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Is your dog a guts? Karen Phillips

Recently I’ve had lots of questions on Facebook about how to stop dogs from eating their food too quickly.  For some dogs, eating too fast makes them to vomit their meals back up.  But far worse is the possibility of bloat, a serious condition caused by the dog swallowing too much air when eating.  This causes distension of the stomach and the potential for it to twist in on itself which is extremely serious and requires immediate veterinary attention.  Deep chested breeds in particular are very prone to this. 

One of my own dogs eats every meal like it’s his last.  Because of this I’ve had to come up with a few strategies to slow him down and prevent him from making himself sick.  The most successful method I’ve come across so far is using the “Gutzy” dog bowls which are available at Better Pets and Gardens.

These are plastic feeding bowls that have three raised plastic pegs inside the bowl.  These pegs prevent a dog from opening their mouth too wide which slows down their ability to eat too quickly.  These bowls are proving to be very popular and are being released in ever changing designs.  The one that has worked best for Sonic has additional moulding inside which has limited him to only licking up his food.  To further encourage Sonic to lick rather than gulp his food I feed his premium dry biscuits mixed with natural low fat yoghurt.

Unfortunately some dogs learn how to overcome the plastic pegs in these bowls and still manage to eat too quickly.  For these dogs you can try using a treat ball to feed them their meals.  Treat balls are designed to be used as boredom relievers and I use treat balls every day, filling them with dog biscuits and giving them to my dogs when I go to work in the morning.  My dogs then spend their mornings rolling the ball around to get the treats out.  The openings on a treat ball will normally only release one or two biscuits at a time.  So instead of feeding your dog their regular meal in a bowl every day put it into a treat ball and leave them with it.  This will not only provide them with their daily intake of food but also something to do.  Most treat balls and toys come in varying sizes so buy the one that best suits your dog’s dietary needs.

Some other ideas that can work well are purchasing multiple food bowls and dividing your dog’s food up into each them.  So instead of your dog having all their biscuits to gobble up at once they have to go from bowl to bowl to get all their food.  Or using the same principle you can use a muffin tray and divide your dog’s biscuits up that way.

You can also try raising the bowl up higher off the ground.  In some cases it does slow dogs down but more important, this can assist to prevent dogs from swallowing too much air as they are eating.  This is a popular method with people who have taller large or deep chested breeds.

None of these methods are guaranteed to stop your dog from eating too quickly however by experimenting with the different ideas to see what works best, you should be able to help improve the situation.


Karen Phillips is the owner and trainer of Riot, the beautiful border collie that is the Better Pets and Gardens mascot.  Karen has had immense experience and success with her border collies as well as little Cassie, the very fast papillon, and is currently involved as a trainer with the Agility Club of WA.  Karen is also a regular expert on our Facebook page every Monday night.

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