Though some of us are parents to the pickiest of eaters, many dog moms and dads have voracious eaters. Have you wondered ‘why is my dog always hungry’? We hope we can answer your questions in this article.
Why Is My Dog Always Hungry?
Is your dog really hungry? Or are they just pretending to be hungry? There are many reasons why your dog may want to eat all the time. We will try to look through some of them below.
1. It’s In Their Instincts
Dogs share the same ancestry as the grey wolf. Though they don’t have to hunt or scavenge like their ancestors, they do share some tendencies around food. Even if your dog has never had to hunt in their life, it’s in their primitive instinct to eat food when they see it. They don’t know when they will get to eat food next (even if you feed them 2-3 times a day) they try to store nutrients whenever they can.
When grey wolves first got domesticated, they associated humans as a food source. By this, we don’t mean that they ate us, rather when they saw us, they knew they will get food from us. This behaviour also remains in our dogs. Whenever they see us, they know they will get food, hence they instantly start to beg.
Dogs don’t have a wide array of things to do. So, naturally, when they are bored they think of food. They just want too much down when they have nothing to do. So they come to you.
3. Re-Inforced Behaviour
We hate to say it, but the main reason why your dog is asking for more food is because you allowed that behaviour, or rather, reinforced that behaviour.
Certified dog trainer Robin Bennett, explains this better than we do. She says, “In this sense, I think dogs often train us to feed them. My own dog is able to do his ‘it’s time to eat act’ with each member of the family at night and we’ve fallen for it enough that we actually have to confirm with one another whether or not he has been fed. He’s a smart dog.”
4. They Have Seen Tough Days
Another reason why they go crazy around food is because they have probably seen some hard days. This is often the case with adopted dogs or those who were severely emancipated when they were on the streets.
It’s very unfortunate but it’s true. Puppies that had to starve, know the importance of food and that is why they eat at every opportunity.
5. Not Enough Nutrition
Dogs require a lot more protein and vitamins than they need carbs and fibres. Unfortunately, there are many pet food companies that load each formula with too many carbs and too many fibres that leave them undernourished.
The fibres are essentially used to keep them full but sometimes when their body isn’t getting the much-needed amount of nutrition, their body keeps craving for food. It’s a lot like what happens to you when you don’t eat for a long time. If they are not getting the right amount of nutrition, their body is literally starving. You can easily solve this by giving them the best dog food available to you.
6. They Are Ill
If they are always scoffing down their meals and are ready for seconds and thirds, there is a small chance that they are not doing well – health-wise.
Here are some illnesses that can lead to excessive hunger:
Yes, dogs can also get diabetes. The sugar in their system does not reach their organs and that leads to a false sense of hunger and thirst. It usually happens to middle-aged and senior dogs.
If your dog is suddenly hungry and thirsty all the time, it is a good idea to get them checked.
This is very rare in dogs. Cats are more likely to get hyperthyroidism than dogs. However, it does happen, usually when dogs get a tumour on their thyroid gland.
Hyperthyroidism is characterised by too much hunger and thirst, a rapid heartbeat and frequent vomiting. If left untreated, it may lead to kidney problems.
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency or EPI is a pancreatic condition that prevents the pancreas from functioning normally. Other than regulating sugar, the pancreas also secretes many digestive enzymes for the small intestine.
Dogs with EPI are not able to produce enough EPI hence the core part of their meal remains undigested and is excreted out of the body.
Symptoms of EP include a sudden loss of weight, constant hunger, loose stools and frequent diarrhoea.
Cushing’s Disease can happen to both people and dogs. It involves the excessive secretion of cortisol. It is often tricky for vets to diagnose it because the symptoms are similar to other illnesses.
Symptoms of Cushing’s Disease include, constant thirst, hunger, weight gain around the stomach, poor quality fur or thinning of fur, frequent panting and lethargy. As you can see, these symptoms mimic so many other diseases and since it is rare doctors don’t come to this conclusion very quickly.
However, once the disease is diagnosed on time, dogs can live a fairly normal life with timely medication.
All the diseases mentioned above are pretty rare. If your dog does not have weight issues, frequent thirst and urination, the chances are they are doing just fine! These dogs are asking for food out of habit and not out of hunger.