Speed eaters and hoover mouths…if your dog eats too fast and doesn’t chew, they fit into this category of eaters.
It seems as though they think the food is going to magically disappear if they don’t eat it as fast as possible.
In this guide, we outline the risks of your dog eating food too fast, why they might not be chewing their food, how you might be able to get your dog to eat more slowly, and what it might mean if they vomit afterwards.
Let’s take a look…
NOTE: this is a general informational and educational guide only. It is not expert or professional advice.
My Dog Eats Too Fast & Doesn’t Chew: Why, & What To Do
What Are The Risks Of My Dog Eating Too Fast and Not Chewing?
This sort of behaviour can be harmful to both the dog, and the people around them.
Firstly, it can be dangerous for the dog if they inhale larger solid pieces of food which carry the risks of causing choking and gagging.
Larger breed dogs are also at risk of internal complications caused by existing medical conditions with fast eating.
Secondly, quick eating can be a sign that your dog is possessive of their food, and wants to consume it quickly as a way of guarding it from other humans and animals.
Possessive dogs can become aggressive and even bite if other humans and animals get near them during feeding.
Why Might A Dog Eat Too Fast?
There are a few reasons a dog may eat too fast, including but not limited to:
- Competition with litter mates when the dog was a puppy – which they still have when you buy the puppy, and they never broke out of as they matured into an adult
- Competition with other dogs at food time in their previous home if you adopted your dog
- A digestive or internal medical condition
- The dog not being satisfied or feeling nutritionally full from their current diet
- The dog has developed possessiveness of their food
How To Stop A Dog From Eating Too Fast
First of all, if you suspect the issue is medical, to do with your dog’s diet, or to do with aggression/possessiveness, your vet is the best person to see so that they can diagnose, treat or refer the issue to another professional as required.
In the case of dogs that get aggressive or possessive around their food, make sure you give them space when they are eating (make sure kids are well away from them too), and consider getting a professional dog trainer to help you correct the behaviour if you think it’s serious enough.
Interactive Slow Feeder Dog Bowls
If your dog is healthy, and you don’t think the food or possessiveness are an issue, your dog might just need a little help with eating slower.
You can get specially designed dog eating bowls that separate the food into grooves, or smaller areas, so that the dog can only take in smaller amounts of food at a time.
This will get your dog to eat slower as the dog can’t take big gulps like they would an open area round bowl.
Something like the Outward Hound Slow Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl (on Amazon) is popular for owners wanting to slow down their dog’s food consumption pace during feeding.
This will work for puppies and adult dogs alike.
Timed and Automatic Dog Food Feeders
You can also get timed and automatic dog feeders.
The good thing about these machines is you can set the feeder to feed the amounts and intervals that best suit you and your dog.
You can set the feeder up to only release a small amount of food at short intervals apart, so your dog can’t eat all the food at once.
A popular automatic dog food feeder is the Petsafe Automatic Dog Food Feeder (on Amazon).
It has a slow feed mode that dispenses meals greater than 1/8 cup over 15 minutes to help prevent gulping and fast eating.
You have to buy the adapter separately with this feeder.
Other Strategies For Fast Eaters
A couple of other strategies for dogs that eat too fast are:
- Place one or two suitably sized dog toys over dry dog food in the bowl so your dog can’t get access to all the food immediately. They will likely have to move the toys around with their snout/nose to get to all the food – taking them longer to consume it all
- For dry dog food, if chewing is a problem, consider adding some water to make more of a gruel if you are worried about your dog choking or gagging on solid pieces of kibble
What To Do If My Dog Eats Too Fast And Vomits Afterwards?
Vomitting can be caused by a number of reasons. See a vet if your dog is vomitting.
In puppies, it might be because they are sick, they changed from liquid to solid food too quickly, or the food is too rich for them.
In adults, it might be sickness, or the food is toxic.
Vomitting and diarrhea are often signs or symptoms of a bigger problem – so it’s best to get them checked out right away.
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