6 Tips to Slow Down a Dog Who Eats Too Fast

Labrador eating out of a metal food bowl.
Labrador eating out of a metal food bowl. Photography by Shutterstock.

Does your dog devour his meals like he’s never been fed before? This dog behavior is common and typically develops early in a pup’s life. When nursing, there’s constant competition for food among all puppies in the litter, and this sense of eat now or you’ll be left out often carries over into adulthood. Unlike humans with the same habit, a Kobayashi-like canine can’t win championship belts or sign endorsement deals with products like Pepto Bismol. A dog who eats too fast has negative consequences, such as choking, gagging, vomiting, bloating or aggressive behavior. Take note of a few tips and tricks below that you can try to cut out this bad habit:

1. Turn the Next Meal into a Training Session

Two dogs eating out of the same bowl.
A dog who eats too fast can mean lots of issues — here’s how to slow him down! Photography ©John Mcallister | Thinkstock.

If you have a dog who eats too fast, chances are he’ll do just about anything for that next bite. Practice sit, stay, down or play dead, and then reward your dog with a few bites each time a command is completed. By turning the next meal into a training session, you’re not only slowing down the speed at which your dog eats, but you’re also sharpening skills that he can show off the next time company comes over.

2. Try a Slow-Eating Dog Bowl

Whether you buy one of the many slow-eating dog bowl options on the market, or decide to DIY with something as simple as placing a rock in the middle of your dog’s dish, this is an effective way to put the brakes on a dog who eats too fast. If you go with the DIY option, just make sure that the rock is smooth and way too big to fit into your dog’s mouth.

3. Change Your Dog’s Feeding Schedule

When you go a long time between meals, you probably eat faster. So, it makes sense that your pup would do the same. Try spacing your pup’s meals out by feeding him more frequently, but in smaller portions. You’ll also get to see that look of excitement in his eyes several more times a day!

4. Use a Treat-Release Toy

Treat-release toys come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Mazes, puzzles, wobblers and whatever else those pet product geniuses have come up with to date. Treat-release toys not only slow down a dog who eats too fast, but they also stimulate his mind so he will be mentally exhausted afterwards.

5. Make the Next Meal a Game

Give your dog’s nose some work with a game of hide and seek! Split his next meal into smaller portions and place them throughout your fenced-in yard or house. He’ll track the scent of each bite and be thrilled when they sniff out supper. This is also very entertaining to watch.

6. Hand Feed Your Dog

It can be time consuming and slobbery — and you’ll definitely want to wash your hands afterwards —but when all else fails, this old-fashioned strategy gets the job done. It’s not the best option out there, but it’s a small price to pay to make sure your best buddy doesn’t get an upset belly — or other digestive track issues.

Thumbnail: Photography by Shutterstock.

Tell us: Do you have a dog who eats too fast? How do you slow him down?

Read more about dogs food on Dogster.com:

Are you scarfing down your meals too fast, too? Check out this University Health News article on losing weight with mindful eating >>

5 thoughts on “6 Tips to Slow Down a Dog Who Eats Too Fast”

  1. We own a beagle who benefited from using a slow feed bowl to slow his eating down. He did get used to it, but he’s still a lot slower than before. There also seems to be veterinary advice starting to come out on the topic of using slow feeder bowls for dogs. This article here for example gathers views from a number of vets worldwide …

  2. Pingback: What is GDV in Dogs and Why Must Dogs With Signs of GDV See a Vet? | stanton-company.com

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  4. Paulette Mirfield

    I’ve kept the treat in my hand with index finger out. A quick tap on the nose as he lunged for the treat made him slower and eventually all I had to say was NICE when he showed too much interest in treat. So far has worked on all my dogs, my friends dogs, even neighbor dogs I don’t see often. It’s the shock of that tap that that redirects their attention. Hi p e this helps you and thanks for fostering.

  5. I have a foster Golden who eats like he is starving.He came into rescue because he had eaten a tube sock and owners couldn’t afford the surgery.He is being fed 3 times a day in a slow bowl.Problem is I cannot feed him treats/morsels etc.because he will bite my hand off.I have tried the closed fist or open palm.Any other suggestions anyone?

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