Like most dogs, bulldogs love their food. The problem is, bulldogs seem to love eating far too much to be good for them, gobbling up their kibble so fast you’d think it was air. The even bigger problem is that eating this fast can be very unhealthy and cause your furry friend to suffer needlessly, and so in this article, we’ll take a look at why bulldogs do this and, more importantly, how to slow them down when they’re eating.
Why Do Some Bulldogs Eat their Food so Quickly?
It’s a scene played out in households all around the United States and the world; a sweet, lovable bulldog gets their food served to them and they wolf it down in a few seconds flat. No time spent savoring or enjoying the meal, so what gives? Why do bulldogs eat so fast?
Many bulldogs eat quickly because it is an evolutionary behavior that has been passed down by their ancestors. Bulldogs, like all dogs, evolved from wolves that lived in packs. The member of the pack who ate the fastest would consume the most calories, and would be more likely to thrive in the wild.
Also, not knowing when their next meal would come, if at all, wolves and wild dogs would eat quickly so as to get as much of the available food as possible. That’s why, even today, bulldogs and dogs in general ‘wolf down’ their food, because instinctually they still feel the need to get as much as they can as quickly as they can in order to ‘survive’.
Is it Psychology or Genetics that Cause Bulldogs to Eat so Fast?
In reality, it’s a little bit of both. Psychologically dogs have known for thousands of years that they need to eat fast in order to have the best chance of survival. You could say that this has been passed down from generation to generation, as one dog shows the next how to eat.
On the other hand, scientists are starting to see the link between genetics and animal behavior and, with bulldogs, the fact is that humans have been tinkering with their genetics for around 300 years or so. Why? To enhance certain traits that humans like more than others and breed dogs that would excel in specific chores and tasks.
Of course, this genetical tinkering was never meant to cause bulldogs to eat fast but, in retrospect, many of the behaviors of dogs today have come about because humans wanted them to be more specialized, and so the reason they eat so fast is likely a combination of both the psychological battle going on inside their little doggie brains and the genetic tampering by humans over the last three centuries.
What Are the Side Effects of Eating Fast and Is the Habit Dangerous to a Bulldog’s Health?
For the average dog breed eating quickly doesn’t cause any health problems, although it can lead to obesity if they are overfed. For bulldogs, however, eating quickly can and does cause several side effects and health problems that range from bothersome to dangerous. The fact is, bulldogs are already prone to having gas and the resulting flatulence it causes, and eating their kibble quickly adds to the problem. Besides that, a bulldog that eats too fast can also suffer from;
- Stomach pain
- Frequent vomiting
- An increased likelihood of bloating
- Increased and heavy burping
- An increase in choking risk
- A higher risk of obesity
One of the main reasons for the extra bloating, gas, burping and flatulence is simply that, when they eat fast, bulldogs barely chew their food, and unchewed food causes all of the aforementioned symptoms and problems. So yes, it’s a bad habit that can be dangerous to your bulldog’s health and should be controlled when possible.
Are Some Types of Dog Food Better for Bulldogs who Eat Fast?
Yes and no. Like all animals, bulldogs need a blend of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates to stay healthy, active and alert. Because of their susceptibility to intestinal problems, gas, and flatulence, they need a diet that’s lower in fat and a bit higher in protein. That being said, there really aren’t any specific types of foods that are made for fast eaters but instead foods that simply give bulldogs more of what their bodies need and less of what causes problems.
Also, since bulldogs have a predisposition for digestive problems, dog foods that contain artificial sweeteners, colors and/or flavors should be avoided as these can all lead to more health problems, even if they eat more slowly. Also, if your bulldog has hypersensitivity to certain foods or is prone to allergic reactions, dog food that contains chicken, eggs, and dairy should be avoided.
In short, there aren’t really any dog foods that are better for fast eaters, but there are dog foods that are better for them in general than others so make sure to check dog food labels. The best food with the highest quality ingredients will lower the risk that your pet will suffer and will increase their longevity, keep them healthy and strong and help them stay as active as possible. If your bulldog is still having health problems even after purchasing a top dog food brand be sure to check with your local vet.
Foods That Are Dangerous for your Bulldog
Below is a list of foods that should never be given to your bulldog. Most of them contain toxins (like cyanide!) that can harm them over time, cause vomiting, affect their skin, blood and organs and produce other, unwanted side-effects.
- Candy and/or gum
- Chocolate. Especially dark chocolate
- Citrus fruits like orange, pineapple, lemon, etc.
- Eggs, especially raw
- Grapes and raisins
- Milk and Dairy
- Food made for people
How Can You Slow Down a Bulldog Who Eats Too Fast?
Luckily there are a number of techniques that can help you to slow down your fast-eating bulldog and help ensure that they stay active and have fewer health problems. They include;
- Giving them smaller portions at mealtime
- Refilling their bowl with smaller portions and doing it several times
- Separating their meal into several different bowls
- Place a smaller bowl upside-down in their food bowl
- Use a flat pan instead of a deep bowl so they can’t take huge mouthfuls
- Placing a ball or other rubber toy into their kibble so that they have to eat around it (Make sure it’s too large to swallow!)
- Purchasing a ‘slow feeder’ bowl made specifically to slow down their eating (More on these below.)
Keep in mind that, in order to give your bulldog enough time to properly digest their food and thus reduce flatulence, gas and other fast-eating problems, letting them rest for 20 to 30 minutes after each meal is a must. You don’t want to feed them and then immediately go for a walk or start playing with them.
What Products Are on the Market to Slow Down Fast Eating Bulldogs?
There are a number of products that you can purchase to slow down your bulldog’s fast eating habits and lower their risk of health problems. Some work better than others and some you can make on your own but most will at least help to slow them down when there’s chow to be found.
- Outward Hound Fun Feeder Dog Bowl
- Zuvo Slow Feeding Dog Bowl
- Super Design Anti-Gulping Dog Bowl
- Dogit Go Slow Anti-Gulping Dog Dish
- NOYAL Dog Slow Feeder Bowl
- ProSelect Dog Stainless Steel Slow Feed Bowl
- Neater Pet Brands Slow Feed Bowl
- OurPets DuraPet Slow Feed Premium Stainless Steel Dog Bowl
- Mr. Peanut’s Stainless Steel Interactive Slow Feed Dog Bowl
Frankly, all of these bowls do pretty much the same thing; make it difficult for your bulldog to take big mouthfuls of food at one time and so slow them down significantly. Stainless steel is probably your best choice in terms of durability and washability but most of them will work just fine and slow your pup down at dinner (or lunch) time.
Like all dog breeds, bulldogs are predisposed to eat quickly. It’s in their nature and there’s very little you can do to train them to stop, eat more slowly and chew (although many have certainly tried). Since eating quickly can cause them quite a few moderate and some extreme health problems, however, it’s best if you either use one of the suggestions (above) to slow them down or purchase a dog bowl that can do it for you.
We hope you enjoyed this article and that it answered all of your pressing questions about why your bulldog eats so fast and what you can do to slow them down. If you have more questions, would like to leave a suggestion or simply want to leave a comment, please do so in the space provided, and best of luck with your bulldog!