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How to Make a Dog Eat Slower

Updated on February 16, 2010

Teaching a dog to ''stay and relax'' and hand feeding may help

Teaching a dog to eat slower, adry
Teaching a dog to eat slower, adry

Eating fast in many dogs seems to be a bad habit but it is ultimately somehow correlated to the dog's past when he lived in the wild. Those were the ''dog days'' when food was very scarce and competition among dogs was often fierce, causing dogs to gobble up their food as fast as they could in order to survive during those harsh times. 

In a domestic setting,  where food is always available around the clock, some dogs may still feel compelled to eat fast especially when they share a dwelling with other dogs. This behavior comes natural to them as they enter in a competitive setting. There are several ways owners may slow down a fast eating dog, following are some helpful tips.

How to Make a Dog Eat Slower

• Give Dogs Space

If you own a pack of dogs, it will greatly benefit each dog if they are fed far apart each other so to minimize any competitive behaviors. Most dogs do not do well, eating together in close quarters and this is often manifested through evil stares, teeth baring and menacing vocalizations. Allowing each dog its space and possibly feeding them in separate areas may help each other relax and perhaps resort to eating slower after some time.

 Feed Twice a Day

There are still many dog owners that resort to feeding their dog once a day. This often causes dogs to become excessively hungry and therefore devour their food when dinner time comes. Feeding twice a day helps 

• Invest in a Break-Fast Bowl

These are bowls specifically designed for dogs eating very fast. They come with some molded ''posts'' that obstruct the food bowl preventing dogs from wolfing down their meals. Dogs eating with these bowls therefore must slow down in order to eat and will learn how to eat their meals slower.

• Make Eating Difficult

An alternative to the Break-Fast bowl is adding to the dog's bowl some large items that will make it difficult for the dog to gulp down its meal in seconds. Smooth river rocks of a size that cannot be swallowed by the dog can be placed in the bowl, so the dog must eat around them and  therefore slow down.

Health Implications of Fast Eating Dogs

Eating too fast may make dogs prone (especially those deep chested breeds out there) to dangerous and life threatening bloat or''twisted stomach''. In the least dramatic scenario, dogs may regurgitate their food when eaten too fast or suffer from excess gassinesssince fast eaters tend to swallow a lot of air. Not to mention the fact that fast eaters may choke and  tend not to chew their kibble causing them to miss the important scraping factor role dry kibble plays on their teeth. Resorting to strategies to make your dog eat slower is  therefore surely well worth the hassle. 

Break-fast dog bowls and other solutions for fast eaters

Brake-Fast Dog Food Slow Feed Bowl - Medium Blue
Brake-Fast Dog Food Slow Feed Bowl - Medium Blue

Does your dog eat too fast? It's very common and can contribute to problems such as gastric dilatation-volvulus....also known as "bloat," or "twisted stomach". Slower eating reduces the risk of such health issues and also makes your animal feel more full. The brake-fast bowl is a simple and effective solution for this problem.



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    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 5 years ago from USA

      Hope they help out, best wishes!

    • profile image

      Jayne 5 years ago

      Thanks for the info. I have two beagles one eats like she starving and the other takes her time eating. Will try the Break Fast bowl.

    • alexadry profile image

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 6 years ago from USA

      You are right to be concerned about this since the abrasive action of dry food is what helps keep plaque away. You may have to resort to some good dental chews that are large enough to not be swallowed, There are several on the market, try to go to petsmart or petco and ask for advice.

    • profile image

      Kelsey 6 years ago

      My smooth fox terrier eats way too fast due to his previous past he had with an abusive owner. I had to start grinding up his dog kibble in the blender. It just worries me that the tiny pieces might cause excessive buildup on the teeth and poor dental for the future. It really helped though! :-) the bowls did not work for me either.

    • karent profile image

      karent 7 years ago

      I've been struggling with this problem with my beagle. I have tried some of the things you mentioned, but he still eats like he's starving to death. I have resorted to adding water to his food and waiting until it is mushy before I feed him so it has a better chance of being absorbed into his system.

    • profile image

      bOb 7 years ago

      Good info just what I was looking for.


    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 7 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      eating fast due to "back in the days of the wild" eh? good information and now I see why they should eat apart as you suggest. I didn't like to see dogs hiccuping form eating so fast. really good hub.


    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 7 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Great hub, my dog is so small, and she really does not eat very much, and she only wants her treats, so she knows if she does't eat her dinner, no treats later. But, I worry that she might not drink enough water. Thank you for this fantastic hub, I always learn so much from you and I love how you write and of course the subject matter.