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Old January 11th, 2010, 09:18 AM
ClaireDutt ClaireDutt is offline
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Question Rescue pup wont chew food (just gulps it)

Hello again.

Well, i have rescued a pup from the humane society. He is a (approx) 3 month old Bluetick Coonhound. He was found on a country road and brought in to the HS. He was there for about 3 weeks. He is a pretty great puppy having learned his name and "sit" in the first few days we've had him. We've had him 1 week and one day, as of today. Here's the problem. He wont chew his food. He is not food aggresive, he'll let me touch him, the food, take the food away and i have been feeding him about half of each meal by hand. Even with the smaller amount given he wont chew it just swallow the mouthful whole. Same with treats. He is pretty grabby with treats and i am working on "gentle" with him, but once he does accept it gently he still just swallows the treat whole. I have no clue how to deal with this ! Help help help ! Thanks !

(trying to add a photo... never done this before...)

Last edited by ClaireDutt; January 11th, 2010 at 09:23 AM.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 10:56 AM
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Bearsmom Bearsmom is offline
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What are you feeding him? When we first rescued Bear (mastiff mix), he would wolf his food as his stupid owner thought that one bowl would do for 8 puppies...thus it was more of a survival thing for them. We broke him of wolfing down his food by buying a much larger chunk type food so that he was forced to chew it.

Congrats on your dog, he's beautiful!
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Old January 11th, 2010, 11:04 AM
ClaireDutt ClaireDutt is offline
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I was thinking that might be part of the problem. Because we have only had him a week he is still on the pet food the humane society was feeding him, which is science diet. At the pet store i bought it from they only had "small chunks" so the pieces are pretty small. I plan on weening him off this type at the end of this bag, so i will look into getting a puppy food with larger pieces. Thanks
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Old January 11th, 2010, 11:37 AM
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Marcha Marcha is offline
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While you're weaning him off it, you could soak the kibble first to make it a mush. It makes it less of a 'sponge' while it's in his tummy too. Our pup was on Science Diet when we got her from the SPCA, and the soaking made it easier for her to digest/stomach, AND easier for her to properly eat. We used hot water to speed up the soaking process, and when it was room temperature and mushy, we'd give it to her.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 12:44 PM
FlamesGirl FlamesGirl is offline
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My bro's pup did the same things when he got him. Puppy was also a rescue dog and I think there is that mentality sometimes of never having enough food or not knowing when it will be taken away and that leads to the gulping. Bro's pup is way better with his food now (after 3 months). Here are some of the things my brother did:

- 2/3 meals a day always so dog starts to learn there will be food and is never so hungry that they think they're starving.
- Hand fed pup for one meal day. A few pieces of kibble at a time which also helped pup learn how to take it gently. If he was too "enthusiastic" about getting a piece, bro would close his hand around the kibble until pup was licking his hand softly.
- Putting his half his kibble in a kong with a little pb (or not) so dog has to work to get the food. Buster cubes, amaze-a-balls etc work well too.
- You can also buy bowls that have little pillars in the bowl so the dog has to eat around it. Or muffin tins work well too - spread the food around in all the little muffin spots so your dog has to move around a bit.

Eventually your little cutie should realize that's he's going to get a few good meals a day and he won't be so quick to gobble (especially if you some of the ideas above). It took a few months for my rescue dog to realize that and for my brother's. My brother's pup is also WAY better about taking treats gently thanks to the hand feeding (before you'd lose your finger up to the knuckle) even without a reminder.

Good luck with your guy! He is tooooo cute!

Edited to add: Even though my brother's pup is better about eating his meals slower, he'll still barely chew treats and on occasion has swallowed a few whole. Just make sure you're careful giving him treats that aren't too big, in case he doesn't chew. Most should digest and have no bad outcome but we're still really careful giving him long chewy treats. Though even with that he's gotten better.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 06:38 PM
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tenderfoot tenderfoot is offline
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You'd be surprised how few dogs really chew their food. People usually don't realize it until their dog throws up and they see all of the whole pieces of kibble being returned to them.

Chewing isn't really an issue. They don't clean their teeth on kibble so there is no benefit there. It does help them to slow the meal down and not gulp air and food together - which some people believe sets them up for bloat.

The ideas you recieved were all good and it might take him a while to slow down. A couple other ideas might help.

1. Put large river rocks in his bowl so that he has to push them around to get at his food. It won't make him chew but it can slow him down.

2. When you offer him a treat - make it a larger biscuit that you can hold in your hand as he learns to use his side teeth to break it off and then he might start getting the idea.

3. Put peanut butter on the bottom on his bowl and sprinkle the kibble on top so he has to lick at it and then use his teeth to get it. The PB might help him keep it in his mouth longer and he might chew.

4. The value of chewing really comes when they chew large, raw bones - this is what cleans their teeth, gives them good nutrition and entertains them for hours. Indroduce them slowly so you don't give him a cranky tummy from all of the rich nutrition, but they are your best bet for giving him quality chewing time.
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Old January 11th, 2010, 08:37 PM
the gang the gang is offline
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also add water and make them work for it
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Old January 12th, 2010, 01:37 AM
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Welcome to pets.ca .....your hound puppy is adorable.

As tenderfoot said, very few dogs actually chew their food so the size of the kibble doesn't matter. I have a lab that would inhale his food so I put a rubber kong in the middle of his dish to slow him down. You can also use an inverted bowl in the dish or else spread out his kibble on a baking pan.

A word of caution about adding water to the kibble .....if your dog doesn't eat it all at once then you will have to throw the remainder away as once the kibble is wet it is a breeding ground for bacteria.

Check out the food forum here for some good suggestions for a different brand. Also, two good websites for information are:

1. www.dogfoodproject.com (click on all the links on the left hand side of the page)

2. www.dogaware.com
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Old January 12th, 2010, 02:56 AM
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cassiek cassiek is offline
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Another idea you could try is spreading his kibble at meal time out on the floor. We used to do this often in a dog kennel I used to work at for dogs that would gobble down their food, and it worked like a charm!

P.S. He sure is adorable! Gosh!
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Old January 12th, 2010, 09:14 AM
ClaireDutt ClaireDutt is offline
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Thank you for all the tips !!! this puppy will definitly be working for his food. I did put some water in his food bowl last night and that slowed him down considerably, so that might work for now. I really like the muffin tin idea and the rock in the bowl idea, so those will be the next to i try if this water idea stops working.

Here's another pic, shows his markings a bit better... also, anyone want to guess his age ?? the humane society said 3 months, but people at the pet food store said closer to 5 months

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Old January 12th, 2010, 09:36 AM
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Marty11 Marty11 is offline
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Beautiful dog, I guess around 5 months as well. I had a golden that inhaled his food. I wasn't a real problem except he would steal food from children, not aggressively though. His life was food first........I agree with others, dogs really don't chew their food. I think he's worried about the source since he was a rescue. Give it time, I'm sure it will be fine. It's a big problem if you can't go near him or touch him when he's eating so keep on that.
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Old January 12th, 2010, 10:05 AM
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tenderfoot tenderfoot is offline
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I think he's on the older side. I don't see a knee bump on his front legs so it's hard to say. Can you get a side picture of the front of his leg and I could try to be more accurate. Does he have any adult teeth yet?
Gorgeous pup by the way.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 06:40 AM
trump44 trump44 is offline
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You Dog is very beautiful...I love Bluetick's...I don't see many around anymore. I thought I read on this forum not to use Peanut Butter for any reason with dogs as they can have different reactions to it? I may be wrong though.

I had a Golden that inhaled his food as well...He just grew out of by 6 months...I say just give it time.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 08:33 AM
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Sib.HuskyMom Sib.HuskyMom is offline
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Aw, what a cutie!
And thank you for rescuing him

My boys used to inhale their food when they were younger. I tried putting tennis balls in the food dishes, but the smart little buggers learned after the first meal to just pick the balls out, put it on the floor, and keep eating.

I love tenderfoot's idea of a little peanut butter on the bottom of the bowl - I wish I had thought of that!

In the end, we ended up just monitoring them very closely as they ate. Several times throughout the meal, we would lift the bowl, make them sit patiently, and then give it back. They learned quickly that we would always give it back, so they were never protective of it.
Then, we started doing it less often - only when they were gulping. They soon learned that if they didn't gulp down their food, then it wouldn't get taken away.

Looking back, it probably took a good 2 months or so to get them out of the habit, but it did work, and now they eat great!
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Old January 14th, 2010, 08:37 AM
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Sib.HuskyMom Sib.HuskyMom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trump44 View Post
I thought I read on this forum not to use Peanut Butter for any reason with dogs as they can have different reactions to it?
I guess it's like humans too. Always watch them closely when trying a new food, in case of an alergic reaction. Personally, I like to use the organic peanut butter, with no added salt or sugar. A little bit on the inside of a kong is somewhat of a favorite in our house.
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Old January 14th, 2010, 10:40 AM
ClaireDutt ClaireDutt is offline
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Tenderfoot, i took him for his final set of boosters yesterday and the vet figures him to be around 17 weeks.. so that's fine.. his only adult teeth are this two front teeth (upper).

I've been floating his food which works well and also taking the bowl away a few times and asking for a sit for a couple seconds. This is also wkring well. I've also been freezing a handful of his breakfast in his kong overnight. He works to get it and it occupies him for the short time he's crated in the morning.

Thanks everyone for the tips !
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