Dog Eats Too Fast

Getting Your Dog to Eat Slower

Fast eating can lead to health issues. Understand why dogs rush their food, from instincts to past traumas, and learn methods to slow them down

Does your dog get overexcited at meal times? Do you start to think they’re in some kind of eating competition you don’t know about? Some dogs eat so fast, you’d think they snorted it instead of swallowing it. Eating too quickly can cause various issues including gastrointestinal problems, indigestion, obesity and possibly choking.

Teaching your furry pal to slow down is crucial to their overall well-being. In this blog, we’re going to explore ways to achieve this and cover some of the reasons your dog may be eating way too fast.

Why Is Your Dog Eating Too Quickly?

Some domestic dogs may still have a wild instinct present in their makeup. In the wild, food is actually a competition, although in packs of wolves for example, there is always an order to who eats first, middle and last. This is called a pack order, and the Alpha always goes first. If your dog is not an alpha, or leader, by nature, they may be eating too quickly from fear of not eating at all. Instinct takes over and their brain tells them they need to gobble it up in order to get their fair share of the food. This can be especially true in a multi-pet household.

Excitement is another factor leading to some dogs gobbling up their food so fast, it’s gone in the blink of an eye. It’s a good idea to feed your dogs in separate spaces so they each know the bowl of food in front of them is all theirs and there is no threat to their meal.

If your dog is a rescue pet, they may have had some experience in their past where food was scarce or not provided at proper intervals, or they may have been in competition with another household pet. This could have led to a fear based issue where they are afraid they may not get another meal any time soon, or may not get to finish the one in front of them if they don’t eat it fast.

So What Can You Do About It?

One idea is a slow feeder bowl. These are specifically designed to make eating more challenging for dogs who tend to take large mouthfuls of food and swallow before chewing. These bowls are designed with ridges, obstacles or mazes to encourage your dog to naturally slow it down and take one bite at a time. It’s also an activity that can stimulate their brain to distract them from inhaling their food. For some dogs this is an effective solution, but every dog is different. You don’t want to frustrate your dog, so take it slow with introducing this technique to make sure it gets the results you need in a positive way.

Hand feeing is another way to teach your dog to eat slower. While this may not necessarily be convenient, it can allow you to control the pace at which they eat. While offering their food by hand, keep yourself relaxed and calmly reinforce eating slowly by using the word “slow” while handing them the food. It’s a combination of the word slow and the energy of slow at the same time. If you’re calm while saying the word slow in deliberate manner while offering the food, eventually they will catch on that eating is an activity they can enjoy in a relaxed manner.

Smaller portions more frequently is another method used to control how much your dog eats if they are prone to eating too fast. You can start by holding their bowl and using the slow and relaxed approach, so they learn that there’s no need to fear or rush their food intake. If they begin to inhale it, gently remove the bowl, repeat the “slow” word method, and resume the feeding process.

Interactive toys are available on the pet market which include puzzles designed to stimulate your dogs mind and dispense their food or treats as a reward. This is a way engage your pet pal in a way that naturally slows down their eating and could be an enjoyable activity at the same time. There are also pet food dispensers on the market that are designed to release a certain amount of food at certain intervals. These can also be used for treats or kibble. These slow-release methods cause your dog to work for their meal or treats. Depending on the breed, this could be an effective way to give them a job to do while teaching them to eat slower at the same time.

Basic obedience training also plays a part in this scenario. If you can teach your dog the basics such as sitting, shaking hands/paws, and staying calm before you put their food down, you can create a routine where they know they have to patiently wait for their meal. This can set their mind to a relaxed state, so they are more likely to be less excitable at meal times and eat in a calm manner and therefore slower.

It’s always advisable to monitor your dog during their meal time, especially if they are prone to eating too quickly. You can also intervene if they are going too fast simply by placing your hand over their bowl, or picking it up, and issuing the “slow” command before putting it back down. Consistently doing this, like any type of training, will teach them what you expect.

Mixing wet food with dry kibble is another way that may get your dog to eat slower. The texture can be a bit more challenging and take more effort to eat. Just be sure to monitor them, especially if your dog is more of a lick and swallow type of eater, rather than a chewer.

Teaching your dog to slow down while eating is not only a matter of proper digestion, it will also benefit their overall health and wellness. By understanding why your dog eats too fast, and implementing these methods, you will ensure that your furry bestie enjoys their mealtimes in a much more relaxed way. Eating more slowly will make for a happier, healthier dog companion, and is something every pet parent should strive for.

Consistency is the key to any method you decide to try. If one method fails, don’t be discouraged. Keep trying until you find what works for your furry companion. It may take some time and effort to get them on the right track, but it will be worth it in the end for the sake of their health and your peace of mind!

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