As much as we want to give our dogs everything when they show us those sad puppy eyes, sometimes it’s necessary to say “no” to them. One of the things that pulls our heartstrings is when they’re begging for food—even after their third meal that day.
What is dog food obsession, and how do you deal with it as an owner? Learn all about it below and keep your canine on the healthy side of the weight spectrum.
Why Is My Dog Obsessed With Food
There are many factors to consider when you notice your dogs have developed seemingly bottomless stomachs. Most of these factors include medical issues and environmental circumstances.
If your adopted dog gets aggressive when the feeding hour comes, this might indicate a more severe behavioral problem—adopted pups often had to fight for food in order to survive the cruel circumstances of living as a stray or in a bad household, so consider this a part of a domestication process.
These behavioral issues aren’t easy to shake off, but it’s integral to train a dog for some routine. The best way to do this is to keep an exact meal schedule and portion control; the schedule can be whenever it suits your working hours, however, once you make up your mind, it’s best to stick to it and give the dog a sense of security.
Diabetes is closely related to overeating behavior in dogs—the disease itself can be summed up as the inability of sugar to get transported to cells, resulting in dogs constantly lacking this essential nutrient and craving for it.
The overeating is usually accompanied by urination in undesignated places (assuming the pup is already potty trained).
All breeds are susceptible to this unfortunate health issue, but Schnauzers, Samoyeds, and Poodles are among the most sensitive.
Poor Absorption of Nutrients
A plethora of symptoms come with this issue—dehydration, pica, frequent diarrhea, and, even weight loss, as paradoxal as it may sound.
Obviously, the poor absorption will cause a worrisome lack of nutrients in a dog, affecting all aspect of its physical and mental well-being.
Overeating in dogs can sometimes be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as hyperthyroidism. Stimulated by the body’s production of excessive thyroid hormones, the disease accelerates the body’s metabolism and is characterized by increased appetite, but also weight loss.
If your dog seems to have an insatiable appetite even after eating multiple meals, this might be why. The best course of action is to consult your vet immediately, as taking proactive steps could protect your beloved pet’s long term health.
Crushing’s syndrome or disease refers to a tumor on a canine’s pituitary gland. It manifests itself in increased appetite, excessive need for water, frequent urination, panting, bloated abdomen, etc.
This is one of the health complications that is harder to discover than to actually treat. It’s easily mistaken for a typical aging phase of a dog’s life. If you have a reason to think your dog might be suffering from this issue or recognize some of the symptoms, you can consult your vet and have specific tests run to clear any doubt.
From non-worm parasites to roundworms and tapeworms, these microorganisms can do enormous harm to our furry friends. There are several ways in which dogs can ingest intestinal parasites, but most commonly it’s by inadvertently licking the eggs or larvae off of something.
The most effective way to combat this medical problem is by using dewormers, as these medications are known to work in just a couple of hours for some of the easier cases.
Moving to a new place can induce anxiety in all of us and canines are no different—changing environment or even just making subtle alterations to their living space will often lead to stress-eating in pets.
Any change in the living arrangements can trigger binge eating as a way of savoring resources. One of the best ways of dealing with a dog in distress is by offering handpicked CBD treats to your pup, as these have a calming effects on both animals and humans.
By this we mean the possible side effects of any drugs or steroids your dog might have taken recently. Your dog will most commonly experience increased appetite, as well as other gastrointestinal issues, such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and gastritis.
An aging dog can show a sudden increase in appetite. While it’s fair to say it inevitably comes with age, the truth is there is usually another underlying issue with the dog—most commonly inability to absorb all nutrients as effectively as they did as a younger pup.
How to Break a Dog of Food Obsession
If your dog shows compulsive behavior when it comes to food, i.e. excess hunger, the first step is to discover the underlying cause for it. Once you’ve ruled out diseases, it’s your turn to make the necessary changes in order to help you pup live a healthier and longer life. Here’s how you do it:
Limit the Number of Treats
We all love telling our dogs how good they are when they pull off a neat trick, or even only for waging their tails at us. The praise usually comes with treats, and for the bottomless-stomach dogs, this needs to be strictly controlled.
Treats are, generally, best used as motivation for exercise routine, so try to provide them when your dog completes activity they particularly dislike.
Don’t Fall for the Sad Puppy Eyes!
We know, we know—easier said than done. Try to keep in mind that you’re doing the best for your canine friend, as obesity can cause serious harm to it. Distracting a dog with toys is something that would usually do the trick and make them move on from food to activity (win-win)!
Give the Appropriate Amount of Food
Our work schedule and running errands can seem frantic at times and we don’t want to leave our pups hungry. So offering a larger amounts of food for them to indulge when you’re not there doesn’t sound like the harshest idea, right? Wrong.
Portioning meals appropriately is key to establish healthy eating habits. Whether you feed your dog once or twice a day, keep the meals appropriate size.
Pack in Nutrition
That said, quality is as important as quantity. Each meal needs to have appropriate amounts of necessary nutrients, which is why it’s best to go with quality dog food and serve the portions as indicated by the instructions.
If you have time or simply prefer cooking for your dog, here’s a list of human food dogs can consume without any harm. Remember, if you do this, pay attention to the nutritional value of each ingredient in order to help your pup maintain healthy weight.
Keep Your Dog Busy With Excercise
Rubber toys, interactive toys, balls, ropes… use anything that can distract your dog from food cravings. Dogs are playful and energetic pets and they are always up for a game of fetch with their favorite human, so try to incorporate play time whenever they reach for a dog bowl out of the ordinary schedule.
Food-Obsessed Dog Breeds
Most dog breeds are enthusiastic about food, but some just take it to another level. Here are the hungriest pups you can come across, so keep that in mind when adopting or adding one to the family:
🐶 French Bulldogs
🐶 Golden Retrievers
🐶 Bull Terriers
🐶 Labrador Retrievers
Dog food obsession can be disconcerting to pet owners, who may not understand why their pup is endlessly begging for more food or grazing through bowls after each meal. While the behavior could have some medical causes—such as a lack of vital nutrients or a parasitic infection—it’s usually driven by an instinctual desire to store enough food for times of scarcity.
In order to discourage this behavior, owners should make sure their furry companion has access to a consistent and adequate supply of nutrient-dense food that meets their nutritional needs.
This coupled with providing appropriate chew toys and puzzle feeders during meals can help keep portion control in check and secure healthier eating habits in dogs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do dogs love food so much?
Dogs’ unwavering love of food can be attributed to their wild ancestors‘ survival instincts. Canines have been conditioned over centuries to consume every morsel they can get their paws on since food was scarce in the wild.
This instinct for foraging is still present in modern domesticated dogs, which is why even household pets are apt to feast on scraps and leftovers.
Why is my dog suddenly hungry all the time?
There are multiple factors that can suddenly change dog’s attitude toward food. Some of reasons for a dog fod obsession are medical, such as diabetes, Crushing’s syndrome, hyperthyrodism, and parasites. But the issue could also be psychological, often related to environmental changes and domestication.