
To help you understand your pet, below are some reasons your dog should eat fast, hence swallowing its kibble instead of chewing.
You may have heard that dogs are descendants of wolves. Over the years, they have adapted and become domesticated. Still, they have a connection to their ancestors when it comes to food. In the wild, you eat fast and keep moving for your safety. Also, food scavenged has to be shared among the pack. One has to grab their food and eat as fast as possible to avoid others from snatching it, which always leads to fights. This instinct is still inside your dog, and so they tend to eat fast without chewing.
Swallowing is Quick and Easy
A dog does not look at kibble like something it needs to savor before swallowing. To them, this is simply something that helps them survive. Some may eat quickly so that they do not have to worry about it and get back to whatever they were doing. You may also notice some eat their food fast before going to play.
The Dog’s Biology
The dog’s biology can also play a big part in how your dog eats kibble. Dogs have pointy teeth, which they use to grab food quickly and eat, even if it is in large quantities.
Another reason your dog does not chew is that its digestion occurs in the stomach. For humans, your digestion starts at the mouth, where you break down food into smaller pieces and combine it with saliva, making it easier to swallow. A dog does not need to start digesting food from the mouth. This is because their saliva lacks the enzyme amylase, which helps in digestion. Therefore, digestion begins when food gets to the stomach. That is where amylase is found, and it helps break down the food particles.
There is also the fact that a dog’s throat will naturally expand, allowing a lot of food to pass through. Still, keep in mind that this can lead to swallowing problems.
When a home has many dogs, some will eat faster due to the fear that it may have to fight for its food. Also, if you are using a metal or glass bowl and you feed the dog with its tag on, the tag may keep clanking on the bowl. This might frighten your dog and cause it to eat faster.
Underlying Health Condition
If your dog suddenly starts eating kibble fast without chewing, then it could be an underlying health condition. For instance, maybe the teeth are the issue where your dog feels pain every time they chew, and so they prefer to simply swallow the kibble without chewing. Dogs with misaligned teeth may also swallow kibble without chewing. However, this is not something that will merely start out of the blue. When such behavior starts suddenly, you need to investigate the problem. If the dog’s health is a problem, then it can be addressed before it gets serious.
Is It Okay if My Dog Does Not Chew Kibble?
Most dogs swallow their kibble whole without chewing, and this is not a major health concern. The issue comes up when the dog is eating and swallowing fast. Such dogs could benefit from slowing down a bit to prevent health problems.
What Does it Mean When a Dog Does Not Chew Its Food?
One of the major reasons dogs vomit is when they do not chew their food. This is because of eating greedily, which is also referred to as gorging. If your dogs throw up food that they were just eating a few minutes ago, check if the food pieces are whole. Dogs that eat fast then vomit whole pieces of food do often not chew their food. To prevent this, you have to encourage slow eating.
What are The Dangers of My Dog Eating Kibble Fast?
There are certain risks involved in your dog swallowing kibble fast without chewing.
For starters, your dog is at risk of choking or gagging. Even if your dog’s throat expands, swallowing large pieces of food quickly can choke it. Also, when the dogs gulp food quickly, they swallow air as well. This can lead to bloating. A lot of air in the stomach causes the stomach to swell, leading to stomach discomfort. This can also lead to a severe condition called gastric dilation-volvulus, where the stomach swells and starts twisting.
Less severe conditions that may result from eating quickly and swallowing kibble without chewing include hiccups, flatulence, vomiting, burping, and regurgitation. When a dog eats fast, the stomach may have difficulties keeping up and hence bringing the food back up.
How Fast Is Too Fast For my Dog?
For a large dog, if they can finish 2 cups of food within a minute, that is too fast. For a small dog, if they can finish half a cup within 30-45 seconds, that is also fast.
My Dog Eats Slowly But Does Not Chew
Most of the time, when dogs fail to chew their food, they probably eat quickly. But there could be instances where the dog eats slowly but still fails to chew. In such circumstances, you may want to investigate whether there is an underlying condition. This is particularly important if the habit starts suddenly. Maybe there is a problem in its mouth, in which case you should see a vet immediately.
How to Encourage My Dog to Chew Kibble
Though it may be a dog’s nature to swallow its kibble without chewing, it is necessary that you slow down its behavior. Here are some ideas on what you can do to encourage slow eating.
Make a change
One of the easiest ways to slow down your dog’s eating habits is by changing its bowl. Instead of a small bowl with multiple layers of food, try a large bowl that allows food to spread out. Therefore, it will be difficult for the dog to gobble a lot of food at once. This will make the dog eat at a slower pace and hopefully encourage them to chew instead of swallowing whole pieces. It would help if you also considered getting raised feeders as they can help with digestion. When the bowls are raised, your dogs can eat in a more natural position instead of when they are bent over the floor. This also discourages the gulping of food that leads to bloating or indigestion.
Another option is to put an obstacle in the bowl. Something like a tennis ball in the bowl during dinner will help slow down their eating. Your dogs will try to work around the object, which means they will have to eat slowly. However, keep in mind that this trick may work only the first few times. Soon, most dogs may find a way to remove the obstacle from the bowl instead of eating around it. The better alternative is to use a slow-feeder bowl. They have raised walls within. This will slow down the dog’s eating pace. Most dog owners admit that a slow feeder bowl has worked well. You can also opt for larger kibbles. This will discourage the dog from swallowing too many pieces at once.
Create a relaxing environment
You can ensure that the environment does not feel hostile. Some dogs can be scared of humans and other pets in their surroundings, and so they eat fast so that the meal is not stolen. You can soothe them so that they feel assured that no one will steal their food. In a home with multiple dogs, let each have their bowl. This will help the dogs eat in peace.
Take the dog out often
Some exercises outdoors may do your dog some good, including improving their self-esteem. Take them on walks to help calm them down, which can also help them feel less hungry. This will help them eat slowly.
Increase their meal
There is also the possibility that you are underfeeding your dog. Look at their breed and then research what the appropriate calorie intake is. You can also consult with a vet on this.
Swap the bowl
It is also advisable to change the bowl to plastic if you have been using metal or glass. It will help cut down the noise, allowing your dog to eat in peace.
How Can I Make Kibble Easier To Chew?
Adding some water to your dog’s kibble will encourage them to chew instead of swallowing food whole. The food will be softer and mushier. This is a good solution for dogs that have been gorging and vomiting. You can also switch to wet dog food. Note that there are some dental benefits from the kibble scraping the dog’s teeth. So you may want to do a mixture of both to encourage chewing.
How Long Should I Soak the Kibble?
You can soak the kibble for about 15 to 20 minutes before you feed it to your dog. This gives the food enough time to soften and become mushy.