Saturday, February 22, 2014

5 Tips to Make Your Dog Eat Slower

Our dog is a very fast eater. She digs into her dinner at record speeds and is done within minutes... or a minute, anyways. Did you know that dogs who eat fast may be at risk for GDV - Gastric Dilatation and Volvulus. GDV is more commonly known simply as "bloat".

I have written a little bit about bloat in the past, but if you are unfamiliar with this condition it is a medical emergency and a life or death situation. The stomach twists on itself and fills with gas. Some breeds of dog are more likely to become bloated than others. These are usually breeds that have very deep chests.

Photo via m anima

There are many theories as to what can cause bloat. Eating too fast is thought to cause complications in dogs because they swallow a lot of air when eating fast. Other than the major concern of becoming bloated, dogs can potentially choke on their food while scarfing it down.

Thankfully, there are some simple ways to slow down Fluffy's eating habits. Some of these methods are new things that I have tried recently, and others are things I do with my own dog every now and then. Aside from making your dog eat slower, they give your dog a challenge and force them to use their brain.


Place a softball in your dog's food dish

Sometimes, I do this with Shiner. Not all of the time, but just when I think about it. Every now and then, she is successful at pushing the softball out of her food bowl. It does work pretty good overall though. 

If your dog comes up with a way to remove the ball every time, there are special bowls that you can purchase which have raised areas in the middle that your dog has to eat around. 

Feed your dog in a cupcake pan

This was a new idea for me, thanks to our friend Sugar at Golden Woofs. You can see her full tutorial on this game at her blog here. For extra fun and a little bit of a challenge, you can place balls over the food.

5 Tips to make your dog eat slower

We just tried this game this week, and it's really easy for Shiner. But I do like how much it slows her eating time down. Also, we didn't use the recommended tennis balls because they are all lost in the yard right now. I used some softballs and other miscellaneous balls in the house. You don't have to use balls if you are only trying to slow your dog down some. 

Give your dog a puzzle toy

Puzzle toys for dogs not only challenge their cognitive skills, but they make your dog eat slower too. Shiner has one puzzle toy, which is featured in the video and pictured below. It's made by Dognition. She has the puzzle figured out very well but it does help her eat slower.

Puzzle Toys for dogs

The one pictured below looks just like one our friend Molly the Wally has. I really want to try this one out because it looks challenging.

Northmate Interactive Feeder

Feed your dog with a KONG

Another great way to make your dog eat slower is to give them their meals inside of a KONG treat dispensing toy. This also helps to occupy them and forces them to use their brains once again. Many people even make special mixtures for their dog's KONGs and then freeze them. This makes for a very entertaining treat! 

Stuff a rope toy with your dog's kibble

If your dog eats kibble, hide it inside of a braided rope toy. Your dog will have to work to get their food and it will also slow down their eating. 

Does your dog scarf down their meals? If so, what do you do to make your dog eat slower? Share your tips and tricks in the comments! 

This post contains some affiliate links. 

29 comments:

  1. Yep that is indeed the one I have which is Green Interactive Bowl. We actually bought it for Ancient Pip first and it was excellent for making treats last for older dogs who do not see so well. We now use it for me and it does make me work for treats or food.We were not given it but genuinely paid monies for it and we think it is very good. Have a super Saturday.
    Best wishes Molly

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    1. I guess I didn't think about the older dog thing. Good idea guys. I think it's one of the cooler puzzles for dogs that I have seen lately.

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  2. Those are pretty good ideas and some of those might even work for kitties!

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  3. Those really are good ideas. Wonder if it would work for cats. We will have to try some of those on the cats. Great info.

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  4. Those are good ideas and I really like the softball one. Dakota pretty much scarfs his food down too and occasionally, like you, I think of ways to slow him down but often forget. I like the blue bowl but noticed it is plastic. I am leery of plastic with pets because it can cause allergies. Is that a different kind of plastic that doesn't? Also, I like Marg's question pertaining to cats, Cody eats waaaaaaaay too fast as well and needs to be slowed down even more than Dakota does.

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    1. Yes, you're absolutely right Caren. I'm sure they make bowls made out of other things, but I guess most of the ones that I have seen are plastic. I'm not sure I've heard of any reasons that cats shouldn't eat fast. Other than potential choking hazard and maybe vomiting afterwards? I'm sure some would work for cats too.

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  5. Bloat is one of my mom's nightmares ( my mom died in 2011 of bloat). I have a slow feed bowl ( with hearts how crazy!). I like the idea with the cupcake pan, we will try it. Many thanks for this VERY important post. Bloat really is a nightmare and not all vets are familiar with this surgery, so better safe than sorry.

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    1. I remember about your mom Easy. You should check out Sugar's cupcake pan/tennis ball post. It's a fun game that involves food. What could be better?

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  6. When Leo first joined our family - he was an inhaler. Watching him eat resembled a vacuum cleaner sucking up food particles off the floor. Ironically as he sprouted upward, I converted to an elevated bowl set and he stopped racing through his meals. Go figure.... I love all the different ideas for feeding, great post!

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    1. Thanks! I had also heard that a raised bowl could help slow them down.

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  7. Great tips! This such a common problem to!
    My huskies are picky eaters, they will just nibble at their food throughout the day but I had a black lab quite some time ago who ate so fast he literally threw his food back up instantly.
    So what we did was use plastic orange hockey balls (3 of them) and put them in her bowl so she would have to shove her nose in to get a few bites, and move the balls around and whatnot. I don't think they had these bowls then or I didn't know of them of they did lol but it worked well even still.
    Great post!
    ((Husky hugz))
    Frum our pack at love is being owned by a husky

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    1. Well, at least your huskies aren't food inhalers!

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  8. I saw one of those puzzle toy feeders in a magazine the other day. I think it's a good idea. How easy are they to wash though? Kamana is so tall, so having a raised bowl is best for him. I don't know if they have the raised ones. The tennis ball wouldn't work for him because he'd take it out and destroy it.

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    1. Yea, the tennis ball thing just depends on the dog I think lol... For Shiner's puzzle toy, I usually let it soak in warm soapy water and clean scrub it where I can. I am not sure if it's dishwasher safe, but I never thought to check because I don't have a dishwasher anyways.

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  9. I don't think I eat too fast but those are great ideas for slowing down their eating. Some of the toys etc. that you used we thought were for treats, so we wonder if the dogs feel like they have gotten to eat all of their dinner! Love Dolly

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    1. They are for treats too Dolly! I know of some dogs who have to work for every meal and are fed some of these tricky ways every time they eat.

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  10. Siamese cats are known to scarf their food down fast, too. We've practiced using golf balls in bowls since they're smaller than dog bowls. We do like the idea of cupcake pans - mini cupcake tins ought to work well for cats!!

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    1. I was wondering about mini cupcake pans too... I think that could be challenging!

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  11. Bailie is a food monster since she was in a litter of fourteen pups. Her eating has slowed a bit, but nothing seems to stop her from eating fast. She sucks food in like a vacuum!

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    1. Yea, Shiner inhales her food like she's got to eat it up before someone else does.

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  12. I'll be going onto Amazon today find bowls for the puppies. They eat a bit fast and I want to slow them down now. The trouble is that we feed draw so I need something that will work well with their diet. I like the blue one you featured.

    Thank you.

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    1. Thanks Kimberly! It seems as thought plastic may not be a favorite choice for some of these ideas.

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  13. I love the idea that I saw on Sugar's blog...such a great idea that also makes it a little bit of a game for the dog! We have bowls similar to the ones in your blog post but as you know, they still find ways to eat super fast. I worry about Lola especially when she gets older. Thanks for posting - sharing!

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    1. I am thinking about getting Shiner one of those bowls... although I still think my favorite is the green feeder that looks like grass.

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  14. Thanks for the ideas Ann! I think about this as I watch Tater scarf and then I forget. He tends to "cheat" with some food puzzles...meaning he slams it against the wall to get the food out (he's a smart little guy!) but you suggest some things here that I look forward to trying.

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    1. Hey that's OK... Shiner does the same trick. Gotta get the food out somehow! lol... I just love his name btw.

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  15. We freeze our dog's breakfast kibble in 2L containers topped up with water and sometimes stock or leftover gravy. Takes them about half an hour to get through, good for keeping them occupied first thing in the morning :)

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