Is your dog a speed eater?

is your dog a speed eaterSome dogs eat at such a speed that it’s as if they think their food will disappear if they don’t gobble it all up. While it may seem a harmless bad habit, in reality it can actually cause some problems for dogs and endanger their health. Here we will look at some of those problems and offer some practical tips to slow down your dog’s mealtime.

Problems caused by speed-eating
Some of the health problems caused by eating too fast include gastric dilation (bloat), regurgitation, choking, teeth problems and more. Bloat occurs when a dog eats so fast that it swallows air. This makes their stomach swell and adds pressure to their organs, even cutting off blood flow in some cases. Like humans, if dogs don’t chew their food properly and eat too quickly they can end up choking on their food, which can be very dangerous for your dog. Finally, some types of dog food such as kibble have a dual benefit of not only sustaining your dog but also keeping their teeth clean by grinding away plaque as they chew. However, if your dog is not chewing its food properly then it can allow tartar to build up around it’s gums and teeth for which we would recommend daily use of a toothbrush or putting Plaque Off in the food.

How to put a stop to it
There are a few ways that you can tackle the problem of speed eating. One of the first ways is to change the way that you feed your dog. Instead of feeding them in a bowl, you could feed them by hand. This means that you can control the speed at which they eat. Another trick is to occasionally place a treat in your dog’s bowl while they are eating. Dogs can become protective over their food and eat quickly because they fear that someone else may take it away from them, so by placing a treat in the bowl, they realise that someone going over to their bowl isn’t necessarily a threat and may become less anxious while eating their food and thus eat slower.

Alternatively, if you still struggle to get your dog to slow down their meal time then you could consider purchasing a special food bowl called a ‘Slow Feeder Bowl’. These bowls are shaped in such a way that it makes it difficult for your dog to wolf down their meal, for example they may have a dome in the middle of the bowl, which forces the food to sit around the sides, making it hard for your dog to take big mouthfuls. You can even make your own by placing a large object (too big to swallow) in the middle of your dog’s bowl. A Green Feeder is excellent for slowing down eating and comes highly recommended by many of our clients.

For further tips and advice and for more information about dog behaviour therapy sessions, training classes, hydrotherapy, physiotherapy and more please visit or alternatively call us on 0116 244 2455 to book a session.

About the author

Dr Shahad Mohammed
Veterinary Physiotherapist
National Association of Veterinary Physiotherapists