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Preventing Your Dog from Gulping Food

February 01, 2014

Have you often marveled at your dog while eating, wondering how he even chews the food before swallowing it? The truth is, this behavior isn’t healthy—food gulping can result in serious problems and should be analyzed by a vet. Here, your San Jose vet tells you more.

Why Is My Dog Gulping Food?

There are several reasons why a dog might gulp down his food too quickly. Depending on how your dog grew up, he may have learned it from a young age. Pets in shelters or amongst large litters may have had to eat food quickly before other animals could intrude—perhaps this behavior has persisted into adulthood. Medical issues, like nutritional deficiencies or other problems, could also be to blame. For this reason, you should have your dog evaluated by a veterinary professional as soon as possible.

What Medical Problems Could This Cause?

Eating too fast could result in choking all too easily. What’s more, gulping food is often associated with greed-related behavior problems, meaning a dog might become aggressive if another pet or even a human approaches his food during mealtime.

Rapid food intake also puts your dog at risk for bloat. This is when excess air fills the stomach too quickly, causing swelling and dilation of the stomach cavity. If your dog seems to be gulping down his food, it’s best to make an appointment with your San Jose veterinarian right away.

What Can I Do at Home?

Your veterinarian may prescribe several remedies for you to try at home. Feeding your pet a few smaller meals throughout the day, instead of two large ones, may help the problem. Some pet owners have found success with placing a ball or other toy in the food bowl, making your dog eat around it to slow the food intake.

Certain dog food bowls only dispense small amounts of food at regular intervals, reducing the chance of gulping. Others are designed so that a dog can’t take large bites. These products may help your pet—consult your veterinarian for a recommendation.