It can be quite disconcerting to see a clearly anxious dog eating their food as quickly as they can, clearly making themselves ill in the process. This behaviour has nothing to do with the type of food you are feeding your pet. Both wet and dry dog food will elicit the same response.
Speed eating can be very bad for a dog. The most obvious reason is the same for dogs as it is for humans: eating too fast can cause vomiting. However, for dogs the problem can get more serious.
Continued speed eating can cause gastric dilatation volvulus, which is also known as bloat. Bloat is caused by swallowing too much air while eating. It can cause the stomach to extend and twist, and can be quite serious.
So what causes dogs to wolf down their food like this? Often, it can be because a dog is from a large litter, and had to fight its siblings in order to eat. This is the cause of the anxiety that your dog feels. Your dog wants to eat all the food before someone else steals it.
Before you can train the anxiety out of your dog, you need to get it to slow down when eating. An obstacle, such as a soup can or rock, placed in the middle of a bowl of premium dog food forces the dog to eat slower.
You could also try feeding your dog less food at more frequent intervals. So if you feed your dog twice a day, then try switching to half as much food, but four times a day. That way your dog gets the same amount of food, but smaller portions.
When your dog has slowed down, try approaching the bowl while they are eating and putting a treat in it. This will teach your dog that someone approaching their food is not a bad thing, and should remove the anxiety.
Another tip is to feed the dog from your hand every so often. This will reinforce the knowledge that food comes from you, you don’t take it away. Also, if you have other animals in the house then feed your dog separately, so there is no worry that the others will take their food away.
Written by: Hannah