My dog Wally eats a mix of my own raw dog food I put together for him, and store-bought, pre-made raw meals that are ground. He takes his time whenever he’s eating my own meals since they feature larger cuts of meat as well as raw meaty bones.
However, his eating speed increases drastically when his bowl features ground raw dog food. Whenever that’s the case, Wally inhales his food in the same amount of time it takes a Porsche to get up to 60 mph. That’s not exactly ideal because it could come back up if it goes down too fast, and it could even cause bloat.
I’m happy to report that I’ve managed to come up with a solution (two actually!) that makes him eat his ground raw dog food more slowly – dog food puzzles!
Spoiler alert: Wally’s always managed to keep his food down so far, but I figured a little preventative measure won’t hurt.
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Solution1. I Fill His Ground Raw Dog Food Into Ice Cube Trays
I found these particular ice cube trays on Amazon, priced at around $8.00 for a set of two.
Features of the ice cube trays:
♥ Made of food-grade silicone
♥ Top-rack dishwasher safe
♥ They come with lids
Solution 2. I Fill His Ground Raw Dog Food Into KONG Toys
All I have to do for both options is scoop Wally’s ground raw dog food into either the ice cube trays or the KONGs and serve! If I want them to last longer, I go ahead and freeze them overnight, or at least for a few hours.
The frozen KONGs last Wally the longest, about 10-15 minutes. He finishes the frozen ice cube trays in about 2-3 minutes, and needs about 1.5 minutes to empty the ice cube trays if they didn’t go into the freezer.
Overall a drastic difference in time needed to finish his ground raw dog food compared to when it’s simply served in a bowl!
Why Do Dog Food Puzzles Work at Slowing Down a Dog’s Eating?
Dog food puzzles are a wonderful invention. They essentially make it harder to get to the dog food by spacing it out (like in the ice cube tray case) or by making access to it trickier (like in the KONG case).
Dogs who have to figure out how to get to their food are presented with a problem they’re needing to solve. Coming up with a solution for this burns mental energy, and leaves a dog calmer than if he got to inhale his food without having to think about it.
My preferred way of feeding looks like this:
Wally is always ready to take a nap after this morning (and evening) routine, guaranteed!
FYI: When I surveyed my K9s fans in an Instagram story, they told me that 44% use slow feeders to slow down their dog’s eating.
Why My Dog Eats His Ground Raw Dog Food So Fast
I can only speculate as to why Wally inhales his ground raw dog food. My guess is that it has to do with his opportunistic doggie nature.
Dogs who had to hunt for their own meals didn’t necessarily get lucky every single day, so when they managed to capture their prey, they dug in since they couldn’t be sure when the next meal would come their way.
Another reason that seems plausible to me is that the ground food simply enables fast eating since it doesn’t require him to chew, which he has to do when I put my own meals together, particularly when they feature raw meaty bones.
Wally eating a partially frozen raw turkey neck
Why It Can Be Problematic To Have A Dog Who Eats Too Fast
Let me touch a little more on bloat. I briefly mentioned it in the opening paragraph, and would like to point out that bloat is a serious condition where the stomach fills with gas.
It can be fatal if the dog’s stomach ends up twisting on itself and doesn’t get treated by a vet right away. According to Dr. Becker, bloat has a 30% mortality rate.
Signs of bloat:
→ Bloated belly
→ Abdominal pain
→ Unproductive retching
→ Pale gums
→ State of shock
→ Shallow, rapid breathing
Breeds that are particularly prone to bloat are:
⊗ Great Danes
⊗ Saint Bernards
⊗ Irish Setters
⊗ Gordon Setters
⊗ Standard Poodles
⊗ Basset Hounds
⊗ Old English Sheephounds
⊗ German Shorthaired Pointers
⊗ German Shepherds
Did you know? Most kibble, i.e. dry dog food, can contribute to bloat because it’s high in carbs which are fermentable and cause gas. If the gas gets trapped within the body, the risk of bloat occurs.
My Dog Takes His Time Eating Raw Meaty Bones As Part Of His Raw Dog Food Diet
Wally is really good about eating his raw meaty bones (RMBs) slowly. If you’re new to the concept of raw dog food and raw meaty bones, I suggest you hold one end of the RMB and let your dog start crunching down on the other end.
That way, you ensure that your dog doesn’t swallow the bone whole without having crunched down on it a few times. It also teaches your dog polite manners around food items he considers to be of high value (I assure you RMBs fall into that category!), and that it’s perfectly acceptable and normal that a human touches his food.
I found that makeshift slow feeders/dog food puzzles work well to slow my dog Wally’s eating down when ground raw dog food is involved.
The ice cube trays and KONGs work wonders for this purpose, and clean up is a breeze since both are top-rack dishwasher safe.
Leave your comments or questions in the comment section below!
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