Q. We have a black Lab named Deuces who devours her food. We bought her one of those food bowls that have “bumps” in it, so she has to eat more slowly. But after we feed her two servings, she still throws all of it up. What else can we do?
A. Dogs that eat too fast can definitely vomit and belch, but they also can develop bloat, a potentially life-threatening condition for larger dogs. I am glad you tried the slow feeding bowl, which, depending on the brand, uses grooves and nodules to slow down fast eaters. I encourage you to try different bowls, however, to see if a different style will work better for Deuces.
If you’re certain the vomiting is from how fast she eats, and is not an underlying health problem, then I have one more thing for you to try. Feed her with a Kong Wobbler Dog Toy. Portion out her kibble, and then pour as much of it into the wobbler as you can. The wobbler will dispense kibble when Deuces pushes it over with her nose. She will have to do this repeatedly to finish her meal. She will learn how to do this quickly though, so it’s mentally stimulating for her, too.
You may need to replenish the food several times during her feeding, but it will be worth it when she can only get a few pieces at a time. My dog used to eat all his meal in about 30 seconds. The slow bowl feeder slowed him down to four minutes, which is acceptable. But occasionally I use the Wobbler for fun, and it takes him about 10 to 12 minutes to eat his meal. Give it a try.
Q. I adopted a 3-year-old cockapoo from a shelter. Within two days, I realized he could not hear and confirmed it with my veterinarian. The vet said there seemed to be a residual ear infection, which we treated. He also tested positive for Lyme disease. I have only had him for a short period of time, but am quite attached. He has no interest, however, in the multitude of toys I bought for him. He seems to sleep all the time. Treats don’t seem to work on him either. I know I can’t take him off the leash, but I really want to train him to run and fetch a ball and play with toys. I’m afraid his constant lying around will make him heavy. Another vet said he may be older; maybe 5 to 8 years old. There’s no thyroid problem. He can’t even jump into my car; I have to pick him up. What is that about? Otherwise the sweetest dog ever and a keeper.
A. Your newly adopted pup may be mentally grieving for a past owner or suffering physically because the past owner wasn’t able to take care of him in several ways.
First, he has Lyme disease — something that can be prevented with monthly tick preventatives, and which he clearly wasn’t on. Dogs with Lyme disease can suffer from severe fatigue, stiffness, discomfort and pain, all of which make dogs not want to do much of anything. These symptoms can last for up to five months after diagnosis and treatment.
Second, your dog had a residual ear infection, which could also make him lethargic and disinterested in play. Even though treating the ear infection helps, he won’t feel himself until he completely recovers from it and the Lyme disease.
You didn’t say whether the deafness from the ear infection was permanent, but you can train deaf dogs with hand signals or by using a small flashlight as a clicker. Wave him over to you. When he responds, click the flashlight on and off and give him a high value treat, like a tiny piece of cheese. To get him to sit, put a treat in your hand, hold a few inches over his head, and then move your hand back over his body and toward his tail, so his nose must point up to follow it, which makes him automatically sit. Make sure he sees the flashlight click on and off before giving the treat.
While some dogs are less playful than others — and he could be older than you originally thought — a little time for healing and a little bonding through training should eventually improve his level of activity.