How to Slow Down Your Dog's Eating
Do you have a fast-eating dog? Do they eat like they haven’t had a meal in days and may never again? Are you struggling to find a way to slow them down?
Determine the Cause
To make a change in their eating habits, it is best to try to understand why they eat so quickly. There are several reasons why a dog may eat too fast.
- Maybe they were in a large litter as a pup and had to compete for food.
- If you have more than one pet, they may feel that there is competition for food. It could also be something as simple as meal timing.
- If your feeding schedule isn’t consistent, they could feel like they don’t know when their next meal is coming.
Dangers of Your Dog Eating Too Fast
While eating fast is common for dogs and usually not a medical concern, there are cases that are very serious. Gulping down food can cause a variety of issues with dogs like, indigestion, choking, vomiting, gagging, excess gas, or gastric dilation-volvulus, more commonly known as bloat. While the others can create inconvenience or a mess, bloat can be life-threatening for dogs.
When a dog eats too fast, he can gulp down a lot of air and gas with his food causing bloat. As the high amount of gas, air, and food enter the stomach, the stomach blows up, much like a balloon. In some cases, the stomach will twist and not allow the gas to escape. If this happens, it can become fatal in only a few hours.
Solutions to Eating too Fast
There are several reasons why your dog may feel stressed at mealtime. If you have more than one pet, they could feel like they are competing for food. You could try to feed the pets in separate areas or at different times from one another.
If you have a busy household such as children playing loudly, your dog could feel stressed or rushed to eat. Try to eliminate as much of the excess noise and give them plenty of space to eat. Avoid high traffic areas if possible. If you crate your dog, they may feel more comfortable eating in their crate.
Break Up Mealtime
If you only feed your dog one or two times a day, they could be feeling hungry between meals, causing them to eat faster. If possible, try to break up their food into smaller, more frequent meals. If doing so doesn’t fit into your schedule, you could try to break up their meals into smaller sections fed at intervals of a few minutes apart. This allows their stomach to settle. Try to maintain a consistent and reliable feeding schedule for your dog. For some dogs, the consistency of having a meal in the same time and same place is all it takes to provide the security to know that they don’t have to worry about their meal being their last.
Slow Feeder Bowls
If breaking up mealtime or reducing stress don’t work to slow your dog down, a slow feeder bowl will make it physically impossible for them to inhale their food. Slow feeder bowls make to food harder to get at, forcing your dog to chew their food better and use their tongue to lick the food out.
There are countless slow feeder bowls on the market today. You could even make your own by placing obstacles, such as a ball in your dog’s traditional bowl. Another benefit of slow feeder bowl is that they burn mental energy for your dog.
Another way to slow down your speed-eating dog, is to freeze their food or add frozen chunks into it. You can add pieces of frozen raw prey diet to their current food, freeze chunks of pheasant breast in trays with a homemade broth, or add in other raw, frozen pet treats. Freezing hardens the food without affecting the nutritional value of the food. It slows down the dog as the food defrosts.