You put the bowl down slowly, but your dog has been eyeing it out since she woke up.
She pounces and then all of the sudden it’s all gone.
Vanished. Like it was never there. Was it even there?
If you have a dog who doubles as a food vacuum cleaner, this probably sounds familiar.
Unfortunately eating too fast can lead to a variety of health problems. Of course, your dog doesn’t know that. So how do you teach her to slow down for her own good?
In this post, we’re discussing how you can get your pup to eat normally—not like every day is the apocalypse.
Dog Eats Too Fast: What’s the Problem?
Eating too fast isn’t just a matter of savoring every piece of kibble. It can actually cause health issues:
- Choking. Merely inhaling food instead of properly chewing it could lead to choking.
- Vomiting. Think about it: If you scarfed down a large meal in 3 seconds flat, you’d probably feel a little nauseated too. However, this tends to happen more with cats.
- Digestion Issues. Other digestion issues happen when you eat too fast. If you notice your dog burping or farting up a smelly storm, this could be the cause. Eating or drinking too fast causes extra air to be pushed into the body and hey, it’s gotta be let out somehow.
- Overweight. Since it takes a while for the body to feel full, your dog may still feel ravishingly hungry right after eating. If he begs for more food or treats and you give in, it could lead to unnecessary weight gain.
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus. GVD is a life-threatening condition that causes your dog’s stomach to bloat.
#1 Use a Muffin Tin
Instead of serving kibble or other dog food in a regular bowl, spread it out in each muffin space in a muffin tin. Although he’ll probably get used to this over time, it will be physically impossible to gulp it all in 5 seconds. It will at least add a little bit of a challenge.
#2 Baking Sheet
If your dog has a flat nose, serving his meals in a muffin tin may be a bit cruel. Another free option is to spread the food all over a baking sheet. Of course, this won’t add a ton of time. However, compared to a bowl where the food is layered in a small space, a baking sheet at least requires him to move his head around.
One sure-fire way to get your dog to slow down? Hide the food. This can be an entertaining activity to keep your dog busy before you head out the door every morning. Of course, if you feed your dog wet food, that could get messy real quick. Dry kibble is a good choice for this one since you can place it under or behind objects, inside his cage, in his bed, etc.
#4 Question Any Changes
Sometimes, the cause of your dog’s fast-paced eating can be medical. If you’ve noticed any other symptoms changing lately, talk to your vet. They may test your dog for hormone issues, such as Cushing’s disease. They may also recommend testing for parasites because they can steal nutrients, leaving your pup hungrier than usual. If your dog is on medication, see if one of the side effects is increased appetite.
#5 A Tennis Game
But not the regular type of tennis game. Add small tennis balls to your dog’s bowl so she has to push it out of the way to eat. The added time spent moving the balls will surely decrease gobbling. However, if your dog is a smarty pants and removes the balls from the bowl, well, we can’t help you there (but good job raising such an intelligent doggo!).
#6 Feed Multiple Meals
If you can’t get your dog to stop eating like a maniac, one way to improve digestion is to feed him in parts or multiple times per day. For example, instead of having a heap of food gobbled down 1 time a day, feed him 3 times. Even though he may still gobble, at least he’s having smaller amounts of food each time, which is better for digestion.
If your dog has to work hard for his meal, that will slow him down a lot. Put his meal inside of a Kong. If you’re using kibble, add a binder like peanut butter or apple sauce to keep it together. If you can plan this the night before, freeze it for an additional challenge.
#8 Hand Feed
Just like you would a baby bird, pour some kibble into your hands and let your dog eat off it like he’s royalty. If this sounds ridiculous, we get it. Hopefully, after a few times, your dog will get into the habit of eating slower and continue that when eating in his own bowl (no guarantees though). If not, hey, you just spent some quality time together and there’s no loss there.
#9 Slow Eating Dog Bowl
This is probably the easiest way to change your dog’s habits. Simply purchase a slow eating dog bowl and add in her meal. Instead of sticking her face in and inhaling, she has to work around the design, similar to a puzzle. Even after dogs “get used” to the bowl, studies show their eating rate is still slower compared to the average bowl. Even after dogs “get used” to the bowl, studies show their eating rate is still slower compared to the average bowl. Even after dogs “get used” to slow feeding bowls, studies show their eating rate is still slower compared to the average bowl.