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Hungry For Answers? Understanding Your Dog's Hunger

by Scott Marshall March 07, 2024 5 min read

Hungry For Answers? Understanding Your Dog's Hunger

Is Your Dog Always Hungry?

When your dog seems to be on a perpetual quest for more food, it raises the question: Why is my dog always hungry?

What causes constant hunger in dogs?

Constant hunger in dogs can be attributed to a variety of factors, ranging from underlying medical conditions to psychological needs and dietary inadequacies. 

Could medical issues be the reason?

Yes, medical issues can significantly contribute to a dog's constant hunger. 

  • Diabetes 

Diabetes can disrupt the normal balance of glucose in the body, leading to an increased appetite as the dog's cells may not be getting the energy they need. 

  • Intestinal parasites 

These are another culprit, as they interfere with nutrient absorption, causing your dog to feel hungry more often despite eating regularly. 

  • Hyperthyroidism 

Characterized by an overactive thyroid gland, leading to an accelerated metabolism, which can also manifest as a voracious appetite. Recognizing these medical conditions as potential reasons for your dog's hunger is crucial for seeking the appropriate treatment and care.

How can psychological factors contribute?

Psychological factors can also play a significant role in a dog's feeding behavior.

Boredom: Eating as an activity

If you thought this was just us, you’d be wrong. For dogs too, boredom can transform eating from a necessity into an activity or form of entertainment. 

This shift is particularly noticeable in dogs that lack adequate mental or physical stimulation, leading them to seek out food as a way to relieve them from their boredom.

Anxiety: Stress-induced overeating

Another commonality between us and our furry friends. Anxiety in dogs often leads to stress-induced overeating, with food serving as a source of comfort. 

Dogs grappling with anxiety might frequent their food bowls more often, using eating as a mechanism to cope with their feelings of unease.

What role does diet play?

The diet of a dog is a fundamental element in managing their hunger levels, and the answer might just lie in whether or not you should change your dog's diet. 

Poor quality food often lacks the necessary nutritional value, leaving dogs feeling unsatisfied even after eating. 

Similarly, a diet deficient in fiber does not provide the sense of fullness that helps regulate appetite. 

By understanding the significant role of diet quality and composition, dog owners can make informed decisions to enhance their pet's satiety and overall health, ensuring their best friends feel fuller for longer and maintain a nutrient balanced diet.

Food is good!

Some dogs will eat and eat and eat, hungry or not. 

Speaking from personal experience. I once fed my 2 german shepherds EACH a 4lb raw chicken for one of their birthdays. 4 POUNDS. An hour later I was breaking up hamburger for tacos and they were at my heels begging for food like they hadn’t eaten for days.

This section does not serve as an excuse to ignore an overly hungry dog, rather to illustrate that some dogs are always down for another bite - regardless of circumstances.

How to assess if your dog’s hunger is normal?

Assessing if your dog's hunger is normal involves monitoring their eating habits and comparing them with breed-specific norms. 

Observing how your dog eats, including the speed and amount, can provide insights into whether their hunger levels are typical for their size, age, and breed. 

Additionally, understanding the standard appetite and dietary needs specific to your dog's breed can help you determine if their hunger is within a normal range or if it signals an underlying issue. 

This approach allows for a more informed conclusion of your dog's health and nutritional status, guiding you in making the necessary adjustments to their diet or seeking veterinary advice if needed.

What steps can you take to manage your dog’s hunger?

To manage your dog's hunger effectively, start with a few steps:

  • Regular vet check-ups are pivotal in ensuring no underlying health conditions are contributing to your dog's increased hunger. These examinations allow for the early identification and management of any medical issues, safeguarding your dog's appetite and overall well-being.

  • Improving the quality of your dog's diet by incorporating more nutritious food can have a profound effect on managing hunger. Foods that are rich in nutrients, even fruits such as watermelons, cucumbers, apples, etc; offer sustained energy, helping your dog feel fuller for longer and mitigating the need for frequent eating.

  • Increasing the fiber intake in your dog's meals promotes a sense of fullness and satiety, crucial for controlling hunger. Fiber-rich diets slow the digestive process, extending the feeling of satisfaction post-meal and diminishing the urge to overeat.

  • Providing ample mental stimulation through activities like interactive play, puzzles, and consistent training sessions can significantly decrease boredom-induced eating. Keeping your dog mentally engaged helps divert their focus away from using food as entertainment.

  • Ensuring adequate exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy balance between energy intake and expenditure. Regular physical activity not only aids in burning excess calories but also plays a role in suppressing excessive hunger by regulating metabolic processes.

When to seek professional help?

Seeking professional help becomes necessary when your dog exhibits persistent excessive hunger despite implementing dietary and lifestyle interventions. 

Additionally, if you notice sudden changes in appetite, it's crucial to consult with a veterinarian. These symptoms could indicate underlying health issues that require medical attention. A professional can provide a comprehensive evaluation, diagnose any potential problems, and recommend a tailored treatment plan to address your dog's specific needs. 

Prompt action ensures your dog's health and well-being are safeguarded, preventing minor issues from escalating into more serious conditions.

The Takeaway


It can be hard to draw the line between your dog being a bit needy/greedy with food vs when there is a problem - but it is important to know this distinction.


Over time, you will be able to distinguish any and all patterns your dog exhibits, so don’t focus too much on not knowing.


However, when you do find out, make sure you take all the necessary steps and figure out the root of the problems, and keep your pup wagging along. 


DISCLAIMER:

The information on Raw Feeding 101’s website and other media outlets is designed ONLY for educational and informational purposes. It is essential that you understand the statements and information provided on this website and its other outlets do not aim to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any diseases or illnesses. Raw Feeding 101 strongly insists that you consult with your veterinarian to discuss your dog's medical care thoroughly.

Scott Marshall
Scott Marshall

Scott has been feeding a raw dog food diet for over 13 years. He lives in Utah with his wife Arianne, his 11.5 year old german shepherd Wolken, and his 2.5 year old labradoodle Montu. Scott has been teaching others about raw feeding since 2013, started Raw Feeding 101 in 2017, and has been solely focused on simplifying the process of pet parents meeting their dogs’ daily nutrient requirements since 2018.


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