My Dog Eats Too Fast! Here's How to Slow Down a Dog Eating | Pupford
June 30th, 2023
Filed under Health + Wellness
Help, my dog eats too fast!
One great thing about dogs is that they are very food motivated.
One challenging thing about dogs is that they are very food motivated.
So while it’s great that our dogs love their food, it also can also make mealtimes a pain. Especially for those of us whose dogs gobble their food in two seconds flat.
Which, according to chats within our community, is a lot of us!
So if you’re one of the many whose dog eats way too fast, you’ll want to keep reading. We’re going to dive into why this behavior isn’t ideal, and – more importantly – how to slow down your dog's eating.
But first, a little fun. Rate your dog with -3 being “is this a slow-motion video?” and 3 being “did you even chew that?”
Now let’s break down why a lot of our dogs are ending up on the higher end of that scale, and how to slow them down!
WHY DO DOGS EAT TOO FAST?
As with most behaviors we talk about, we want to get to why dogs eat too fast before addressing how to change it.
So how come dogs seem to be in a rush to finish their food? It can be baffling, especially in a home environment where they’re always fed an appropriate amount at predictable times.
There are a few explanations as to why your puppy may resemble a turkey with the way they gobble up food quickly – let’s take a look at them:
1. COMPETITION, ESPECIALLY FOR PUPPIES
If your dog lives in an environment with other dogs, they may feel an instinctual threat that if they don’t eat their food quickly, someone else will.
If you don’t have other animals in the home, this could still be a habit from when your dog lived with their or an instinct from dogs being pack animals.
2. HEALTH CONDITIONS
While rare, some instances of fast eating stem from health issues like parasites or Cushing’s Disease. Since these cause food to not be properly digested, your dog may feel ravenous even if they’re being offered enough food.
3. NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES
If your dog’s food isn’t meeting their nutritional needs, their bodies could be sending extreme hunger signals as a way for them to ingest more volume, therefore more nutrients.
For food-driven animals like dogs, mealtime can excite them into overdrive. We’ve all been there.
WHY EATING TOO FAST CAN BE DANGEROUS FOR DOGS & PUPPIES
Unfortunately, your dog’s fast eating is more than just poor manners. It can actually be quite dangerous.
Risks of eating too fast include:
- Choking, which can be fatal.
- Gagging, vomiting, and indigestion.
- Bloat, formally known as Gastric Dilation-Volvulus (GDV), happens when the stomach or intestines expand and twist due to increased air intake from eating fast. This is life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention.
- “Food bloat,” which is not as serious as true bloat, but involves large amounts of food sitting in the stomach and causing discomfort.
The consequences of your dog eating too fast range from uncomfortable to life-threatening, so it’s important to get that habit under control!
HOW TO SLOW DOWN A DOG'S EATING
It would be nice if you could just explain the dangers of eating too quickly to your puppy and kindly remind them to slow down.
But since that’s not likely to happen without mind-blowing technological advancements, you’ll have to take a different route.
Luckily there are a handful of things out there to help our pups slow down their eating – and have a little more fun with it.
Here are some things you can do to slow your dog’s eating:
- Hand feed. Skip the bowl altogether and feed your dog a few pieces of food at a time right from your hand. A lot of people who go this route use their dog’s food as rewards during training to be efficient and save time.
- Use a slow-feeder bowl or food puzzle. If hand feeding doesn’t work for you, you can buy a specially-designed bowl with ridges and spaces where your dog can only get small amounts of food at a time. Similarly, food puzzles have nooks and crannies for your dog’s food, making it impossible for them to gulp down large amounts quickly.
- Make a game out of meal time. Have your dog forage in the grass for their food, play a game of hide and seek and scatter their food in different parts of the house, or put their food in muffin tins and cover them with tennis balls. Learn all about the
- Use a snuffle mat. Our favorite way to slow down a dog’s eating is by . Why do we love this option?
- Your dog only eats a few pieces of food at a time
- It works your dog’s nose and mind while they eat
- It keeps them busy for a long period of time
- It redirects problem behaviors
- It’s machine washable
Already have one? Use it for mealtime and see how much more slowly your dog eats – while having so much fun at the same time.
MY DOG EATS TOO FAST! HOW TO SLOW DOWN A DOG'S EATING - RECAP
As a quick recap, here are some reasons dogs eat too fast:
- Competition (or the thought of it)
- Health conditions
- Nutritional deficiencies
And, here are 4 ways to slow down a dog's eating:
Remember, when a dog or puppy eats too fast it can actually cause some health concerns so it should be avoided.
Has your dog used a snuffle mat or other slow-feeder tool? Tell us about your experience in the comments!