How to Stop a Dog From Eating Too Fast
Do you have a dog that always wolfs down its food? Here are a few tips on How to Stop a Dog From Eating Too Fast.
As an owner of two extremely greedy pugs, I know that some dogs are insane about food. They can wolf down an entire bowl of food within 30 seconds. Watching two small dogs eat like they are Great Danes is quite impressive — and a little scary! It looks like they are inhaling the food rather than chewing it.
Unfortunately, there are many negative outcomes associated with dogs eating their food too fast. They include obesity, choking, ingestion of foreign objects, and indigestion. This guide will share some information about why some dogs eat fast and the dangers of eating quickly. We’ll also highlight a few clever techniques and products that can stop your dog from demolishing their meal in seconds!
- 1 Why do dogs eat so fast?
- 2 The dangers of fast eating
- 3 How to Stop a Dog From Eating Too Fast
- 3.1 Identify any medical problems
- 3.2 Feed more often
- 3.3 Isolate your dog
- 3.4 Try different food
- 3.5 Maintain a strict feeding schedule
- 3.6 Use special bowls to make your dog eat slower
- 3.7 Use smaller dry food
- 3.8 Use a puzzle feeder or slow release feeder
- 3.9 Talk to a dog trainer
- 3.10 Consider medication
- 4 Some useful products for making your dog eat slower
Why do dogs eat so fast?
Dogs eat fast for many different reasons. One common reason is that they were born into large litters and had to compete aggressively for food from a young age. Can you imagine trying to push five or six other starving pups out of the way for access to your dinner? It would be chaos in there! As a result of this traumatic experience, they will gobble down their food as soon as they have access — preventing other dogs from stealing it.
Another common reason is that the dog feels threatened by other animals when eating. This is the case for my younger pug. Unfortunately, she became this way because of a mistake I made.
When she was younger, I failed to help her guard her food at times. As a result, my older pug (Ruby) would eat her own food, then run at the puppy’s food bowl like a bulldozer. She wouldn’t always make it, because I would block her, but she got through on a few occasions. My puppy could only get a snarl out before jumping out of the way.
This experience caused my younger pug to become aggressive towards other dogs when there is food in her bowl. She has mellowed slightly as she has gotten older, but she was a very angry young dog at one point! Learn from my lesson — guard your younger dog if the older one is an absolute pig.
Some breeds are also more likely to be fast eaters. Pugs have that well-earned reputation, as do Labrador retrievers, dachshunds, French bulldogs, and Boston terriers.
People who take in rescue dogs often find that their new pet is a fast eater. This often occurs because the pet was in a situation where they struggled for food. Some rescue dogs will eat slower once they have feel safe and secure in their new home.
Medical problems that cause fast eating
There are various heath conditions that can cause a dog to eat faster, including:
- Nutritional deficiencies
Your dog may not be getting the nutrients he or she requires from the food you are providing. As a result, they may be experiencing constant hunger and feel the urge to gobble down their food in seconds.
Diabetes mellitus occurs when your dog’s body is not producing enough insulin or their cells are not responding to insulin. It results in your dog being unable to convert blood glucose into energy. One of the symptoms of diabetes is increased thirst and appetite.
- Mental problems
Yes, dogs can suffer from mental problems! If your dog is suffering from anxiety or depression, they are far more likely to eat their food fast.
Parasites like intestinal worms can cause your dog’s appetite to sky rocket! That’s because they remove nutrients from the food that your dog eats. Fortunately, it is easy to treat intestinal worms with dog worming medication.
- Inflammatory bowel problems
Certain gastrointestinal problems can prevent dogs from ingesting nutrients from the food they consume. One of those conditions is Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). If your dog has IBD, they may experience weight loss and an increased appetite.
This condition is caused by the overproduction of a thyroid hormone called thyroxine. One of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism is a faster metabolism and extreme hunger.
- Problems affecting the central nervous system
Don’t freak out, this is highly unlikely! However, an abnormality in the central nervous system may make it difficult for a dog to detect if they are full or not. As a result, they will constantly be famished and looking for anything to nibble on.
- Intestinal cancer
Certain forms of cancer can affect your dog’s stomach or intestines, causing symptoms like intense hunger.
When fast eating is caused by a health condition, it usually appears later in a dog’s life. If your dog is a fast eater from day one, it is more likely to be for behavioural or genetic reasons.
The dangers of fast eating
Although fast eating can look funny or cute when a little dog does it, it is actually quite dangerous. Some of the most dangerous health implications of fast eating include:
When a dog is practically inhaling their food it is easy for some to go down their airway, causing them to choke. This can cause a life-threatening situation for your puppy!
Dogs that eat quickly will take in huge gulps of air with their food. This results in air pockets forming in the dog’s stomach, which can make the dog vomit. Because they are vomiting large chunk of undigested food, they can injure their digestive tract. If your dog is resisting the urge to vomit, you’ll notice them pointing their face to the ceiling half way through their meal.
It takes time for the stomach to tell the brain how full it is. As a result, dogs that eat fast will often over-eat which increases their risk of obesity. Obese dogs have all kinds of health problems and a greater risk of contracting serious diseases like cancer.
Bloating (Gastric Dilatation Volvulus)
Because fast eaters ingest so much air, they can also become quite bloated. This can place pressure on their other organs and decrease blood supply to those organs. Dogs with a deep chest can be deeply affect by bloat and it can quickly become a life-threatening condition. Dogs suffering from gastric dilatation volvulus may show various symptoms including a rapid heartbeat, cold body temperature, and shortness of breath.
How to Stop a Dog From Eating Too Fast
Here are some useful techniques that can be used to stop your dog eating too fast. You may have to try different approaches to find the right one for your pet.
Identify any medical problems
If you dog who has suddenly started eating their food fast in the past few months, it may be related to an illness. Take your pet to a vet to see if they have a disease that needs to be treated because they may have a potential dangerous illness that can be easily treated.
Feed more often
The easiest technique for preventing bloating, vomiting, and choking that may occur when eating quickly is to feed your dog smaller portions. Instead of feeding them once a day, feed them small amounts three times a day. This can often help with fast eating associated with psychological problems also, because they will recognise that food is frequently provided.
Isolate your dog
If your dog is experiencing anxiety or fear, it can cause them to eat quickly. Help them avoid these emotions by isolating them from other animals during meal time. Place their bowl in a laundry or bathroom where they can’t see or hear the other animals. They will get a chance to relax and take their time with their meal.
Try different food
It’s possible that the food you are giving to your dog does not contain all of the nutrients they require. Ask your vet for their opinion on the type of food that you are feeding your dog, because they might have a better brand to use. You can also try adding nutrient-dense food to your dogs meal, like an egg. Eggs contain healthy fats that will keep your dog satisfied for longer periods.
Maintain a strict feeding schedule
Some dogs experience anxiety about food because they aren’t sure when it will arrive. You can help out by maintaining a very strict schedule when it comes to food. If you decide to feed them at 7pm, do it at that exact time every day. Dogs are very good at recognising the passing of time and will simply stroll out to the kitchen to get their dinner at the right time. It will help to relieve their anxiety and can make them relax while eating.
Use special bowls to make your dog eat slower
There are many special dog bowls available that are specially designed to make a dog eat slower. They usually have an uneven surface and require the dog to use their tongue to access all of the food. Instead of gulping down large chunks, they will be eating small pieces with each bit. As a result, they won’t suffer from bloat, indigestion, and other issues associated with fast eating.
Use smaller dry food
Using smaller pieces of dry food in conjunction with a slow feeder bowl will make it more difficult for your dog to wolf down their food. Smaller pieces are also less likely to become stuck in your dog’s oesophagus when they are eating quickly.
Use a puzzle feeder or slow release feeder
Puzzle feeders are small toys that can be filled with dry dog food. The dog will have to move the puzzle feeder around to get it to spit out a piece of kibble. Because it takes time to retrieve each piece of kibble, your dog cannot gulp down their food.
Slow release feeders will dispense a piece of food every few minutes. This is a more technologically advanced way of ensuring your pup eats slowly.
Talk to a dog trainer
Dog trainers can give you training plan that addresses the underlying behavioural issues causing your dog to eat too quickly. While it can take time to fix your dog’s mental conditioning, it is worth it in the long run.
As a last resort, you can consider using medication to calm your dog’s anxiety levels. Talk to a vet about the natural supplements and medications that might be useful. If you can reduce your dog’s anxiety levels, they are more likely to take their time with their meal.
Some useful products for making your dog eat slower
Here are a few products that are very useful for slowing how quickly your dog eats. Using these kinds of gadgets and food bowls is perhaps the easiest way of slowing your dog’s eating speed.
Outward Hound Fun Feeder Slow Feed Bowl
This is the most popular slow feeder dog bowl on the market. It’s easy to see why — it is affordable, well-made, and very effective at slowing down a ravenous dog. The Outward Hound Fun Feeder is made from high-quality food safe ABS plastic, which is an extremely hard plastic and quite durable. It will stand up to the abuse that a hungry dog dishes out when trying to get to their food.
There are five different versions of Outward Hound Fun Feeder available with different patterns. So if your puppy works out how to navigate around one bowl quickly you can change to another design. There are three different sizes available — x-small, small and large. The small bowl works well for my pugs, which means it would be appropriate for most small to medium dogs.
- PROMOTES FUN HEALTHY EATING - Fun Feeder Slo-Bowls help dogs eat up to 10X slower
- IMPROVES DIGESTION - These dog bowls naturally improve digestion by allowing dogs to forage for their food through the fun patterns and mazes
- VETERINARIAN RECOMMENDED -Vets recommend Fun Feeder Slo-Bowls to aid in digestion and help prevent bloat
- NON SLIP BASE & FOOD SAFE MATERIALS - Fun Feeder Slo-Bowls won't slip or slide & are made with food-safe materials that are BPA, PVC & Phthalate free
- PROPER PORTIONS- The Large Fun Feeder Slo-Bowl holds up to 4 cups of dry kibble, the Small holds 2 cups & the X-Small holds 3/4 cup. All Fun Feeders work great for dry or wet food diets
PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder
If you prefer a high-tech solution, you can try the PetSafe Healthy Pet Simply Feed Automatic Feeder. This is an electronic device that precisely measures out food for your pet to enjoy throughout the day. Because it can deliver small quantities of food, there is no risk of your pet binge eating and becoming bloated.
Its automatic food delivery mechanism makes it ideal for people who are at work all day, but need to feed their dog during the day. You can program up to 12 meals per day, dispensing portions between 1/8 cup and 4 cups in size. If you only want to feed your dog once per day, it is still useful because it can dispense food in 1/8 cup portions every 15 minutes.
The feeder disassembles for easy cleaning. This is a fantastic device that my pug might be getting next Christmas!
- Digital timer programs up to 12 meals a day with flexible meal portions from 1/8 cup up to 4 cups;LCD screen with 5-button navigation for easy programming
- Anti-jam conveyor system dispenses dry and semi-moist foods of different shapes and sizes. Hopper holds 24 cups of dry food. Bowl holds 5 cups of food.
- Slow Feed Mode dispenses meals greater than 1/8 cup over 15 minutes to help prevent gulping and vomiting
- Immediate Feed Mode dispenses next scheduled meal instantly and Pause Feed Mode temporarily stops feeding without losing programmed feed schedule
- Pet-proof dispenser helps keep out prying paws and locking lid helps keep food fresh and secure
Pikaon Pet Snuffle Mat – Dog Foraging and Feeding Mat
This is a very interesting dog bowl for slowing how quickly your dog can eat. It is a mat made from cotton that has been designed to hide dog biscuits in its creases. You can sprinkle some dog biscuits over the mat and they fall into various gaps.
Your dog has to forage for each biscuit, which can be a time consuming task! Because they are locating individual biscuits, it really slows down how fast they can eat. The mat is machine-washable, so its easy to keep clean. I haven’t tried this product out with the pugs yet, but I will be buying one in the coming weeks.
- Hide snacks or small toys in the snuffle mat to simulate your pet's foraging instincts and hone in on their sense of smell
- Slow your dog's feeding down to prevent digestive problems and promote healthy eating habits
- Entertain your dog and relieve stress when you leave him or her alone at home
- Great for any size or any breed
- Very easy to clean, both hand wash and machine washable
OurPets IQ Treat Ball Interactive Food Dispensing Dog Toy
This is a very popular dog treat dispensing toy that my pugs love. You simply add some kibble to the toy by unscrewing the top. The dogs then have to roll it around to make their food pop out. Because they have to manipulate the toy to retrieve their food, it takes them minutes to all of their biscuits. The best part of this food dispensing toy is the fact the dogs can also see the treats.
- Fill with your dog's favorite treats, promoting active and healthy feeding
- Adjustable feeding difficulty levels continue to challenge your dog as they learn
- As your dog plays and the rolls the ball, treats will fall out to reward them for being active
- Twists apart for easy cleaning
- Ideal for small to medium sized dogs (colors may vary)
Outward Hound Fun Mat Slow Dog Feeder Bowl
This is a very affordable solution for fast-eating dogs. It is a small foldable feeder bowl that contains ridges that trap individual pieces of food. Because dogs can’t take huge bites of food, they are forced to slow down when they eat. The main benefit of this product is that it is foldable, making it ideal for use when traveling.
- Flexible food-safe rubber
- Meal-lengthening ridges and valleys
- Folds for on-the-go feeding
- Top-rack dishwasher safe
- BPA-free, PVC-free & Phthalate-free
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