What can I do to the dog food bowl to slow down my dog’s eating?

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By now, you know that if your dog is inhaling her food, it’s a serious issue that must be addressed immediately. Here are some things you can do:

• Use bowls with prongs: A lot of pet supply stores sell bowls sell them, sometimes even with dividers. These automatically slow your dog down!
• Place a large rock in the bowl, but be certain that it’s both clean and large enough that the dog can’t eat it. The idea is she’ll have to keep going around the rock to get at the food—and that process, alone will slow her down. Some people use other items like tennis balls (again, only for a very small dog who can’t swallow it) or a Kong; the problem with a Kong, though, is that sometimes the dog will remove it from the bowl and look inside to see if there’s any more food.
• If you’re using a dried kibble, add a little water to it. (Not something flavored, that might only make her eat it faster!). If it’s moist, she’ll probably have to work a little harder.
• Feed by hand. Puppies often gulp, so you may especially want to try this method with them. It’s time-consuming, though, because you’ll have to put a few grains in your hand at a time.
• Free feeding. This method has mixed reviews. On one hand, free feeding doesn’t allow you or the dog to have any kind of schedule, especially for bathroom breaks. It will also allow the dog to eat and eat whenever she wants and, given the obesity problem in with pets, it might not be wise.

On the other hand, though, free feeding might take away her sense of urgency to get the food down before anyone else has a chance to get at it.

If none of these methods work, please consult your veterinarian for additional guidance.

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