How to stop a dog from eating too fast

Slow Feed Dog Bowl
Slow Feed Dog Bowl

I adopted an awesome dog named Pita. (Maybe you've seen her on Offbeat Home's Instagram account recently?) She's perfect in every way, except for how she eats: She INHALES her food. She doesn't even bother chewing it!

She threw up her dinner the other night, and the dog kibble was all perfectly intact.

Is anyone else is dealing with this? If so, I've done some research, and here are the ways I'm told that you can stop a dog from eating to fast…

I've ditched the competition

In case Pita was eating fast because she thought my cat would steal her food (she's not technically wrong), I now feed my cat WAY on the other side of the kitchen… And sometimes not even at the same time.

Slow bowls

These are supposed to make it more of a challenge to get to the food, and slow the eating process down…

Vvhome Pizza Design Food-grade Soft Silicone Slow Feed Dog Bowl
Vvhome Pizza Design Food-grade Soft Silicone Slow Feed Dog Bowl
Outward Hound Fun Feeder
Outward Hound Fun Feeder
FATPET Durable Puppy Dog Anti-Gulping Food Bowl
FATPET Durable Puppy Dog Anti-Gulping Food Bowl
Mr. Peanut's Stainless Steel Interactive Slow Feed Bowl
Mr. Peanut's Stainless Steel Interactive Slow Feed Bowl

And I know about the things you can put IN a dog's bowl:

Gobble Stopper
Gobble Stopper
Omega Paw Portion Pacer Ball
Omega Paw Portion Pacer Ball

I feed her smaller portions…

For a week I tried feeding Pita smaller portions, more times a day. So instead of feeding her twice a day, I split up those portions into three smaller meals. I hoped it would show her that food comes regularly and a LOT, so calm down, dog. But she was still INHALING ALL THE FOODS!

…And use an elevated dish

KMG Designs designer pet food bowl set
KMG Designs designer pet food bowl set

If I can't stop her from wolfing down her food, I can at least try to decrease the amount of air she swallows with an elevated dish. AND, you know, it looks good too. Here are some more stylish elevated dishes, if you're interested…

Am I missing any other good advice for getting a dog to stop eating so fast?

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  1. I have one of those green slow feeding "bowls" except it's solid plastic, not silicone
    http://www.petsathome.com/shop/en/pets/green-feeder-%28online-only%29

    It's helped a lot with my rescue dog, dinnertime is now up to about 1 minute instead of the 3 seconds it used to be. Left to her own devices, she just inhales her food and then belches mightily for the next few minutes (normally in your face, in true doggy fashion). I thought it might be something that settled down once she started feeling safe at home but apparently not. They're a bugger to clean properly but worth it. I think a bigger dog might take a lot longer than she does but she's quite small (12kg/26lb) with a long elegant nose that fits between the prongs of the bowl/

    2 agree
  2. We don't have issues with my dog eating too fast (in fact, he is the definition of a grazer and sometimes we have to entice him to eat) but we have boredom issues. We bought him this (https://www.amazon.com/StarMark-Bob-Lot-Interactive-Large/dp/B001JQLNB4) so sometimes meal time can be fun and interactive. But you definitely can use it to help slow down your dog's eating habits. They have to knock it around with their nose or paw and a few kibbles drop out (smaller kibble falls out faster than bigger kibble but not matter what they have to bat at it to eat) and it can hold an entire serving of food.

    1 agrees
  3. Have you thought about feeding the pup with a kong? just shoving kibble inside so that they can only eat what falls out? It would add exercise and slow the eating down

  4. Use a kong or other stuffable dog toy (west paw and jw pets have great options). For my saint bernard we fill her toys with her kibble (and in the case of the kong stuff an ice cube in the opening) it usually takes her about 10 mins to clear all the toys instead of 30 seconds to clear a bowl.
    Toys R Us also makes a treat ball on a timer that dispenses just a small amount when a bell rings and the dog has to roll the ball around to get it out. It works great, but some dogs can become obsessive over it.

    3 agree
  5. Good tips! I had a Beagle mix who did this, just as you describe! He'd turn his whole head sideways and open his jaw as wide as he could in an attempt to bulldoze the entire bowl in one gulp!

    I ended up just hand-feeding him little bites. It was time-consuming, yes, but it was a nice bonding and training opportunity. I'd ask him to sit calmly between each bite. He was a kind of rowdy dog who really benefited from the training exercise. 🙂 Man, I miss him!!

    • I was going to suggest hand feeding. Plop down in the floor. Drop the first bite in the bowl. When that's gobbled, feed the next bite by hand. Keep alternating until fooded up. Work toward fewer handfed bites, and more food in the bowl. SOMETIMES, dogs view humans as potential food competiotion or a source of some kind of food insecurity, so this kinda makes it clear that you're not into kibble.

      1 agrees
    • I was just going to suggest using some of the mealtime kibble as treats for training just before you feed your dog the rest of the food. My labrador/whippet mix eats 1.5 cups of food twice a day so in the morning and evening before I feed him I take the 1/2 cup and use it to work on traning and tricks. When we are done with that 1/2 cup I then feed him the rest of his meal in a bowl. This also helps get his excitement down and gives us some time together.

  6. Our dog was from the humane society and did inhale his food when we first got him. But, over a couple of months, he stopped doing that. I think it was just a matter of having enough food and knowing that no other dogs/animals were going to steal it! We made sure to feed him enough (slightly more than the vet said) and at regular times so that he learned that he would get enough food. I think part of it was being also just being hungry (he is a 'medium' sized dog that could go either way to the 'small' dog food amounts or to the 'large' dog food amounts). He's a little chubby now, but not in a bad way. I also had a friend who literally had to feed her pets in different rooms of the house and close the doors so that they would not steal each other's food. You could try that to fully eliminate the competition with the cat.

    1 agrees
  7. Ooh ooh, I found something to do in the meantime while I see if she eventually slows her roll: I put water in her dish and heat up the kibble in the water to make it mushier. She still eats fast, but the lapping up the water helps slow it, and there's less choking now at least. 😉

    1 agrees
    • Yes! Was going to come to the comments to say this. We had to try this approach with our dog, also an adopted pup. The warm water plus slow feed bowl helped a LOT. We used to hear her burp after meals and then begin crunching on whatever came up – a sure sign she hadn't chewed the first time.

      To mix it up, I'll sometimes split her kibble across a muffin tin, then place the muffin tin on top of a cookie sheet. You can cover the holes with toys (bonus points if it's a puzzle toy and you can hide MORE food inside) and also scatter a bit under the edges of the muffin tin so she has to nose in to get it. Another pro of this method is that it is hilarious to watch.

      1 agrees
      • we do the muffin tin thing sporadically for a fun interactive game for a dog that is only motivated by food! It is hilarious to watch and gives the dog something to keep their mind active and their belly full!

  8. I bought a slow feeder bowl for our 70lb gulper after putting the 100lb food thief coonhound in a separate room made no difference. Naturally, the asshole just decided to trade bowls with our 8lb yorkie mix. He gulps his brother's food while his brother eats his fill from the not-so-slow-when you're-tiny feeder, then eats what's left in the slow feeder. Little old lady terrier eats on the couch and participates in 0 shenanigans. If we ever buy a different house, it will not have this cursed open floor plan that makes feeding in different rooms pointless.

    1 agrees
  9. Unless vet recommended, be careful using an elevated dish, especially in large breed dogs. It can increase the risk of bloat/GDV. https://www.vetinfo.com/elevated-dog-feeder.html

    Although he has grown out if it now, my dog used to inhale his food. I would just take the cup of food and throw it across the kitchen floor so it was all spread out. Then when he was finished I would just do a quick sweep for the crumbs. It worked really well without having to get any special bowls/toys (although I sometimes put it in a kong instead for variety).

    5 agree
  10. My dog is a food inhaler too, and what ended unintentionally solving the problem for her was switching food. Her teeth are in pretty bad shape after years with her previous owner, and the vet recommended we switch her to this dental kibble. The dental kibble is designed to be too large to swallow whole so she has to chew it, which cleans her teeth. This has the bonus that she has to slow down to eat, and doesn't choke and cough after eating. Hopes this help!

  11. We have had our rescue dog for 4 years now, and we have gone on such a long journey of trying to get him to slow down while eating. He was severely underweight when we got him, and he had lived on the streets where he developed some REALLY bad habits. Here's what we've done to remedy the eating situation:

    Firstly, we NEVER withhold a meal for a behavioral issue (some dog owners do this, for whatever absurd reason that I don't agree with.)

    Most importantly, we established a routine of feeding him twice a day, at the exact same times. We wanted to show him that he could get food consistently and reliably.

    This takes time and effort, but we require our dog to sit and wait before eating, as part of the routine. We put the bowl on the ground and make him sit there for a full three or four seconds before he is allowed to dive in. It all started because he would lunge at the bowl (and our hands) and we wanted to correct that. At first the waiting made the scarfing food worse because he was so anxious to get at whatever was in the bowl, but it's strangely become a gentle reminder for him to eat more mindfully.

    Mix it up a bit: Occasionally we would bury a few small hunks of meat or other goodies in the food bowl (a doggy treasure hunt!). Sometimes we would liquify the dry kibble by adding a cup of water, or the juice from a can of tuna.

    2 agree
  12. We have the same issue. We made a homemade snuffle matt (google it; you'll find instructions.) We also divvied up her food in a cupcake tin with tennis balls over the food in each cup.

  13. We have golf balls in our dog's food dish to slow her eating. She has to move them around to get to the food.

    1 agrees
  14. Cat not dog, but we have a cat who inhales his food and then pukes it for us to step in… er, clean up. (Hopefully without the former.) We feed him in an ice cube tray now, and we feed him and his brother in different rooms (but at the same time). The having to move from hole to hole in the ice cube tray has slowed him down such that he only pukes once every 2-3 months instead of 2-3 times a week. Plus it only cost ~$1.00, and works just as well with his wet food as it did with dry food.

  15. Those slow bowls seem really clever but surely not clever enough to stop a German shepherd from eating all it's been given to eat. I own one of these smart animals (a beautiful female German shepherd) and she just turns the bowl upside down and reaches all the food at once. Giving her smaller portions is the only viable option so far.

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