If you think your puppy is always hungry, there’s probably nothing wrong with it, though you need to control it to avoid obesity. Sometimes excessive appetite can really be the result of health problems (both psychological and physical). So the puppy owner’s job is to determine if there is cause for alarm and take appropriate action.
I’ve learned what veterinarians are saying about this issue. These tips will help you decide how to proceed and how to help your dog.
Why are puppies always hungry?
Dogs generally love to eat, and it’s often hard to stop them. It’s their instinct because who knows what tomorrow will bring; what if they won’t have food? Plus, puppies have a good appetite because they are growing and need energy.
Some breeds are just obsessed with food, and they have this problem more often. Among these are dachshunds, labradors, beagles, pugs, and cocker spaniels. And if you have more than one animal living in your house, there can be a “who eats everything fastest” race between them.
So there’s probably nothing wrong with your puppy, especially if his weight and condition are okay. You just need to get him used to eating in moderation.
But you still need to check that he’s in good health, as sometimes hyperphagia (overeating) in dogs is triggered by certain disorders. It’s worth being particularly wary if your puppy suddenly changes his behavior.
The four main causes of hyperphagia
I have listed the 4 most common conditions that cause abnormal hunger. They are not that difficult to diagnose. Sometimes it is enough to pay attention to the other symptoms.
If a puppy has become so hungry all of a sudden, he has probably contracted helminths. Parasites take up nutrients and make the pet eat more.
Your puppy may also have a bloated belly, constipation, diarrhea, or vomiting.
Fortunately, this problem can easily be corrected by giving your puppy some medicine. But first, you need to visit the vet and have a stool test done to look for parasites.
Just like humans, dogs can eat up stress. How can you tell if your pet is suffering from anxiety or stress? Pay attention to signs such as:
- destructive behavior ( ruining things and furniture);
- whining, barking;
- lethargy and sleepiness;
- toileting in the wrong place.
This behavior may be caused by separation anxiety, fright, loneliness due to lack of attention and physical activity, death of a loved one, or other trauma. If you identify the cause of stress, you can successfully fight it. But it may require a lot of time and effort.
You should seek help from a canine behaviorist. A specialist will tell you how to remedy the situation.
If your puppy is fed an unbalanced diet, he may not get enough nutrients. He tries to compensate by eating more food. Hyperphagia also occurs in puppies that have been fed irregularly. They eat a lot because they want to store up more calories in case the next feeding isn’t soon.
Ensure your puppy’s diet is balanced and you are feeding him correctly. I have an article on when and how much a puppy should eat. It can help you.
If your dog used to eat randomly, you must carefully monitor portions and meal times. Over time, her eating habits will change.
Certain medications, such as thyroid supplements, corticosteroids, sedatives, or anticonvulsants, can cause increased appetite in dogs. You should consult your veterinarian to determine how to control hunger during treatment.
Some other conditions can cause eating disorders, such as diabetes, Cushing's disease, and GI tumors. But these are not common in puppies. Such diseases are more common in middle-aged or older dogs and are accompanied by other symptoms that are hard to miss. However, diagnosis usually requires various tests, including endoscopic examination, ultrasound, and hormone tests.
When should I sound the alarm?
Gluttony is not always a sign of illness, but you should visit the vet with your puppy if he has any of the following changes in addition to his increased appetite:
- ❗️stool irregularities, vomiting, frequent urination;
- ❗️noticeable weight loss or gain;
- ❗️eating inedible objects;
- ❗️hair loss.
Such signs indicate the presence of serious illness.
Also pay attention to the appearance and weight of your dog. If your dog is too skinny, he’s not eating enough, and if he’s fat, you need to cut back on his portions.
What to do if your puppy is always hungry
If you’ve concluded that your puppy is just gluttonous or has bad eating habits, try the following:
- ✅Determine how much your puppy should eat. Try using the Dog Feeding Calculator to find out what portions to give dogs of this breed at this age. If you’re giving him treats, they should be included in that amount. It is better not to give a lot of goodies because they are usually high-energy.
- ✅Use food designed for puppies of this breed. It should have enough calories, all the necessary nutrients, and fiber. Using a variety of foods (both dry and wet) is desirable.
- ✅Make a feeding schedule and stick to it. Warn all family members not to give your puppy extra treats or food from the table.
- ✅You can take your dog out of the kitchen when family members eat there. This way, neither you nor the dog will feel bad.
- ✅Use slow-feeding food bowls. They’re specifically designed so your dog can’t swallow everything at once. That way, he can know he’s full.
- ✅Give your puppy plenty of exercises. It is the cure for many emotional disorders.
These tips will help curb your pet’s irrepressible appetite.
So, let me remind you of a few key points:
- Puppies often seem perpetually hungry because they are growing and need more food, and some dog breeds are simply gluttons and can’t turn down yummy treats.
- Parasites, an anxiety disorder, or taking certain medications can also cause excessive appetite.
- Be sure to see a specialist if your puppy has stool problems, vomiting, or other symptoms.
- If your puppy seems healthy but has a tendency to overeat, a balanced diet based on a schedule can help correct bad eating habits.
- If your dog is overweight and always hungry, you need to reduce portion sizes and provide more exercise.
Still have questions? Write them in the comments.
How do I know if my puppy isn’t eating enough?
Such puppies lose weight, and the ribs become visually noticeable. You should not worry if the puppy looks healthy and energetic and is gaining weight usually, you should not worry. You can additionally consult your veterinarian.
How do you know if a puppy is overeating?
You can tell if you’re overfeeding your puppy if you see signs of being overweight:
a sagging belly;
you can’t see your puppy’s waist;
he has ribs that are hard to feel beneath the fat.
Is it dangerous to overfeed a puppy?
Yes, because being overweight can lead to various health problems in dogs, including diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease. Some of them are irreversible. It shortens a dog’s life expectancy.
Why is my puppy so hungry in the morning?
If your dog wakes you up early and asks for food, you may need to feed him a little later in the evening. Then your puppy will be able to hold out longer. Also, some dogs acquire the bad habit of waking the owner early with their barking to get attention and food. This can be managed by not paying attention to the morning barking.
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