How To Get My Dog To Chew His Food – 5 Tips & Tricks

My dog doesn't chew his food

Some dogs are simply fast eaters and sometimes, they want to eat their food so quickly that they forget to chew! Instead, they basically inhale their food. While this doesn’t always cause problems, it can lead to some unsightly consequences. For instance, dogs that don’t chew their food may develop gastrointestinal problems. Some even throw up shortly afterward. Whether this is a new or old behavior, there are many things you can do to encourage your dog to chew. Here are some simple tips to consider.

My dog doesn't chew his food

How to Get Your Dog to Chew His Food – The Top 5 Tips & Tricks

1. Time for a Vet Visit

My dog doesn't chew his food
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One common reason dogs may not chew is because of dental problems. However, dental problems aren’t always obvious. Dental problems can hide in the back of our dog’s mouths or underneath the gums, making them difficult to spot. You may need to visit the vet to ensure your dog isn’t experiencing pain when chewing.

If the behavior is more recent, the odds of it being an injury increase. If your dog used to chew their food and suddenly stopped, it likely isn’t just a part of your dog’s personality. For this reason, we highly recommend taking the time to visit the vet first. Ruling out a potential medical problem is vital before you continue.

2. Use a Slow Feeder

If your dog isn’t chewing because they are consuming their food too quickly, a slow feeder is an easy fix. These feeders usually have ridges and indents that make it a bit more difficult for your dog to eat. This added level of difficulty slows your dog down and may encourage chewing.

There are many commercial slow feeders out there. You can find commercial options online and at many pet stores. Because there are so many different kinds, be prepared to try a few options to find the one that works for your pet.

When choosing a slow feeder, you should keep your dog’s size in mind. If they are larger, they will need bigger holes to fit their nose into. However, smaller dogs probably need a smaller slow feeder to challenge them.

3. Remove Competition

My dog doesn't chew his food
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Dogs may try to scarf down their food when in the presence of other dogs. Often, dogs are afraid that others will steal their food, so they try to eat it as quickly as possible. This behavior sometimes occurs around people, as well.

Therefore, on top of a slow feeder and a vet trip, try changing where your dog eats. You may want to put them in a separate room and close the door to make them feel more secure. Alternatively, you can feed them in their crate, where they should hopefully feel safer.

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4. Switch Food

Some dogs will simply swallow food if given the chance. It’s part of their personality. Sometimes, this behavior comes from past experiences of not having enough food while living on the street or in a rescue.

In these cases, you can avoid many of the problems that come from swallowing food whole by switching to wet food. Alternatively, you can find food made with larger kibble pieces. With larger pieces, your dog must chew instead of swallowing them whole. However, this method doesn’t work for every dog and can lead to choking.

5. Consider Their Nutrition

My dog doesn't chew his food
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Some dogs may simply be extra hungry, which makes them scarf down their food as quickly as possible. For this reason, you may need to adjust the amount of food they eat. Of course, if your dog is in good body condition, this likely isn’t the case. If your dog wasn’t eating enough, then it would likely be skinny.

To find out if you need to increase your dog’s food, speak to your veterinarian. Your vet can weigh your dog to determine if they are currently at the right weight or need some help gaining weight.

Usually, once the food problem is solved, your dog will slow down their eating speed and start chewing.

Occasionally, underlying health problems may also cause excessive hunger. Usually, these health issues mess with your dog’s ability to absorb nutrients. Therefore, while your dog is eating, their brain keeps telling them that they aren’t getting enough. Your vet can help rule out these health problems, too.

We also recommend checking your dog’s food for nutritional completeness. If your dog is eating a lower-quality food, consider switching to a higher-quality option. While cheaper dog food technically meets nutritional guidelines, it may contain less digestible ingredients, which can leave your dog feeling hungry sooner after eating.

My dog doesn't chew his food

Why Is My Dog Not Chewing His Food?

Typically, dogs don’t chew their food because they are trying to eat as quickly as possible.

Some dogs do simply eat faster than normal. These dogs often need extra help to slow down, since their fast-eating speed is more of a personality trait than a problem.

Alternatively, dogs may stop chewing their food for other reasons. For instance, some dogs will stop chewing when they develop certain dental problems. Chewing may simply hurt too much. Therefore, you may want to take your dog to the vet if they suddenly stop chewing. Often, dental problems are to blame.

Do Dogs Need to Chew Their Food?

My dog doesn't chew his food
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The enzymes in saliva help with digesting food in humans, but dogs lack amylase to start breaking down food. Therefore, they technically don’t need to chew as much as we do. That said, dogs ideally should not swallow their food whole. While some dogs get away with this without any underlying problems, others develop gastrointestinal issues. Because the food is in larger pieces, it is more difficult for them to digest and absorb.

My dog doesn't chew his food


Dogs don’t necessarily need to chew foods as much as we do, but chewing properly does help them start to break down their food. Many dogs swallow their food whole because they’re trying to eat quickly. Often, this is caused by stress and anxiety that someone is going to take their food away. Medical problems like dental pain can also cause dogs to eat without chewing. Luckily, behavioral and medical problems can be fixed easily if the right steps are taken to rule out the various potential causes.

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Featured Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

— Update: 10-02-2023 — found an additional article Most Effective Tactics to Let Dogs Chew Their Food from the website for the keyword my dog doesn’t chew his food.

Some dogs eat slowly, taking their time for each bite to savor the taste, while others eat it voraciously like they are never going to see their food again.

It is pretty common for dogs to chew their food quickly unless it is in big pieces and they have difficulty swallowing it.

Their teeth are sharp and curved to chew into anything, including grappling, ripping, and tearing food.

Unfortunately, eating quickly and swallowing a whole food chunk can sometimes be quite dangerous for your dogs, even affecting their digestive system.

Make the chewing rather boring or time-consuming by using an outward hound feeder or using a high-quality diet. Other ways may include hand-feeding them, offering smaller meals each time, or putting an obstacle in their existing food bowl.

Read on to learn the effective tactics to let your dog chew their food.

Most Effective Tactics to Let Dogs Chew Their Food

Though it might be in dog’s nature to swallow whole food, it is not always the safest idea for them to eat too quickly.

The stomach becomes overstretched and rotated by excessive gas content, which can lead to an upset stomach, choking, vomiting, decreased return of blood to the heart, and loss of blood to the stomach.

It can lead to a life-threatening condition that must be treated immediately.  

Follow these simple tactics to let your dog chew their food and make them healthy for years to come.

1.Use Outward Hound Feeder

An outward hound feeder is a bowl with raised walls or barriers within the inner area. It is designed to make your dog work for their food and take smaller bites.

The interactive feeders stimulate your dog to help relieve boredom and make eat-time playful by making their food challenging to reach.

My dog doesn't chew his food

It not only entertains your dog but also helps slow down the entire process, significantly improving his digestion, providing less bloating, less gas, less choking and regurgitation of food, and overall better gut health.

Get an Outward hound feeder for your dog today from Urban Pet Supply.

2. Provide High-Quality Diet

Your dog may develop a voracious eating habit if they do not get essential nutrition, which can lead to difficulty swallowing food.

Therefore, feeding them high-quality food containing all the essential nutrients their bodies need is vital.

My dog doesn't chew his food

  • Add some supplementary nutrient products to their diet and feed them.
  • You may also provide them with different food if they appear bored with eating the same food.
  • Replace their meal to cover a range of foods and get as many nutrients as their body requires.
  • Your dog might be suffering from parasites that are getting the nutrients that your dog needs. So, make sure to check for medical conditions and parasites regularly.

3. Hand Feed

Feeding your dog out of your hands is a great way to slow down their eating habit and let them chew their food.

Read more  Most Effective Tactics to Let Dogs Chew Their Food

According to research, hand feeding them will slow down their eating habit.

There are multiple benefits of hand feeding your dog.

  • Sitting down with your dog at each meal to hand feed meals can help increase their interest in eating meals by chewing it.
  • It teaches your dog great manners and impulse control.
  • Avoid over-feeding the dog and causing nutritional imbalances.
  • Helps dogs become psychologically and behaviorally healthy.

My dog doesn't chew his food

Not only will this reinforce what your dog already knows, but it will also increase your bond with your dog.

Check the infographic below for more information:

My dog doesn't chew his food

4. Feed Smaller Meals Frequently

Instead of feeding your dog big meals once or twice a day, break it up and feed them lesser meals more frequently throughout the day.

Sometimes the key to handling a dog that eats too fast is to feed small meals throughout the day. It ensures that your dog is not feeling hungry and worried over food.

My dog doesn't chew his food

However, it could be challenging to put this into practice if you have to leave home for work during the day.

Technology such as PetSafe Smart Feeder can allow you to control portion size and meal times from your phone remotely.

Feeding them a small amount of food frequently in their food bowl can eliminate the risk of choking or vomiting related to excessive overeating.

5. Put an Obstacle in their Food Bowl

Obstruction in the bowl will make your dog work around it and take small bites due to a constricted space. Just make sure whatever object you put in the bowl cannot be easily swallowed.

You can place any object that is non-sharp into your dog’s food bowl to make it more difficult for it to eat.

My dog doesn't chew his food

The obstacle can range from anything like a squeeker ball to a kong tire. Keeping these objects cannot hurt your dog, instead it keeps them entertained.

The only concern is good hygiene, as whatever you put in there should be non-destructive and clean.

Check out these toys, which can be some good interference with your dog’s eating pace.

6. Calm Your Dog

It is common for dogs to be scared of humans or other animals, especially when eating, fearing that they will steal their meal and end up starving.

The scarcity mentality forces them to gulp down food and can turn aggressive toward anyone nearby it thinks is a competitor.

In such a case, pet owners should train their dogs to correct their behavior. Ensure that the environment in which you feed your dog is calm and the dog does not feel the risk of losing his food.

My dog doesn't chew his food

Soothe your dog by assuring them that their food is all theirs. Keep their food separate and consider feeding each individually if you have several dogs.

They will be able to dine in peace. As a result, it will slow down their eating pace chewing it.


With these simple tactics, you can dismiss the worry about the dangers of your voracious eater.

If you think your canine is not slowing down and chewing their food well despite your best efforts, try getting a veterinarian’s help.

Get in touch with Urban Pet Supply, the best pet store in Urbandale, for more information.


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About the Author: Tung Chi