There are some affiliate links below, but they are all products I highly recommend. For more info, view my disclosure here.
Most dogs get so excited at meal times, because they’re finally getting to enjoy their favorite activity! Some dogs aren’t super food-driven, like our Rico. Other dogs, though, act like they haven’t been fed in years at each and every meal.
Our Roxy used to be super hyped for meals and would scarf her food down as quickly as possible. Sometimes I wondered if she was even tasting it! I knew eating too quickly wasn’t great for her health, so I researched ways to slow her down.
Here’s why you should slow down your dog’s eating, along with great ways to slow down your fast eating dog.
Why Fast Eating is Bad For Dogs
When dogs eat their food too quickly, it can lead to them choking, which is life-threatening. If that happens, you need to act quickly. Here’s a quick video on how to help a choking dog.
Eating dog food too quickly can also lead them to start gagging and throw it right back up, which is unpleasant for everyone.
Another extremely dangerous condition that can arise from eating too quickly is gastric dilatation-volvulus, also known as bloat. When us humans feel bloated, we generally mean we feel a little gassy and full. Bloat in dogs is quite different, and can quickly progress to being fatal if untreated.
The main causes of bloat are still unknown, but it is most common in deep-chested dogs, and physical activity after eating a large meal quickly is a risk factor for bloat.
How to Slow Down A Fast Eating Dog
So your dog is just a little over-excited to devour their meals? Been there! These tips to slow down a dog’s eating helped us so much with Roxy!
Add a Slow Feeder Insert Into Your Dog’s Bowl
When Roxy was a baby dog, she rushed like crazy to get every morsel as quickly as she could. We found these inserts to be super helpful! They come in a range of sizes to fit most bowls, and suction to the bottom of the bowl. Your dog has to work to eat around it, slowing them down.
Separate Feeding Areas for Multiple Dogs
If you have multiple dogs, speed-eating could be your dog’s way of making sure they get all their food before the others can. Even if the other dogs aren’t interested in their food, they may still rush through it. Feeding your dogs in separate rooms or areas of the house where they can eat undisturbed can help.
This was a huge help for us. Rico was a street puppy, while Roxy was raised in a home and abandoned in a box in our neighborhood. One would think that means Rico would be very into food, but he’s actually quite the opposite!
Even as a foster pup with his surviving littermates, he would give up his food and not eat until others had their share. So he would wait and pick at his food, then let Roxy share his. She’d pretty much inhale hers so she should enjoy his as well!
Feeding them separately and making sure Rico ate a full meal helped so much! Once she realized that was the only meal she was getting at that time, she slowed down considerably and began to enjoy her meals.
Feed Their Meals in a Dog Puzzle
Dog puzzles are a fantastic way to slow your dog’s consumption of food, while also working their brain and using that muscle! Mental stimulation helps so much with hyper dogs and can tire them out.
There are a variety of puzzles you can pick from, depending on if you want to serve smaller, more frequent meals or if you want to use a puzzle with a larger capacity to add their entire meal. Here’s a list of our favorite dog puzzles for dogs of every puzzle-solving ability!
Stuff a KONG with Appetizing, Healthy Food
A KONG dog toy makes a terrific way to slow down your dog’s eating habits. If you are seeking a simple way to keep your dog busy and get them with plenty of additional mental stimulation you cannot go wrong with utilizing treats for KONG toys!
If it’s a hot day, you can even freeze their meals inside it to cool your dog off while working their brain and helping them beat the heat!
Use a Snuffle Mat to Slow Eating
What is a snuffle mat? It’s a handy little mat that’s basically just fleece strips that hide dog food, so your dog has to work a bit harder to get to all the yummy bits. They’re fairly easy to make at home, or you can find a great variety on Amazon.
Roxy & Ri’s godmama sent this snuffle mat for Christmas last year and we love it! The snuffle mat is affordable and easy to care for. I simply throw it in the washing machine then toss it in the dryer and it’s good to go!
Fill The Toppl Dog Toy with Frozen Yummies
The Westpaw Toppl is one of the hottest dog toys out right now. If you haven’t seen one, it’s a cool, super durable dog toy that can be used as a feeder. It has inner ridges to trap food and holes for treats to come out. If you pick up a large and a medium size, they can be interlocked to make it even more fun for your dog.
You can put some peanut butter inside, and even add a bit of yogurt, berries, and banana slices, then freeze. Give it to your dog on a warm day and let them cool off with a fun treat!
The Toppl is much easier to use and to clean than the KONG, since the top is more open. That makes it great for dogs that struggle reaching all the way to the end of the KONG.