Does your dog eat too fast? I can tell you that mine most certainly does! He descends upon his bowl the moment it is set down, and I’m sure not a single breath is taken until every last morsel is scarfed. He’s a ravenous gulper…a greedy crocodile…and has the appetite of, well, a dog.
Dogs are incredibly food driven, and plenty of them eat entirely too fast. The problem is that it can cause choking, throwing up, or even bloat.
So, how do you go about slowing down a fast eating dog?
How to Slow Down Dog Eating
- One way to slow down a dog that eats too fast is to break up meals into smaller portions ensuring it is not presented all at once. A dog can’t eat its food too fast if there’s not much there to eat! This could be done by providing small meals throughout the day (eventually making up the equivalent of full portions), or by just putting a small amount in the bowl at meal time, and refilling and repeating, all in one sitting.
However, dog owners, like any typical person, are often rushing off to work, coming home tired, or just having routinely hectic days, so for time’s sake, this approach isn’t practical for everyone.
- Another approach is to use a slow feeding dog bowl. There are dozens of different styles, but all are designed to make a dog work for their food, thereby losing the ability to gulp it down all at once.
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- On the other hand, you may already have something available to replicate a slow feeding bowl just the same. Some people are able to flip their dog’s current food bowl upside down, and fill the crevice that surrounds the inner bowl, with food (the stainless steel bowls tend to have a design that works for this). A dog’s eating will slow down as he works at getting that food out.
- You can also try a muffin tin, filling each individual space with food. It may get your dog to slow down as he moves back and forth gobbling from one space to the next.
- Still, yet, another option is to place a ball, or a rock, inside your dog’s bowl. It will block the food a bit, and your dog won’t have quite as easy of access to gobble it up. Super quick gulping dogs may mistake the ball/rock for food if it is too small though, so be sure to use one that is large enough!
Why Does My Dog Eat So Fast?
Fast eating is most likely hard-wired into a dog’s demeanor from the days before they were domesticated. Their survival depended upon eating their prey prior to another animal coming along and devouring it for himself.
It is also possible for dogs to develop a habit of eating too fast while during their puppy years and competing with their siblings for food. If I had a large crew of family members devoid of the concept of sharing I might discover the art of devouring food in 5 seconds flat too!
Once a pup develops a pattern of eating too fast it becomes a hard habit to break. Even when it is a single dog household it’s not uncommon for the pattern to continue.
Another thing to consider, if you are in a multi-dog household, is whether your dogs are competing for food. If two dogs are eating near each other, they sometimes compete to finish up prior to the other one encroaching upon their portion. To ensure there is no conflict, you should try feeding your dogs at opposite ends of the room, or in another room altogether.
If your dog just can’t take the hint that the other dog’s food is off limits, you can try distracting the dog that finishes first by giving positive attention until the other finishes up. The idea is that it would become habit forming to seek you out for that positive attention in lieu of attempting to steal the other dog’s food. Essentially, it would be a means to something even more appealing than the thieving behavior.
In short, and quite honestly, I think us humans should thank our lucky stars that we have learned to actually TASTE our food while eating it! I mean, really, this whole scarfing thing is quite unappealing in my book. But, then again, I think my dog would beg to disagree.