Poppy the dog, Good Doggy Guide
Poppy the beagle sniffs out her kibble in the yard.

How to stop your dog eating too fast

One problem we’ve had with our beagle, is the way she devours her food. She will eat everything in sight, and eat it quickly! Finding successful ways to slow down your dog’s eating can be a bit trial and error, but here’s some of the methods we’ve come across to stop your dog eating too fast.

There are plenty of different ways you can use to slow your dog’s eating down, some are good for dry food and others are better for wet dog food.

Some methods do work better than others, and we’d recommend trying to find one that also provides some enrichment or ‘work’ for your dog. Engaging them in an activity to get their food is beneficial, not just for their digestion but for keeping them mentally stimulated. So, a happier dog all round.

Feeding methods for dry dog food

First we’ll take a look at methods for dry dog food, some of which we’ve tried and tested for ourselves.

Scatter feeding

The good news is that scatter feeding won’t cost you a penny. This one is only useful if you have some outside space for feeding your dog. We only have a small yard, but this is enough for it to work. But what is scatter feeding? Essentially, this is how it sounds, you scatter the food!

Simply open your back door and throw the kibble over as large an area as you can. So, rather than having the food all piled into a handy bowl for your dog to wolf down, you’ll be scattering it so your dog is forced to eat them one kibble at a time. This is great, because your dog gets to use their nose to search out their food, giving them an activity to do at the same time as eating!

Feeding our beagle Poppy this way has been a game-changer, and has slowed her eating down. She especially loves it when it snows because she gets to snuffle for the food. We didn’t think of this method ourselves, but a wonderful dog behaviourist gave us the idea. This is our preferred way to feed our dog, simply because it slows down Poppy’s eating and keeps her active.

Specialist feeding bowls

When we first adopted Poppy, we bought a special bowl with grooves in it, which is designed to slow down your dog’s eating. It does work to an extent with dry food, but is probably better suited to wet food.

Outward Hound dog bowl, Photo by Good Doggy Guide
Poppy’s special dog bowl is made by Outward Hound (Photo by Good Doggy Guide)

The main issue with these bowls is that a clever dog soon works out how to tip the bowl and spill the kibble out onto the floor. Thus making it easier to eat the food in one go!

You can get other feeders that dispense small amounts of food at regular intervals. We haven’t tried this method ourselves though.

Snuffle boxes

Another way to slow your dog’s eating down, is to turn it into a game! This is something that Poppy loves, she gets really excited as soon as I start to prepare the box. But what is a snuffle box?

This is a really simple way of feeding your pooch, that you can set up yourself. Basically, all you need is a cardboard box or a basket, and some scrunched up paper. So, save any newspapers or paper packing materials you get, so you can do this one. Put the scrunched up paper in the box and scatter in the kibble so that your dog has to snuffle for them!

Alternatively, you can buy a snuffle mat for you dog. Snuffle mats can be made from various materials, but I’d recommend buying a machine washable fabric version, to make it easier to clean!

Feeding methods for wet dog food

Next, we’ll look at feeding methods for wet dog food. The following are all ways you can use to stop your dog eating their food too fast.

Slow feeding bowls

So, these are the bowls with grooves in them, designed to slow down your dog’s eating. As we’ve mentioned above, these bowls are a bit hit and miss for dry food, but do work quite well for wet food. Wet food is generally stickier and can be pushed down into the bowl, between the grooves. When we’ve used this type of bowl for feeding sweet potato to Poppy, it has worked quite well.

Use a muffin tray

This is an alternative to using a slow feeding bowl, and works in a similar way. Muffin pans usually have six or twelve sections for muffins, which are handy for splitting your dog’s food into small bitesize sections. This will prevent them from eating the food all in one good and are the right shape and size for a snout to fit into!

I found this nifty trick on the internet whilst researching slow feeding. It works for both wet and dry food.

Fill a Kong

This is another great way to stop a dog eating too fast. And another method that involves some work for your dog. There are a couple of advantages to a Kong. The first being that your dog has to work to get the food out, the second being that you can feed small amounts at a time to your dog. However, you might find it a bit tedious to keep cleaning and filling Kongs all the time. So, you might want to use this in combination with other slow feeding methods.

Kong's classic red dog toy, photo by Good Doggy Guide
Poppy’s Kong, the classic red dog toy which is perfect for filling with wet dog food (Photo by Good Doggy Guide)