Help – My Dog is Eating Too Fast!

Dinner should be a time to sit, relax, dine slowly and savour a good meal. Most of us understand this – except our dogs! While many consider it “normal” for a dog to be food-driven and scoff its dinner, it might be something worth addressing.

Why does my dog eat so fast?

 

There a number of potential reasons this might be happening.

  1. Competition at meal-time

    • Some dogs are hard-wired to believe that if they don’t eat their dinner before you can ask them to sit, the other dog might beat them to it.
  2. Irregular timing

    • Dogs enjoy routine as much as we do. If he or she is fed haphazardly, they are likely to feel hungrier and eat faster.
  3. Disease

    • Some dogs, particularly as they age – might show an increased appetite. This can be a sign of metabolic disease such as diabetes or Cushing’s disease in a dog or high thyroid levels in a cat. Speak to your veterinarian if you are concerned about these.
  4. Behavioural

    • This is perhaps of least concern, and the category most dogs fall into. Some dogs simply love food, eat it quickly, and will eat well past their limits if given the option.

Why is it a problem?

 

In a lot of dogs, eating quickly is not a major issue. However, there are a number of reasons you might want to slow down your dog’s dining habits.

  1. Vomiting/diarrhoea

    • Some dogs can eat so quickly that they are prone to bouts of “gastroenteritis”.
  2. Coughing/retching

    • This tends to be a problem in smaller breed dogs who might have pre-existing airway disease. Eating quickly, and eating large meals, can trigger episodes of coughing or dry-retching.
  3. Bloat

    • The technical term here is gastric-dilation-volvulus – a life threatening condition seen in large and giant breed dogs where the stomach twists itself over after distending with food.
  4. Entertainment

    • Rather than finishing his or her meal in record time and sitting at your feet asking for more, it can be a good distraction, game, or source of stimulation to find ways of slowing down your dog’s eating

But how do I change my dog’s eating habits?

 

Fortunately, there are a number of simple and affordable ways of doing this. We’ve outlined a few here:

  • Multiple small meals

Instead of one big meal, or two moderate meals, it can help to feed small frequent meals throughout the day. It’s important not to overfeed if you adopt this approach.

  • Remove competition

    • If you have multiple pets, separate them at dinner time so they don’t feel threatened. Always reward patient, positive behaviours with praise and cuddles.

Editors pick

Lickimat Slow Feeder for Dogs

Lickimat Slow Feeder for Dogs

This invention is made to help your dog not only eat slower. It’s a mat with elevated grooves in it…
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Lickimat Slow Feeder for Dogs #1

Where to buy:

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This invention is made to help your dog not only eat slower. It’s a mat with elevated grooves in it that sits on the ground. It works best with soft foods and encourages dogs to use their tongue to get into the seams of the mat. The action of licking can help your dog alleviate stress by releasing endorphins, or even provide mental stimulation.

Kong toy #1

Where to buy:

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  • These are a great way of slowing things down at dinner time, and they work by encouraging your dog to work for their food. Toys such as kongs, that are designed to have treats placed inside them, are helpful to slow down eating habits
Slow feeder bowl #1

Where to buy:

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  • Slow feeder bowls have built-in obstacles that will force your dog to slow down.
  • Remove competition

    • If you have multiple pets, separate them at dinner time so they don’t feel threatened. Always reward patient, positive behaviours with praise and cuddles.

 

Is there anything else I should know?

As we mentioned, eating too quickly can be problematic. We always want the best for our dogs, but veterinary treatment can become expensive – think about the consultation fees, blood tests, X-rays and possibly even surgery.

Pet insurance is there to help with these unexpected situations, it may help support you to financially care for your pet.

 

Author’s note: Swipet writers select and write about topics we think you’ll like and need to make your choices simpler and easier. Swipet uses affiliate links in our posts, so we can get a small revenue from your purchases.