Even though some dogs appear to approach each meal as if it were their last, this tendency is typically acquired. If your dog is a rescue, it’s possible that they were food-deprived in the past, which made them feel the need to beg for food and eat it rapidly before it was gone. Even well-fed, lavished-upon puppies can learn that pleading for food results in goodies, which may drive them to act as though they are hungry.
Is there an issue if you overfeed your dog and they cheerfully consume the entire meal? It must be good if your dog is pleased, right? Well, maybe not always. While giving your pets the right amount of nutritious food will help them stay healthy, overfeeding them can cause a variety of health issues.
Although many dogs are only driven by food, a sudden rise in hunger may indicate a health problem.
What does it mean when your dog is always begging for food?
Your dog devours food and then cries out for rewards. You fill the bowl with the necessary amount of food, but it is insufficient. What is happening?
Is there a Problem?
Most of the time, this is a learned behavior, even if some dogs appear to be genetically predisposed to approach every meal with a rabid appetite and as though it could be their last. Rescues may have gone without food before being fostered or adopted, and as a result, they may have a lifetime urge to nag for food and eat it as soon as they can before it runs out. Who doesn’t appreciate watching their pet enthusiastically wag their tail when getting a treat? Even the most spoiled, well-fed pets may have learnt that begging may result in treats! Or maybe you unintentionally overeat when you eat. It must be good if it makes your dog happy, right?
No, not always. While it’s fun to watch our pets eat and enjoy treats, overfeeding them might actually be equivalent to loving them to death. Obesity and a range of other health issues can result from eating too many sweets or too much food at meals. Giving your dog the proper amount of high-quality food, combined with healthy treats and snacks, aids in weight management and overall health.
While many dogs just have a desire for food, an increased appetite can potentially indicate a number of health problems. The following are a few health conditions that could cause polyphagia, or an insatiable appetite:
- gastrointestinal problems that impair nutrition absorption
- Cushing’s syndrome
If your dog’s appetite changes noticeably, consult your veterinarian. You should rule out or take care of any health difficulties.
Uncontrolled eating is not the solution, regardless of whether your dog’s condition is learnt or connected to physical problems. Here are four suggestions for managing your dog’s voracious appetite:
Trim the Treats
It may seem paradoxical to limit rewards while your dog is hungry, but if she has grown accustomed to receiving regular treats, she needs to unlearn that behavior. If you give your dog treats as rewards, try switching them out for playtime, cuddles, or other affectionate treatment as you reduce the amount of goodies you give.
Ensure that any snacks you do serve are produced with fresh, whole ingredients and have a very minimal fat and calorie content. Yes, much like in your diet, calories matter in a dog’s diet.
Offer the Right Amount of Food
Even while your dog will eat a lot of food, that doesn’t mean he should. To determine the appropriate amount of food for your dog’s size and age, discuss his or her needs with your veterinarian and look at the nutrition facts on your dog food.
My Perfect Pet makes feeding recommendations based on your dog’s optimum weight, or what he should weigh, not on his present weight (if overweight) or what he would want to weigh. You can find thorough feeding guidelines for My Perfect Pet blends here.
Meet Older Dogs’ Needs
It’s a common misperception that senior dogs only require “lite or reduced calorie” food. In actuality, dogs’ metabolisms slow down with age. At the same time, some foods are processed by their systems less effectively.
Many senior formulations utilize fillers to bulk out the food, but because these fillers are difficult for dogs to digest, they let them to eat more while also taxing their digestive systems. Older dogs are better able to acquire the nutrition they require by eating slightly less while absorbing more of the nutrients when dog food is easily digestible.
Pack in Nutrition
Not only older dogs but all dogs need proper nourishment. For development, vitality, and overall health, all dogs require a range of high-quality nutrients. High heat processing can destroy nutrients in highly processed meals, and synthetic chemicals are more difficult to digest than naturally occurring ones. Lightly cooked, fresh food provides genuine nutrition in a form that is simple to digest. This means that even if your dog has digestive problems, she will likely be able to get more of what she needs, more readily. Furthermore, freshly prepared food tastes and smells fantastic! It will practically be devoured by your dog.
As a dog parent, you must choose the best foods for your children. This entails discussing potential health problems with your veterinarian and, if you discover one, developing a food plan as part of the treatment strategy. It also entails everyday healthy food decisions, including what you serve your dog for dinner and how many treats you give him throughout the day.
Even if your dog seems adorable as he begs for one more mouthful, it is your responsibility to provide for his needs, not his wants.
How can I stop my dog from having a food compulsion?
To say that my dog Riggins is motivated by food would be an understatement. There is a good chance that my adorable mutt will try to snag a nibble or two if you are having supper at my house. Given that he has been trained to just steal food when begging doesn’t work, this is obviously poor parenting on my part. It is usual to hear someone say, “Watch my food for me,” when a guest must leave the table since that is what you must accept if you share a meal with us.
I’ve had to come up with strategies to keep him content while also slowing down his eating because of his fixation.
Slow down his meals
Riggins, who is 10 years old, no longer consumes food as quickly as he once did. When he was younger, it actually became a problem. Like any crazy single parent, I had spent enough time online reading about the potential consequences of a dog eating too quickly. Bloat, nausea, and choking—oh my! Naturally, I had to come up with a fix.
It turns out that skipping the bowl entirely and feeding our energetic and ravenous puppy into a jigsaw toy feeder was the best solution. We tried them all, but the simple ball with a hole is our favorite. After adding the kibble, you unscrew the halves and then screw them back together.
A treat ball has the drawback of allowing your dog to roll the ball around the house in an effort to get all of the delectable morsels out. I tried stuff like locking him in the kitchen or bathroom, but in the end I just let him free reign of the home. How shall I put it? My home is Riggins’ home.
We tried feeding little by little and using slow-eat dishes, but the treat ball was a two-for-one. It reduced Riggins’ gobbling and provided him with a way to release some of his energy.
Make frozen broth treats
We reside in Los Angeles, where summers may be extremely hot (and winter and spring and fall). I started making Riggins frozen broth snacks to help him stay cool and entertained. The ingredients are always the same: broth, water, and any treats or vegetables that are safe for dogs.
When Riggins was younger, I would fill one end of his Kong with peanut butter, fill the other end with broth water and more peanut butter, and then freeze. It could go disastrously wrong if the peanut butter wasn’t applied precisely. After a few leaks that turned my freezer into a frozen lake of chicken broth, I made things simpler on myself by just using his food bowl to freeze a large chunk of water.
I no longer cook soup; instead, I simply make broth cubes in an ice tray and pop them out to put in Riggins’ dish because as he gets older, he loses patience.
Treat frozen veggies
Riggins like sweets. The issue is that because he enjoys them so much, he often tends to put on a little weight around special occasions like the holidays. Despite the fact that I’ve always given Riggins carrots as a snack, I’ve lately learned he is content to gnaw on frozen vegetables. A bag of frozen vegetables is not only less expensive than cookies, but it’s also a better choice for your health.
When I have guests over for dinner, I’ll keep a bag of frozen carrots or green beans nearby to offer to Riggins so he’ll be content and leave everyone alone. Sure, I should train him to stop begging at the table and be a better dog mom, but let’s face it—not that’s going to happen.
Hide his meds
Given how much Riggins loves food, he used to devour whatever medication I gave it to him right out of my hand. He finally began to carefully separate his medications from whatever food item I had them wrapped in as he grew older and wiser.
However, I’ve discovered the PERFECT pill food cover. unprocessed peanut butter. You know, the goopy thing that needs to be mixed otherwise it turns odd and liquidy. That is excellent stuff! The consistency makes it simpler to simply dip a pill in and slop a bunch on top if you don’t mix it. Before Riggins realizes what hit him, the pill is already lodged in his tongue while he enjoys the delectable peanut butter.
Fake his training treats
Small training treats are necessary so that they can be swiftly consumed. I find that the cost of these little delights is the main drawback to purchasing them. I just use Riggins’ food rather than spending extra money on something special.
The tiny bits are the ideal size, and if he eats too much, I can just reduce the amount of food I give him at his next meal, though he doesn’t like that idea.
Bonus tip: Keeping the ants away
I enjoy giving Riggins food outside. The ability for him to hang out in the backyard is convenient for both of us. The issue is that our home is situated atop the world’s largest known ant colony. Even the smallest scrap of food left outside will attract ants, who will quickly take over of the area.
I mark off a bullseye-shaped area with a few of chalk circles around Riggins’ feeding bowl to protect it from these tiny animals. Why ants don’t like chalk is a mystery to me. I guess it makes their feet powdery, making it harder for them to hold. But whatever it is, they dislike it. But since it’s not 100% effective, on particularly nasty ant days, I’ll place Riggins’ food bowl in a bowl of water. It seems as though Riggins’ delectable meal is surrounded by a little moat!
You’re all set! Here are a couple of our dietary advice. I’m eager to discover yours. Comment below and let me know what you decide!
How many meals should a dog have each day?
It need not be a mystery how to feed your dog. We can design a pretty realistic feeding schedule for dogs by understanding a few fundamental ideas and characteristics about them.
Dogs are routine-oriented animals. By establishing and adhering to a regular food plan, we may take advantage of this reality.
A consistent feeding schedule aids in housebreaking both young puppies and mature rescue dogs who have not yet learned proper manners. Puppies typically need to go potty 10 to 15 minutes after consuming a meal. When we correlate a “potty stop” with a meal, the puppy learns to associate the urges to urinate and defecate with being in the proper place, which helps us anticipate when the puppy wants to go outside. This stage of the house-training procedure is crucial.
The security and predictability of a routine are provided by feeding an adult dog at regular intervals. Meals become the primary activity of the day, to which other pursuits are added. Maintaining a feeding schedule enables your dog to adapt to changes in the home (e.g., a child moves away to college, a new baby arrives, or a vacation during which a house-sitter is in charge).
“A feeding schedule makes it easier for your dog to adjust to home changes.”
A feeding pattern makes it simpler to make a necessary meal modification. Your dog’s body learns to anticipate meals at such times if he is accustomed to eating at the same times every day. Hunger is a powerful motivation! The process of switching to a new cuisine will frequently be simple and easy if the conditions are right for increasing hunger followed by meals at regular intervals.
Like humans, dogs have a basic stomach anatomy. Dogs’ basic stomach structures mean that once the stomach is full of food, it will quickly empty as the food enters the small intestine. An empty stomach starts to trigger a hunger response in the brain after 8 to 10 hours. This is why it’s essential for your dog to eat at least two meals per day. What if you were only allowed to eat breakfast every day? Feeding your dog at regular intervals enables its body to get ready for the food it will get. It is not advised to allow grazing while keeping the bowl full.
A change in eating patterns may be an indication of disease. Dogs develop a strong habit of eating at regular intervals. If all the food from a meal is consumed, it is simple to determine at a glance. It is imperative to arrange a veterinary visit if any food is left over after a meal, whether it be the entire meal or only a portion.
I was told that puppies should eat all they want; 3 or 4 times per day. Is that true?
Ad libitum or “free choice” feeding refers to giving a puppy as much food as it can handle at once. This is not advised because it can lead to binge eating disorders, juvenile obesity, some orthopedic issues, and diabetes. Overeating at any one meal can also impede digestion by producing bloating and stomach pain. It is accepted that the adult size of dogs has a hereditary “set point.” Puppy body condition is optimized for adult body condition by slower, more controlled growth.
How many meals should my dog eat each day?
A dog’s daily food plan is entirely dependent on the family’s routine. At least two meals each day, spaced around 12 hours apart, are recommended for dogs. A timetable that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner is also a fantastic choice. If you go more than 12 hours without eating, your stomach may become overly acidic, which will make you feel sick.
My dog doesn’t finish her meal all at once. I think she prefers to graze. What should I do?
Some dogs are actually pretty good at controlling their food consumption. Nevertheless, setting up mealtime expectations is a smart idea. This will make things simpler if your family decides to acquire another pet in the future. Simply measure out the food for the full day in the morning for grazers, and provide the dish multiple times throughout the day. Select regular times to establish the routine we know is beneficial. Using a measured portion for the day, whether with a measuring cup or a kitchen scale, is crucial.
The usage of food toys is another thing to think about. There are several possibilities, from moving food toys that only sometimes release a kibble of food to stationary food toys that make the dog struggle for the food. For further details on these feeders, refer to the handout “Feeding the Mind and Body: Interactive Feeders for Dogs and Cats.” The folks in your family will like food toys almost as much as your dog will.
Your dog’s best nutrition advice continues to come from your vet, who can address crucial inquiries like what to feed, how much to feed, and how frequently to feed. Feeding time can be a crucial opportunity for closeness. Fun is infused into daily activities by establishing regularity and regular meal times.