How To Get Your Dog To Eat Slower

There seem to be two types of dogs in this world: those that eat at a leisurely pace and seem to enjoy every morsel and those that gulp their food so fast you can hardly get it into their bowl before it’s gone. And being a “gulper” doesn’t seem to depend on what breed the dog is or what size

While there is nothing inherently “wrong” with your dog eating fast, it’s really not very good for him and could potentially quite dangerous for a couple of reasons.

One – eating too fast can result in choking. If food blocks your dog’s airway, this could result in death if the food can’t be dislodged in time. Choking can also lead to vomiting.

Two – Rapid eating can also increase your dog’s risk of developing something called bloat. This is a very serious medical condition which involves an expansion of the stomach and/or intestines which then may twist on themselves.  If this twisting occurs, which is known as gastric dilatation-volvulus (GVD), the dog must get immediate medical attention or he will die. 

Even if GVD does not occur, the bloat itself results in a large amount of food which then just sits in the stomach and can cause your dog a lot of discomfort. 

So obviously, it’s best to try to get your dog to slow down while eating. There are a number of ways to accomplish this:

One – Slow Feeder Bowls – These are specially constructed bowls that force your dog to eat more slowly. There are a number of designs on the market but look for one that has reviews from people who have had good results using the bowl with a dog breed similar to your own before you purchase.

Two – Food Puzzle Toys – These are toys that are designed with a compartment and crannies in which you can put food. They are usually used for dogs to entertain themselves while the owner is at work or away but can easily be used as a way to slow down your dog’s eating speed.

Hand Feeding – If you have the patience you can also feed your dog by hand. This way you can absolutely control the speed at which your dog eats.

Sheet Pan – Spreading your dog’s kibble out over a larger surface, such as a sheet pan or other flat pan (some people also use a muffin pan) will force your dog to eat slower, since he can’t pick up a lot of food at one time.

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By Ellen Britt

Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.

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