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Stop! How Can I Keep My Dog From Eating Food Too Fast?

Updated on November 28, 2021
Laura Schneider profile image

Laura is a technical writer. She enjoys playing the piano, traveling, fine art, and making jewelry.

These Fast and Free Tricks Slow Down Your Dog's Eating Pace and Stimulate its Mind

  • Does your dog eat too fast?
  • Does your dog often get sick after eating too quickly?

Here are some tricks for not only preventing too-fast eating but stimulating your dog's mind, too.

Right-side up dog dish.
Right-side up dog dish. | Source
Upside down dog dish.
Upside down dog dish. | Source

This is Too Easy

To keep your dog from gulping down its food, simply turn a standard stainless steel bowl upside-down, so that the food is distributed in a ring around the center—resembling something like a bundt cake pan.

In addition to dramatically slowing your dog's eating pace, your dog's mind will be challenged to eat the food from around the rim of the dish, since food will keep moving around in the circle. This extra challenge increases the time it takes my dog to eat from about 1 minute, when the dish is right-side up, to 4-5 minutes when the dish is upside down. It also poses a mental challenge for the dog to figure out how to eat the food as it scoots around the ring, stimulating that natural "hunting" desire in all dogs.

A Happily Fed Dog is a Good, Healthy Dog

Eating at a moderate, not-too-fast pace reduces the likelihood that your dog will throw up the food, too, if your dog is prone to that. Hurrah for less clean-up work!
Eating at a moderate, not-too-fast pace reduces the likelihood that your dog will throw up the food, too, if your dog is prone to that. Hurrah for less clean-up work! | Source

Important!

Never allow your dog to play a lot, roughly, or exercise soon after eating. In most canines, this can cause a condition called "bloat", in which the dog's stomach twists upside down. This condition is life-threatening and requires immediate emergency surgery! So, avoid problems by keeping your dog relatively calm or normally active after eating for a period of time until all of the food must be digested. Look up the exact time you should wait on the Internet for your dog breed.

Have you tried this method of curing the food-gulping dog in your life?

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If you tried this method, did it work?

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Less Mess, Less Stress

Eating at a moderate, not-too-fast pace reduces the likelihood that your dog will throw up the food, too, if your dog is prone to that. Hurrah for less clean-up work!

More Tips and Tricks for Slowing Down Your Food-Gulper

There are many other things you can try with the dish you already own. Here are several.

Add Water

To provide even more of a challenge and slow down the eating process even further, pour a small glass of water in the dish. Now your dog has to eat floating pieces of food, which are even harder to catch as they float around the ring.

Make Gravy Out of Dry Kibble

Adding water to some types of dry kibble makes it turn into gravy, which is extra-tasty. Blue Buffalo dry food, for example, recommends adding warm (not hot!) water to create gravy.

Add Ice Cube: Chow on the Rocks

Add an ice cube, with or without water, to the upside-down dog dish for a tasty and fun treat any time of the day. With or without food, your dog will be hard-pressed to get that slippery ice cube from around its dish.

Freeze It

Yet another method for slowing down eating is to freeze your dog's kibble. You can place several silicone or other baking cups or even disposable paper cups in the freezer with kibble and a small amount of water. Note: make sure that if you use this method you measure the correct amount of kibble per frozen "cube" to make certain that your dog is not getting too much or too little food. For example, your medium-sized dog may need two 3/4-full cupcake-sized frozen cubes per meal. Think this through; there's nothing worse than having to put your dog on a diet or allowing it to suffer overweight-caused health issues.

If All Fails, Go to Plan B (Buy a New Solution)

If the dish you have and the tricks above don't help slow the feeding frenzy, there are many specialty bowls on the market for slow-feeding dogs. Here are several of my favorites:

  • Puzzle-style dishes: These make your dog solve a puzzle, such as sliding a lever or turning a wheel, to get to the food. Search for "dog food puzzles" and you will come up with a number of choices.
  • Slow-feeder dishes: These dishes have complex patterns in the bottoms that make your dog "hunt" around the bottom to get to all of the food. Outward Hound brand makes several great styles of slow-feeder dishes, but there are many on the market.
  • Play-for-food toys: Here, I'm referring to toys, such as cubes, wobble toys, or other toys that can be filled with dry kibble. To get the food, your dog must play with the toy so that the food falls out. Generally these are used for treats, but get a large sized toy, or several such toys, and use it or them for all of your dog's daily food requirements. Kong brand makes a number of such toys, including a large hard-plastic food dispensing toy that wobbles and lets food out slowly as your dog plays with it (this is not a chew-toy like the classic rubbery Kongs that you can put treats into).
  • Snuffle mats: A relatively recent addition to the arsenal of ways of feeding and stimulating your dog's mind, a snuffle mat allows your dog to "hunt" for kibble that you've placed throughout a mat with "fingers". Relatively expensive to buy, they are also relatively tedious (and still fairly costly) to make for DIYers and crafters. Here's a video on how to make one, should you decide to make your own: how to make a snuffle mat

Conclusion

By making food harder to get, you're stimulating your dog's mind and natural "hunting" instincts, which is always a good thing. A thinking dog is a healthier dog.

About the Author

Information about the author, a list of her complete works on HubPages, and a means of contacting her are available over on Laura Schneider's profile page.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

© 2009 Laura Schneider

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