How to Get Your Dog to Eat Slower and Chew Their Food

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Before answering how to get your dog to eat slower, have you ever seen your dog gulping down food as if there is no tomorrow?

This unhealthy habit might cost them an upset stomach. 

But then again, most of the time, dogs are perfectly fine even when they swallow their food without chewing. 

Why are they eating so fast to begin with?

Well, a simple answer to this question can be that dogs, ultimately, are primitive animals. They don’t comprehend the concept of savoring food as we humans do. 

So for them, the only important thing is a stuffed belly.

If you have seen this behavior being exhibited by your dog and are concerned about it, this article is for you. It outlines why eating fast is bad and what could be the probable cause of this behavior. 

Furthermore, it also tackles the most important question, ‘how to get my dog to chew their food?”

Read this article to find out all your answers.

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Why is Rapid Eating Bad?

Rapid eating can be hazardous for our dog’s health[1]. It might lead to choking and gagging, which could be harmful and might even lead to serious problems. 

But, this is just the natural part. There is also a psychological component at play here.

Rapid eating is often closely associated with greedy behavior and increases the aggressive tendencies of your dog.

If this continues for a long time, the dog will view any person around it while eating as a competitor competing for his food. 

If not kept in check, this rapid eating might increase the hostility in your dog and make it more feral with every passing day.

The rapid eating in your dog could result from a medical condition – GDV, aka Gastric Dilatation Volvulus[2]. If left unchecked, this condition could even lead to death.

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Why Do Dogs Eat Quickly?

Before we try to develop solutions, it is crucial to know the reason behind the problem[3].

What could be the root cause of this unhealthy behavior often exhibited by your dog? 

Some of these could include:

Pack Behavior

Your dog might still be in the mindset of the pack behavior where each one is on their own.

If you adopted a rescue dog or a wild one, it probably lived with other feral dogs before you took it in. 

These wild packs often scavenge for food and divide it amongst themselves.

To do this without a fight, a dog would eat up their share of the food as soon as possible. 

The dogs do this so that the other members don’t attack them and snatch their share.

Biology Basis

This rapid eating could have something to do with biology as well. Dogs are canines and ferals.

They are developed like one of them and not like humans. They are designed to gulp huge pieces of food all at once.

To facilitate this kind of eating, they have pointed teeth which aids them in grabbing and quickly eating large chunks of food in a single go.

The Environment of the Dog

The environment in which the dog is reared plays a major role in how they eat their dog food.

For example, if you have many dogs in your house, they might view each other as competitors regarding food. 

This mindset will encourage them to eat their food as quickly as possible.

Other than that, the kind of vessel you use as a feeding bowl also plays a role in inhibiting or stimulating this kind of rapid eating behavior.

If the feeding utensil is made up of metal, it will make constant clunking noises which might frighten your dog.

This noise could also contribute to the dog eating its food or drinking water as quickly as possible to get away from that clunking noise.

Many environmental or nurture factors play a key role in contributing to rapid eating behavior alongside biology. 

Once you are acquainted with them, it will be easier for you to amend your dog’s habits.

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How to Get a Dog to Slow Down and Chew Food

You cannot expect your dogs to change their feeding habits overnight.

Instead, it is a gradual process, one that will require some patience from your end. 

However, there are some tricks you can pull out of your sleeves to restrict and even correct this habit. These include:

Use a Slow Feeder Bowl

Outward Hound Fun Feeder Slo Bowl, Slow Feeder Dog Bowl, Medium/Mini, Turquoise

A slow feeder bowl is specifically designed for dogs who are accustomed to rapid eating.

They have raised bases and obstructions, which prevent your dog from taking much food inside its mouth. These significantly slow their eating speed.

In addition, place the bowl a little higher to the ground so that it is closer to your dog’s mouth.

Doing this will make it feel more comfortable knowing that its food is safe.

You might also often wonder how to keep your dog busy in a crate. Well, Slow Feeder Bowl is your answer to that.

Spread Multiple Small Meals Throughout the Day

Another way to inhibit your dogs from gulping in food like there is no tomorrow is to spread their meals into multiple small meals throughout the day.

NOTE: This might be a little difficult for you to do if you are away from home a lot or if you work all day.

Divide the food among all your Dogs (if you have more than one)

If you have more than one dog, and think about how to get a dog to slow down and chew their food, the competition can be the reason they gulp and not eat. 

One thing you need to know is that dogs are extremely possessive over their food[4].

Now, imagine having many dogs in your house, and it just takes them back to their pack days.

To forgo competition or others snatching their food, they will often gulp it all as soon as possible. 

To prevent this, it would be best if you have separate feeding bowls for your dogs.

Whenever they are eating, ensure that they are away from each other, leading them to believe that their food is safe.

Related: What is BHA in Dog Food?

Have Your Dogs Eat in a Safe Environment

Old habits die hard – this is a proverbial saying and often stands corrected.

If your dog comes from a wild background, it would be tough to build a level of trust in you.

It would be best to provide your dog with a friendly, safe, and comfortable environment whenever they are eating.

Doing this will not only help regulate your dog’s digestion, but it will also help rectify its problem of rapid eating.

Final Words

Dogs are highly protective of their food. If they ever feel that their food is threatened, they will try to gulp it all down in a single go.

Therefore, a safe and secure environment is vital to ensure that your dog doesn’t indulge in harmful habits like rapid eating.

What do you think about these tips? Let us know in the comments!

Resources

  1. https://www.prouddogmom.com/dogs-speed-eating/
  2. https://www.acvs.org/small-animal/gastric-dilatation-volvulus
  3. https://wagwalking.com/behavior/why-do-dogs-eat-quickly#:~:text=A%20common%20behavior%20that%20is,reason%20is%20due%20to%20competition.&text=This%20may%20be%20because%20your,threatened%20in%20some%20way%2C%20currently.
  4. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/common-dog-behavior-issues/food-guarding#:~:text=Guarding%20possessions%20from%20humans%20or,than%20those%20who%20don’t.&text=Many%20dogs%20guard%20food.,t%20need%20to%20be%20treated.
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