How To Slow Your Puppy’s Eating By Changing Their Diet

Maybe you are changing from puppy food to an adult dog food, or maybe you are changing from a regular dog food to a special diet food. What ever the reason, you need to know how to change your dog’s diet is a way that will be best for your dog and better for you as well.

A sudden change in a dog’s diet often results in such stomach upset that bad gas, vomiting, and diarrhea occur. This is obviously not good for your dog. Not only is he not getting vital nutrients that he needs, but he can easily become dehydrated. The possibility of dehydration is higher according to the dog’s size. Smaller dogs, like babies, dehydrate faster than larger dogs. This is scary, since dehydration can lead to your dog’s death.

Any change in your dog’s main diet must be done gradually, over a week’s time. In addition to the above mentioned changes, changes can be something as simple as changing from one brand of dog food to another or changing from a hard food to a soft food. Plan the change in advance.

black and white short coated dog on green grass field during daytime

For simplicity, this change is described in terms of feeding a small dog (10lbs or so). Make sure you have at least ½ of a small bag of your dog’s current dog food on hand and purchase the new dog food.

  • Day 1: Mix ¾ cup of the current food with ¼ cup of the new food.
  • Day 2: Same as Day 1.
  • Day 3: Mix ½ cup of the current food with ½ cup of the new food.
  • Day 4: Same as Day 4.
  • Day 5: Mix ¼ cup of the current food with ¾ cup of the new food.
  • Day 6: Same as Day 5.
  • Day 7: You can now give your dog only the new food.

If your dog shows signs of stomach upset at any time, go back to the previous step and repeat for a couple more days. For Example: On Day 3 your dog develops diarrhea not long after eating; you would go back to mixing ¼ c of current food with ¾ c of new food for the next couple of days, then proceed with the next step. For larger dogs, the ratios should remain the same, no matter how much they eat.

Slowing Their Eating Style

person in blue denim jeans holding black and white short coated small dog

Your dog may have a number of reasons for eating his food too fast. Often, other household pets and/or children are the cause. If you have these factors, your dog may be eating so quickly as an act of resource guarding (or food protection). They think that they have to hurry and eat or someone else will get their food. It may be true; your other animals may come in and eat food before the others can. To remedy this (whether it’s due to other pets or due to children), you will need to teach all of your dogs about sharing. Once the dog learns to share, he will not be as worried about missing out on food because he will understand that there will always be enough food to meet his needs.

It may also be that your dog is just a fast eater. This is much the same in some children, but just as dangerous. Choking is always a hazard when food is taken into the body and gulped without proper chewing. In this case, you will need to teach your dog to slow down.

Here are a few tips to try that can help you teach this lesson:

  • Get a large ball that is fairly heavy, enough so that he cannot knock it out of his food bowl very easily. Put the ball in the center of his dish and put his dog food around it. This way he will have to eat around the bowl and cannot grab huge mouthfuls at once and will force him to eat more slowly.
  • Get an old cookie sheet and spread his dog food all over it. By spreading it out, he can only get smaller bites, which forces him to eat slower.
  • Use your hands. Feed him a handful of food at a time, making him eat it out of your hands. Of course you won’t want to do this with moist food (yuck!). Make him wait between handfuls and he will eventually learn to eat slower.


  • K. Plowright

    The guest author is a passionate dog lover and enthusiast with years of experience in canine care and training. With a deep understanding of dog behavior and a commitment to promoting responsible pet ownership, the author shares insightful tips and engaging stories to enrich the lives of both dogs and their owners.

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