Stopping dogs from gulping their food.
If you’re like us, you have at least one dog who inhales his/her food. Sunny, our 6 month old Golden Retriever, has cleaned his dish and belched before I’ve had a chance to put Chelsea’s dish down in front of her. [Chelsea is our 8.5 years old Golden] This wasn’t an occasional situation, it happened at every meal. He’d gobble then make a B-line for Chelsea’s. Initially, he’d have consumed this 2nd helping before either Ron or I had time to process what was happening and jump to grab-up the dish. Putting her dish down first, didn’t solve the problem either since Sunny vacuumed his food in seconds and headed for seconds.
We knew that this kind of eating can be dangerous for large breed dogs. BLOAT, a serious and potentially life-threatening emergency can be precipitated by “wolfing” food. It seemed time for a new food bowl for Sunny. In many of the countless catalogs we receive in the mail, we’d seen dishes specially made with several knobby, hill-like bumps in them designed to slow down chow hounds because he’d have to make his way around these obstructions to get to the food. In theory, and perhaps for some dogs, these bowls worked. However, a friend with a mastiff said it wasn’t long before her big guy learned to lean-in, pick up the dish by one of these knobs, and flip it over, spilling the food all over. Then, he simply began gobbling right off the floor. Despite this possibility, I logged-on to various “doggie-sites” to check these dishes out. One site offered a plastic version in 3 different sizes. The large, which we’d need, was $19.00 plus Shipping and Handling. In reading the “specifications” I saw that the dish was made in China. Clearly nothing from China was going to become part of Sunny’s food-group. Large stainless steel bowls were $39.00 plus Shipping and Handling. We decided to take a trip to the local pet-chains to see what was available. We live on a small Island between Charlotte Harbor and the Gulf of Mexico. Although there is a causeway connecting to Cape Coral/Ft. Myers FL, the nearest PetSmart etc., is a 40 minute trip. It was the night before our scheduled excursion that I had one of those A-HA! moments. Several weeks before, I’d asked the friendly Winn-Dixie butcher to trim the knuckles from 2 beef leg bones. Our dogs enjoy working the marrow out. Once hollow a spoon-full of peanut-butter goes in each end, and we freeze them for another tasty treat.
I was running particularly late with both human and canine suppers. Family members–four-legged and two were getting anxious. Finally all was prepared. Just seconds before I was about to put Sunny’s and Chelsea’s dishes down, Sunny dropped one of these, now hollow bones at my feet.
I reached down, snatched the bone and began to stuff some sliced carrots, green beans, no-fat cottage cheese and Fromm’s Large Breed Puppy Food into the bone. Then, A-HA! I pushed the bone into the center of Sunny’s dish. Would it work? YES it did! Sunny worked around the bone to get to his food. Then he had to coax the stuffing from the center of the bone. That night it took his 10 minutes from start to finish to eat. A new record. And that hasn’t changed. I’ve been using the bone trick now for 3 weeks, and it’s still working. And it didn’t cost $20-40 dollars.
Of course–don’t know what will happen when he figures out he should remove the bone first.
Written by Christine Desjarlais-Lueth, Pet Guardian Angels of America This work may be shared through the Creative Common License only if attributed to Pet Guardian Angels of America at http://www.pgaa.com
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