Why is my dog always hungry, you ask? While this is at times normal behavior resulting from inefficient portions or the scavenging nature of dogs, it could also point towards a number of health conditions. Conditions that lead to inefficient absorption of nutrients, competition for available nutrients, as well as increased metabolism, make your dog or puppy develop an insatiable appetite. Below we explore these as well as why a dog may appear always hungry and thirsty or lose weight.
Why Is My Dog Always Hungry?
- Why Is My Dog Always Hungry?
- Why Dogs May Appear to be Always Hungry
- Scavenging Nature
- Learnt Behavior
- Medical Conditions
- Insulin Resistance Diabetes
- Insulin Deficiency Diabetes
- Nutritional Deficiency
- Intestinal Worms
- Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
- Cushing’s Syndrome
- Why is My Dog Always Hungry and Losing Weight?
- Why is My Dog always Hungry and Thirsty?
- Why Is My Puppy Always Hungry? – Puppy Still Hungry after Eating
Occasionally, it may appear like all your dog wants to do is munch, never minding what it is they have to put in their mouth as long as it is food. This may leave you wondering “Why is my dog always hungry?” You are not in this alone. Dog owners have often times been left wondering what the cause of an increased appetite in their dogs is. This phenomenon has led to a number of studies. As a result, there are a number of theories explaining why dogs seem to be constantly hungry. We discuss these in details below.
Why Dogs May Appear to be Always Hungry
Ancestry traits, simple manipulative behavior, and complex health conditions could all result in constant hunger in your dog. Here are the details to these conditions.
With this, it is thought that dogs are not always hungry when they ask for food. Instead, they are only acting on their scavenging instincts passed down to them from their wolf ancestors. While in the wild, they had to eat as much as they could since it wasn’t certain if that would be their last meal in a few days. To keep them going during days which food was not available, they had to eat as much as they could when it was available.
This would be the same reason why a rescue dog that has suffered starvation in the streets or as a result of neglect would want to eat always. The thought of how it feels to not have food may drive them to want to eat all the time driving you to believe they are always hungry.
According to huffingtonpost.co.uk, your dog may have learned that if they constantly beg for food, they get to have their way and the food is offered to them. As a result, the behavior becomes reinforced and they learn to manipulate their caregivers into feeding them all the time. The secret is to not give in and only offer food during the designated time.
In addition to the above, Constant hunger may be an indication of some medical conditions. Where this is the case, it is important to take action so as to avert any dangers your dog may be exposed to. If you rule out the above as the cause, see your veterinarian as any of the conditions discussed below could be the reason for persistent hunger pangs in your dog.
This is a hormonal disorder of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is charged with production of thyroid hormones. These are responsible for controlling metabolism in the body tissues. When the thyroid is dysfunctional, there is either production of fewer hormones, a condition referred to as hypothyroidism, or production of too many hormones, which is referred to as hyperthyroidism.
When your dog suffers hyperthyroidism, there is a decrease in metabolism thus resulting in weight gain. In the case of hyperthyroidism, there is an increase in metabolism resulting in weight loss and increased hunger.
Diabetes in dogs manifests itself in the same way it does in humans. Generally, there is a disconnect between the glucose-insulin relation. It may occur in either of two forms:
Insulin Resistance Diabetes
With this type, the pancreas produces insulin but the dog’s body is not in a position to utilize it. As a result, glucose is not absorbed into the cells from the blood. This type is common in obese and older dogs.
Insulin Deficiency Diabetes
This is the most common type of diabetes in dogs. It occurs when the production of insulin is inefficient usually resulting from the malfunctioning of the pancreas. As a result, the affected dog needs insulin shots to handle the deficit.
With both types, the dog is not in a position to utilize the glucose to provide energy either because there is an insulin deficiency or due to the body’s inability to appropriately utilize the insulin. Consequently, there is a high level of sugar in the bloodstream since insulin is not available to help in converting the glucose into energy. The abnormal buildup of blood sugar leads to multiple organ damage if no intervention is made.
When a dog has diabetes, it shows various symptoms one of which is increased appetite as it needs to replenish its energy levels. This may be the reason why your dog appears hungry all the time.
Each dog has its specific dietary needs. As a caregiver, you should strive to know the daily dietary requirements of your dog and ensure they are met. Nutritional deficiency or feeding your dog the wrong diet can see them get genuinely hungry and thus want to eat all the time.
If your dog is facing any dietary deficiency such as a lack of minerals or vitamins, they will want to compensate for it by eating anything they feel will make up for the deficiency. It is therefore important to ensure that in addition to giving your dog sufficient portions, the food is rich insufficient nutrients. If necessary, offer supplements.
Both external and internal parasites can wreak havoc on your dog’s health and result in malnutrition. Internal parasites found in the digestive tract could be the reason why a dog acts hungry all the time.
At some point in the last year, I was wondering why my dog is always hungry when I noticed some worm in my dog’s poop! Hookworms, tapeworms, and roundworms invade the digestive system and compete for available nutrients with the dog. Like other parasites, they could lead to anemia. When a dog has intestinal worms, they are deprived off their nutritional requirements. They do not get enough and are thus starved making them want to eat all the time.
Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency
Any condition rendering your dog incapable of absorbing nutrients appropriately can cause an increased appetite in your pet. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, a condition most common in German Shepherds, is a condition resulting in a decrease in enzymes necessary for digestion of food. When this happens, food passes through the digestive tract without being broken down. This results in the dog’s dietary needs not being met giving them an increased appetite.
Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
Just as its name goes, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth is a condition that results in damage to the small intestine walls when there is an overgrowth. As a result, the small intestines lose their functionality and absorption of nutrients is reduced. This can make your dog want to eat more to meet its dietary needs thus appearing hungry all the time.
Cushing’s syndrome occurs when there is the excess production of cortisol hormone. This hormone is responsible for regulation of mineral balance, body weight, and skin health among others. Most common in middle-aged and older dogs, the condition results in panting, frequent urination, drinking too much and getting hungry more often.
Why is My Dog Always Hungry and Losing Weight?
A dog that is always hungry yet losing weight despite eating more food could be suffering from any of the medical conditions discussed above. Dogs with diabetes may lose weight in spite of eating more than enough since they are not utilizing nutrients efficiently in the body. A dog with worms has the parasites competing for the same nutrients resulting in it always being hungry and losing weight.
Since a number of conditions can have a dog always being hungry and losing weight, it is best to consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis.
Why is My Dog always Hungry and Thirsty?
According to peteducation.com, dogs with diabetes will experience increased hunger, thirst, and urination. This is in addition to weight loss despite eating more. Further, according to the webmd.com, when a dog has Cushing’s syndrome, “you might notice your dog is thirstier than usual” and “seems hungrier” among other symptoms.
Pointing to one condition and blaming it for these symptoms can, therefore, be misleading. A correct diagnosis can only be given after some tests are done. Talk to your veterinarian about the same so you can offer your dog the best care.
Why Is My Puppy Always Hungry? – Puppy Still Hungry after Eating
If you are wondering “why is my puppy always hungry?” you will be relieved to know that this is normal behavior. Young puppies get used to nursing whenever they are hungry. As a result, when it is time to wean them off their mother, they don’t understand and are yet to get used to feeding schedules. This could make your puppy seem to be still hungry after eating the recommended amount.
At this age, the puppies are also susceptible to worms and this could increase their hunger levels. In addition, puppies are still growing and need extra energy for their physical development. Depending on breed and size, their dietary needs may be high. Fortunately, this stage though does not last long.
To cater for your pup efficiently, ensure that you feed them moderate portions frequently. Young puppies should be fed at least four times a day. This does not mean increasing the portion but dividing their daily feeding amounts into four portions. Teach them early that they only get a certain amount of food at a specific time and they will get used to it.
In addition, ensure that their nutritional needs are met and that they are dewormed in a timely manner. This way they will develop into healthy adults.