Dog food nutrition is really important to me, so I’m very particular about what goes into Nala’s food bowl. Lately I’ve been feeding her a mix of soft homemade food and dry store-bought food. The theory goes that the freshness of the homemade food is supplementing the premium dry food, while the dry food is giving Nala a good crunch for dental health. That’s the theory.
Yesterday evening, I stood and watched Nala as she ate her dinner. To be more precise, I listened as she ate her dinner. And here’s what I heard: a few crunches during the first half of the bowl, and none at all in the second half. The second half of the bowl she ate without chewing. At all. No chewing, just inhaling. She was so excited about the homemade food she couldn’t be bothered with chewing (because believe me, this doesn’t happen when she gets dry food alone).
There are two issues with this. One, Nala is not helping her stomach with any breakdown of the food, and certain ingredients are coming out whole at the other end. I’m no scientist, but I’m pretty sure that means she’s not getting as much nutrition out of the meal as she could be. Two, she’s not getting the crunch from the dry food that is supposed to be good for her teeth.
This is a problem.
The whole point of investing the energy, effort and money is to provide her with better dog food nutrition for better health. I love my girl and want to do everything I can for her to live a long, healthy life. So how do I get her to slow down and actually chew her food?
I’m turning to you, the Paw Posse, for your ideas and suggestions. This is a common problem with big dogs, so I’m willing to bet that I’m not alone in this. There are several recommendations out there on the Internet – from feeding in puppy bowls to freezing food in a Kong to putting large rocks in a bowl for the dog to eat around – but I want to hear about your experiences. What have you tried? Did it work or not? Any creative ideas to share?
Please let me know here. We’ll update you on what suggestions other Posse members had, what we tried and how it worked.
Thanks for your help! I can’t wait to see the responses on this.
UPDATE: Thanks for all the great suggestions! Find out what other Posse members recommended and what finally worked in our follow-up post Dog food nutrition: An update on the fast eater.
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Photo above of our raised dog bowl for large dogs.