How to Slow a Dog When Eating

If your dog is a speed eater, he may wolf down his food so fast, he doesn't taste a thing. While that may seem like a cool time-management trick for you, eating too fast can cause a slew of digestive issues. Time to put the brakes on Fido's fast feeding.

Place your dog's kibble on a large cookie sheet, spreading it out over the entire surface. He'll have to cover more ground to get the same amount of food as when placed in his regular bowl.

Turn your dog's bowl over. Pour food in the groove of the bottom of the bowl and let him eat from the wrong end. The concave shape of the bowl provides a barrier when turned over. Your dog will have to work harder to eat his kibble.

Feed smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. If you usually feed your dog two cups of kibble twice each day, break it down to one cup of food four times a day. This will stop your dog from ingesting so much at any one feeding.

Feed your dog alone if you have a multi-dog household. Often, puppies who compete with their litter mates for food tend to eat faster to keep food away from other puppies. Dogs can also become food aggressive if they feel the need to compete for food.

Add an obstacle to the dog's bowl that your dog has to work around to find his food. Dr. Kristy Conn of Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine suggests placing a large, clean brick or soup can in the bowl. Make sure the obstacle is larger than your dog's mouth, so that he cannot ingest the object.

Purchase a commercial "slow feeder" bowl that is compartmentalized by sections or pegs, which cause the dog to eat around the obstacles.

Supplement your dog's diet by placing snacks inside of rubber Kong toys or balls with special compartment for treats. These type of toys are great for keeping a dog occupied and make extra work for a dog to eat her treats. You also can fill Kongs or toy puzzles with kibble -- or freeze Kongs with wet dog food inside -- and feed your dog several smaller meals during the day.

Items you will need

  • Cookie sheet
  • Brick or soup can
  • Commercial slow feeding bowl

Tip

  • Always consult an experienced veterinarian regarding the health and treatment of your pet.

Warning

  • Eating too fast can lead to digestive disorders ranging from a nuisance to an emergency. Regurgitation is a common side effect from swallowing too quickly. Several breeds -- especially barrel-chested dogs -- are predisposed to a condition called gastric torsion, or bloat, which causes the stomach to twist upon itself. This is a life-threatening emergency that requires immediate attention to save the life of your dog. According to the ASPCA, bloat can cause death in several hours. Even with immediate treatment, approximately 25 to 40 percent of dogs die from this condition. Symptoms include a distended abdomen, retching or belching without producing food, cold body temperature, pale gums and a rapid heartbeat.
 

About the Author

Elle Smith has been an advertising professional for more than 25 years. Her work for ABC, CBS and Sony Pictures Television has appeared on radio, on air, in print and outdoors. In addition, Smith has more than 20 years experience in marketing, graphic arts, commercial photography and print production, and is a licensed real estate agent with property management certification in California.