Some pets eat like they are never going to see food again, gulping it down so fast they barely have time to chew it, let alone taste it. If it seems that your dog is eating meals faster than necessary, and is behaving in an obsessive manner towards food, there are some methods that you can use to modify your pet’s behavior.
First, why should you be concerned with your pet’s eating speed? Because they are not chewing their food thoroughly, rapid eating can lead to choking or gagging. Also, because this type of eating behavior often is associated with greedy behavior, it can lead to aggression if another pet or person comes close while the animal is eating. In households with children or other animals, an animal that gobbles down its food can be a danger to anyone it perceives as a competitor for its food.
There is also a medical condition that affects some animals, especially large-breed dogs, called gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV). The rapid eating and gulping results in excessive air, fluid and food filling the stomach, followed by swelling (dilatation) of the stomach cavity. As the stomach expands, it can twist around on its axis (volvulus), making it impossible for anything to pass through the stomach to the intestines. If this occurs, the animal can go into shock and die quickly.
For some puppies and kittens, mealtime is a competition to get enough food before it is all gone -- a casualty of their littermates and the adult animals. It may have even started while the animal was nursing. This becomes a pattern of behavior and is carried on into a new home. The behavior may be most pronounced when there are other animals in the home, but it may also be present even if they no longer have competitors.
Using an alternative like treat-dispensing toys (Flex-n-Chew Range, Jolly Tuff Range, Monster Series, Jolly Critters, etc.) to a normal food bowl can help tremendously with slowing down your pups feeding time because they need to work for their food: