Dear Lisa: We have an American Eskimo that just turned 4 years old. She will eat her food really fast or drink lots and lots of water really fast.Therefore causing her to hack and gag. She also has issues with vomiting on a regular basis. Is this normal for her breed? We are unsure how we can stop all of the inhaling of the food or the vomiting. Do you have any suggestions? – Inhaling Intensely

Dear Inhaling: Please take your dog to your veterinarian for a complete check-up to make sure that there is no underlying medical condition that would cause this type of behavior. Once your vet gives her a clean bill of health, I would move forward with cutting back the portions of both food and water and feed your dog several times throughout the day. I’ve also heard of success with slowing down the eating process by putting large objects in the bowl, such as clean smooth rocks or large rubber balls or toys, so that your pet has to work her way around them to find kibble, thus slowing her down.

Slow down the process
If gulping too much cold water too fast is making her vomit (I had a dog who did this) another idea might be to give her ice cubes rather than a bowl of water for hydration to slow her down. Does she live with other dogs? If so, you may want to feed her separately in another room as well to avoid her feeling as if she needs to compete with another dog for food. I’ve also heard of people playing hide and seek by putting kibble around the home and making mealtime a game in order to curb a ravenous appetite.

Dear Lisa: I have a 4-month-old German Shepherd Dog. She is wonderful, loving, sweet, and does all that she can to please. However, we have a big problem. She is peeing in her crate every night. I read that by 4 months this should stop - it hasn't. She comes out in the morning "dripping wet"! I have tried various things but nothing is working. Suggestions? Piddlin’ Puppy

Dear Piddlin: Housebreaking puppies is one of the most difficult tasks facing a new dog owner. Over the years I have had some puppies pick it up right away and others that took longer to control their bladders. There are a few tried and true things you can do to see if it makes a difference.

A four-month-old puppy is still very young and unfortunately there is no magic number of months when accidents stop. It really depends on the dog, the breed and how diligent the owner is with consistent housetraining methods. A rule of thumb for “holding it” for puppies is to take the puppies age in months (so for your dog that is 4) and add 1 to estimate the number of hours that a puppy can hold it before she needs to go outside to potty. Right now 5 hours is her maximum. If you sleep for 8 hours and she gets up before you, then she will most likely have to pee and will do so in her crate.

Location, Location, Location
Try moving the crate into the bedroom so you can hear when she gets up during the night. That way you will be right there to take her out when she gets up, thus avoiding the dripping wet problem. You can also try taking away her water bowl several hours before she goes to bed to decrease the likelihood that she will have to tinkle during the night. Also, many owners report good luck getting a crate divider to section off a smaller space in the crate which forces the dog to lie in an area of the crate and not have a space away from the sleeping area. You may have gotten an adult size crate that she will grow into but currently gives her an area to go potty and then move away from it. By making her available space smaller, yet still big enough for her to comfortably turn around and lie down, it might make her think twice before she piddles where she sleeps.

A reader comment about sleeping at night:

Dear Lisa: I am a nurse and work nights. I find that putting my three Belgian Tervurens in their crates by my bed, one sleeps on the right side, one on the left side, and one at the foot. They know that I am sleeping and they do too. I don't have any trouble with them crying. They just know it is bedtime. – T.K.

One more suggestion about bones to chew on:

Dear Lisa: Why not get them Antlers instead. They last a wonderfully long time, they are all natural, they clean the teeth, they do not smell when chewed on, and do not make a mess in the house as raw/cooked bones would. They are extraordinary and last. All my dogs chew on them, from Cattle Dogs, to Greyhounds. They have different sizes for easy chewers to aggressive chewers. I recommend getting the darker colored ones since they seem harder. The white ones did not last as long – J.W.

Reader comments and suggestions:

Last month’s question
regarding inhaling intensely got some great feedback from our readers including an AKC judge!

Dear Lisa:
I'm a longtime breeder of Vizslas and have never had digestive problems. We purchased a Frenchie for our daughter as a wedding present. He finished his AKC Championship in five shows but as he matured started vomiting after meals; not every meal but most. Countless vet visits and suggestions from others did no good till someone suggested possible Gluten allergy. We took him off all wheat products and it was like turning off the faucet. I especially like Eukanuba Naturally Wild (there's a Vizsla picture on the food bag). – B.G.

Dear Lisa:
We found special bowls to slow down our dog from inhaling his food. They can be found at Maybe this will help the 4 year old American Eskimo from gagging after eating. – M.P.


Lisa Peterson, a long-time owner/breeder/handler of Norwegian Elkhounds, is the AKC Director of Club Communications. If you have a question, send it to Lisa at and she may select it for a future column. Due to the high volume of questions we cannot offer individual responses. Read previous columns here.

© 2008 The American Kennel Club, Inc.