Both owners with puppies and adult dogs may sometimes want to know how to stop a dog from eating too fast.
Knowing how to make your dog eat slower can make life safer both for them, and for family members.
Your options don’t have to be super expensive either – there are some cheaper solutions available to tackle this problem which can save your dog from choking, indigestion, internal medical complications, and sometimes harm to other animals and humans (refer to food possessiveness in this guide).
In the guide below, we outline 7 ways you might address and solve the problem.
Let’s take a look!
(NOTE: this is a general educational and informational guide only. See a qualified professional for expert advice.)
How To Make Your Dog Eat Slower: 8 Options & Solutions
1. Using a slow feeder dog bowl and interactive dog bowl to slow down eating
The problem with an open round bowl is that they make it very easy for your dog to grab all the food and swallow it in one or a few gulps.
They have access to all the food at one time.
A cheap option to get rid of this problem is to use a slow feeder and interactive dog bowl like the Outward Hound Slow Feeder Interactive Dog Bowl (on Amazon).
What this bowl does is it divides the dog food up into smaller sections separated by little partitions in the bowl.
Your dog is forced to eat from each individual section of the bowl to get their food.
This works great to not only make your puppy or dog eat smaller amounts of dog food in each lick or mouthful, but to take more time to finish the overall meal (up to 10x longer with the Outward Hound bowl).
2. Use a timed or automatic dog food dispenser and feeder
An absolute foolproof way to make sure your dog is eating slower.
Automatic dog food dispensers and feeders store the dog food inside the dispenser so your dog can’t get access to it.
Your dog can only eat the dog food that the dispenser releases – and you can program how much and when the dispenser releases the food into the dog bowl next to it.
A popular automatic dog food feeder is the Petsafe Automatic Dog Food Feeder (on Amazon).
This dog food feeder can deliver dry or semi moist meal portions from 1/8 cup up to 4 cups.
There is a Slow Feed Mode that dispenses meals greater than 1/8 cup over 15 minutes – which forces your dog to eat slower.
These dispensers tend to work best with harder dry kibble that won’t get caught in dispenser or chute.
3. Instead of a dog bowl, use a challenging food dog toy to feed your dog
Instead of a dog bowl, you can use an interactive dog food toy to feed your dog.
A toy like the King Wobbler Treat or Food Dispensing Toy (on Amazon) is popular and can work well.
It has two main benefits – 1. It’s interactive so your dog will have to use it’s brain to get the food out of the toy, and 2. It takes longer for your dog to get the food out of this toy than a regular bowl so it will slow down the meal eating time substantially.
If you want to add water to a dry food kibble and make it more of a softer and runnier gruel, you could use a Regular Kong Dog Toy (on Amazon), where you stuff the food up into the bottom side of the toy, and you dog has to get it out.
The one drawback to each of these toys is that you may have to refill the toy once or twice to serve your dog a whole meal portion, but it depends how big your dog is.
4. Place dog toy/s or other small objects in the dog bowl while your dog is eating
If you have a normal round dog bowl, you can place a small dog toy, a small plastic container or another object in the bowl so your dog has to manuever their mouth and nose around it to eat the food in their bowl.
The toy or object acts as a divider or a concealer for the food it sits ontop.
Of course, if your dog is smart, they may just pick up the toy or container and remove it from the bowl and eat anyway.
But, some owners have used this approach successfully.
5. Make sure your dog is getting a healthy diet
Dogs that eat quickly sometimes do it because they are lacking something in their current diet.
Maybe they are not getting enough protein or calories for example.
Maybe the dog food you are feeding them has very little beneficial nutritional content.
It’s worth speaking to your vet to check that your dog’s current diet is enough to be balanced and meet their nutritional requirements.
6. Allow your dog space and alone time to eat
Some dogs learn to be competitive around food at some point in their life, and can develop possessiveness over it.
When a dog is possessive over food or a bone, they can get aggressive when someone else approaches them while eating, and they may try to finish the meal as quick as possible because they think another animals or human is going to come and take it away.
For these dogs, it’s worth allowing them their own space to eat their food so they don’t feel threatened or like they have to rush or compete for the food.
7. Contact your vet
There could be other internal medical conditions or complications going on inside your dog that cause them to eat fast.
For example, some parasites or bacterial infections can cause imbalances or deficiencies inside your dog which may make them feel hungrier as a result
In this case, it’s worth seeing a vet to make sure your dog is healthy and can get treatment if required to return back to normal bodily function.
8. Call in a professional trainer
If you’ve tried everything else and your dog still finds a way to stay a fast eater, it might be worth calling in a professional dog trainer to correct the behaviour.
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