Why is my dog obsessed with food?
It’s kind of instinctive behavior. Animals in the wild can’t find food every day and when they do find they eat as much as they can because they don’t know when the next meal will be.
Dogs are scavengers. If food is available, it is natural for them to take advantage of that food source while it lasts.
Dogs do vary in their attitudes toward food, though. Some are much more obsessed with it than others. Beagles and Labs in particular are types of dogs known for excessive eating, in many cases. There was some research done recently that indicates that some Labs are missing a genetic component that tells the body to stop eating when the stomach is full. This would help to explain why there are so many obese labs.
Constant hunger in dogs can be difficult to manage as some dogs are hungry even when they don’t need more food. As we said before, certain breeds; Pugs, Labradors, Beagles and Dachshunds are well known for their large appetites where given the opportunity they would eat all day. Here are some tips to help with hunger if your dog is a sufferer:
- Feed a reduced energy diet (either low in fat or calories) so your dog can be fed the maximum quantity of food.
- Check the fibre level of the diet, more fibre can slow digestion down, improve absorption and help your dog to feel fuller after meals. For an adult dog, dry food will have between 2% and 6% fibre so look for one with more than 3% to ensure your dog is satisfied with his dinner.
- Give your dog a rest after meals, it’s good for his digestion and should give the messages from his stomach enough time to get through to his brain to stop feeling hungry.
- Divert your dog’s attention from his hunger; walks or play sessions at the key times may distract him.· Don’t allow begging, it can be a very effective tactic with friends and family and once your dog has found a successful look, he’ll try it on everyone.
- Try feeding small meals frequently, it can help with some dogs who can’t last from breakfast to dinner, just give a bit less breakfast and dinner to create lunch or an evening snack, whichever suits your dog and lifestyle.
- Give small amounts of cooked or raw vegetables as treats or bulk out your dog’s meals with these, dogs often like the taste and crunch of vegetables and they provide lots of health benefits without many calories (check first that they are safe to feed avoiding onion, garlic, shallots, leeks and mushrooms).
- If you’re having trouble with weight control with your dog because of his appetite, try measuring the daily amount into a separate container (preferably with a lid). This can then be used for treats as well as daily meals and you can be sure he’s getting the right amount each day. Try a tails.com perfect portion scoop to accurately measure how much goes in the container.
- Make sure your dog has access to fresh drinking water, it can be easy to mistake thirst for hunger.
There can be some medical causes for hunger so make sure your dog is in good health and if he has any other concerning symptoms it may be worth discussing with your vet.