Preventative Care@3x

Slow Down! How to Stop Your Dog From Eating Too Fast

Dec 20, 2021 | AZPetVet, Dog

Adorable Golden Retriever Dog Eating Pet Food From Metal Bowl At Home

Tips & Tricks For When Dogs Eat Too Fast 

When dogs eat too fast it might seem funny, but in truth, it can be very dangerous to their health. Here we’ll share some easy tips on how to slow down a dog eating because a dog eating too fast and throwing up is not fun for anyone… and neither is the clean-up.

The effects of gobbling food too quickly can range from an upset tummy and burping to vomiting. But if your dog constantly eats too fast, it’s important to know how to slow down dog eating. Eating too quickly or trying to eat. all. the. food. ALL the food can lead to vomiting and diarrhea. The “gobble it down” habit can also lead to a life-threatening condition known as bloat (gastric dilatation-volvulus or “GDV”)

When dogs eat too fast, they gulp their food down quickly. They’re also swallowing a lot of air along with the food, causing distension of the stomach. Sometimes, the stomach or the intestines will twist within the abdomen, a painful and life-threatening event requiring immediate veterinary care and surgery. Dogs that weigh more than 100 pounds are at increased risk of experiencing bloat during their lifetime, but it can happen to any size dog; especially dogs that eat too fast. Signs your dog is in the early stages of bloat/GDV can include:

  • Restlessness or pacing
  • Retching or attempts to vomit without results
  • Swollen or distended abdomen
  • Painful abdomen that’s firm to the touch
  • Whimpering or other signals of distress
  • Excessive drooling
  • Panting or rapid breathing

If your dog is exhibiting signs or symptoms of bloat/GDV, please seek veterinary care immediately!


4 Tips to Slow Down Dog Eating

  • Slow-Feeder Bowls: Designed specifically to slow down dog eating, these customized bowls come in many different configurations and materials. The barriers make your dog work to get the kibble from the bowl. Customer reviews can give you a good idea of what works and what doesn’t.
  • Serve Meals on a Cookie Sheet or in a Muffin Pan: Spreading food across a cookie sheet prevents gobbling down food and take tiny bites instead. Using a muffin tin breaks the meal into smaller portions that are harder to get, eliminating the gulping behavior.
  • Food Puzzle Toys: Similar to slow-feeder, puzzle toys come in a variety of configurations to put your dog’s brains and skills to work to get treats hidden in the different nooks and crannies. Rolling puzzle toys keep your dog moving to earn the kibble or treat, so they’re best played with when you’re not in the room. (Don’t ask how we know.)
  • Hand-feeding. OK, this might seem a bit excessive and time-consuming, but it’s really simple. Use training time as a feeding option in conjunction with other slow feeding methods. Use pieces of the dog’s regular kibble as rewards for good behavior during training, when they do a trick, or when teaching them new ones. 

We hope these tricks help show you how to slow down dog eating and break your dog’s bad eating habits. Remember, if your dog shows signs of bloat, your pet needs vet care immediately. If it’s after hours, head to an emergency vet location. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

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Disclaimer: Not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinarian advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding the medical condition of your pet. If you think your pet has a medical emergency, call or visit your veterinarian or your local veterinary emergency hospital immediately.