The doctors and staff, ed and our clients and patients by extension, illness have benefitted greatly from our association with Dr. Rachel Malamed, viagra ed DVM, CPDT-KA, DACVB, the director of the California Veterinary Behavior Clinic. Our new patient puppies get their vaccinations while enjoying the simple pleasures of peanut butter or squeeze cheese, and their owners are exposed to important features about puppy socialization – a simple principle that some veterinarians (myself included) forgot about in our overly zealous efforts to prevent puppies from contracting Canine Parvovirus during their early formative months.

We’ve all learned. And we are continuing to learn.

Today, reading an article in Vetstreet (“5 Ways to get Your Dog’s Zen On”, March 29, 2012), Dr. Malamed reminded us all that there are two aspects to feeding dogs. “In addition to basic consumption (chewing and swallowing food), there’s the appetitive angle, which is the hunting and foraging that are part of a dog’s natural feeding pattern. By feeding in a bowl, we don’t satisfy the appetitive behaviors. With [toys], dogs can use their brains…..any kind of play reduces stress.”

Well of course, it makes sense, WE think about what we are going to eat, or what we are going to prepare for dinner, or what we are going to select off of a menu, and that anticipation is part of the enjoyment of the food.

So how do we enrich our dog’s experience, and minimize the boredom of being stuck in solitary confinement all day while you are at work? We introduce an interactive food dispensing toy.

There are several interactive food dispensing toys for dogs and for cats. It is very easy to introduce puppies to these interactive food dispensing toys because they satisfy the puppy’s need to chew, and automatically reward the puppy for chewing on the “right thing”—food drops out. Hey, chewing on the remote control, or a shoe, is now much less rewarding, because food doesn’t drop out of those items! So, it is an easy way to get automatic good behavior for your puppy.

As the puppy grows, switch out the choices of food dispensing toys so he or she doesn’t get bored. For canine Einsteins, who rapidly speed to the top of the class, we have a variety of food dispensing puzzles for the pet to work on. Long term boarders at the hospital are taught to play the Tornado, and Dog Casino, and are fed out of food dispensing toys, so that we satisfy the appetitive part of eating.

I think we may see less obesity in our pets when feeding out of an interactive feeding toy, because, there may be a component of boredom to their day, that is satisfied by eating (or begging, then eating). Also the slower and more random dispensing of food may keep blood sugar and insulin levels at a more baseline, and the satiation centers in the brain, may be activated more appropriately.

Because we believe in this so strongly, we stock a variety of interactive feeding toys at the Pet Resort. Ask any of the doctors or staff to help you choose, and to help you introduce the feeding toy to your pet. So don’t reach for the bowl, reach for the toy. Your pet will thank you for it