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My Puppy Eats Too Fast! Here’s How To Make Them Slow Down

If you have a puppy that eats its food super fast, don’t worry you’re not alone. 

In fact, many puppies do including my very own puppy, Lou. 

Why Do Puppies Eat Fast?

Eating fast is often a learned behavior that puppies pick up when they’re babies, especially if they are from a big litter. 

They get excited to eat, they see the food, and they all rush over to the bowl. 

Some puppies will quickly get over that behavior, but others will keep at it until they are taught to slow down.

puppies eating dog food fast out of a food bowl

Another reason why a puppy may eat fast is if they have health issues such as parasites which are very common in puppies. 

Parasites will cause a puppy’s food to not digest food properly which can make them more hungry than normal. 

If you suspect that your puppy may have parasites, should you drop off a fecal sample to your vet, or make an appointment for a health check.

Another reason a puppy may be eating too fast is if they’re not getting the nutrition they need due to a poor diet. 

When Lou came to us as a puppy he was a slow eater.

It wasn’t until he had a few days of vomiting that he became ravenous with his food.

We took him to the vet due to the vomiting and it was discovered that he had a partial blockage in his intestines from something that he ate.

Thankfully, the vet felt that it would pass on its own and it did, but Lou continued the fast eating.

Why Is It Bad For a Puppy To Eat Food Fast?

There are several reasons why it can be bad for a puppy to woof down its food in seconds. 

First, it can be a choking hazard. 

If puppies are eating their food too fast, they’re not chewing it so it can get lodged in their throat.

Second, it can cause them to vomit.

Third, it can lead to a serious and life-threatening condition called gastric dilatation-volvulus  (GDV) or dog bloat

And yes, a puppy eating too fast can get hiccups. 

lateral x-ray of a dog with GDV or dog bloat

This is when the stomach fills up with air and twists.

This condition is considered an emergency because a dog can go into shock very fast.

How Fast Is Too Fast For A Puppy To Eat?

How fast is too fast for a puppy to eat will depend on the size of the puppy and the amount of food they’re eating.

If a large breed puppy like a Husky can finish 2 cups of food in a minute or less, that’s too fast. 

If a small breed puppy can finish 1/2 cup of food in less than 45 seconds, that’s too fast. 

If you can’t hear or see your puppy chewing, they’re probably eating too fast. 

puppies eating dog food too fast

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Of course, you should always speak with your veterinarian if you have any questions or concerns about your puppy’s eating habits.

But think about how you feel when you inhale your dinner or lunch too fast. 

You feel bloated and not too hot.

That’s how your puppy is going to feel after they inhale their food.

How To Make Your Puppy Eat Slower

Thankfully, there are several different ways to help your puppy slow down their fast eating.

Slow Feeder Bowl

Just like with anything, there are pros and cons of using slow feeder dog bowls

A slow feeder bowl was my choice for Lou and it worked great. 

Since he was eating 3 meals a day I actually bought him 2 different styles to keep him from mastering it and I just alternate between the 2.

puppy slow feeder bowl

Now that’s he’s getting bigger and I’ll be weeding out his third meal soon, I got a bigger one.

There are hundreds of different slow feeders available online and in pet stores so look for one that fits your puppy’s size and if purchasing online, make sure to read the reviews of other dog owners.  

Food Puzzles

Food puzzles come in many different shapes and sizes and they are a great option for puppies that eat their food too fast. 

Puzzle feeders are similar to slow-feeders.

They usually have different nooks and crannies for your dog’s food to fit into which makes it nearly impossible for your dog to gulp down their food in seconds.

As with the slow feeders, there are tons of different dog puzzles on the market.

 

Some are flat puzzles and some are shaped like balls that your dog rolls around on the floor.

We have the Busy Buddy Magic Mushroom and it’s been a hit with all of our dogs. 

Stuffable Dog Toys

Dog toys that you can fill such as the Kong and Toppl are a great option as well. 

I personally prefer the Toppl because it has a wider opening at the top which makes it easier for giant breed dogs like the Newfie, and they’re easier to clean. 

Toppl’s are also easier to portion out food so if you feed kibble and wet food or if you feed a raw diet, it’s easy!

use an enrichment toy to help your puppy eat slower

I will sometimes give Lou his afternoon feeding in a Toppl. 

I’ll layer it with kibble, wet food and then add pumpkin or plain yogurt to the top and then freeze it. 

It takes him 30-40 minutes to finish!

Snuffle Mat

A snuffle mat is great for dogs that have mastered a slow feeder. 

It’s a canine enrichment product designed for dogs to use their brain.

They are often used to slow down fast eaters and they are made out of fabric (usually fleece). 

You can make one yourself or purchase one from many different retailers. 

DIY Slow Feeders

You can also make your own slow feeders out of things you already have at home. 

Muffin tins are a great way to portion out food and slow your puppy down. 

You can also spread the food out on a cookie sheet.

If you have 2 different-sized bowls, you can place the smaller one inside the bigger one and add food to each. 

If you only have 1 food dish, you can add an object to the bowl such as a ball so that your puppy has to eat around it. 

DIY slow feeder bowl for puppy

A weighted dog bowl flipped over also works great!

If all else fails you can hand feed your puppy. 

handfeeding a puppy may help them eat slower

Most puppies will eventually grow out of this stage but some will always be fast eaters so it’s always great to switch things up to keep them eating their food at a safe pace. 

If you’re wondering if certain breeds of puppies are more prone to eating fast, the answer is no, all puppies can eat their food too fast but Lab puppies, Husky puppies, Golden Retriever puppies and Newfie puppies seem to be top contenders on the list.  

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