Putting the Brakes on Dogs Eating Too Fast

Dog Eating Food

Gulp. Inhale. Swallow it whole. For some pets, wolfing down food is standard eating procedure, which frustrates owners who worry about their canine’s nutrition, health and behavior. The problems associated with eating food at the speed of light range in severity from relatively minor issues to serious life-threatening health risks.

Choking/Vomiting

Literally, for a dog, biting off more than it can chew means it is not grinding up food into smaller pieces. This can lead to choking and gagging as the pet tries to move pieces too large down his esophagus. Regurgitating the trapped food and stomach contents can also occur, which is often an inconvenience for both the pet owner and the animal.

Gas/Burping

Speed eating can also lead to increased burping and passing gas for the animal because it is swallowing lots of air in its food dash. Though not deadly, the end result makes close encounters with the pet less appealing.

Food Bloat/Gastric Dilation Volvulus-GDV

For pets that eat too fast, bloating and a condition called GDV pose the most serious, potentially life-threatening health risk.

Though usually associated with larger breed dogs with deep chest areas (small dogs can also acquire it), it is caused by quick food consumption and the excessive air, fluid and food entering the stomach. This can swell the stomach area (dilation) and cause bloating. As the stomach enlarges and bloats, it can twist in such a way that nothing can pass from the stomach to the intestines. It cuts off the blood supply to the stomach, causing permanent damage to the stomach and/or death.

Dogs with GDV or serious bloating must be seen immediately by a veterinarian. Only an x-ray will determine the severity of the problem.

Finding a Cause

There are several reasons that may cause a dog to gulp their food. A savvy dog owner will need to do a careful analysis of the pet’s environment to find the trigger or underlying factor for the behavior.

Competition for a meal from other pets or perceived threats may force a dog to “hog” as much food as possible. Survival mechanisms may also be in place from having to fight with littermates for nourishment.

Some underlying health problems like worms or parasites might also play a role in food gorging. If these bodies are robbing the animal from the food it needs to survive, the dog could be on a mission to eat in order to fill this gap.

Consulting a vet for some options about the underlying cause of the rapid food consumption might also help lead to a solution.

Solutions

For a concerned pet owner, who wants to keep his/her canine from harm’s way and slow down the chowhound, a wealth of strategies can be applied. Owners must keep in mind finding a solution may take a couple of tries, but there are ways to gain control of the situation.

Re-thinking the Bowl

One of the most consistent recommendations is to make the pet work around a large object in his food bowl. People have placed large rocks in the center or a ball or a toy. This forces the animal to eat around the object to pull out the food and be more deliberate in the process. Owners can also place a smaller inverted bowl in the middle of a larger bowl for the same effect. One idea is to divide up the meal in the cups of a muffin pan, forcing the dog to work more to get to the food, slowing down the speedy eater.

Several products are available to help dogs slow their eating. The Brake-Fast Bowl, a non-tip bowl, with knobs in the center, compels a dog to chase its food.

Puzzling and Playing Games

Other suggestions for gaining control of the situation are to embrace the use of treat and kibble dispensers that tip or rock, so the dog must slow down and tackle those mobility issues to eat. Some owners have spread small amounts of food around in several bowls so the animal must find the locations. The gap between the meals slows down the gulping. Still others have spread the food out over a large area or on a cookie sheet or large platter or rug so the dog must pick up each piece individually to eat it.

Multi-Meals

For some owners, feeding happens several times a day, thus limiting the mass buffet offering the dog is used to receiving. A few even hand-feed the animal to slow its food consumption, but while effective, many pet households may not have the time or patience to handle the situation like this.

Off the Ground

As simple as it sounds, raising a food bowl to a stand or perch can also slow a dog down. It also changes his air intake as he swallows.

With another holiday season, look for ways to keep your dog safe and healthy. He can’t push away from the table or move his belt over another notch.

Choosing a Cosequin® joint supplement for your dog.

Choosing a Cosequin joint supplement for your dog.

Cosequin® is available in a variety of formulations to suit your dog’s needs. Determining the correct joint supplement for your dog can be made easier using the following information. If your dog is healthy but overweight, a working breed, a large breed, or even your companion as a “weekend warrior”, Cosequin offers important cartilage protection. Research* in dogs receiving Cosequin as a joint health supplement, has shown that if your dog was given Cosequin before an injury occurred, normal functions return quicker. A healthy dog’s protective maintenance level of Cosequin varies. Your dog may be protected with a lower dose or even an every other day dose. Cosequin is available in a variety of formulations to suit your dog’s needs.

Cosequin® Standard Strength contains Glucosamine and MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane). When in combination these two ingredients work for joint support for your dog and help your dog to keep active at any age. Cosequin Standard Strength is available in a chewable tablet.

In addition to the combination of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate for joint health support Cosequin® Advanced Strength also includes vitamins and minerals. This tasty chewable tablet may be right for your dog if you are currently offering both a multivitamin/mineral and joint support supplement.

Help keep your healthy dog active with Cosequin® DS. Controlled U.S Veterinary studies* have shown that the use of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate combined protect joint health and help protect against cartilage breakdown. Cosequin DS is available in Chewable Tablets with a roast beef flavor or Capsules that can be sprinkled over your dog’s food.

Cosequin® DS Maximum Strength plus MSM has the extra ingredients of Glucosamine and Chondroitin Sulfate combined with MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane), offering additional protection for your dog’s joints and support of healthy cartilage production. It offers moderate joint support for dogs of all sizes. Cosequin DS Maximum Strength plus MSM is available in liver flavor as a chewable tablet and soft chew.

Joint health is important to your dog, but it is only a small part of your dog’s overall needs. Health and wellness begin with a great diet, fresh water, and preventative care, including vaccinations, parasite control, and dental care. Make sure to check out more health and wellness items on our website or call one of our customer service experts. As always, if you have questions about your dog’s health, consult with your veterinarian.

*Research and study documentation on file with manufacturer.

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Why Choose Joint Supplements?

Why Choose joint supplements for your pet?

Everyone has experienced some degree of joint pain in their life. Whether it’s from running, lifting or just carrying out normal daily activity, joint pain and stiffness can occur. Our pets are no different and we must take care to keep them in peak physical condition. We can do this by feeding them a correct diet, making sure they get daily exercise, and by adding a joint supplement to their diet.

Joints can become damaged, not only from injuries, but also from every day stressors such as casual or strenuous physical activity. When inflammation occurs, white blood cells, enzymes, and free radicals enter the joint space causing damage to the cartilage. Not only is this extremely painful for your pet, but once the cartilage is damaged it can never heal 100%. This loss of cartilage and the smooth surface associated with a perfect joint are the reason for pain and decreased mobility as our pets age.

Prevention of problems, rather than treatment, will result in healthier joints and a happier pet. Your pet’s joint fluid and cartilage will protect the joint by cushioning the shock from running, walking, and even standing. Certain joint supplements that are high in quality glucosamine, chondroitin, and MSM help protect your pet’s joints and support healthy cartilage production.

Joint health is important for your pet, but it is only a small part of your pet’s overall needs. Health and wellness begin with a great diet, care, and parasite control. Make sure to check out more health and wellness items on website or call one of our customer service experts.

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How to Read Pet Food Labels — Part 1

So what exactly do all those numbers on your pet food label mean? How do you know how much chicken, beef, etc is in your pet’s food? We will help you to understand all of this.

According to the FDA, “pet food labeling is regulated at two levels. The Federal regulations, enforced by the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), establish standards applicable for all animal feeds: proper identification of product, net quantity statement, manufacturer’s address, and proper listing of ingredients. Some States also enforce their own labeling regulations. Many of these have adopted the model pet food regulations established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). These regulations are more specific in nature, covering aspects of labeling such as the product name, the guaranteed analysis, the nutritional adequacy statement, feeding directions, and calorie statements.”

The product name is the first part of the label that most people see when shopping for pet food. This is usually what gets people to purchase the food, so it is enhanced with frilly words such as dinner, chicken dinner, etc. The ingredients that get people to choose one food over another are usually highlighted here.

In order for pet food to use a meat in the name of the food, such as Tuna Cat Food or Beef for Dogs, the food must contain 95% of this meat. This 95% does not include the water for processing or other added ingredients. Since this ingredient must be 95% of the food, this should be the first ingredient listed on the ingredients list. This rule only applies to meat ingredients as the food cannot be composed of 95% vegetables, etc.

The 25% rule applies to “dinners.” If the food contains 25%, but less than 95% of the named ingredient, then there must be the description “dinner” added to the name, such as Beef Dinner for Dogs. Many descriptors other than “dinner” are used, however. “Platter,” “entree,” “nuggets” and “formula” are just a few examples. Because, in this example, only one-quarter of the product must be beef, it would most likely be found third or fourth on the ingredient list. Since the primary ingredient is not always the named ingredient, and may in fact be an ingredient that is not desired, the ingredient list should always be checked before purchase.

If more than one ingredient is included in a “dinner” name, they must total 25% and be listed in the same order as found on the ingredient list. Each named ingredient must be at least 3% of the total, too. Therefore, “Chicken n’ Fish Dinner Cat Food” must have 25% chicken and fish combined, and at least 3% fish. Also, unlike the “95%” rule, this rule applies to all ingredients, whether of animal origin or not. For example, a “Lamb and Rice Formula for Cats” would be an acceptable name as long as the amounts of lamb and rice combined totaled 25%.

Stay tuned until next time when we discuss the Net Quantity Statement…

Top 3 Puppy Training Mistakes

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Top Three Mistakes Made in Puppy Training

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There are many different approaches to dog training and many different ways of implementing each of those approaches. Most techniques utilized today are based upon the idea that positive reinforcement is likely to create the best results. Virtually every truly functional dog training system is an outgrowth of positive reinforcement thinking.Regardless of which specific program a dog owner may choose to adopt, there are common pitfalls that can be avoided. Dog owners are particularly susceptible to making three critical errors, which if avoided will make the training process far more enjoyable and effective. Three of the most common mistakes are inconsistency, impatience and treating the dog as a subject instead of a training partner.1. InconsistencyConsistency may be hobgoblin of little minds in terms of the need for human creativity. With respect to dog training, however, inconsistency is the quickest way to reduce the experience’s effectiveness.Dogs thrive on predictability. In fact, their ability to grasp cause and effect is at the very root of training. Operant conditioning is predicated on the fact that dogs will begin to associate events with consistent outcomes. This notion of consistency’s importance must be extended to the overall process of dog training.

A dog is likely to best respond to a system in which regular actions produce regular results. Too often, dog owners fail to be entirely consistent. In the dog’s mind, these lapses in regularity convey a sense of randomness to the process and make it difficult for the pet to associate his specific behaviors with specific results-the key to training. Dogs will excel when they are taught that things happen for specific reasons. When surprises occur it undermines the whole of the training process.

A successful trainer will retain consistency and will not deviate from an established course.

2. Impatience

There can be a great deal of frustration in dog training. Concepts we believe dogs should be able to grasp easily often escape them completely for quite some time.

We live in a world that is so often focused on immediate results. We learn to expect that our actions will be met by prompt, anticipated responses. Dog training runs counter to this societal trend toward speedy, immediate gratification. Training is an extended process that can require a great deal of patience from the trainer.

Impatience results in unpredictability on the part of the owner as they hastily cease a training session or abandon positive reinforcement techniques in hopes of finding a shortcut to desired results. Patience is, indeed, a virtue when one considers the role of the owner in a dog training situation.

A successful trainer will master developing a patient outlook throughout the extended process of dog training.

3. Treating The Dog As A Subject Instead Of A Partner

Dog training requires two participants: the dog and the owner. Frequently, however, owners tend to perceive the process as being uniquely about them. They fret over their techniques, equipment and strategies without giving real consideration to their training partner, the dog.

When an owner approaches the dog as a simple subject for experimentation, they lose track of what makes the dog unique and denigrate the always-important dog/owner relationship. Training becomes a chore, rather than a joint activity. What might have been a pleasurable chance for interaction becomes an un-enjoyable task.

Dogs are sufficiently intuitive to be attuned to a trainer’s attitude and are less receptive to learning when they are treated merely as a subject instead of as a complete being. Owners who fail to see their pet’s identity during training are unable to pick up on subtle clues and possible means to improve their techniques. The successful trainer will treat his dog as a full partner in training, not merely as a subject.

By avoiding these three common pitfalls, a dog owner is more likely to be able to implement a training strategy that produces results. Additionally, the training experience is likely to be enjoyable for both the dog and owner, giving them a tremendous opportunity to build their relationship. Regardless of the exact methodology adopted by the owner, the training process will benefit extraordinarily from avoiding the mistakes of inconsistency, impatience and treating your pet as a subject instead of as a partner.

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