If you have a dog that eats his food too fast, you need to slow down his eating to avoid several potential problems. Eating too fast can cause him to choke, vomit, or have gas. It can cause bloat, especially in breeds that are more susceptible to it, and it can cause digestive problems.
Sometimes my dog Storm wants to eat his food a little too fast. This is because he and the cats get themselves all worked up when it’s feeding time. I do like to feed them together, and I have ever since the cats were little kittens a few years ago. This is a case of anxiety. I took steps to minimize the anxiety, and to calm all of the animals at feeding time.
What caused all the fuss with my dog was food competition. I know my animals, and this was a very mild case of competition. Once I saw that he may eat too fast at times, I took steps to slow down his eating, without separating him from the cats while they eat.
There may be times when you do need to separate your animals when feeding them. This may be true if one dog is very aggressive and the other is very submissive, or if there are two very aggressive dogs or more. You know your animals, and you need to make this judgement.
It’s simple how I did it, really. All I did was put four hard rubber balls (these can be cleaned easily) into his food bowl so he has to work around them to get his food. He’s a big dog with a big bowl. At first, he took a couple of the balls out himself, but I kept tossing them back in, and after about two feedings like this, he stopped bothering with them and just worked on eating his food. This slows him down a lot.
You can use this technique, or you can place large clean river rocks in their bowl, or you can use a special dog food bowl such as the DoPause dog food bowl, the Eat Slow- Be Healthy dog food bowl, the Brake-fast pet food bowl, or a variety of others on the market. If you use rocks, please watch your dog eat to make sure they will not damage their teeth while eating, and make sure they are large enough. Some dogs are voracious eaters.
Dogs should take from 2 to 5 minutes to eat their food, depending on how much they are fed. One of these techniques will work well for your dog.
You want to prevent your dog from eating too fast to prevent:
- Bloat – a case where the stomach becomes filled with excessive gas and becomes overstretched. The stomach may or may not twist along its axis. This can become fatal quickly.
- Choking – a case where too much food is entering into the esophagus, causing distention, and ultimately choking.
- Vomiting – if a dog eats too fast, the food is not properly chewed up and the lump of food will sit in the stomach and my be regurgitated.
- Gas – If a dog eats too fast, the accumulation of food in the stomach can cause excessive gas.
Slowing down your dog’s eating will help ensure that the food is chewed correctly and that they will receive all the nutrients from their food that they can. Eating food too fast robs your dog of getting his proper nutrients. It passes through your dog’s system without being broken down completely, so your dog’s system does not get the full nutrient value of the food.