How Do I Make My Dog Eat Slower?

 Dear NPP, 

My dog INHALES his food! He swallows his kibble whole without chewing it at all and I worry that he’s going to make himself sick. What can I do to slow down his eating?


Food Gulping Police

Dear Food Gulping Police,

If Fido gets so excited about mealtime that he is swallowing his food whole, there are some easy steps to take that will help slow him down:

NorthPoint Pet Tips:

  1. Ditch the food bowl. Sounds crazy, but bowls allow a dog to take in a mouthful of food all at once (similarly to how you can easily grab a handful) and then swallow it without chewing.
  2. Replace the bowl with a slow feeder – but not the traditional kind! Slow feeders are available in a variety of sizes, shapes, materials and designs to suit every age and breed. Some even offer varieties of ‘skill levels’ to not only prevent food gulping, but also to offer mental enrichment, which is a win-win! Traditional maze-style slow feeders can be painful for many dogs since eating from them causes the pet’s nerve-filled nose to smash against the raised portions of the bowl. Instead, some of our favorite options are:

The Mine Pet Platter

This flat, heavy-weighted tray offers a very wide surface to spread the kibble – or wet/raw food – across. There’s also a deep groove along the edge that offers additional cognitive challenges and prevents food from rolling off. Fido will likely have to use his tongue to pick up just a couple of pieces at a time.

pet platter, slowfeeder,

Licki Mat

We’ve highlighted these before for their versatility and ease of use! LickiMats offer a variety of ways to keep your pooch occupied with either dry (kibble) or wet (canned/raw) foods. Like the Pet Platters, LickiMats require Fido to use his tongue to pick up any food.

Paw 5 Wobble Bowl

This bowl is the exception to our step 1 because its unique design requires Fido to use his snout or paws to tilt the bowl to dispense food from either the top or bottom holes.

Kong Wobbler

Similar to the Wobble Bowl, this feeder requires pawing to tilt the feeder to drop kibble out. This feeder is a bit more challenging, as the base is weighted, so it automatically stands upright on its own. The thick, smooth plastic makes this a durable option if Fido tends to be destructive with toys.

Outward Hound Treat Tumble

This simple solution is amazing for any pooch that needs a bit more exercise. The simple ball design with two dispensing holes will keep Fido intrigued, regardless of his age or skill level. The more he rolls it, the more food comes out!

Any of these options can turn mealtime into a fun, intellectually enriching activity that will not only be healthier for your dog’s digestion, but also for his mental health and wellbeing!

*This article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to provide medical advice or replace the advice of a qualified veterinarian.