How to stop your dog from speed eating!

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘wolfing it down’ which refers to the behaviour of a person – or dog in this case – eating their food very quickly; ravenously swallowing large pieces of food.  Unfortunately, this can be detrimental to some dog’s health – bolting food can lead to upset tummies, gagging, choking, vomiting and in serious cases, gastric bloat; a condition that can be fatal.

But how do you go about encouraging your dog to take a little more time over eating his dinner?  Holidays4Dogs finds out….

Use a slow feeder bowl.  There are many different designs of these, such as this one from ‘Fetch’

What most slow feeder bowls have in common are soft ridges, or protrusions, which make it harder for even the worst snaffler to eat their food too quickly.   Some designs are more complicated than others so for very fast eaters, choose one with more ridges.

You could make a DIY slow feeder bowl, by using a bowl that is larger than needs be and placing a few tennis balls in with the food so your dog has to move the tennis balls around in order to get the food.  Of course, you may have a very clever dog that will learn to remove the tennis balls, so this may not work long term!

Food dispensing toys such as a Kong are also a good idea for fast eaters, but you may have to invest in one or two in order to feed several meals over the course of the day.  In fact, it is worth a try to feed your dog very small amounts at one go, even if you are using an ordinary bowl – at least this way he will not be gorging on so much volume at once.

You could also try hiding food around the house – and this would work with dry or wet food as you could place it in small containers, such as a small cat bowl.  Use food as an opportunity for training games too – encouraging your dog to work harder for his dinner will be more stimulating for him, while stopping him from wolfing down his food all in one go.

If you have more than one dog, try feeding each one separately in different rooms – sometimes dogs will bolt food quickly because they are anxious about another dog stealing.  Watch your pack carefully because it is not always obvious which dog is the culprit and as well as encouraging dogs to gorge their food too quickly, it can also lead to squabbles.

Does your dog eat quickly and if so, what methods have you tried to slow things down?  Holidays4Dogs would love to hear from you.