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Published: Oct 11, 2011

Dogs should not gobble down their food and if you witness such eating behavior, it may signal territorial issues or even a medical condition. reports that a dog's need to eat fast can sometimes start at a young age. Within a litter, multiple dogs might have had to fight over food and this possessive behavior occasionally transfers to the dog's new home. While it may not seem like a big deal at first, dogs who get carried away often become aggressive about food and may pose a risk for biting or other aggressive behavior.

Eating quickly can be dangerous to a dog's health. It can cause a dog to choke or gag if it isn't chewing properly when it eats that fast. It can also cause more life-threatening problems like gastric dilation-volvulus. This condition, commonly known as bloat, results in excess air, fluid and food filling the dog's stomach, which can cause it to swell. As the stomach expands, it can twist around, making it impossible for anything to pass through into the intestines. This can cause a dog to go into shock and even die.

According to VCA Animal Hospitals, in addition to fast eating, dogs are more at risk of developing bloat if they are older large dogs, fed one meal a day, are underweight, male, or have a fearful, anxious or nervous temperament. The risk is also increased if a dog has a family history of bloat; for example, a parent or sibling that has suffered from the condition.

Owners can reduce their dog’s risk of developing bloat by giving two or more meals a day, feeding un-moistened dry dog food with calcium-rich meats like lamb, fish or chicken, and placing a large ball or another large object in its bowl to force it to overcome an obstruction in order to get to its food.