Dear AKC: 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.