Some dogs gulp down food like goldfish while others stick their noses up at the same kibble day after day. With so much information out there, it’s difficult for dog parents to decide what’s best for their pup’s best health. While your dog’s diet depends on his or her specific needs, we can help you get back to the basics with some ways to encourage healthy eating habits to support your dog’s overall health.
3 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating Habits :
1. Establish Regular Mealtimes
Dogs thrive with routine. This is also true when it comes to your puppy's meals. Feeding your dog at regular intervals creates regularity in her bowel movements and provides her with the predictability that reduces anxiety while creating stability.
Most dogs thrive with two meals per day: morning and evening.
Why not free feed? In many ways, your dog’s stomach is the window to her health. When your dog skips a meal, it can signal that she’s sick and could use a vet visit.
2. Measure Your Dog’s Food
It’s easy for dogs to slowly gain weight without their owners noticing. On the other hand, you also don’t want your dog to become malnourished. Your dog’s food comes with feeding recommendations. Divide the daily recommended amount of food into the number of meals you schedule for your dog and stick to scooping her food with a measuring cup.
Remember that the recommended dietary guide doesn’t take into account if your dog is highly active or more inactive. You can adjust your dog’s calorie intake based on your vet’s advice.
3. Make Mealtime Interactive to Slow Down Fast Eating
Some dogs seem to inhale their dinners. While this may seem harmless, eating rapidly can have a negative effect on your dog’s health. Fast eaters don’t properly chew their food and swallow excess air. This leads to a bloated belly. Over time, this can damage the stomach, thinning the stomach walls which can cause twisting and even tearing.
Options to slow down a rapid eater:
Snuffle mats encourage dogs to seek and find their kibble, so they have to eat slower. This mimics a dog’s natural instinct to forage and maximizes mental stimulation during mealtime.
A slow feeder bowl will impede your dog’s speed eating. If you choose this method, be sure to monitor how easily your pup can reach here food. Some slow feeder bowls require dogs to mash their muzzles against the top which can cause soreness over time.
Increase the number of meals and use an auto-feeder. When dogs have smaller meal sizes, they won’t experience as much bloat. And an auto feeder will discourage begging while keeping meal size consistent.
Help Your Dog Make the Most of Her Mealtime
Encouraging healthy eating habits can support your dog’s digestive system, mental health, and establish much-needed regularity in your dog’s day. Supporting healthy eating habits isn’t just about the brand of food you buy or the ingredients in it. Making mealtime fun and safe can reduce digestive issues and boost your dog’s mental engagement.