Does your dog eat as if he has never seen food before?
While Fido seems to have a healthy appetite, there may be an underlying reason that needs attention.
Truth be told:
Some dogs just eat fast naturally and will swallow anything. In other cases, there’s a specific cause for this habit.
Either way, you should try and limit the speed of your dog’s consumption as it can lead to serious health problems.
There’s a lot of that can be done to slow down your dog’s eating pattern, but you should start by understanding what is causing the problem.
In this post, I’ll answer the question: “why does my dog eat so fast?”
I’ll also talk about risks associated with eating too fast and give you 8 tips on how to stop this unwanted behavior.
What Happens If A Dog Eats Too Fast?
To start with, eating too fast may cause your dog to choke as he swallows his food without chewing.
Another problem with rapid eating is swallowing air, which can lead to stomach discomfort, and make your dog vomit or regurgitate.
But perhaps the most disconcerting part in eating too fast is a condition called Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus (GDV). Gastric dilation or bloat is a serious medical issue in which the stomach expands with food and gas, which may cause it to erupt.
Why Does My Dog Eat So Fast: 3 Important Causes
If your dog has an untreated pathological problem that interferes with the absorption of food or metabolism, he will remain in a hunger state and therefore eat fast to try and satisfy his craving.
Before we get into the things you can change to slow down your dog’s eating behavior, here are some of the medical causes related to fast eating:
- Diabetes: One of the signs of diabetes is increased appetite. Especially when the disease isn’t under control, and the body can’t convert food into energy.
- Cushing’s disease: As with diabetes, Cushing’s disease can also spike insulin levels which are responsible for regulating hunger.
- Hyperthyroidism: Underactive thyroid can also lead to an increase in appetite and even weight gain as this gland has a direct effect on metabolic rate.
- Worms: Since worms and other parasites feed on your dog’s nutrient, it may create a deficiency in his body, which can make him more hungry than usual.
Some dog foods simply have low nutritional value and feeding them to your dog means that he may not stay satiety until the next meal. As a result, every time you give Fido his food, he gulps it down.
Don’t be fooled by the dog food label saying it’s “complete and balanced”. Instead, look at the ingredients — is it a plant or grain protein-based food? Then it’s not going to digest as well as food with meat at the top.
As young puppies, some may have competed for food during nursing. This behavior can quickly turn into a pattern, and lead the dog throughout his life.
Similarly, if you run a multi-dog household, competition over food may be the reason for the hasty eating problem. It can be that your dog fears another dog will steal his food, or that he eats quickly so he can finish his food and move on to the other dog’s food.
How Do I Stop My Dog From Eating So Fast? (8 Easy Ways)
1. Talk With Your Vet
First and foremost, ask your vet to check Fido to make sure he’s healthy and rule out common health issues that may interfere with your dog hunger or fullness, thus making Fido eat at a higher pace.
2. Switch To Another Food
Try switching to a quality grain-free dog food with no fillers to make sure it’s easily digestible and that your dog is getting the nutrition he needs. Also, look for high-fiber content as it will make your dog feel full without adding extra calories.
3. Feed Dogs Separately
In a house with multiple dogs, feed every dog with its own plate and in separate rooms so each one has its own private space to eat quietly. That way, no dog will have to fear for its food or tempt to steal another dog’s meal which leads to food aggression.
4. Make A Feeding Schedule
Don’t wait until your dog is too hungry, decide what time of day Fido will get his meal, and turn it into a routine. By doing so, you also eliminate food which is linked to eating in a hurry and food competition between dogs.
5. Spread Out The Meals
It sometimes helps to divide your dog’s meal. In case your feeding Fido once a day, try giving him half of his food in the morning and a half in the evening. This technique usually keeps dogs more satisfied.
6. Get A “Slow Down” Dog Eating Bowl
There uniquely shaped dog bowls are by far the best way to control speed eating. Every dish is designed to slow down feeding, but not in a way that interferes with eating, and it can also prevent choking, bloating, and overeating. As well as help with dogs weight management.
I recommend getting a slow feed dog bowl that’s not made of plastic. This maze dish, for example, is made of durable bamboo fiber and designed by experienced veterinarians that decided to restore the natural eating habits of dogs.
If you’re not ready to invest in a special bowl, you can use the one you have and place a tennis ball in the center of the dish to make it a little bit harder on your dog to eat fast. Although, some dogs will just take the ball out.
7. Hide The Food
Another way to slow down your dog’s eating is by playing a hide and seek game. Simply hide small batches of kibbles in various places throughout your house so your dog will have to look for them. You can also hide food inside challenging dog puzzle toys.
8. Use A Treat-Dispensing Toy
Another way to slow down your dog’s feeding is by giving your dog his food inside a treat ball or a Kong toy. These toys are designed so that your dog will have to work for his meal while slowing him down in the process.