It is natural for dogs to swallow their food whole, but it is only sometimes a great idea. One must watch how their dog eats, especially if it complains of excessive gas and bloating. It can cause an upset stomach, coughing, vomiting, decreased blood flow to the heart, and blood loss in the stomach.
It can develop into a condition that is potentially fatal and has to be addressed right away. If your dog has any such issues, it is best to contact its vet as soon as possible to avoid any trouble in the future.
It may be natural for dogs to be fearful of other animals or people. Especially when eating, because they believe others will steal their food and leave them hungry.
They have to gulp down food because of the scarcity mentality, which can also make them hostile toward anyone in the area they perceive as a rival.
Dog parents can instruct their dogs to correct their behavior in this situation. For example, when feeding your dog, make sure the area is quiet, and the dog doesn’t feel like he might lose his food.
All this while keeping them calm while eating is essential. It will encourage them to eat slowly always and make this a regular habit.
Why is My Dog Not Chewing Its Food?
While dogs generally love to chew at almost anything and everything, they may sometimes refuse to chew their food. As pet owners, we understand that this is a worrying situation.
Let us now tell you a few possible reasons why your dog behaves in such a manner.
1. It’s their instinct
You may have adopted a dog that used to live in the streets. They might have been living in animal shelters as well. In such cases, their instinct is to gulp down their food instead of savoring it.
The reason behind this is in the streets. Dogs have to eat their food as quickly as food, as they have to worry about protecting themselves. Additionally, if they live in a pack, they tend to share the food they find. Therefore, the faster they gup the food down, the more portion of food they get.
Such dogs naturally tend to gulp down food instead of chewing it first. If your dog has survived the hostile street in the past, this is a possible reason it is gulping down its food fast instead of chewing it.
2. Biological reasons
Biological reasons can exist, and your dog is gulping down its food instead of chewing it first. For example, dogs have pointed and sharp teeth and can expand their throats when gulping down more significant pieces of food.
Additionally, unlike humans, they do not have any natural inclination for savoring, chewing, or tasing their food. Instead, all they care about is satiating their hunger pangs. Owing to these simple biological reasons, dogs sometimes may not chew their food correctly.
At this point, it should also be mentioned that it is natural for dogs to skip chewing food occasionally. This tendency is repeated, which might indicate some underlying health problem.
3. Your dog may not like the food
Although dogs may not be interested in tasting and savoring every morsel of food like us, they have a taste for treats and food. So, dogs may not want to chew their food, or eat it, if they don’t like the taste of it. Besides, they won’t chew the food properly if they agree to eat it.
Dogs may also refuse to eat their meals due to a sense of insecurity. This happens, especially if there is more than one dog in your home. One of them may feel that it will have to fight for its survival. Hence, just like its innate nature, it may refuse to eat and chew its food properly.
Otherwise, the choice of the food or the water bowl also results in a similar outcome. If your dog’s mouth collides with the hard steel of the bowl, it makes a noise, which may scare a dog. Hence, it may try to finish its food quickly instead of chewing it properly.
If you feel that the steel bowl is the reason behind this problem, just replace the bowl with a plastic one. Also, in this case, try to give it a single layer of food. You may have to increase the number of meals to compensate for food loss.
4. Food is too liquid and easy to swallow
If the food you have served your dog is too watery, dogs are smart enough to understand that they don’t need to chew their food. However, besides liquid food, if you have given them giblets or small pieces of raw dog food, they tend to grab the food with their sharp teeth and swallow them whole.
You can give them larger pieces of food and allow them to chew their food first. However, we recommend that even if you give them cooked food, give them larger pieces or chunks they will have to chew before eating.
5. Your dog is suffering from some dental problems
Although dogs are canine animals, they may also suffer from dental problems like any other animals. Hence, any pet owner must take care of her dog’s dental hygiene.
If you don’t care for your dog’s oral and dental hygiene, or if your dog ends up biting something too hard for it, thereby chipping its teeth, it may lead to dental problems. In addition, this can lead to your dog having trouble chewing its food.
Thankfully, this is an easily noticeable problem, and you can’t miss the symptoms. There will be bad breath, excessive drooping of saliva, and drowsiness. In this case, you can take your dog to the vet in case of need.
How Do I Get My Dog To Eat Slower?
Meanwhile, you can use straightforward strategies to allow your dog to chew food and keep them healthy for years to come.
It is a habit that can be introduced to dogs slowly. There are several ways of doing that; you just need to choose the one you find the best to teach your dog and the one your dog finds most comfortable.
1. Outward Hound Feeder
Using an outward hound feeder is an excellent way of introducing your dog to a new habit of chewing food. However, it is a bowl with high interior walls or obstacles that makes it hard for your pet to eat. As a result, your dog will spend extra time chewing and taking smaller portions too.
This is an interactive and entertaining way that also engages your dog. In addition, it helps with boredom and makes mealtime fun by making it difficult for them to get food.
This will enhance your dog’s digestion and result in less bloating, less gas, and better gut health. You will soon begin to see the difference in your dog’s health and overall demeanor.
2. Introduce Obstructions
If you cannot find the option mentioned above, you can use this idea to create obstruction in your dog’s regular bowl and give them time to find their food. They will take little nibbles as a result of the restricted area. Remember that whatever you place in the dish cannot be eaten easily.
To make it more challenging and ensure that they chew their food properly before swallowing, put a non-sharp obstacle inside the dish. The barrier could be anything. But ensure they do not harm your dog. They will keep them occupied.
Everything you put in there should be clean and non-destructive, so your primary focus should be proper hygiene.
3. Hand Feed
Most parents continue feeding their dogs with their hands. It will allow you to maintain the pace and automatically slow their eating pattern. Once they get used to being fed slowly, they will continue to eat at this speed.
In addition to stimulating their appetite, hand-feeding them also instills manners and self-control. It allows you time to bond with your pet and look out for them and their habits.
This will also increase their interest in eating by chewing by sitting down with them for each meal and hand-feeding them. This way, they won’t overeat, thereby preventing nutritional imbalances.
You will also witness that it aids in dogs’ psychological and behavioral development.
4. Reduce Competition
If you feed multiple dogs in one go, chances are your dog competes with them to finish the food for fear of not getting any later. In addition, dogs may try to gulp down their food when other dogs are around.
So, in addition to a slow feeder and a trip to the vet, consider having your dog eat somewhere else. You can put them in a separate room and shut the door to give them a sense of security.
You might also feed them in their crate, where they will likely feel safer. It can be a personal space for them where they can retire to eat peacefully at their own pace.
You can also try to keep a feeder next to them available to them at any point they wish to eat, as it won’t make them rush when eating.
5. Introduce High-Quality Diet
All the suggestions mentioned above may take time to work. While dogs might be learning to eat slowly, chances are they may suffer a lack of proper nutrients. If your dog does not receive the necessary nourishment, it may develop a voracious eating habit, making it difficult to swallow food.
To avoid such a situation, you can provide them with high-quality food with all the nutrients they need to continue their regular activities.
Add nutrient supplements to their meals to make them more fulfilling and wholesome. In addition, you can experiment with different food items if they seem bored with the same food.
Is It Bad If My Dog Doesn’t Chew When Eating?
Yes, it can be considered bad sometimes, especially when they end up choking on their food. However, most of the time, it is just a characteristic of a dog. It is possible to stop, avoid, or tame the behavior. Look at the cause first before we proceed.
The biggest issue with making an excellent supper is that dogs gnaw on their food. Only some dogs will enjoy their food. However, it might be risky not to chew at all.
A pet may only benefit from eating slowly and without chewing. In some dogs, it could cause gastrointestinal distress or even toxic shock.
Why is My Older Dog not Chewing Food?
There can be many causes for your older dog to turn down food. These causes can have behavioral and physical origins. While you can work on some behaviors to enhance your dog’s condition, there will always be some reasons you cannot do anything.
Dogs’ teeth deteriorate with age. Humans have shown us that as we age, the likelihood is that we may require a crown. Implanting, bridge, or root canals increases, and our dogs can experience it the same way!
Routine brushing and flossing can help avoid dental problems to some extent. Your older dog undoubtedly has sensitive gums and experiences pain while chewing hard food like kibble.
Things to Consider Before Feeding Your Pet?
The list of things to consider before feeding your pet is endless. However, one needs to be cautious of the quantity and the quality of food they provide their pets. Pets need to understand the concept of eating in portions, where dog parents, with the assistance of vets, need to walk in.
To control the portions of your pet, monitor their food intake. To control their food’s quality and maintain hygiene, prefer getting a dedicated food bowl.
Apart from these, take your pet’s age, health condition, and requirements into consideration before planning their meals.
How To Encourage Behaviors In My Dog?
Initially, you may find it difficult, but with time, everything gets easy. Whatever you are trying to teach your pet, ensure that you do it consistently. Please do not lose hope until your pet develops the habit you are trying to inculcate in them.
For example, to slow your dog’s eating make sure that they take their meal in a comfortable space where there is no disturbance or rush. Also, in the case of aggressive dogs, allow them to soothe first before introducing them to meals.
Start by adding water to their meal or switching to wet food, encouraging them to eat in portions. You can also encourage them to take their time and chew each bite.
Alternatively, you can purchase larger kibbles, preventing them from ingesting too many whole pieces.
If you are using a small bowl to feed them, they may have access to concentrated food in one place that they may rush to consume quickly. Using a giant bowl with one layer of food could take more time for your pet to eat.
Your dog will be more inclined to eat from a tiny bowl with several layers of food and most often rush into eating quickly.
Dogs are naturally habituated to begin to break down food by adequately chewing. They often swallow their food whole to eat quickly. As mentioned, this is frequently brought on by tension and worry that their food may be taken away.
Dogs unable to chew their food may also have medical issues, including dental pain. Fortunately, if the appropriate measures are taken to rule out the numerous potential reasons, behavioral and physical problems can be easily corrected.
Dogs must chew their food as the enzymes present in their saliva aids in food digestion, but dogs don’t have amylase to begin the process.
Eating habits and consequences depend on the dog; while some dogs manage this without any underlying concerns, some dogs experience digestive problems. The food is more complex for them to digest and absorb because it is cut up into larger pieces.
Meet Fabian Wright, our guide into the animal realm at PetLoversArena.com. Having served as an Animal Care Specialist for the Ruwenzori Team at the Kansas City Zoo, he prioritizes conserving exotic species by replicating their habitats. Fabian aspires to share captivating stories of creatures, big and small, through PetLoversArena.com.