Dogs are considered to be a man’s best friend. They have been domesticated for centuries and have been cohabiting with humans. In several cases, we humans keep more than one dog at home. An obvious question thus arises: Can dogs share food bowls? Is it safe?
Dogs can share food bowls if they are healthy. However, practically, this practice should be avoided. Unless a dog is eating from his bowl, there is no way to tell how much each dog is eating. Also, using the same bowl does not give you the option of customizing a particular dog’s diet.
The article will discuss the origins of dogs, the problems arising from sharing a food bowl, and tips for feeding multiple dogs in your home.
Dogs are said to have evolved from grey wolves. They are primarily carnivorous animals. It is believed that the first association of dogs with humans took place 15000 years back as hunter-gatherers.
Dogs are of various sizes: the smallest known dog was an adult Yorkshire Terrier having 9.5 cms. (3.75 in.) length and weighing only 113 grams (4 ounces). The largest recorded dog was a Saint Bernard having 250 cms. (8 ft. 2 in.) length and weighing 167.7 kg. (369.5 lb.).
Even though dogs are said to have evolved from wolves, there are several differences in-between them:
- Dogs are reported to have 20% smaller skulls and 30% smaller brains.
- Dogs generally have a more arched forehead and a characteristic ‘stop’ between the nose and the forehead.
- Wolves have more developed jaw muscles.
- Unlike dogs, wolves don’t have declaws on their back legs.
- Dogs enter the reproductive cycle twice a year, unlike wolves, which do so annually.
- The skin of dogs tends to be thicker than that of wolves.
- Dogs have smaller claws as compared to wolves, and their tails tend to curve up.
A dog performs various activities in your household. These range from herding, hunting, pulling loads, protection, companionship, assisting the police, and the military to helping disabled people and taking part in therapeutic roles. Apart from their regular senses, a dog is said to be sensitive to the earth’s magnetic field.
Like humans, dogs also suffer from ailments like hip and elbow dysplasia, deafness, blindness, cleft palate, pulmonic stenosis, and trick knees. They are also known to have arthritis, diabetes, dental problems, cancer, and heart disease.
There are two serious medical complications particular to dogs: pyometra and gastric bloating. Additionally, dogs are also susceptible to ticks, mites, fleas, hookworms, tapeworms, and heartworms.
Interestingly, aloe vera, begonia, chocolate solids, onions, garlic, grapes, and resins, macadamia nuts are poisonous for dogs. Nicotine from tobacco is also injurious to dogs. Dogs have an average lifespan of 10 to 13 years.
A domestic dog reaches sexual maturity at the age of six to twelve months. Dogs have a 58 to 68 days gestation period. A dog, on average, gives birth to six pups at a time.
Since dogs are the oldest domesticated species, they can understand and communicate with humans. In fact, it is believed that humans selected dogs because of their favorable behavior. Dogs, in general, have reduced aggression and fear as compared to wolves.
Having understood about dogs, you can better infer that it is not advisable to feed them from the same bowl. If you do so, there is no way for you to know which dog is eating how much. In case of any medical condition, the first thing your veterinary doctor will like to know is how much your dog is eating and excreting.
Also, in general, it is advisable to keep monitoring your dogs’ appetite. This will directly indicate if your dog has developed any medical condition. A dog’s fondness for food can lead to obesity, whereas distaste for food can result in malnutrition.
A change in a dog’s appetite is thus a primary indicator of its health. This can only be done if each dog has its own feeding bowl.
Also, at times, the dominant dog at your household may intimidate the more submissive dogs into eating less. The alpha dog at your home is bound to bully the other dogs during meal times. This will cause dietary imbalance among all your dogs. Such behavior, in the long run, can develop irreparable medical conditions amongst dogs.
In case any of your dogs need special meals due to certain conditions, you will not be able to stop the other dogs from eating his portion of the meal. Since all the dogs will be habituated in eating from the same bowl, the affected dog will get less of the special diet, and other dogs may get harmed due to the ingredients added in the meal.
Eating from the same bowl can also lead to aggressive fights between the dogs. This can lead to potentially harmful scenarios where the dogs can end up hurting each other. Dogs can tend to do resource guarding for themselves and, in the process, have fights with each other. In extreme cases, the owner and household property also get damaged.
If you have multiple dogs at home, at times, it can be a hectic job to feed them. To make their mealtimes more pleasurable for you and the dogs, you can train your dogs for the following tips:
- Feed the dogs in different rooms: since the dogs can involve themselves during mealtime, it is best to feed the dogs in different rooms. This will isolate them from each other and reduce your problems.
- Do crate feeding: if you have trained the dogs to their crates, feed them in it. This helps to stop bullying amongst the canines.
- Tone down a possessive eater: When you observe that a dog gets aggressive during the mealtime, use voice commands to tone him down. If you continuously keep doing this for some time, the dog will gradually learn to behave during meal times.
- Set time limit for meals: Ensure that the dogs finish their meals within the allotted time limit. After the time is over, remove the bowls from their designated feeding places.
- Do not use meal time for general training: Avoid using meal time for general training purposes. This will allow the dogs to have peaceful meals and avoid digestive complications.
- Discourage dogs from resource guarding: Do not let the dogs do resource guarding. Train them from their early days to make them learn to sit for food and that you control their feeding time. Reward good behavior and discourage bad ones.
We understood about dogs and the disadvantages of letting them share the same food bowl. It can lead to unregulated feeding habits and physical ailments. We also understood that it could be dangerous to feed them together from the same bowl. In extreme cases, even you can get hurt.
We then looked into various tips for better feeding the dogs at your home. Apart from having separate bowls, you can also feed them in separate rooms and train them from an early age to be less possessive about food. In general, dogs are marvelous companions, and if trained properly, it can be a breeze to feed them. You may just need extra patience to guide them and transform them into adorable pets.
- Wikipedia: Dogs
- Mercola: Dogs food bowl sharing
- Dog Training Nation: Feeding multiple dogs at once
- The Spruce Pets: manage your multi-dog home
- Nomnomnow: Feeding multiple dogs
- VetStreet: 6 ways to prevent feeding time from turning into a food fight
- Tufts your dog: How to separate multiple dogs meals
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