How to Stop a Dog From Eating Too Fast

Updated on August 5, 2019
alexadry profile image

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer, former veterinary assistant, and the author of "Brain Training for Dogs."

How to Slow Down a Dog That's Eating Too Fast

A dog eating fast is not only a bad habit, but also a cause for concern since it may lead to several health problems. If you own a dog that wolfs down its food as soon as you put it down, be assured there are ways to address this problem and calm your dog down. Learn what causes your dog to want to gulp down his food, what health disorder he may be predisposed to and also ways you can finally put an end to this frustrating bad habit.


Why Is My Dog Eating so Fast?

The reasons may be several. First of all, it is a good idea to look a bit back into the dog's ancestry. The dog, ''canis lupus familiaris'', as the name implies, derives from the wolf. If you ever watched a pack of wolves eat, you get the idea where the term ''wolfing down fast'' derives from. Jim and Jamie Dutcher in their wonderful book ''Wolves at Our Door'' explain how they were able to witness wolves eating. The wolves after killing their prey, gorged themselves with food, sometimes even consuming as much as 30 pounds of meat at a time!

3 Reasons Why Your Dog Wolfs Its Food

1. Instinct

In the wild, wolves do not get to eat every day, because prey is not always readily available. This means often that they get to eat every 3-4 days, therefore when they do eat, they are hungry and as opportunistic beings, they are eager to gulp down as much they can. Then, the following days are spent lounging and digesting the enormous meal. Now, domestic dogs eat every day, often twice a day, but they still appear to have retained this habit of wanting to gulp down things fast perhaps abiding to their theory ''you never know when your next meal may be.''

2. Competition

If you have a multi-dog home, very likely your dogs gulp down fast to prevent the other dog from having the opportunity to have access to the food. So the safest way to protect their food is to keep it in the belly! This behavior is intensified the closer the dogs are within each other when eating. This is why it is best to keep them out of reach from one another.

3. A History of Starvation

Some dogs, especially those rescued with an unknown history, may devour their food. These dogs may have had a history of starvation and being malnourished, and like the wolves, may have a need to finish the food fast in fear of starvation. Some of these dogs may be so eager to eat that they are also possessive over the food and will growl if anybody approaches .

4 Problems Caused by Eating Too Fast

Dogs eating fast comes with its sets problems. This is another reason why if your dog is eating very fast you have to do something about it. Following are some medical conditions or problems that may arise due to eating too fast.

1. Bloat

If you own a large, deep chested dog, then you should be concerned about bloat since this condition prefers dogs of this type. Smaller dogs however can also be affected at times. Bloat may arise when a dog swallows too much air causing the stomach to swell up and put pressure on other organs and even twist upon itself causing its blood flow to be cut off. Bloat can be quickly deadlt and requires emergency treatment.

2. Regurgitation

If a dog eats too much too fast, the stomach many not be able to keep up and to avoid the workload, may send everything back up within a few minutes. If a dog brings food back up before being digested, the dog is actually regurgitating therefore unlike in vomiting, pieces of kibble can be seen, and the food brought up is often of a tubular slimy shape due to having been in the esophagus. A regurgitating dog also does not have stomach contractions, but rather the food comes up easily with the dog remaining passive and not appearing anxious.

3. Choking

Obviously a dog that eats too fast will likely choke if it is not careful. This is something you want to prevent as choking can be life threatening if the dog is unable to cough the food particle back to its right path.

4. Teeth Problems

One of the biggest advantages of feeding kibble to dogs is that its shape and texture helps keep the teeth clean and its scraping action may help remove some plaque located near the top of a dog’s teeth. If the dog swallows the most of its food, this scraping action will not exist, causing tartar and plaque to accumulate in all areas of the teeth.

How To Stop Dogs From Eating Too Fast

Stopping a dog from eating too fast has never been simpler.

  • If you own multiple dogs, you best bet is to find a distance in which they feel more comfortable. This should be far enough that both dogs do not appear to tense up and are able to ignore each other. If you are in doubt, simply put them in the farthest opposite sides of your home.
  • To stop eating fast all together, today special food bowls are on the market to solve the problem once and for all. These bowls are shaped in such a way that prohibit the dog from eating too fast. If dogs will want to eat with these bowls it will have to be slow. If your dog will try to move the bowl around invest in one with a rubbery base that prevents it from sliding and moving around.

Once your dog calms down in eating, you will notice your dog will be able to digest better and you do not have to worry about cleaning up messes left behind after eating too fast.

Brake-Fast Dog Food Slow Feed Bowl - Medium Blue
Brake-Fast Dog Food Slow Feed Bowl - Medium Blue
Brake-fast dog food bowl award winning design makes dogs slow down to eat. Helps reduce risk of Bloat and other digestive problems. Slower eating makes an animal feel more full. Veterinarian tested and recommended. Works with kibble or canned food.

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.


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    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      2 years ago

      Meryl, how about feeding your dog using a Kong Wobbler?

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I have a slow bowl and she still eating too fast l also tried a bowl with a huge rock in it it worked fine but now she knows how to move it quick so now she is eating fast ☹️

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      7 years ago

      Yes, eating fast does not help your dog's teeth. Also, look for some good dental chews to help scrape away tartar, best wishes!.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I just acquired a 2 yr old dog with vacuum wonder the vet said her teeth weren't so good for her cleaning from the food...!

      Love the fact that there is a special bowl - another example of Keep It Simple.....! Thanks for this....hopefully save me $$ for teeth cleaning.

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Farricelli 

      7 years ago

      Bukarella, happy you do not have this problem! My male was a sort of Hoover vacuum when he was younger. Happy you liked the picture, that's my Petra~!

    • Bukarella profile image

      Lyudmyla Hoffman 

      7 years ago from United States

      Okay, this is not a problem with our dog, but I had to stop by and comment on the picture - I love it!

    • mybabytia1 profile image


      9 years ago

      Wow my dog also eats very fast. I never knew it was cause for concern. Thanx for the hub now I know he needs to slow down. He hasn't had any of the problems you listed but better be safe than sorry again thanx for sharing!!!

    • DogToys profile image


      9 years ago from England

      Ha ha! my dogs eat so quick.

    • GetSmart profile image


      9 years ago

      I have the pacer balls - same concept only the ball isn't attached so you can put it in any bowl. These work great and those prices on amazon are much lower than at the pet stores.

    • 2besure profile image

      Pamela Lipscomb 

      9 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      Very informative. I did not know they have these types of bowls. Thanks

    • lindatymensky profile image


      9 years ago

      Very useful hub! Next time I'm at the pet store I'm going to look for one of these bowls that slow a dog down when gulping food. I need one. I didn't know they existed.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      9 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Flag up and "useful!"

    • ocbill profile image


      9 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      wow! these are so common yet I see solutions nowhere but you always have it. I remember my st bernard moving the bowl around when she ate & she did scarf down the food. I actually think she wanted to eat fast so she could get the other dogs food. we soon moved his bowl into another fenced off location so he can eat in peace. But then it seemed odd, as he'd leave some food for her to get once he's done.

    • Perpeptua profile image


      9 years ago

      Stop them from eating fast food? Why, what's the matter with burgers?

    • Peter Owen profile image

      Peter Owen 

      9 years ago from West Hempstead, NY

      these actually do work. I use the bowl with the big metal ball in it. doees't slow the dog down from trying to eat fast, but does limit how much he can get in with each bite

    • SUSIE DUZY profile image


      9 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

      Thanks for the tips. I try to get my dog to eat slower too.


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