Food is an essential part of dog care. Although you normally would want to keep your dogs well-fed, there is no better way to take care of your best bud than to keep a close eye on its feeding schedule.
Did you know that spoiling your dogs with big chunks of food or giving in to their appetite increases their risk of becoming obese? We know it’s the last thing you want to happen, as no dog owner would ever want their adorable dogs to suffer from health issues.
So if your dog is always hungry and is begging and whining even after eating, should you be alarmed by this behavior?
In the following information, you will learn what may be causing your dog’s constant eating, what to do about it, and when to seek medical attention.
Signs Your Dog Is Always Hungry
Taking immediate action to combat your dog’s increased appetite makes it easier to determine the exact cause. In addition to increased food consumption, you should seek veterinary care immediately if one or more of the symptoms below appears in your dog.
- Increased thirst and frequent urination
- Weight loss or gain
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Body shape changes, such as a growing potbelly and shrinkage of muscles
- Behavioral changes
- Abdominal bloating
If your dog has no other symptoms and appears to be fine other than wanting to eat all the time, it’s still best to visit the vet within the next couple of weeks.
Possible Reasons for Increased Appetite in Your Dog
Numerous factors can trigger your dog’s constant hunger. In some cases, it is a psychological issue, such as stress or learned behavior, while other instances could be due to a medical issue, such as not getting the proper nutrients.
Let’s take a look at some of the possible causes of a sudden appetite surge in your dogs:
- Health Issues
Generally, dogs will eat anything you put in front of them, whether or not they are hungry. While it is true that some dogs adore food and will always eat when offered a snack or meal, some dogs, no matter how well fed they are, will never turn down more bowls, as if they are greedy eating machines.
If your dog keeps on asking for more food than usual, these are a few common health conditions that may be causing such behavior:
- Bacterial growth
- Hypothalamic tumors
- Intestinal parasite infestation
- Diseases relating to the hormones, such as diabetes mellitus and Cushing’s syndrome
- Gastrointestinal disorders that hinder nutrient absorption, which include exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and cancer
- Psychological Causes
Similarly to humans, dogs are at risk of psychological disorders. Some triggering factors for a sudden increase in your dog’s appetite include separation anxiety, stress, boredom, and phobias.
Here is a closer look at each factor:
- Anxiety. When dogs are anxious, they often beg their owners for more food. Apart from overeating, other common signs of anxiety include destroying objects, constant barking, excessive panting, aggressive behavior, and seeming restless.
- Boredom. As you might think about your fridge when you’re bored, dogs tend to think about food when they have no other activity to keep them busy. Loneliness is also a factor. A dog who spends too much time alone and does not receive enough mental stimulation is more likely to ask for extra food.
- Stress. Dogs do not handle stress well, so any changes in the environment can cause them to overeat. Other stress indicators include whining or barking, drooling and licking, shedding, and pacing or shaking.
- Fears and Phobias. It’s normal for a puppy to be scared of its new environment, unusual noises, or new things. But it’s important to know and understand that animals of any age can develop intense fears and phobias.
- Prescription Side Effects
Some prescription drugs can make your dog more hungry, and any medication your dog takes could cause this side effect. One common drug administered to dogs for pain control is Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAID). Thyroid supplements, corticosteroids, sedatives, and anticonvulsants are some other drugs that can cause your dog’s appetite to increase.
The best way to ensure that NSAIDs don’t cause serious side effects in your dog is to understand the risks associated with the drug. You should check your treatments to see what side effects they might have. If you notice any potential side effects, discontinue use and contact your veterinarian.
- Force of Habit
When your dog gives you “the look,” it’s hard to say no to a snack. But if you give in, you’re reinforcing their behavior and teaching them that the hungrier they act, the more likely they will get a taste of the good stuff. Even the most loved and well-fed dogs may have learned that begging for treats will get them one. After all, who doesn’t like to see their pet wag its tail happily when it gets one?
How To Deal With Your Dog’s Insatiable Appetite
Uncontrolled eating is not a solution, whether it is a learned behavior or a health issue, no matter the cause of your dog’s problem. Here are some tips for dealing with your dog’s increased hunger:
- Cut back on treats. If you use treats as a reward, try substituting play, cuddles, or other positive attention for your dog as you reduce the number of treats you give.
- Provide them with highly-nutritious food. Fresh, lightly cooked food provides natural nutrition in an easy-to-digest form compared to processed foods with synthetic ingredients.
- Give them the right amount of food. Discuss your dog’s needs with your vet and look at the nutrition label on his food to determine how much food he needs based on his size and age.
- Create a regular feeding schedule. Consult your veterinarian regarding your dog’s exact nutritional requirements daily and ensure to feed him regularly.
This article is purely informative, intended as a supplement guide for dog owners to gain a general understanding of the possible factors contributing to dogs’ constant hunger. Still, it’s best to take your pet to the vet if they are sick or hurting.