Meal time means your puppy's making a mad dash for his bowl, shoving his face in there and acting like the world supply of dog food will run out tomorrow. Some puppy behaviors can be excused or at least tolerated, but eating too fast can set your furball up for disaster. Better to help him change his habits and set him up for a healthy future.
Gas and Bloat
Your pup's fast-eating habit means you're probably going to be holding your nose after he's finished off his meal, considering the rancid smell of gas that will almost surely waft through your house. When your little guy shoves food in his mouth as fast as he can, he's also swallowing a lot of air, which means a lot of flatulence is in his future.
But that's the least worrisome symptom. Bloat can also occur when he swallows too much air. Bloat causes your pup's stomach to expand, which puts a lot of pressure on his organs -- so much pressure that the organs can lose their blood supply. Bloat can also develop into gastric-dilatation volvulus, which is an incredibly dangerous condition that twists your pup's stomach. Gastric-dilatation volvulus is almost always fatal if your pup doesn't get medical help immediately.
Your pup's stomach doesn't appreciate his insanely fast eating habits. Your little guy might vomit or regurgitate the food he just swallowed down simply because he made his stomach upset by eating too fast. It's akin to you shoving food down your throat: There's a good chance you'll be grabbing at your stomach in a nauseated state. All the air that your pup swallows, as with eating too much, can also cause vomiting.
Slow Him Down
Typically, your pup will inhale his food because he can or because he’s nervous. If you're feeding him near your other pets, especially another dog, he's going to have a mindset that he needs to compete for food. Move his bowl to a separate area and see how that works. If he's still eating too fast, slow his butt down by placing obstacles in his way. Turn a bowl upside down and put it in the middle of your pup's feeding dish. Make sure no food is caught underneath and that all the kibble is spread out around the lip of the bowl. Your pup will have to work a bit harder for his food, going around the bowl to grab all the pieces, slowing him down.
You might find the bowl trick doesn't work. Either your pup isn't slowed down enough, or he gets completely frustrated and flips over his food dish. If that's the case, feed him smaller amounts of food multiple times a day. No more free feeding or putting his daily serving in front of him at one time. Split his daily amount into two to four meals. He might protest for more food the first few days, but ignore him. He'll get used to his new feeding schedule.
A Bit of Caution
While eating too fast does produce lots of flatulence and can lead to vomiting, the two symptoms are also tied in with what seems like a vast number of other conditions. If your pup is vomiting more than once per day, vomits other than after eating, has bloody vomit, dry heaves, or experiences diarrhea or bloody stool, set up a vet appointment right away. If the flatulence and vomiting don't disappear when you remedy his eating habit, have a chat with your vet. If you notice his stomach expand or his abdomen feels rigid, take him to your vet or animal hospital right away.
Located in Pittsburgh, Chris Miksen has been writing instructional articles on a wide range of topics for online publications since 2007. He currently owns and operates a vending business. Miksen has written a variety of technical and business articles throughout his writing career. He studied journalism at the Community College of Allegheny County.