Do you have a dog that eats and eats and eats?
There are several reasons this could happen, and it may be up to you or the dog why he may act hungry all the time or not turn down a meal when it is presented.
1. It is an evolution
Wolves in the wild were free eaters and had to work to get food to eat (hunting) and they could go days without finding food so they learned to eat as much as they can when the food is available.
This trait is believed to be passed down to dogs who would eat as much as they can when they can, even though you might have them on a schedule.
It is also evolutionary that alphas in any pack are responsible for feeding the pack, and when they finish, the pack gets to eat.
Basically, the pack eats the scraps of the alpha. This will be relevant in the next point.
2. Acquiring food is an instinct
This makes it instinctual to eat when they can.
Despite their ancestors being free eaters, dogs do not have to work to get their food, being domesticated.
In the domestication process, humans giving wolves scraps in camps bonded them to us as their number one food source.
In exchange, they offered protection and assistance in hunting and other things.
This has been transferred down to today where human pet owners have put themselves in the position as their pet’s alphas and are a food source.
Dogs are predisposed to eat our scraps.
3. You are overfeeding your dog
Because you give your dog food at any time and he eats it does not mean he was hungry, to begin with.
And even when he begs for food it might depend on what you are doing. Are you cooking or eating?
Human food has better aromas that would attract them; have you ever smelled food cooking and not wanted a taste?
Between structured meals, treats, conditioning, and feeding scraps some owners think the feeding is showing love, but your dog might be getting more food than he is supposed to.
There are also lots of reports on the contents of dog food and how unhealthy it is.
Eating human food scraps from the table can be a treat they cannot say no to as it breaks the monotony of eating processed dog food, having a different taste they cannot resist.
The best solution is to balance all these feedings and the treats for good behavior and conditioning, so your dog does not overeat.
You may have to stop feeding your dog scraps from the table completely or decide to switch to homemade dog meals if you want your dog to have what you might have.
You should ignore the whimpering and sad eyes as you eat at the table.
Some foods are designed to be irresistible to dogs like treats and some premium dog food.
Leaving this out can have them wanting to fend for themselves and go for it, or even beg you for it.
Leaving these things lying around where they can reach (even food scraps in the bin) can be interpreted as you leaving him food.
It would help to secure treats in air-tight areas, secure food waste so they cannot get to it.
And maybe lock your dog out of the kitchen while you are making food.
Feeding your dog before you eat or while you eat would reduce begging and you will be sure your dog is not actually hungry.
5. It may be the breed
There are breeds of dogs that eat more than the average dog.
And if they cannot get their food, they chow on anything they can.
Much like golden retrievers. And because they show signs of wanting to eat all the time, it does not mean they are actually hungry.
If you are unsure if you should be feeding your dog more, you should consult with a veterinarian to get advice on the right portions to feed your dog.
6. High metabolic lifestyle
Other dogs might have high metabolic rates due to their active lifestyle;
- Eagerness for walks
- Running around your back garden
- Your frequent visits to the activity park
In this case, extra feeding time is necessary to replenish those calories lost.
If you can see his ribs, he needs more food.
7. Your dog may be a glutton
Indulging your dog in the beginning when he begs for food may have conditioned him to think it will work every time he does it.
You may have raised a glutton.
This can be corrected with training.
8. Your dog may have a medical condition
If your dog has changed suddenly needing more food, it could also be a symptom of other diseases.
- In dogs, it is much like in humans. When insulin levels are low there is less sugar in the bloodstream and your dog will crave more food.
- When the thyroid levels are high it increases hunger and causes weight loss in humans as well as in dogs.
There are other conditions like Cushing’s disease, bacterial growth in the intestines, aging, or a reaction to the medication.
These are hard to diagnose on their own and would need other symptoms to justify tests.
You cannot make any dietary changes based on what you think may be the problem.
But get confirmation from a veterinarian along with recommendations on what to do going forward.
9. Psychological Reaction to change
Dogs have very few ways of displaying their reactions to change and one of the ways is through feeding.
They could stop eating outright, or even start wanting more food and overfeeding.
This could be in reaction to a change in living conditions, a new environment, a loved companion leaving, or new strangers in the home.
One fun reason is new dogs in the home.
They may figure out resources might be limited, so want to make sure they are getting enough so they do not want to share.
For whatever reason your dog loves food it would be best to limit their feeding, so they do not get overweight.
Or increase their activity do it is all balanced out.
But if it is a sudden change you should take a good look at your dog and figure out what changed and seek advice from a veterinarian.