A common problem owner’s face is dogs gulping and swallowing their food whole at meal times. Gulping food in more serious cases can cause gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV ) which is a twisting of the stomach which can be very dangerous and quickly turn fatal. Less serious effects mean the food takes longer to be digested and can add to flatulence problems. The chewing process is also important to help reduce plaque on teeth when feeding dry kibble!

Why do dogs gulp and rush while eating?

Many dogs will naturally race to finish food, their instincts will tell them to get as much food as possible before the food source disappears. In the wild this could be other predators or pack mates, in a domestic situation they face competition from a young age with their own littler mates. It is also advisable to prevent young children from playing around or touching a dog while they eat.

This behaviour can be slowed or stopped while young however some dogs may develop or continue this action due to other animals in the house or from previous experiences e.g. rescue dogs commonly exhibit this behaviour due to lack of food or competition for little food with other dogs.

Luckily there are some easy solutions!

One great product is a slow feeding bowl; they come in all shapes, sizes and colours but they all work in the same way. Concaves and shapes inside the bowl create “feeding obstacles” to prevent food from being eaten too quickly. Another product available is a portion pacing ball, these are stainless steel or ceramic balls which you place in your current feeding bowl and this also creates an obstacle which slows feeding.

Other slow feeding products include automatic feeders which released specific amount at certain times through the day or toys that release food when rolled or played with, this is great mental stimulation and makes them work for the food. Some simple training can also help, such as making a dog wait for their food, varying the time they have to wait and the distance also provides a mental task, it will also show there are no other animals around the food.

DIY – a tennis ball or hard plastic ball toy which you may already have can be placed in the bowl to create obstacles, you can also use a small bowl turned upside down, this will create a smaller space to pick up food.

Alternatively you can also feed a Large Bite variety of Natural Dog Food (click here). Our Large Bite food is based on the same great Adult Chicken recipe however the kibble is significantly larger which prevents the dog swallowing them whole and makes them chew each piece. Large Bite was created for large breeds however it works well for greedy dogs too!

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