Posted: Jul 18, 2010 at 11:30 AM [Jul 18, 2010]
There are a handful of things that folks find troubling when we’re talking about dogs: weight issues, the fact that their dogs seem bored and that they are always focused on food.
In the latter case, most dogs seem to know when it’s “time to eat” or stalk you relentlessly if you step into the kitchen. Some breeds have voracious appetites by nature. This can exacerbate the behaviors. Most of you fellow Labrador retriever owners can relate when I talk about big appetites. (Labs are nothing compared to the Corgi!)
What’s interesting, is that it seems we’ve fostered this sort of behavior. Let me explain. In the wild, dogs had to hunt and search for food – they had to work for it. Nature gives them the instincts to do this, and it’s good for them. They spent their physical energy, mental energy and they typically ate what they needed. Everything was in sync.
Now, a bowl of food is plopped down in front of them, they eat it, done. You get the picture.
Fortunately, there is a way to address the three issues that I spoke about earlier. In a previous piece, I spoke about foraging toys for cats. The same concept can be applied when helping to give your dog a healthy attitude toward food while encouraging them to play more.
A couple of toys in particular are great way to offer a stimulating way for all breeds and sizes of canine to “hunt” for their food, work at eating it – all while having a good time. The Premier company offers the Tug-a-Jug and the Kibble Nibble are great, inexpensive tools to help your dog use their natural skills and be at their mental and physical best.
Because you can pre-measure the correct amount of food that your vet recommends for proper weight management, and extending the pleasurable experience of foraging for their food, it’s likely that your dog will attain a healthy weight – avoiding health problems associated with over-indulgence like diabetes and joint problems. Plus, you won’t feel like you’re depriving them of food! This, along with fresh air, exercise and fun activities with you, it’s possible to keep them around longer, and have more healthy years.
Watch a funny video here, of a dog with a Tug-a-Jug. (You’ll see that it’s fun for you, too!)
Even better, the company has several treat and food dispensing toys in the Busy Buddy line that you might consider, to keep your pooch happy.
Lorrie Shaw is owner of Professional Pet Sitting as well as a regular pets contributor on AnnArbor.com. She also blogs frequently on More Than Four Walls, and enjoys researching solutions regarding pet wellness and behavior, as well as social issues related to pets. She can be reached via e-mail.