Updated: May 16, 2022
Have you ever filled your dog’s food bowl only to witness how they’d win first place if there was ever a Speed Eating Competition in the Doggie Olympics?
Countless canines struggle with eating way too fast and most pet parents are unaware of how this can be harmful for their pup’s health. When dogs appear to literally inhale their food, they run a very high health risk that can shorten their life span.
When eating too quickly, dogs can get too much air trapped inside their stomach. This can lead to discomfort in the form of bloat and in severe cases something called Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) - a life threatening and extremely painful condition.
What is GDV and bloat in dogs?
Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus (GDV) is a severe life threatening condition that can affect all dogs. It occurs when their stomach fills with gas causing the abdomen to “bloat.” In severe cases, the stomach can twist on itself causing severe pain, stomach and blood blockages, and stomach ruptures. Severe cases are more common in larger deep chested dogs, specifically males, but can happen in any size or breed of canine.
What causes bloat?
The most common cause of bloat is eating too much too quickly, though the exact cause of GDV is unknown (VCA Animal Hospitals). This issue is likely when a dog is given one large meal a day, is malnourished, or is territorial. Bloat is also likely when a dog is anxious or exercising intensely after a large meal. Large breed dogs like Great Danes and Saint Bernards are also more likely to suffer from this condition due to their deep chests. Having a litter mate or parent with the condition also increases the risk of bloat.
When canines consume food too quickly, gas becomes trapped in their stomachs and causes the abdomen to expand and feel hard and hollow from pressure. If the problem persists, the stomach can bloat to a point of cutting off circulation harming other internal organs, and in severe cases the stomach will twist on itself putting a dog’s life in immediate risk.
Ways to help prevent GDV and bloat
There are many ways to try to help prevent bloat and GDV in our four-legged friends:
First, make sure your dog is eating two or more meals a day. This will lower the likelihood that your furry friend will eat too quickly out of hunger or fear that they do not know when or if they will eat again. Here are a few ways that the pet industry is trying to help slow down dog munching:
Slow feeders are an excellent way of feeding your pooch without increasing the risk of potential bloat. They come in a variety of styles, with built-in grooves to help slow down your pup while they enjoy their meal. There are hard plastic versions that are similar to standard feeding bowls, as well as silicone mats that are excellent for spreading wet foods that can be frozen in the summer for an additional touch to encourage them to take their time.
For larger breeds, consider keeping their feeder on the ground (Saving Pets Changing Lives; Vet Help Direct). You can reduce the possibility of bloat and GDV simply by ensuring their food is as close to the ground as possible.
QT Dog’s Brake-Fast Bowl:
Outward Hound’s Fun Feeder:
Fisco’s Slow Feeder:
Snuffle mats are recently on the rise, both for their variety of styles available and their cute and creative solutions to regulating your pup’s eating habits! Snuffle mats are made of a felt fabric material (so keep in mind - this solution may not be ideal for intense chewers!) that allows owners to stuff food or treats into the crevices.
Depending on the design and the dog’s play style, they can enjoy their meal while becoming mentally stimulated and engaged. Snuffle mats, in addition to being the perfect fit for dogs who enjoy “playing” with their food, can also make for a cute piece of decor inside the home.
Paw5 Wooly Snuffle Mat:
Nosework Feeding Mat:
As a dog owner who cares about their pet’s health, you can take steps to help prevent bloat and GDV. By educating yourself on the awareness of the bloat / GDV, you’re taking a huge step that could save your dog’s life. Consider slow feeders and snuffle mats to mitigate the risk of your four-legged family member from suffering.
Did you find this article helpful? We love feedback from pet owners like yourself. Share your experience in the fight against canine overeating and bloat / GDV.