How Dogs Eat

Dogs are passionate about food and that’s reflected in how dogs eat and how they drink.  In fact, many dogs will eat anything that doesn’t move faster than they do, and it’s up to owners to ensure the canine diet is appropriate.

How Dogs Eat

The canine style of eating is rooted in evolution.  Dog ancestors hunted in packs and required large animal prey to sustain the group.  The mouse or rabbit an individual might catch was eaten outright, but larger animals posed a problem.  What wasn’t eaten immediately drew scavengers ready and willing to steal leftovers out of canine mouths.

That’s why most modern dogs are gorgers.  Like their ancestors, dogs can eat huge quantities of food at one time.  Such a meal would last wild canines several days, which meant they didn’t need to hunt or eat as often.  Modern hunting breeds — Labrador Retrievers and Beagles are notorious — tend to be gorgers that gulp mouthfuls of food without chewing until they reach the bottom of the bowl.

Healthy treats for dog dental health

Dogs enjoy chewing, so a carrot can be a healthy snack.

Dogs Love Veggies!

Dog ancestors also developed the ability to benefit from vegetables, which is why modern canines share the human enthusiasm for sweet foods. Sweetness is the signal that a plant has reached ultimate ripeness and highest nutrient value. This diet flexibility gave dogs an edge in survival by allowing them to eat whatever was at hand.

A dog’s teeth are designed for an omnivorous diet, that is, one composed of both animals and vegetables. Dagger-shaped canine teeth hold and slash prey, while the small incisors across the front of the jaw gnaw flesh from bone. Molars crush bone, shear meat, and grind vegetable matter. Drinking is accomplished by curling the tongue into a backward spoon to suction up liquid.  In this way your dog throws water up into his mouth, and swallows every two to three laps.

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Feeding Dogs On Schedule

Dogs are happy to eat anytime — or, all the time — but it’s healthier and easier for you to manage feeding on a routine basis. Feed your dog in the same place and at the same time every day. Most dogs consider eating a social event, and enjoy company while dining.

However, if you have more than one pet, competition may be a problem. Dogs tend to eat more when another pet is present because of their gorger mentality; if I don’t eat it, he will. Make sure each pet has his own bowl, and feed them at separate ends of the kitchen, or even in separate rooms, if necessary. Plenty of clean water should be available at all times.

Great Dane and bloat

Managing meals can reduce the risk of canine bloat in Great Danes and other dogs.

Are your dogs picky eaters? Do they come and go from the food bowl, or gulp mouthfuls at a time? Magic used to get sick and URPS yellow bile if he waits too long to eat. And Bravo would eat everything, then get excited and lose his lunch. Shadow-Pup appears to be a picky eater, and refuses to munch until he’s sure we’ve finished our human meal and there’s nothing for him.

What are your dogs’ eating habits? Do they eat dirt or other weird things? Do tell!

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Comments

How Dogs Eat — 5 Comments

  1. FOOD FIGHT!

    Yeah. Dogs and food are an interesting mix. When I was a kid we had a Black Lab. He got loose while we were out, and into the barn where the dog food was kept. When we got home this enormously fat dog ran around the house… He’d gorged until he was waddling. We didn’t recognize him at first, he was so fat.

    Never had that problem with the Blood Hound, the Blue Tick Hound, or the Black and Tan Coon Hounds.

    The German Shepard/Husky/Wolf mix was fine, you could leave food down and he’d graze. The Beagles haven’t been problems with dry food. Wet food of any type, including pies (blueberry is a favorite), meats, cheeses, and a variety of other things disappear into the walking garbage disposals. You scrape plates into a locked garbage can, or they’ll end up on the floor licked clean.

    It is amazing how high a 15″ at the shoulder Beagle can jump when food is involved.

    That said, the two we have now do have different tastes. The pure Beagle is an inveterate poop eater. I try to scoop as soon as it drops, to stop her. The half Beagle (not sure what the other half is, though she has a wonderful brindle waterproof coat) isn’t, but is a chocoholic.

    Both are constant thieves. They know they aren’t supposed to steal food, look incredibly guilty when caught, go to the crate for punishment when ordered, and do it again ten seconds after they get out. Rose and Kleo are persistent little girls.

    I’m afraid that I’m too much of a soft touch.

    Wayne

    • Holy cow…er, dog! That lab sounds like a vacuum, LOL! Before we were married my husband’s roommate had a Pug that loved to eat. One day the owner decided to see how much…and just opened the bag. Tojo ate and ate and ate, got sick, and went back and ate some more (we finally stopped him).

      • Um, yes, Tex was a vacuum. Dog was worse than any Beagle I’ve seen.

        Not that Beagles are much better. My sweet little thing just tried to eat a spool of thread. My wife is a little upset with her, because that spool was something special for quilting.

        Wayne

  2. I am a connoisseur of anything I eat, I love to take my time and pick at things, savor them and just enjoy. I don’t like new things…I carry new things along with me for a while until I decide to try them. My Kuvasz sister gulps down anything and everything but until she was about 3 she did not like to eat much at all.

    • Emma, Being careful about what you eat is a smart thing to do–and savoring makes things even more enjoyable. That’s interesting that your Kuvatz sis only developed an appetite once older.

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