Dog food isn’t meant to be gobbled down without taking a breath. Just like humans, it digests much better if the dog paces their eating. Dogs shouldn’t eat their food so quickly that it could cause health problems. A dog could potentially eat food without chewing. A dog might also show signs he or she is eating too fast if they throw it up soon after. Eating food rapidly can also be a sign of obsessive or aggressive behavior. Pet owners need to watch their dogs carefully if they suspect food is vanishing quicker than it should. If it’s gone immediately after a pour, the pet may be eating at too quick of a pace. A dog owner may wonder, “how do I stop my dog eating so fast?”
Owners can consider why the dogs are eating so quickly and what they can possibly do to rectify the situation before it causes any potential health issues.
Why do some dogs eat too quickly?
- Competitive Eating
Dogs may eat fast because of the competition from other dogs. If you own several pups, chances are they may eat often from the same bowl or area. Dogs may swallow food quicker to keep the other canine in the house from getting it first. They may have learned this and developed a pattern from a younger age with fellow siblings. The last one out doesn’t get to eat. It’s a feast or famine routine for puppies.
- Breed Traits
Some breeds are typically faster eaters than others. It’s no secret that larger dogs need more food and will generally eat faster. Golden Retrievers and Labs are dogs that love extra food and treats. Both breeds are also known to be susceptible to bloating after over-eating. All dog breeds are susceptible to eating too quickly.
A dog may have worked up an appetite because of exercise. It might be too long between meals. There’s a chance your pet may not be eating large enough meals spaced out appropriately. A quick eater could indicate the dog is just starving and has waited too long for the next pour.
- Love of Food
The food might just be too tasty. Some brands of dog foods hit the mark with certain breeds. You’ll generally recognize if you’re dog is in love with the brand you buy or can leave it for hours without touching it. There needs to be a healthy medium between those two. A dog owner might consider a different brand if their pet appears to swallow everything whole every meal. This is true especially if the dog has never eaten like this before. Sometimes the excitement of a new brand eventually wears off. So time may change that anyway. It’s still something to keep an eye on. Bad habits are sometimes hard to break.
What are the Dangers of Eating too Fast?
- Swallowing Air
A dog that takes in too much air while eating will generally have problems with belching or flatulence. If they aren’t slowing down to eat, the air will get trapped in the stomach. This could cause further issues.
The burping and flatulence can be directly related to the intake of too much air while eating too quickly. It can produce foul smells. Dog owners who sleep in the same room with their pups may have to kick them out. This could cause added stress for the dog since he or she doesn’t really understand the issue.
Certain breeds are more susceptible to bloating based on their body build. It can still happen in most dogs and may result in a trip to the vet. Bloating leaves a dog feeling tired and ill.
Dogs who eat too quickly are also susceptible to throwing it up. If the food doesn’t digest, it could end up on your floor. The dog also could have swallowed too much air and it comes right back up.
- Stomach Twisting
Dogs that eat too quickly could be at risk for a more serious condition knows as GDV (Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus). This takes place when gas or food stretches a stomach. It could possibly be fatal.
A canine that eats too fast might also get large chunks of food caught in the throat. This could cause choking. That could ultimately lead to death or excessive vomiting. Just like adults, dogs need to chew their food into smaller bites so they have enough room for it to go down their throat.
Aggression is never a good trait for any dog. Maybe the pet is trying to keep other pets in the house from stealing food. They are hungry enough they don’t want to share. This may mean they aren’t getting enough food or they are territorial.
7 Ways to Stop Your Dog Eating So Quickly
1. Purchase a Special Bowl
There are many special dog bowls that aid in helping slow down fast dog eating. The object of these bowls is to make it more difficult and challenging for a canine to eat fast. The bowls construction make the dog have to pause because of the hurdles they have to tackle. This makes your dog breathe, relax and go after the next round. A special dog bowl could be a fascinating puzzle for a dog to work. A slow feeder bowl or dispenser might also be an option.
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2. Place a Rock or Bowl In Middle
It sounds so elementary but it can definitely help. Many pet owners will place a rock in the middle or another object so the dog has to work around it to eat food. This pushes the pup to pause between bites and adjust before putting his or her head back down.
3. Divide Food Into Small Portions
Smaller portions can also be an option for dog owners who are frustrated with how their dogs are reacting to their latest pour of food. For example, a muffin baking tray can separate the pours individually so the dog has to chew the food before moving to the next slot. A cookie sheet might also do the trick. These options might answer the question you have on how to stop my dog eating so fast.
4. Raise Food To Make It Harder To Reach
Food can also be raised vertically. A dog may not be able to completely devour food like they do with the normal head down angle. They’ll also have less chance of immediate regurgitation with the higher angle.
5. Feed More Regularly
You can also feed your dog more often and in smaller pours. This will keep the pup from being so hungry and help increase metabolism.
Training to eat slower usually takes place at a younger age. We’ve all heard the old adage about teaching old dogs new tricks. Dogs develop habits so it’s important to form these slower eating habits when they are young. If you notice these characteristics at a young age, it’s important to introduce steps like special feeding bowls, smaller pours or other alternatives then. You can also seek professional training to slow your dog down.
7. Separate Bowls
More than one dog in a home can spell trouble at the canine dinner table. They can growl at each other or one can try to dominate the other. A pet owner can certainly elect to feed each individual dog with an individual bowl. This may take time if you’ve already trained both to eat from the same dish. It’s good to start new dogs in your house off on a separate bowl. This will create less anxiety and give each dog a sense of what belongs to them.
Dogs who eat quickly can develop health issues if the problem isn’t addressed over time. It’s important to diagnose at an early age where possible. If not, there are many options that can help slow down your fast eating pup. The important thing is to understand there is an issue and figure out an appropriate solution. Dog owners may try any of these solutions above before moving forward with profe