Dogs are eager eaters, and it is pretty common for them to gorge on dry food. And while it is usually nothing serious, it could easily lead to a serious condition if one is not careful enough. But before going into the topic at hand, let’s clear out what gorging actually is and whether or not it is actually dangerous for the dog.
Food Gorging is a common habit in some dogs where they eat quickly, almost ravenously, without properly chewing their food. This could lead to them swallowing too much while eating, leading to air, water, and food becoming trapped in the stomach. This is among many health conditions that could develop if your dog gorged on dry food often. So, yes, if your dog is gorging on dry food continuously, it could be perilous, and you should stop them immediately.
Can Dogs Actually Eat Dry Food? Is Dry Food a Bad Idea for Dogs?
A dog’s stomach can digest all kinds of foods, whether dry or not, in ideal circumstances. Suppose the dog is fit, vaccinated, and has a healthy immune system. In that case, gorging on dry food is not that bad.
There is no threat to a dog gorging on dry food in such circumstances. In fact, more often not, dogs only do that for dry foods that they enjoy. If they love the food, they will eat as nothing else matters. However, you still try to break the habit from your dog.
But if that is not the case, then the wisest course of action one could take is to opt for wet meals for dogs. Wet meals are often what a vet recommends for dogs that are often unhealthy and have a weaker immune system.
In case your dog is getting on their age, the vet would recommend you switch to a more liquid-based diet anyway, as issues with kidneys and bladder are quite common with old age, even in dogs.
You can even opt for some kind of moderation in your pet diets. You can alternate between a wet meal and a dry meal, as the damp meal would not cause bloating and other similar health issues if your dog gorges on them. This is simply the best advice you will get and is often recommended by vets.
But if there, one advantage of a dog gorging on dry food is that it is easily identifiable. You can immediately know whether that is the case with your dog, and you should connect with your vet instantly.
Ways to Prevent Your Dog from Overeating Dry Food
Can one stop their dog from overeating dry food?
If your dog has a habit of eating fat, it can be easily broken. Immediate intervention is necessary in such cases. One just needs to be able to diagnose the problem before gorging becomes a severe problem and requires medical treatment.
1. Slow down their eating
Your dog should eat slowly, and this is the first thing you should take care of. And the best way you can do that is by offering your dog a few pieces of food from your hand. This would undoubtedly slow down the eating process, but this step has an additional benefit.
Some dogs often have a preconceived notion that they need to finish the meal quickly before it is all gone. Allowing the dog to eat from your hands ensures that it is certainly not the case.
2. Floating Kibble might be the way to go
If you are offering your pets dry food, it would be best to pour some water into the bowl before adding the food. This makes the food float, making them difficult to catch, which would slow down their eating.
And additionally, this ingenious step allows for the gasses that are usually formed when the food is compacted to release.
3. Turn the food bowl upside down
Another simple step you can apply is by simply turning the stainless steel food bowl upside down. One can also opt for a Bundt cake pan instead of the food bowl.
The food in such cases is distributed in the shape of a ring, forcing your dog to move while eating and making the process significantly longer.
4. Use Muffin Pan
You can easily make use of a muffin pan for your dog meal. Spreading the dog’s meal throughout the compartments of the muffin pan makes it difficult for dogs to gorge.
Alternatively, one can utilize a large pan with a similar purpose in mind.
5. Separate the dogs if you have more than one
It is pretty usual for dogs to gobble their food if they see another dog in the vicinity. There is a threat that would always be present in their mind in such a situation that the other dog will snatch it from them if they do not finish the meal quickly.
The solution? Separate the animals and give them food in different rooms or at least not in each other’s eyesight.
6. Make some changes to the eating schedule
Dogs could become accustomed to their feeding time and start wolfing down their food as soon as it is given. You can make some changes to it so that the eating time is not so expected anymore.
According to its age and breed, a dog needs to have a proper meal twice a day. If they eat two decent meals a day, they would be unlikely to gorge on dry food.
The tips mentioned above might seem simple enough, but they do the job spectacularly. However, it works only if no complication is there due to dog food gorging. So, first, one needs to determine where their dog has gorged on dry food and needs assistance.
How Does one Identify When a Dog has Gorged on Dry Food?
Food Gorging, in simplest terms, is a dog eating dry food in an overzealous manner. Thankfully it is pretty easy to identify. If you find your dog greedily eating their everyday diet foods, even when they have been adequately fed, then it is an issue that needs tackling.
But what if one cannot always look out for their pets during their mealtime. Well, there are several significant symptoms that are pretty common in dogs having gorged on dry food.
It is due to the dog’s body reacting violently to the over ingestion of dry food, which might be too much for it to bear, resulting in physical reactions. If one or more of the below systems can be found in your dog, it would be best if you schedule an appointment with the vet immediately.
- A restless pet is a pretty common sight for dogs that gorges on dry food.
- Your pet would either always be lying or only get up to do basic tasks, like relieving themselves.
- Hesitant in participating in any physical activity, and in fact, one would hardly observe them doing any physically taxing activity.
- The dog who has gorged on dry food would moan quite often.
- Vomiting is another symptom of dogs having gorged on dry food.
- One would find their dog heavily breathing from time to time as there is heavy pressure put into the lungs and diaphragm of the pet.
Aftermaths of Having a Dog Gorged on Dry Food
It goes without saying that if your dog does not stop gorging on dry foods, it will have a massive impact on their health, both physically as well as mentally. Let’s have a look at some common effects that are found in such cases.
1. Accumulation of gas in your dog’s stomach
One of the first physical changes you will observe in your pet is gas accumulation in the dog’s stomach. This is quite prevalent in dry food overeating as it results in twisting of the stomach and requiring medical intervention for treatment.
2. The accumulated gas would not pass through
The trouble is not just with the accumulation of the gas but also that it will not pass even when one applies continuous pressure on their dog’s stomach walls, leading to pain in the stomach area.
3. Improper digesting and stiffening of stomach
Because of the over-eating and weak digestive system due to the bloating, the digestion of food in your dog’s stomach becomes a difficult task. This would result in the stomach swelling out and make the stomach look like a swinging ball.
4. Any kind of fast running or even walking would cause discomfort or pain
After gorging on dry food, your dog might have trouble walking at a fast pace, let alone running. And that is due to the twisting of the small intestine and, in some cases, even the stomach itself, which might cause them discomfort or possibly severe pain.
5. Abnormalities in the liver and small intestine functions
There is a significant possibility that your dog might experience some abnormalities in the liver and small intestine function due to the gorging of dry food. This could quickly turn pretty nasty and uncomfortable for the dog in question. It is well-advised that one should connect with the vet immediately if that is the case.
6. Increase in spleen size
Dry food gorging could result in an increase in the dog’s spleen size. This could also result in abnormal blood cell formation, which could be an onset of cancer or other life-threatening diseases.
7. Blood clotting
It is a worst-case scenario of a dog gorging on dry food. Blood cutting or even an eruption of blood vessels in the dog’s stomach, which could lead to internal bleeding, is a life-threatening sign. And one should immediately connect with their vet for emergency treatment. Time is crucial here.
What to Do in Case the Dog has Gorged on Dry Food?
This is the question, isn’t it? What can one do in the case their pet has gorged on dry food? The answer depends solely on the condition that your dog is in. Suppose there are no symptoms, as stated before. In that case, your pet likely has a healthy immune system and body. But if that is not the case, the first thing you need to do is relax and take a calm breath.
Dog gorging on dry food is not life-threatening in most cases. It would only require minor treatment and behavior correction to get your dog back to health. Take careful notes of your dog’s symptoms, as it would be highly crucial when explaining the condition to the vet.
It would be wise to immediately connect with the vet so that you can start treating the ailment as soon as possible.
Bloating is the most common reason why dogs gorged on dry food, so it is very likely that this is what you will be tackling.
Depending on the severity of the conditions and symptoms your dog might be experiencing, your vet would recommend any of the two possible treatments:
- Short term treatment with antibiotics
- Long term treatment with Surgical procedure
Let’s understand what these treatment options are and how they differ from one another.
This is usually the first treatment course for dogs that have gorged on dry food. Based on the condition of your dog, the treatment will include a set of antibiotics.
The benefit of antibiotics is that they will make your dog feel better immediately, especially in case the blot has been caught in the earlier stages and has not twisted.
The vet will administer antibiotics for a long period. During this procedure, you need to be extra careful about what your dog eats and how they eat it. You should avoid self-medicating your dog, as it could quickly worsen their condition.
But what if the vet finds that there are twisted bloats after running all the necessary tests? The recourse in such a situation is through the surgical procedure.
A vet would only recommend a surgical procedure if there are no other possible treatments left. And in case of gorging on dry food, this treatment is only recommended in case of seizures or something equally bad or life-threatening.
Depending on the dog’s condition and health situation, the vet would determine where an ICU operation is required or a routine operation.
It goes without saying that there could be some difficult choices one would need to make — decisions that need to be extra careful and conscious, such as the choice of anesthesia.
Events that occur during the surgery of bloat:
- The dog would be injected with anesthesia at the beginning of the procedure.
- A surgical cut is made in the abdomen to remove the pressure that is built inside the gut, and other organs.
- The stomach and spleen of the dog, which had been displaced, are repositioned back to their original position carefully.
- The dog’s stomach is easily passed to the esophagus.
- If the dog is having trouble passing down food particles, make sure the stomach is reopened.
- It would be best that the surgeon does not open the stomach to remove any big food particles as it could cause complications in the future.
- If the bloat is twisted, there is a meager chance of success as the surgeon needs to remove the stomach.
How can one Take Care of a Dog that Gorges on Dry Food?
Thankfully, surgery is very rare in this condition. Most of the time, if one has caught their dog in the beginning stage, one only needs to take care of the dog to nurse them back to health.
Caring for a dog in such a condition is not at all an easy task. One would need to take care of the dog and, specifically, its eating schedule.
A couple of things that should be considered when taking care of your dog.
- Ensure that dog eats his meal regularly and at the proper time.
- Ensure that the dog always has enough, and the food bowl is always full and served in front.
These caring tips are incredibly vital as, more often than not, the reason for the gorging in dogs is due to some kind of anxiety or pressure they might be suffering from.
So, by following the above-mentioned caring tips, you will ensure that your dog does not suffer from any kind of anxiety or tension that might negatively impact their condition.
It is recommended for you to watch your dog every day until they feel better. And in case you are unable to care for them during office hours, it is advised that you drop them off with a friend or family member that can care for them during your absence.
Tips for You During Recovery
Once your dog has recovered from its condition, you naturally would want to ensure that it does not reoccur. Vets recommend the following tips to ensure that you are taking proper care of your dog and ensuring that gorging on dry food does not happen again.
- Avoid the Dog Feed that you are currently using. If you have been using a dog feed before the condition, it would be best to remove it immediately. It is simply the best and, in fact, the foremost thing to do. You need to ensure that the dog starts taking food in only small particles.
- Allow the food to pass naturally. It is an essential step in its recovery.
- Be in constant communication with the vet. The last thing you need to do is to relax and take the recovery process lightly. No, it would help if you were in regular contact with the vet, at least for a couple of months. This way, you can keep the vet aware of the recovery progress or if there is a lack of it.
If you often wonder why your dog gorged on dry food, this post has covered it all. Hope you find this article useful.
Food gorging for a dog is dangerous; however, normal it may seem to you. You may have to monitor it most of the time if it is quite habitual in your dog. Don’t just let it be. You never know when an accident can occur, and that could possibly lead to taking your dog to a vet.
Meet Madison Phillips, your compassionate guide to pet well-being. With experience from VCA Animal Hospitals and Laxton Vet Clinics Bellaire Inc. Madison honed her skills and embraced the balance of medical expertise and compassion, through her articles, she simplifies pet care, whether you’re a newbie or an experienced pet parent.