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A black Labrador Retriever lies down on a bright blue surface, resting its head between its front paws and looking slightly up and to the side with a calm expression. .
Pet Blog

My Dog Eats Too Fast! Is that a Problem?

Sometimes our dogs can’t help themselves and will eat all their food in the blink of an eye. I’m sure you can relate — it’s the same wide-eyed feeling you get when you see your food coming at a restaurant. While this may seem cute to watch – like Cookie Monster trapped in a cookie factory kind of cute – it can have negative effects on your dog. Choking and bloating can occur when they scarf down their food too fast.

This habit can be solved, however, by carefully observing your dog’s eating habits, then reviewing them with a veterinarian.

Problems With Eating Too Fast

Why is eating too fast an issue? It may seem like your doggos just love their food, and eating fast is their way of showing excitement. While their enthusiasm may be genuine, eating fast means your pups aren’t chewing or even tasting their food. This could lead to choking, gagging or even vomiting (clean up on aisle six, please). Inhaling their food at a rapid rate also may mean your dog is swallowing an excessive amount of air, which can lead to gastric dilatation. Canine bloat, as it’s often referred to, causes your dog’s stomach to expand and could be deadly.

Why Does My Dog Eat So Fast?

From medical causes to simple upbringing, a variety of factors can encourage a dog to eat too fast like Animal House’s Bluto in the college cafeteria. You’ll want to look into your dog’s overall nutrition and determine what exactly they're being fed. Their food could be leaving them unsatisfied and hungry throughout the day, making them extremely hungry between meals.

Your dog’s formative years could also play a role. He or she might have had to compete for food before littermates beat them to it, a very Michael and Gob Bluth kind of situation. This early behavior can then become a bad habit as they move into adulthood. You, the human, might inadvertently be recreating this situation if you have multiple pets in your home that are constantly eating from each other’s bowls.

If you feel your dog’s eating habits might be influenced by a medical cause, talk with a veterinarian immediately to determine a diagnosis and treatment.

How to Slow Them Down?

The good news is slowing down your hungry hungry puppo is fairly simple. The best way to get them to eat at a slower pace is to literally make it impossible for them to eat fast. A variety of dog food bowls are available in stores and online to make it harder for them to eat faster. Bowls with a maze pattern that David Bowie could get lost in and elevated bowls could all help ease their chowing down pace.

You can also consider food puzzles, simple toys that require your dog to perform basic tasks to get the food they want. Imagine an escape room for dogs where the puzzles are easily solved and the major reward at the end is food.

Another alternative is to hand-feed your dog or split up their food into 3 portions instead of giving them their full amount all at once. This ensures they’re eating at the pace you want, but it can take a lot out of your already busy schedule.

With these actions and efforts, your dog will soon be eating at a reasonable and healthy pace. Just like nutrition, eating habits are an important part of your dog’s dietary health.

At “I and love and you,” we provide you and your pup healthy and premium dog food, but we want to make sure they’re enjoying the meal and not rushing it. So make sure you’re doing your part to prevent your dog from eating their food like they’re Takeru Kobayashi at Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest.