Almost every dog owner has come to me with this particular question. Why do dogs eat so fast? Well, if you have been wondering the same, brace yourself as I am about to explain everything you may need to know about healthily feeding your dog and especially a dog who eats too fast.
So, why do dogs eat so fast?
This question is variant on a number of factors. For instance, some dogs will portray different eating behaviors based on their age, breed, and size. However, none of these has to do with why dogs eat fast. I, however, believe that this has a lot to do with their nature as scavengers.
Dogs are always ready to eat something. You can always tell because he will stay beside you and watch you as you eat. Well, other dogs won’t settle down when you are serving them their food. They will start eating as soon as you start making them a bowl.
Establishing the reason why your dog eats fast can be a daunting task. However, it is important that you stop your dog from eating fast. If you are concerned, then it is about time you do something about it.
What are the dangers of a dog eating really fast?
If your dog is one of the fast eaters, then you have got to be careful. It is not about the type or amount of food you are offering your dog. It is about the risks that your dog might be in for eating too fast. These may include:
As with humans, choking can occur in dogs as well. This is especially when your dog is eating faster than normal. And it can be as life-threatening as food may lodge on the throat and block the airways. Well, you really do not want this to happen to your dog.
The next and more serious issue with a dog eating fast is the GDV – Gastric Dilation Volvulus. This is similar to bloating which causes the dog’s intestines to enlarge. In some severe cases, the intestines might twist in the stomach.
GDV is so serious that it could lead to death if you don’t get your dog looked at by the vet. When your dog is eating fast, he will also take in large gasps of air. The air results in an enlarged intestine resulting in bloating. Your dog will go into shock slightly after a meal and could die if you do not consult your vet right away.
vomiting can also be a result of eating too fast. It can be accompanied by gagging on food as well. This can be pretty uncomfortable for your dog.
The sad thing about having a dog who eats too fast is that there is no training to make him eat slower. However, there is something you can do about it. You will have to adjust his feeding habits as well as change his feeding bowls.
Below, I am going to discuss 10 ways to make a dog eat slower.
How to stop a dog from eating too fast
It is normal to feel concerned if your dog is eating a little bit faster. As I have outlined above, there are various dangers of a dog eating fast. You will need to come up with a way to slow him down. Below, I am going to outline 10 ways to slow down a dog’s eating habits:
Purchase slow feeding bowls
If you are having trouble slowing your dog’s eating, then you probably need to change his feeding bowl. Often, we feed our dogs using an open normal bowl. However, this will facilitate gulping and eating too fast.
Instead, you can get slow feeders. You will find multiple of these slow-feeding bowls in the store. Most of them will have various segments which will slow down your dog’s eating.
On the other hand, you may choose to purchase food dispensing toys. Food puzzles are perfect for controlling the number of treats your dog eats even when you are away from home. They will also ensure that the dog does not overfeed.
Use interesting and challenging toys to keep the dog busy and distracted. You do not want him to choke when trying to swallow more than he can handle.
Redesign the meal plans
Dogs will have different feeding behavior, based on their breed and size. You must have noticed this if you have been with your dog ever since he was a puppy. A few months-old puppy might need to feed fewer amounts of food several times a day. An adult dog, on the other hand, will need to feed more food about twice a day.
However, if you are concerned that your dog is probably eating a lot faster, it is time to slow him down. As I have indicated above, sometimes eating fast can result in health complications. You can probably start feeding him small amounts of food several times a day.
You see, a dog wants to eat fast and be done with it. However, when you offer him small amounts of food, you are limiting the chances of him choking or bloating
At the same time, you must keep these intervals regular. It is important for a dog to have a specific routine.
Divide and hide his food
Dogs are always up for a challenge. Hide and seek is one of their favorite games and they will always get it right. If your dog is still eating too fast that you are worried, it is time to include play in his feeding schedule.
You will need several food bowls. Put a small amount of food in each and hide the food in different areas of the house. Once he is done with the first portion, your dog will continue looking for the second, third, and so on.
This is one of my favorite methods as dogs are good with scents. He can smell the food from all over the house. Besides slowing down his eating, this game is also stimulating for your dog.
Note that to use this method, you would need to be at home for most of the days.
Use a cookie sheet
Each dog will respond to each one of these approaches differently. However, I can tell you for sure that this will help. It is difficult for a dog to gulp down food when it is spread than in a bowl. I mean, he can only be able to lick off the food from a sheet then take a bite from the bowl.
Well, if you have been struggling to slow down your dog’s eating, purchase cookie sheets. Well, muffin pans will also work if that’s an option. Each time you want to feed to feed your dog, spread his food on the sheet/pan.
It is simply impossible to eat fast or gulp food from a sheet. He will have to eat slowly since this method involves a lot of licking rather than taking a bite.
Train obedience skills during mealtime
As with hide and seek, you can slow your dog’s eating by making it a little interesting. For instance, you can train or test his obedience skills. Do not just offer him food in a bowl and get back to your business. Instead, train him new or existing commands. Once he obeys, you can let him take a bite.
Once he has swallowed, you might go ahead and try another command. This will also eliminate any chances of eating fast. Besides, it is also a great way to spend time with your canine friend.
Start hand feeding him
Well, given the risks involved when a dog eats too fast, it is only fair to be concerned. If you have been trying to stop your dog from this habit unsuccessfully, you might start hand feeding your dog. This is usually a tip I offer to those dogs who have tried to slow down their dog eating in vain.
Well, it will also require you to touch and handle your dog’s food. You will need to spend a lot of time with your dog. However, you should think about a more permanent solution to this problem.
Also, if your dog gets bloated despite any method used, it could be that your dog has serious medical issues. You might want to check in with your vet.
Improvise his bowl
You can also improvise the normal feeding bowl to make your dog eat slower. A good example is by putting a rock in the center of his food bowl. Then put some food all around his bowl. There is no way he will be able to gulp large amounts of food when served like that.
However, there is a downside to this method. It will only work when you are dealing with a small dog. A bigger dog will present a challenge when using this method.
Why Do Dogs Eat So Fast? One of my dogs eats faster than the rest of them
I have had so many people come to me with this question. Well, not all dogs want to eat faster but dogs are food-motivated. It means that once he sees some food, he definitely wants some. I mean, you must know this already as your dog will stare at you when you are eating your sandwich.
However, if you have more than one dog, the fast eater could be problematic. Besides overeating, bloating and even choking risks, you will also have to deal with him stealing the other dog’s food. So, what should you do to deal with such a problem?
Some dogs are competitive eaters
Well, I am sure you have already observed this. Some dogs will eat faster than others. You just have to pay enough attention to your dogs to determine which one is the most competitive. Well, you will need to separate the two dogs during mealtime.
Well, there are different reasons why one dog is more aggressive with food than others. It could be that he is afraid the other dog will steal theirs, or maybe he is too hungry. Well, other dogs are just competitive as they want to get done and hurry to eat the other dog’s food.
Well, if so, then you should offer them food from different bowls. If possible, also take the competitive dog away from the other one. This will make it easy for both of your dogs. At least the competitive dog will no longer want to eat the other dog’s share.
At the same time, you must also feed your dogs on time. Refrain from tampering with your dog’s feeding schedule. He could be eating fast because he is too hungry. Well, by regularly feeding him, your dog will stop feeding greedily.
Having a dog who eats faster can be worrying. I mean, you will be constantly worried that your dog will swallow too much air and end up food bloated, or worse get the GDV. Well, I understand your worry. However, changing your dog’s habit of eating too fast should be gradual.
It takes some time before a dog gets used to something new. Therefore, you must remain very persistent and patient when it comes to stopping your dog from eating too fast.
Getting a food puzzle toy is going to help slow down his eating. And so are the other methods I have outlined above. Getting specific feeding bowls, the slow feeder bowls are a reasonable solution to this problem. Also, food puzzles and treat dispensing toys will help you control a speedy eater.
Dogs eat that fast because they are food motivated. Even when you just fed your dog, he will want a bite of your sandwich and everything else everyone is having! However, because of the health risks eating too fast poses for the dog, you will need to address this problem. I hope everything I have outlined above is going to be of help as you handle a fast eater.