Slowing down a dog that's eating too fast.
Feeding our dogs is our responsibility as dog owners and making sure that we feed them right is very important. We’ve had articles covering the options on the market for dog food, tips for checking your dog is getting a balanced diet, and how to make sure your dog is getting the right amount of food.
How fast our dogs eat their meals, is just as important as how much and what kind of food they eat. So what’s going to happen if your dog does eat too quickly? Why are they doing it? And what can you do to help? Luckily there are plenty of products available to slow their eating and explanations for this behaviour.
What can happen if a dog is eating too fast?
Wolfing down meals can have serious implications for a dog’s health, such as choking, vomiting and Bloat, as well as causing other digestive issues.
Choking presents immediate issues and you may need to rush to the vet or perform first aid. Take a look at our Dog First Aid Month blog for more information about learning dog first aid.
Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus, or Bloat, is a serious condition that can be fatal to our dogs. Eating too quickly can cause a build-up of gas and food in a dog’s stomach that can’t be expelled. This puts pressure on the other organs and can restrict blood flow which needs emergency assistance.
Why might a dog be eating too fast?
Your first step in discovering why your dog is eating too quickly should be to visit a vet, they are the experts after all. A vet can rule out medical reasons for your dog eating quickly, such as diabetes or Cushing’s disease.
Once a vet has ruled out medical reasons for a dog’s behaviour, the main reason for a dog eating too quickly is food security. A dog can feel insecure about food for many reasons and it may be behaviour they learned when only a puppy.
“Wolfing down meals can have serious implications for a dog’s health, such as choking, vomiting and Bloat, as well as causing other digestive issues."
What can be done to slow a dog's eating?
Creating a safe space for your dog to eat peacefully will go a long way to helping them overcome any insecurity with food. In a single-dog household, this can mean putting their feeding bowl in a quiet area of the house, away from too much interference. For multi-dog households, creating separate feeding areas for each dog will reduce the competition for food and should help to slow their eating.
In addition to creating safe and quiet places to eat, there are a number of products on the market that aim to slow your dog’s eating and encourage them to play with their food whilst they eat.
Slow-feeding Dog Bowls
Whatever kind of bowl you normally have for your dog, there will be a version designed to slow down how quickly your dog can access all of the food you put in. Here are some of our favourites:
Soft and colourful, the Feast Fleece Ball has a container for treats or other food. Your dog will need to roll it around to get at the contents which will slow their consumption and help keep them entertained. It comes in two sizes so is perfect for any size dog.
The Lickimat Boredom Buster is another great tool for slowing down your dog’s eating. Spread treats or other food onto the mat, stick it to a surface and watch your dog eat their treats slowly over time. The mats are also freezer safe and can be used to help cool your dog down on a hot day.
Another solution to slow a dog’s eating is the West Paw Zogoflex Toppl. Treats are put inside the Toppl and will only come out as your dog plays with the chewer. In addition to slowing your dogs eating with treats, the Toppl can keep your dog occupied and calm.
The Lickimat Wobbly Dog Bowl is great for slowing down dogs eating too fast by making your dog put in work to get their treats or food. On top of the benefits to your dog eating slower, it also has a calming effect on your dog!
The Challenger Cube has six sides of pockets to hide food and other goodies for your dog. Working for their food lets dogs eat slower and the Challenger Cube is a great solution that also stimulates your dogs mentally and physically.