In the continuing mission to feed and nurture a healthy dog, we arrive at the next challenge:
Gibbs inhales his food.
We haven’t had a lot of choking, but there have been a non-zero number of vomiting-after-meals incidents. Our solution was to give him his meals in three courses. Then I started looking at “slow feeders”, bowls that require a small amount of foraging so that the dog eats more slowly.
The one I really liked was from Martha Stewart and PetsMart said it was only available in-store:
Except the store didn’t have it. I wandered around awhile and found the Omega Paw Steel Portion Pacer. It is a small stainless steel ball that you place in the bowl. The dog has to work around the ball to eat his dinner.
No way, was my thought. First of all, what is to stop my little smarty from picking it up and removing it from the bowl. And even if he doesn’t do that, what is to stop him from knocking over the bowl to spill his dinner?
Actually, if he knocked his bowl over, he’d still be forced to eat more slowly. But that doesn’t sound like a better strategy than feeding a dog three courses.
For ten bucks, it was worth a try. Last weekend. I put the ball into his regular stainless steel bowl and poured his dinner over it.
Gibbs was agitated when I put it down. He wanted his dinner and didn’t like this. He stretched his neck out, keeping his body as far from the ball as possible. And inhaled as much food as he could get in two gulps before running away. When he came back, he barked at it.
So he didn’t pick it up and didn’t knock the bowl over. But I’m sorry, if my dog is all upset while eating his dinner, we will not be helping his digestion. We will be doing the opposite of that. Back to the drawing board. Which we know as Google.
As it turned out, the Evil Empire (also known as Amazon.com) has something very similar to the Martha Stewart bowl. For five bucks. Two bowls plus shipping and I still paid less than if PetsMart had stocked it in the first place. It shipped all speedy and arrived yesterday:
Totally worked. Gibbs was not upset by it and he did take more time to eat.
Gibbs is fed one cup of food at each meal, which comes very close to the top, so he can still inhale his first couple of bites. I might go back and see if there is a larger size to be had. But after two meals, I am very pleased with this purchase.
I saw something similar at Target. I have also heard of putting a golf bowl in the bowl (for cats, dunno if that’s too small for him).
Target! Damn. Didn’t even think of Target!
My mom and I discovered the reason my cat was yakking so much was because she was wolfing down her food. The solution was to give her a little bit here and there instead of a whole meal at once. Eh. Dogs are different than cats, so I don’t know if that’s practical for you, though…