Help! My Dog Eats Too Fast

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Some dogs nibble their way through their meals, others consume everything in the bowl the moment it’s given to them. Every dog is different! There are certain breeds who are notoriously fast eaters too. Give them some food, regardless of the time of day, and they’ll gobble it right up. They’re smart – they know when you’re prepping them a tasty meal. Hungry dogs get really excited or will even start to salivate. Why? Because they’re happy and they know they are about to eat a delicious meal!

If your dog eats too fast, don’t panic just yet. While it may be pointing to a larger issue at hand, it can just be apart of their personality. This article is going to cover how to stop a dog from eating too fast as well as potential causes.

Faster is Not Better

dog-eating-2When dogs devour their meals, it naturally leaves some dog owners thinking, “is it okay that my dog eats too fast?” and understandably so. More often than not, the answer is no. Eating too fast can be a bad thing. In fact, it can become a serious problem for your pup. For starters, because they aren’t spending much time chewing, your dog can choke on his food.

When your dog eats too quickly, he is also swallowing more air in the process. Food and air then expand the stomach, which can cause pain, discomfort, and canine bloating. Too much of both can result in regurgitation of food. If this type of eating persists over time, it can actually lead to a condition called Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus in dogs (GDV for short).

Why Does My Dog Eat Too Fast?

If your dog is a fast eater, before jumping to conclusions, it’s good to know what’s driving your four-legged friend to do this in the first place. Check with your vet. There are certain medical causes which may result in overeating. They can run some tests to rule out any medical conditions, or even less common causes such as canine parasites. It’s also important to consider any medication your dog is on. Sometimes medications may be the culprit for increased appetite in dogs.

Sometimes, even competition among other dogs can also cause your dog to eat too fast.  If there are multiple dogs in the house, they often compete for food, whether you realize it or not. Even though you may be providing equal amounts to each dog, they still may feel the need to eat quickly so that their companions can’t come and steal an extra meal. The next thing to consider is the brand of food your dog’s eating. Lower quality food carries lower nutritional value. Before selecting a food, try checking out a dog nutrition checklist to ensure that the product you buy contains all the necessary nutrients.

What Can I Do About This?

Fortunately, there are a few easy changes you can make to help slow down your dog’s eating. Ironically, increasing meal frequency and decreasing quantity may ease a canine’s appetite, helping them feel fuller, longer. When you only feed your dog once a day, it makes sense they’re hunger drives the speed at which they eat. By providing smaller meals more frequently, they’re more likely to feel satisfied throughout the day. If your dog’s quick eating is caused by competition within the household, try to feed your dogs in separate rooms so they both have their own space to enjoy their meal.

dog-eating-3Still having issues? Try buying a slower-feed bowl at your local pet store. These bowls are specially designed to slow down speed-eating canines. They have different nooks and crannies where food can fall, which means your dog has to spend more time trying to find the hidden spots. The concept is simple. Putting obstructions in the way of your dog’s food forces them to slow down. When you use bowls like this, mealtime can actually become a fun game for your pup!

Speaking of new skills, you can really maximize mealtime by turning it into training time. Rather than watching your pup gobble up an entire bowl of food in five minutes, turn mealtime into a 30 minute training session. Haven’t trained your dog before? That’s okay. Start with the basics. During each meal, focus on one command. Each time your dog follows it, reward them with some food. This is a fun way to spend quality time with your pup and teach them some new skills.

While fast-eating canines isn’t always a serious problem, it can lead to fatal health conditions if left untreated. The best thing you can do as the owner is to fix the problem as soon as it arises. Just remember, there are several ways you can combat your canine’s colossal appetite. The next time you feed your four-legged friend, take note of how fast they eat. If the bowl is gone in the blink of an eye, try giving these techniques a try!

Sources:

  1. “10 Tricks on How to Slow Down Dog Eating.” Healthy Pets, www.healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2016/02/08/slowing-down-dogs-when-eating.aspx.
  2. “Tips to Stop Your Dog from Eating Too Fast.” The Bark, 28 Jan. 2019, www.thebark.com/content/tips-stop-your-dog-eating-too-fast.
  3. Finlay, Katie. “How to Get Your Dog to Eat More Slowly – American Kennel Club.” American Kennel Club, 29 Mar. 2017, www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/4-ways-to-slow-your-dogs-eating/.

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