Why Don’t Dogs Chew Food

If you’ve ever observed a dog consume food, you’ve probably been amazed by how quickly it gulps it down. You might even question why a dog would frequently consume the same amount of food that you place in front of it, regardless of how hungry it is.

Dog Manners

This behavior may worry dog owners, but the dog is not in any danger. Because human digestion starts in the mouth, people strive to encourage their kids to eat carefully and chew their food.

Food is mixed with by our saliva, which also gets it ready for the stomach to break it down into its essential components.

Dogs, on the other hand, do not need to take their time eating their meals because their digestion does not start until the food enters the stomach.

Speedy Eaters

The reason why most dogs consume food so quickly is probably because, in the days before they were domesticated, they had to eat their meal before another dog or scavenger animal grabbed it in order to survive. Dogs must eat and move about in order to maintain their evolutionary programming. They didn’t have the luxury of lounging around and eating whenever they wanted as a species in the wild.

They are not even equipped with teeth that allow them to enjoy their meal. The majority of a dog’s teeth are pointed, whereas the majority of teeth in a human’s mouth are flat and intended to aid in chewing. This allows a dog to grip its meal and swallow it whole.

The majority of dogs’ eating habits haven’t significantly changed over hundreds of years of domestication. Even if a dog has been provided with consistent, reliable meals every day, it will nonetheless consume those meals quickly to prevent food theft.

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What can I do to make my dog chew on his food?

Even though swallowing food whole may be in their nature, it is very useful to slow your dog down when they are eating. Here are 5 quick techniques you can use:

Use a Slow Feeder Bowl

Slow feeder or puzzle bowls have elevated barriers or walls inside the inside space. When dogs are eating, these devices considerably slow them down, and in my own experience, they are highly effective.

You can see how long it takes my dog Max to finish a test meal in his Outward Hound Fun Feeder dish below.

Spreading out smaller meals throughout the day is another strategy to prevent the problems brought on by consuming large amounts of food quickly. If you have to work away from home throughout the day, this might be more challenging to put into practice. However, modern technology like this Smart Feeder enables you to remotely regulate mealtimes and portion sizes from your phone.

Place an Obstacle into your Dog’s Existing Bowl

How to make a slow feeder bowl is as follows: You just need to place a smaller bowl upside down into the larger bowl to make it.

You may also make it more challenging for your dog to consume by placing any medium-sized, non-sharp object in the dish. Now, rather than being able to consume kibble with wild abandon, it must contend with a constant obstruction in his path.

The actual obstacle may be anything from a smooth rock to a tennis ball. Your dog should be alright as long as he cannot damage himself by rubbing up to the item. The only issue is cleanliness because whatever you put in there will probably get soiled very fast. Use a stainless steel, dishwasher-safe item like this Portion Pacer Ball if that is a major issue.

Don’t use a bowl at all

You can make mealtime into playtime and drastically slow down eating by forgoing the use of a bowl altogether.

As opposed to the Nina Ottoson Puzzle Game, which offers cerebral challenge as your dog eats, toys like the Bob-A-Lot merely release a small amount of kibble at a time. Utilizing a dog’s natural foraging instincts by concealing food in a snuffle mat or even a blanket offers a continuous challenge.

Switch up your Dog’s Food

Try transitioning your dog to wet food if it has only ever eaten dry food. A dog can chew and slow down by eating wet food or dry food that has been moistened with water.

Changing to larger kibbles will stop him from ingesting too many pieces at once, even if you continue to feed him dry food. Additionally, there are kibbles with holes in the middle, like these from Royal Canin, that are intended to get caught in a dog’s jaws. This makes them eat their meal slowly rather than gulping it down.

Make sure there is only one layer of food in the bowl, whatever you decide to do. Because of this, your dog will have a tougher time eating a lot at once.

Make Sure the Environment is Safe and Calm

Simple actions you may take to make your dog feel more secure when eating include:

  • Keep any raucous children or activities far away.
  • To lessen noise, swap a metal food bowl for a ceramic or plastic one.
  • To make it simpler for the dog to access, position the bowl at head height.
  • Make sure your pets are appropriately separated from one another if you have multiple canines. You can even feed each dog separately if any are especially picky eaters.

Why do dogs simply ingest their food?

Let’s face it: dogs are quite quick eaters when it comes to food, frequently devouring their kibble whole without chewing as if there were no tomorrow. In reality, the activity is not exceptional; in fact, if statistics on the eating habits of dogs were ever compiled, it would appear that there are more dogs on Puppy Planet who consume food quickly than slowly. Slow eating—savoring each bite—is not common in the canine world, but dogs seem to have their own valid reasons for gobbling up their food.

It turns out that dogs have some legitimate reasons for their behavior, and that these reasons have their origins in their evolutionary past. If your dog is consuming his kibble whole without chewing, you shouldn’t be too quick to characterize him as greedy.

Dogs were not fed from gleaming bowls or packets of food in the past. Dogs’ ancestors hunted and foraged for food, and they had to eat quickly for a variety of reasons.

There were periods of little to no food availability and periods of plenty following a hunt. Feast or famine was a genuine possibility. A dog’s forefathers were eating quickly because they were starving after living through a time of scarcity. Fast food was not exclusively due to that, though.

If a dog’s ancient ancestors used to eat slowly, doing so might have prevented them from getting enough to eat. Most certainly, if the meal hadn’t been consumed quickly, another dog or some other rival animal would have happily devoured it. Additionally, eating slowly in the wild is perilous since it puts animals in a vulnerable position where they risk becoming supper for bigger predators!

Strange fact: According to statistics, ravens consume more of the flesh from a wolf kill than the wolves do, as Toni Shelbourne points out in her book, “The truth about wolves and dogs.” It’s understandable why wolves are anxious to eat quickly—hence, “wolfing your meal.”

Even if we examine the anatomy of dogs, we will see that their bodies are built for consuming food quickly.

For grinding, people use their molars. The canine teeth of herbivores, such as the horse, are small or absent, whereas the molars are broad and flat because they feed plants and must ground their food with their side-to-side jaw movements.

Since both meat and plants are devoured by omnivores like us humans, their teeth are made up of a variety of incisors, canines, pre-molars, and molars that are employed for crushing as well as in a somewhat sideways action.

Despite not being categorised as obligate carnivores like cats, dogs generally have a body suited for eating meat. Dogs’ jaws mostly move up and down, and their teeth are suited for ripping and tearing meat. Dogs also lack the flat molars found in omnivores and herbivores. Because of this, dogs are not built to chew as much as some other animals are, which is a major factor in why they swallow their kibble whole.

In addition to lacking grinding molars, dogs also lack the salivary enzyme amylase, which is used to break down carbohydrates. In the book “Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter – A Vet’s Plan to Save Their Lives,” veterinarian Ernie Ward says that this is the case because food doesn’t stay in their mouths for very long, thus the amylase isn’t required to start digestion. Instead, dogs’ digestive systems make amylase, allowing them to digest starches at their own pace. This is just one of the many characteristics that set dogs apart from wolves.

Finally, because of their taste senses, dogs may not feel much of a need to eat quickly. Why would dogs feel inclined to appreciate their food if the flavor is going to be bland given that they have just about 2,000 taste buds on their tongues as opposed to our 9,000?

“Amylase, an enzyme found in human saliva, begins breaking down carbohydrates as soon as food enters the mouth. Dogs do exude amylase from their pancreases, enabling for the breakdown of starches in the intestine, unlike human drool, which does not have this benefit.” Living Science

Did you realize? Perhaps because of the way their teeth are made, dogs do not develop cavities as frequently as people do. Dogs’ teeth have fewer fissures and pits than human teeth, so food particles and germs that cause cavities are less likely to attach to them than they would to teeth with more indentations. The Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine is the source.

Fast eating is especially prevalent in households with numerous dogs. Dogs may feel more compelled to gulp up and swallow their kibble without chewing when they are among other dogs, which may make them feel more competitive.

All the dogs wait impatiently for their bowls to be filled as their meal is prepared, creating a great sense of anticipation. Then, when it’s time to eat, the dogs compete to finish first in what seems to be a race against the clock.

How can I prevent my dog from consuming complete meals?

Some animals eat so quickly that they hardly have time to chew it or taste it. They consume food as though it will never be seen again. You can use some techniques to change your dog’s or cat’s behavior if it appears that they are eating meals more quickly than is necessary and acting obsessively toward the food.

Why is Eating Fast Bad?

First, why should the rate at which your pet eats worry you? Rapid eating can result in choking or gagging since they are not properly chewing their meal. Furthermore, if another pet or person approaches while the animal is eating, it may become violent because this type of feeding behavior is frequently linked to greedy behavior. An animal that wolfs down its meal can be dangerous to anyone it regards as a rival for its food in families with children or other animals.

Additionally, some animals, particularly large-breed dogs, might develop a condition known as stomach dilatation-volvulus (GDV). Rapid eating and gulping fills the stomach with an excessive amount of food, liquid, and air, which causes the stomach to enlarge (dilate). The stomach can twist around on its axis as it grows (volvulus), which prevents anything from passing through the stomach and into the intestines. The animal may experience shock and perish suddenly if this happens.

What Causes This Behavior?

Mealtime can be a race for some pups and kittens to grab enough food before it is all gone and they become casualties of their littermates and the adults. Even when the animal was breastfeeding, it might have begun. This develops into a pattern of behavior that is continued in a new setting. When there are other animals in the house, the behavior could be more obvious, but it might also exist even if the animal has no longer got any rivals.

Of course, this behavior might also be caused by underlying medical issues. Your pet can have parasites, which prevent the body from absorbing the nutrients from the diet. Another alternative is that the food is just nutritionally insufficient for the animal’s requirements, which makes the animal feel more peckish than it ought to.

What Can Be Done?

You can try a variety of strategies to alter your pet’s behavior. One suggestion is to put toys or balls that are too big for the animal to swallow in the meal dish along with the food so that it must eat around the object. Another approach that implements the same concept is to divide the food by nestling a smaller bowl inside a larger one. Pour the food into the area around the little bowl after setting it upside down in the bigger dish. Because of this, your pet can only take tiny bites from the cramped area. If time is not an issue, you might try giving your pet small meals spaced out throughout the day to prevent them from eating large meals all at once.

Additionally, there are feeding dishes made to slow an animal’s rate of consumption. In order to prevent the animal from taking enormous portions all at once, these bowls are frequently designed with imbedded pegs in the hollow of the bowl. Other products are designed to spread the food gradually. a compartmentalized dish that requires adjustment by the animal to access the smaller portions of food (such as sliding tops that can be moved with the paw or snout); a timed dish that only allows specific amounts at a time; or a ball that holds food but that the animal must manipulate to release the contents.

If you’re worried about your pet’s nutrition, make sure to provide them high-quality, easily digestible cat or dog food so you can be sure that their needs are being met.

Additionally, it goes without saying that you should check your pet for parasites. Any abnormalities should be discovered during a routine check-up with a veterinarian for excellent health, and if they are, they can be addressed before they pose a threat to the animal’s life. In any event, you will need to safeguard your children or other pets if your pet is acting aggressively when eating and you have children or other pets in the house by designating a location where your pet can eat without feeling threatened and defensive.