How to Get My Dog to Chew His Food? Tips and Tricks for Healthy Eating

Do you notice your furry friend gulping down his food without taking the time to properly chew it? While it may seem like a harmless behavior, it can have negative effects on your dog’s health in the long run.

In this article, we will delve into the significance of ensuring your dog chews his food adequately and the myriad benefits it brings to his overall health. We’ll uncover common reasons behind dogs’ tendency to skip chewing and provide valuable tips and tricks to foster better chewing habits. With our insights, you’ll be equipped to guide your dog toward savoring his meals and safeguarding his well-being.

Why is Chewing Food Important for Dogs?

Teaching dogs to chew their food properly is essential for their overall health and well-being. Here are some reasons why:

  1. Digestion: When dogs chew their food, it allows for the food to be broken down into smaller pieces, making it easier to digest. This, in turn, can help prevent digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
  2. Dental Health: Chewing can also aid in keeping a dog’s teeth clean and healthy. As dogs chew, their teeth and gums are exercised, which can prevent dental issues such as tartar buildup and gum disease.
  3. Mental Stimulation: Chewing can provide mental stimulation for dogs, helping to alleviate boredom and anxiety. This can be especially important for dogs who spend a lot of time alone or indoors.
PRO TIP: Proper chewing behavior can play a critical role in maintaining your dog’s overall health and happiness.


However, some dogs may not naturally chew their food, which can lead to health issues. In the next section, we will discuss how to assess your dog’s chewing habits and understand potential challenges.

Assessing Your Dog’s Chewing Habits

Before you can effectively promote proper chewing behavior in your dog, it’s important to assess their current habits. By understanding your dog’s chewing preferences and tendencies, you can tailor your approach accordingly.

Chewing Type Description
Gulper A dog who swallows large amounts of food at once, without chewing thoroughly.
Picker A dog selectively picks at their food, rather than fully chewing each bite.
Specific Chewer A dog has a preferred chewing method, such as only chewing on one side of their mouth or avoiding certain textures.

Observing your dog during mealtime can provide insight into their chewing habits. Look for signs such as how quickly they eat, whether they chew thoroughly or swallow large pieces of food, and if they exhibit any specific chewing behaviors.

Once you have identified your dog’s chewing habits, you can begin promoting proper chewing through training techniques and implementing appropriate strategies, such as introducing new types of chew toys or modifying feeding methods.

Reasons Why Dogs May Not Chew Their Food

There are various reasons why dogs may not be chewing their food properly, which can cause digestive issues and other health problems. It is important to identify the underlying cause and address it to promote healthy chewing habits. Here are some common reasons why dogs may not chew their food:

  1. Dental Issues: Dogs with dental problems, such as gum disease or tooth decay, may find it difficult to chew their food. Plaque and tartar buildup can also contribute to dental problems and hinder chewing.
  2. Anxiety: Dogs that are anxious or stressed may gulp down their food quickly without chewing properly. This behavior can be a result of past experiences, environmental factors, or underlying health conditions.
  3. Improper Feeding Techniques: Feeding your dog table scraps or inconsistent meal times can lead to improper chewing habits. Additionally, using automatic feeders or feeding too quickly can discourage dogs from chewing.
  4. Natural Instincts: Some dogs have a strong prey drive and are instinctively inclined to swallow their food whole. This behavior may be difficult to address but can be managed with the right training techniques.

Identifying the reason behind your dog’s lack of chewing can help you address the issue effectively. Consulting with a veterinarian or a professional dog trainer can also be helpful in managing your dog’s chewing behavior.

Tips for Teaching Your Dog to Chew His Food

Training your dog to chew his food properly is an important step in promoting his overall health. Here are some tips to help improve your dog’s chewing habits:

  1. Slow down mealtime: Feeding your dog smaller meals, or using a slow-feeding bowl, can help promote slower, more deliberate chewing.
  2. Use food puzzles or interactive toys: These not only provide mental stimulation but also encourage your dog to chew his food to obtain the reward.
  3. Implement positive reinforcement strategies: Reward your dog with praise and treats when he chews his food properly. This will encourage and reinforce the desired behavior.
  4. Monitor mealtime: Ensure your dog is not eating too quickly or too slowly. This can indicate underlying issues that need to be addressed.
  5. Practice patience: Teaching your dog to chew his food properly may take time and patience. Consistency is key to promoting healthy chewing habits.

PRO TIP: If your dog has trouble adjusting to a new diet or chewing habits, consult with your veterinarian for guidance on the best approach.

Choosing the Right Food for Promoting Chewing

In addition to encouraging proper chewing habits through training and interactive toys, selecting the right type of food can also have a significant impact on your dog’s chewing behavior. Here are some factors to consider:

Factor Impact on Chewing
Kibble size Smaller kibble will require more chewing, while larger kibble may encourage gulping. Consider the size of your dog’s mouth and teeth when selecting kibble.
Texture Choosing kibble with a crunchy texture can encourage chewing and aid in dental health. Softer foods may be easier to swallow and discourage chewing.
Dental chews Dental chews are designed to promote chewing and support dental hygiene. Look for products with a texture that encourages scraping and cleaning, and always supervise your dog while they are chewing.

Incorporating a variety of textures and flavors in your dog’s diet can also encourage healthy chewing behaviors. Keep in mind that it may take some trial and error to find the right food choices for your dog’s individual needs. Consult with your veterinarian for recommendations and to ensure that any dietary changes are appropriate for your pet’s health.

Additional Strategies to Encourage Chewing

In addition to the techniques mentioned earlier, there are other strategies that can help promote healthy chewing in dogs.

1. Incorporate Rawhide or Natural Bones (Under Supervision)

Rawhide and natural bones can encourage chewing and provide mental stimulation for your dog. However, it’s important to supervise your dog while they chew to prevent choking or other health issues. Also, avoid giving cooked bones, as they can splinter and cause harm to your dog.

2. Use Dental Health Products

Dental health products such as dental chews, toothbrushes, and toothpaste can help keep your dog’s teeth clean and healthy, which can encourage proper chewing habits. Make sure to choose products that are suitable for your dog’s age and size.

3. Implement Regular Dental Care

Regular dental care can also contribute to promoting healthy chewing habits. This includes professional dental cleanings, regular teeth brushing, and dental check-ups with your veterinarian. By maintaining good oral health, your dog will be more likely to chew his food properly.

By incorporating these additional strategies with the techniques discussed earlier, you can help encourage your dog to chew his food properly, supporting his overall health and well-being.

encourage your dog to develop healthy chewing habits

Addressing Specific Chewing Issues

While it’s important to encourage your dog to develop healthy chewing habits, some dogs may exhibit specific chewing behaviors that require attention. Here are some common issues and tips to address them:

Aggressive Chewing

If your dog tends to chew aggressively or destructively, it may be due to boredom, anxiety, or lack of exercise. In this case, it’s important to redirect their chewing behavior to appropriate chew toys and provide plenty of mental and physical stimulation. Consider adding puzzle toys and interactive games to your dog’s routine to keep their mind engaged.

Selective Chewing

If your dog tends to be selective with what they chew on, it may be due to texture preference or dental issues. Try offering a variety of chew toys with different textures and flavors to see what your dog prefers. Additionally, schedule a dental check-up to rule out any underlying dental problems.

Excessive Chewing

If your dog chews excessively, it may be due to anxiety or stress. Consider providing them with interactive toys and engaging in exercise and playtime to alleviate stress. Additionally, a well-balanced diet can help regulate your dog’s behavior and energy levels.

By understanding and addressing these specific chewing behaviors, you can ensure your dog develops healthy and appropriate chewing habits.


In conclusion, teaching your dog to chew his food properly is essential for his overall health and well-being. By promoting healthy chewing habits, you can ensure optimal digestion, prevent dental issues, and provide mental stimulation for your furry friend.

Assessing your dog’s chewing habits and identifying any underlying issues can help you tailor your approach to encourage proper chewing. From slowing down mealtime to implementing positive reinforcement techniques, there are various methods to train your dog to chew his food correctly.

Choosing the right food and incorporating supplementary strategies such as rawhide or dental health products can further support your dog’s chewing behavior. By addressing specific chewing issues through training and redirection, you can improve your dog’s overall chewing habits.

Incorporating these techniques into your dog’s routine can enhance his quality of life and help prevent health issues down the road. Remember, proper chewing is not only crucial for your dog’s physical health but also his mental well-being. So, take the time to encourage healthy chewing habits in your furry friend today.


How to Get My Dog to Chew His Food?

To encourage your dog to chew his food, you can try the following tips and tricks:

Why is Chewing Food Important for Dogs?

Chewing food is crucial for dogs as it aids in digestion, promotes dental health, and provides mental stimulation.

How can I Assess My Dog’s Chewing Habits?

You can evaluate your dog’s chewing habits by observing whether he is a gulper, a picker, or has any specific chewing preferences.

What are the Reasons Why Dogs May Not Chew Their Food?

There can be various factors contributing to dogs not chewing their food, including dental issues, anxiety, improper feeding techniques, or natural instincts.

What are Some Tips for Teaching My Dog to Chew His Food?

To train your dog to chew his food properly, you can try methods such as slowing down mealtime, using food puzzles or interactive toys, and implementing positive reinforcement strategies.

How Can I Choose the Right Food for Promoting Chewing in Dogs?

Selecting the appropriate type of food, considering factors such as kibble size, texture, and dental chews, can stimulate the chewing process in dogs.

What are Additional Strategies to Encourage Chewing in Dogs?

Supplementary methods to encourage chewing in dogs include incorporating rawhide or natural bones (under supervision), using dental health products, and implementing regular dental care.

How Can I Address Specific Chewing Issues in Dogs?

Common chewing issues in dogs, such as aggressive chewing or selective chewing, can be addressed through training techniques and redirection to appropriate chew toys.