Have you ever noticed your dog basically looking as if they were inhaling their food because they're eating so fast? I know I've seen quite a few. And, although eating fast isn't usually life-threatening, it can cause a handful of problems. 

But… now what? Your dog has to eat, but how can you feed them if they scarf down their food? Thankfully, there are a few ways to get your dog to slow down, but first, let’s discuss why eating fast is a concern.

Bloat Can Be Life-Threatening

I did say that most of the time dogs eating too fast isn't a serious life-threatening issue, but in this case, it definitely is. That's why I am putting this issue at the top of the list. 

Bloat happens when a dog's stomach fills with something - whether it's food, air, or liquid - and expands. When their stomach expands, it can twist and put significant pressure on the surrounding organs, neither of these scenarios are good.  

Dogs who eat too fast can easily gulp down too much air or food (or even water if they're drinking) resulting in this condition. If you believe your dog has bloat at any point in time, get them to a vet immediately.

The Symptoms of Bloat

Before moving onto the next concern, it's super important to understand the symptoms of bloat so you know what to watch for. Look for restlessness, a swollen belly, pacing, excessive drooling, and dry heaving. Any signs of pain should also be checked out by your vet. 

Competing With People or Other Dogs

Whether they have to or not, your dog could feel the need to compete for resources. If there's a cat around, for example, your dog could feel like they need to gulp up all their food fast before that sneaky kitty gets to it. 

This behavior is also instinctive. In the wild, dogs had to keep their food safe or else it would be scarfed down by other predators. In this case, your dog will need to learn that their food is safe from being consumed. That's a lesson for a different day, but for now, keep in mind that dogs take time to learn human or domestic ways. 

4 Ways You Can Help Your Dog Who Eats Too Fast

1) Try Slow Feeder Bowls 

When I started working with pups, there weren't too many products out there. Luckily, there are now slow feeder bowls that can help them slow down. They generally have raised patterns in the form of obstacles including spirals, bumps, or ridges. Basically, it looks like a maze inside a bowl.  

They come in all sorts of patterns and sizes. Look around, check the reviews, and find out what works best for your individual dog. 

2) Have Fun With Food Puzzles

Turning meal time into a fun game using food puzzles doesn't only help their physical health, but it gives pups an added mental workout. There are a ton to choose from, but what most of them have in common is that your dog will need to use their cognitive skills to determine how to get to their meal. 

These puzzles can also help with weight management. They will feel fuller faster if they eat slower. The mental game turns a high-speed chase into a Sunday drive. 

3) Throw in Some High-Quality Probiotics

Probiotics, like the ones in Daily Dog, help balance out good and bad bacteria in the gut. Now, you might be asking, “how can probiotics possibly help here?” Well, it all has to do with how the brain and gut work together in something popularly known in the science community as the gut-brain axis.

The gut-brain axis is an intricate communication network that connects the emotional and cognitive parts of the brain with portions of the GI tract. 

Improved gut health can lead to better hormone regulation, including the ones related to hunger and anxiety, which can not only boost their overall health and wellness, but also help them understand they aren't starving and can eat slower.

4) Try Feeding More Frequent Meals 

You can feed the same amount, but try splitting that amount of food into more meals during the day. Feeding your pup 8 meals (using the same amount of food) in their own private area could be super helpful. They may no longer feel the need to eat as fast as they possibly can. 

Solving the “My Dog Eats Too Fast” Situation

Dogs eating too fast can cause some frustrating health issues. But luckily, you can help your dog out and slow them down by feeding them in a slow feeder, with a puzzle toy, or even possibly by feeding them more frequently. Every dog is different so what works for one may not work for another. It can be a trial and error process, but once you find what works, you can put your mind at ease.

Furthermore, support your dog’s gut health to ensure a healthy brain, which plays a role in regulating eating behavior.  

Read More: 

Slow Feeding Bowls

Increased Feeding Speed Associated With Higher Sympathetic Activity in Dogs

Risk Factors for Canine Bloat

The Mechanism of the Gut-Brain Axis in Regulating Food Intake


Photo by Kabo on Unsplash

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