If you have a dog that eats too fast, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
I have a Newfoundland that swallows his food whole and another Newfoundland that takes his time and savors each piece of kibble in his bowl.
The one that eats his food so fast stresses me out so I’ve spent a lot of time finding ways to get him to eat his food slower because I know that it can be a dangerous habit for him to continue with.
Why Do Some Dogs Eat Their Food Fast?
Some dogs just get really excited to eat at meal time so they gobble up their food.
Other dogs may be experiencing food aggression and they’re be competing with another dog in the home.
This is usually because they feel threatened that the other dog will steal their food.
Lack of training can be another reason why a dog will eat too fast.
This is seen often in rescue dogs or dogs that have been abused.
Underlying medical issues such as Cushing’s Disease, diabetes, hypothyroidism, intestinal parasites can also cause a dog to feel excessively hungry.
If a dog is eating its food super fast and swallowing it whole, it can be a serious problem.
Dogs that eat their food too fast can choke if the food gets lodged in their throat leading to a medical emergency.
Speed eaters are also more prone to gagging and vomiting their food up soon after they eat.
When a dog eats too fast often they are also allowing a lot of air into their stomachs.
This can lead to a dangerous condition called dog bloat or GDV.
Bloat is when the dog’s stomach expands due to too much air and gastric dilatation-volvulus is when the stomach twists.
GDV is a life-threatening and serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
A dog that eats too fast may show signs and symptoms such as gagging during and after they eat, choking and vomiting.
When a puppy eats too fast it will often get hiccups or vomit.
Puppies will usually outgrow the hiccups around 8 months of age.
However, they should be taught early on to eat slowly and not gulp their food down to avoid medical issues in the future.
How To Get Your Dog To Eat Slower
If you have a dog that east too fast, don’t be too concerned, a lot of dogs are fast eaters and there are some easy ways that you can help slow them down.
Feed multiple meals.
The easiest way and the way that is recommended by most veterinarians is to feed your dog two smaller meals a day, especially big dogs that are at high risk for gastric dilation (dog bloat).
Spreading out meals throughout the day might make your dog feel more satisfied.
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Split the meal.
Instead of putting all your dog’s food in one traditional bowl, split it up between 2 bowls.
This way, hopefully, your dog will take a little breather when they finish one bowl and move on to the next.
Mix it up.
Spread it out.
If you feed your dog kibble, spreading your dog’s meals out on a cookie sheet will cause them to have to grab each piece one at a time and therefore he will eat slower.
The last option would be to hand feed your dog their entire meal.
This obviously will work best if you feed your dog kibble and would not be recommended for dogs that eat a raw diet unless you are wearing protective gloves.
Bowls For A Dog That Eats Too Fast
Not only is this a simple solution but it also provides a dog with more mental stimulation but many dog owners use them to feed their dog portioned meals.
Puzzle feeders and slow feed bowls can be purchased at most pet stores.
You can also try feeding your dog from a Kong or Toppl by stuffing the toy with their food in layers.
You can do this by soaking your dog’s dry kibble in water or bone broth.
When the kibble is mushy, stuff it into the toy and freeze it so that it’s even more challenging for your dog.
You can even layer it with different types of dog-safe food like non-fat plain yogurt or wet food.
By doing this, instead of your dog woofing their food down, they are licking at it, it takes longer for them to finish it, and they make your dog work for their food.
You don’t have to freeze it but it will add more stimulation for them if it’s not as easy to get out of the toy.
I personally like the West Paw Toppl for this type of feeding because it has a wider opening for big dogs and it’s easier to clean.
Obviously, this might frustrate some dogs to the point of not wanting to eat but others may be quite intrigued!
DIY Slow Feeder Bowls
If you don’t want to buy slow-feeder bowls can easily make your own special dog food bowl by adding an obstacle to your dog’s feeding bowl.
An object can be a baseball or a few tennis balls and your dog will have to eat around that object.
You can also big rocks-unless you have a dog like me that used to eat rocks!
Adding a small bowl on top of your dog’s regular food bowl will also work.
Muffin tins or a muffle pan are perfect tools to slow dogs down.
Fill each tin up with some kibble and let them have at it!
This might not work well for dogs with wide muzzles, such as the Newfoundland.
Flip it. An easy way to make a stainless bowl into a DIY slow feeder dog bowl.
For a dog that’s a speed eater, flip over a non-tip water or stainless steel food bowl and spread the food around the center ring.
The dog will have to move around to get around the bowl slowing him down quite a bit!
This is the way that has worked the best for us and it was easy!