This is sort of a generic question with a specific situation. What to do with dogs who inhale their food?
Ahz who is a Aussie Cattle Dog was neglected and abused by the people we got him from. I suspect he had to fight for food. He swallows food. He eats any dead animal he comes across (like the occasional quail that lands in our yard) and even catches a few live things. I’ve asked him, pleaded with him, looked into his eyes, telling him to chew his food so he doesn’t choke and die. But he just gets too excited when it is around. I have to hold is bowl and let him take a few pieces at a time from it, and hope he chews most of it. He’s getting better but I’m tired of holding the bowl, but if I don’t he won’t lift his head up or take a breath until it is all gone, or until it gets caught in his throat. I worry about him, and I don’t want my dog to hurt himself. If you have any suggestions I would certainly appreciate it.
Sincerely, Ahz Person
Dear Ahz Person,
I love how you are holding his food bowl and allowing him to eat a little bit at a time. I would have thought that if you did that consistently for a few months Ahz’s problem would have improved. I would like to talk to him about his inhaling and see what he has to say:
Ahz: “My mom (person) is right. I did have to fight for my food, but what also happen was that I was very sick as a puppy and no matter how much I ate it never filled me up. It was a terrible feeling because I had no energy and my eyes had a hard time seeing. It is much different now. Now I am very healthy and I can see clearly. My people tell me that inhaling my food is not good for me but when I am around food my sense of smell goes into overdrive and I need to eat a lot. My people keep telling me to slow down and I hear them, but I cannot stop myself.”
I find Ahz very interesting. It sounds as if his behavior is a habitual pattern set off by the smell of his food. I love that he is conscious that he is doing it. Start training him basic obedience or tricks and give him his food as a reward after each command. In time his relation to food will change and perhaps so will his behavior. It is not a bad idea to get a blood panel done on him and check his thyroid levels. You may also want to put him a good supplement and give him an all-natural diet.