Does your puppy inhale their food as soon as you put it in their bowl? How do you stop your puppy from speed eating? Is this normal behavior?
As a new dog mom, there are some odd behaviors that you’re bound to encounter.
Though speed eating is definitely not as bad as, say, your puppy eating their own poop, but it’s still a behavior that should be put to rest as soon as you can.
Why Do Puppies Speed Eat?
The most common reason that puppies speed eat is because of competition.
If you have the runt of the litter like Cali was, chances are their littermates pushed them aside to get to their mother’s milk.
As time passes the runt learns that the faster they eat, the less likely it will be taken from them. (Basically, their siblings bullied them out of their food.)
Besides this main reason, if your dog is eating quickly and seems to be constantly hungry, losing weight, or has no energy, your dog may have parasites that are robbing your dog of nutrition, so be sure to take them to the vet.
Why Speed Eating is an Issue
While your puppy is inhaling their food, they are most likely also swallowing gulps of air at the same time.
This often leads to stomach pain, vomiting, and other long term stomach issues.
In addition, dogs who speed eat usually don’t chew their food, which means they can choke on their kibble.
How to Stop Your Puppy From Speed Eating
The best way to prevent your puppy from speed eating is to use a slow feeder.
You can get a regular slow feeder bowl (affiliate link) from Amazon that is literally a maze in a bowl for your dog’s tongue.
Slow feeder bowls force your dog to slow down and prevent the “inhalation” of their food.
Another great way to get your dog to eat slower is by using a snuffle mat.
Snuffle mats are a brain game for your dog that uses nosework and mental exercise to tire out your dog.
You can make a simple snuffle mat at home by tying pieces of fleece to a sink mat to create a small 12×12 in. “patch of grass” to drop treats in.
Though it may not be the prettiest looking DIY project you’ve ever done, your dog is sure to love digging their snout into the grass to find their favorite treats!
If you’re not the crafty type, or just want something more challenging for your smart pooch, I’ve recently invented the ultimate snuffle mat for your dog!
My snuffle mat that I’ve called Alpha IQ is a 3x3ft circular snuffle mat with green fleece grass and big blue flower petals with hidden treat pockets for an extra challenge.
This is where you put their kibble and let them sniff it out, piece by piece.
It’s impossible to speed eat using this method, and it’s tons of fun for your dog at the same time!
Once your dog figures out this part of the puzzle, there are challenging extension puzzles that you can roll up and attach to the main puzzle for the ultimate nosework experience!
In addition to solving speed eating, I believe that everyone with a dog should have a snuffle mat in their house for several reasons.
It’s great for those snowy or rainy days that you can’t get outside. It is also a great distraction for dogs who beg while everyone is at the dinner table.
One of my friends had a golden retriever that would drool on her leg through her whole dinner.
But with this mat she and her family can eat in peace without the hot dog breath looming under the table.
I like to use the mat when I’m writing my blog posts to keep Archie from staring at me while I work. It keeps him busy and helps me be more productive.
I hope this article helped you figure out how to stop your puppy from speed eating.
With a little time and the right tools, your puppy should grow out of this behavior.
Both of my dogs were speed eaters as puppies and with their snuffle mats they stopped speed eating at around 6 months. The sooner they stop, the safer they are!