Some dogs tend to eat fast, there’s no doubt about it. After all, if we think of their past, it makes sense. Food that wasn’t eaten right away could have been another animal’s meal, so it best to seize the day and simply wolf it down. And if the dog couldn’t eat the whole food all in one sitting, then it could always be buried in hopes of keeping its scent away from other animals so it could be consumed later.
Despite the evolutionary advantages though, eating fast nowadays isn’t much beneficial. Today, dogs are different from their ancestors, they are fed different foods than they ate in the wild, dogs sleep in our homes, they eat from food bowls and they move much less than they used to. Eating fast in our beloved domesticated dogs can cause choking, vomiting, and gassiness as they swallow a lot of air, and in severe cases, deep-chested, dogs may develop a potentially fatal case of bloat. Fortunately, there are ways to slow down your dog if he tends to wolf his meal in seconds.
How to Stop Your Dog From Eating Fast
The following are some tips to prevent your dog from eating too fast. If your puppy has always been a slow eater and suddenly seems to eat quickly, see your vet. Ravenous appetite can be a sign of parasites, diabetes, or aging. It can also be a behavior problem or a side effect of some medications you have been giving such as prednisone. These tips are therefore for dogs who have always eaten fast and have obtained a clean bill of health from their vet.
Separate Other Dogs
In many cases, puppies who wolf down their meals do so because they’re competing with other puppies. In other words, your dog eats fast because he’s afraid that your other dogs will eat his food. On some occasions, separating the dogs at every meal may help. With the other dogs out of sight, your dog may feel less under pressure and much calmer which may allow him to eat at a slower pace. Keep in mind though that if your dog has been eating fast for quite some time, the behavior may be established and difficult to change.
Provide a Food Dispensing Toy
An easy way to slow your dog down from eating too fast is to invest in food dispensing toys. Examples are Kongs, Kong Wobblers, and Buster Cubes. These are toys that you can fill up with kibble and other goodies and your dog must work getting them out. On top of slowing your dog down, these toys provide mental stimulation, something that all dogs need along with exercise.
Make a Game Out of It
Don’t have a food-dispensing toy? You can always create your own. Fill up a bottle with kibble and remove the cap. Then, watch your dog work on getting the kibble out a little at a time. Alternatively, hide little piles of kibble around the home and then release your dog to go on a fun treasure hunt. Feel like your dog may benefit from some training? Instead of letting him eat his food all at once, use kibble to reward good behaviors.
Invest in Special Bowl
Today, there are several bowls especially crafted for dogs who eat fast. A popular brand is the Brake-Fast bowl. It looks like a normal bowl, but at a closer look, you’ll notice it has three center posts that make eating a bit of a challenge since dogs must eat around them. This solution should considerably slow fast eaters down.
Can’t find a special bowl or simply don’t want to spend money? No worries, there are some great practical solutions. They may not be that sophisticated, but they may work. One of them, suggested by veterinarian Marty Becker, is to place a large, clean, smooth river rock in the center of the food bowl so your dog must eat around it. Make sure the rock is large enough so your dog won’t gulp it down! Alternatively, you can use a tennis ball. If you have time and patience, you can always hand-feed them food or toss it around so your dog must go grab it and gets a nice daily dose of exercise at the same time!
The Bottom Line
As seen there are several options to slow your dog down. Consider that on top of preventing your dog from choking, vomiting, getting gassy, or developing bloat, slowing your dog down can also help him feel much fuller and reduce the chances of re-eating. A win-win situation for all!