Dogs are amazing pets and companions.
If you share your life with one, you will probably be used to seeing them excitedly wolf down their meals.
So, if your dog is eating a bit slower than usual, it might ring some alarm bells.
Why is Your Dog Eating Slower Than Usual?
Your dog might be eating slower than usual due to stress, age factors, or feeling bored with their food options.
Additionally, they might have allergies or dental problems.
Visit your local veterinarian if you have concerns about your dog’s health.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss all the potential reasons why your dog is eating slower than normal and whether dogs tend to slow down as they age.
NOTE – You may like to read this post about why dogs like dear antlers so much.
Reasons Why Your Dog Is Eating Slower Than Usual
It can be concerning to see your dog changing their habits over time, especially if they’ve gone from being excited about its food to barely touching it.
Understanding the causes of this behavior will help you find an appropriate solution and hopefully put your mind at ease.
Your dog may be eating slower than usual due to changes in the environment, distractions during mealtimes, or anxiety, among other things.
Or the dog may have a physical health issue causing slower eating.
So please always be on the lookout for any other signs of ill health.
Here is a list of all the possible reasons why your dog could be eating slower than they usually do:
- Digestive distress
- Allergies towards their food
- Distracted mealtimes
- Dental issues
- Age-related issues
- Food boredom
Let’s look at each one in more detail below to understand more about your dog’s eating habits.
NOTE – This post might be useful if your dog always wants to eat more food.
1. Digestive Distress
If your dog has tummy issues, it could slow down their eating. However, this might not be a serious problem.
It could be that they ate something in the garden that they shouldn’t have—like a bee or a pebble—and they just need some time to recover before they can digest food properly again.
Or, they maybe feel slightly unwell due to a stomach bug.
Again, this may not be a significant cause for concern, but make sure you monitor them closely so you can follow up with a veterinarian if symptoms worsen.
Note – If you are in financial difficulty and are worried about vet bills, this website has some useful resources for charities to help you pay your bills.
(If you don’t live in the US, you can use Google to find similar websites in your country).
If your dog has developed allergies to certain ingredients in their food, slow eating could be a telltale sign.
You may also see a few other symptoms of allergies in addition to slow eating, such as the following:
- Incessant itching
- Nasal discharge
Try to switch up their food if you think your dog has allergies.
Ask your veterinarian what kinds of food would be appropriate and try them out to see how the dog’s eating habits change.
It can take a bit of effort and time to figure out the cause, but it’s worth it if it helps your dog enjoy their food.
NOTE – You may also want to read this post looking at the question: do dogs like dog food?
Dogs can experience anxiety for all sorts of reasons; whether it’s something to do with a change in their environment or being left alone too much, dogs can experience depression and anxiety in the same way humans do.
This is why it’s so important to be mindful of your dog’s mental and physical health.
Anxiety might make your dog feel stressed at mealtimes, resulting in them eating slower than usual.
If you think your dog might be suffering from anxiety, there are a few things you can try to make them feel better:
- Move their mealtimes into a quieter space. If there are always people around, your dog might not feel comfortable eating. Additionally, any loud noises might put them off at mealtimes.
- Try not to leave your dog on its own for more than a few hours at a time. Ideally, you shouldn’t be leaving them alone for more than 6 hours. So if you’re regularly leaving your pup on their own for long periods, it might be a good idea to invest in a dog walker or some time at a doggy daycare center.
- Never shout at your dog. This will create an environment of fear that your dog will not respond well to. Instead, use positive reinforcement to train your dog.
- Regularly socialize your dog with other dogs and people. This will help your dog feel comfortable around other dogs and might help them feel less anxious and uptight.
- Frequent exercise is essential. Exercise releases endorphins which help your dog stay healthy and happy. At least once a day is good enough for most dogs, but larger breeds may need more exercise.
If you’ve tried all of these techniques and your dog is still eating slowly, have a chat with your local veterinarian.
They may be able to prescribe some medication for your dog to get them back on track.
NOTE – You may also enjoy reading this blog post answering the question: why is my dog so greedy?
4. Distracted Mealtimes
If there are many people around while your dog eats, they might get stressed.
Lots of children running around and loud noises might create an environment where the dog becomes excited and loses interest in eating.
Try to ensure that mealtimes are a quiet time for your pet.
This will ensure that they are focusing on their food and nothing else.
5. Dental Issues
Dental problems in your dog are often quite challenging to spot since they can’t let us know when they feel pain or discomfort, and we usually can’t see their teeth.
If your pup has problems with their teeth, they might find chewing more difficult, forcing them to eat more slowly.
If you think your dog has dental issues, it is vital to visit your veterinarian as soon as possible to avoid a small problem turning into a big one.
6. Age-Related Issues
As your dog gets older and matures, it might eat slower.
This is partly because they’ll inevitably have less energy than a young pup, so food won’t excite them as much as it used to.
Additionally, their senses might be dulled due to aging, and they might have a few dental problems.
In this case, feeding them very soft foods might help them eat faster.
Bear in mind that your dog’s habits will change as they mature, and sometimes, these age-related issues are inevitable.
So have patience with your pup but always visit a veterinarian if you have any concerns.
7. Food Boredom
Yes, it could just be as simple as your dog is getting bored with the food you are giving them and doesn’t wolf it down as quickly as they used to.
To see if this is the case, try some new food or even just try making their usual food tastier by adding some extra flavor.
What if Your Dog Just Stops Eating?
If your dog has stopped eating or drinking, this video might be helpful, but of course, if you are worried, you should take them to the vet for a checkup:
Final Thoughts on Your Dog Eating Slower Than Normal
If your dog is eating slower than usual, it could be due to several reasons, from slowing down due to old age, being bored with their food, or a health issue.
Please keep an eye on them and if they show any signs of pain or ill health, take them to the vet to get checked out.
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!