How to Train a Dog to Eat Slower

Is your dog a speed-eater? For many dogs, mealtime is their favorite time of day. As they get too excited, they tend to gobble up all their food as soon as you put down their food bowl.

Although eating too fast doesn’t seem a serious problem, it can bring health risks for your pet.

In this article, we will try to explain why some dogs tend to eat too fast, the harm it may do to your pet, and how to train your dog to eat slower.

Why does your dog eat too quickly? 

There could be a number of reasons why your dog eats too fast. One of the possible reasons is that it had to compete for food while it was still a puppy, and now that it’s older, the conditioning that it has to eat as much as it can may stay. 

Another possible reason is that your dog may not be getting enough digestible nutrition from its food, which is why it feels extra hungry and has to eat like that. Finally, it could be something even more serious such as it has a parasite that prevents it from getting all the nutrients it needs.

Eating too fast is not just a behavioral issue

Eating too fast is not just about poor behavior, as this can also bring significant health risks.

Dogs that eat too quickly also swallow down a lot of air, and this increases the risk of bloating or gastric dilation and volvulus (GDV). Deep-chested dog breeds are more at risk of complications as their stomach hangs more freely and is more likely to flip over on itself.=

The most effective way to make your dog eat slower is to use effective dog training methods to address the psychological pressure during feeding time. 

Training your dog to eat slower

One of the most common and effective ways to teach your dog to eat slower is to purchase commercial slow feeders or puzzle feeders. Check your local pet store or ask a professional dog trainer for recommendations as to the best feeders that will help your dog eat slowly.


Some dogs are simply greedy and will eat as quickly as possible before the owner can even get the food away from them. 

These greedy habits are driven by some behavioral issues and factors such as pressure from other dogs or a dog owner that unintentionally teaches the dog to eat quickly. With this, it’s important to become aware of the possible reasons to be able to address them.

Safeguarding its resources

Food, along with water, shelter, and your attention and love, is essential. However, if there are multiple dogs in your household, your dog will feel that it has to compete for this basic resource. 

So if your dog eats too fast, your dog might be a dominant one that gobbles down its food to steal food from others that are slower to eat. On the other hand, it can also be an underdog that learns to adapt and eat faster even before the dominant dog steals its food.

It is important that competition for food is real even though there is enough for everyone to eat at their own pace. If your dogs are too stubborn, you can also feed the dogs in separate areas to prevent competition. You only should allow them to join together once everyone has finished eating. It is also recommended to have a 10-minute break after a meal, so your dogs will realize there’s no sense in rushing.

Understimulated dogs

Dogs that don’t get to use their brain that much during the day and are bored may eat their food too quickly as a relief from the tedium. To solve this, simply give your furry friend plenty of exercise and try using puzzle feeders to stimulate it mentally.

The Slow Feeders Method

There are some strategies or feeders that can help control how fast your dog eats. Here are some ways:

  • Scatter its kibble on the ground or over the grass in your yard to make it a bit more tricky. Alternatively, you may also spread its dog food over a large tray.
  • Scatter kibble on a clean towel and then fold over. Let your dog sniff it and figure out how to retrieve the food from the towel.
  • Distribute your dog’s meal between the pans of a large muffin tin so it has to pause before moving on to the next pan.
  • Drill holes in a clean plastic bottle and put the dog food inside. Your dog then needs to figure out how to get the biscuits to drop out from the holes.

Reliable Dog Training Experts

If you feel that you are not making any progress from your training and would like to have your dog trained by a professional to eliminate this undesirable behavior, you might want to check out one of the most trusted dog training experts– Delaware K9 Academy.

Whether you need puppy training or private lessons and 2-week bootcamps for older dogs, we’ve got you covered! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you!