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Why Do Dogs Go Crazy For Food? 5 Reasons + Tips

Dog Goes Crazy For Food

Treats are attractive to dogs.

However, some canines go bonkers during meal times.

Your fur baby may bark a lot.

Others would even climb on tables.

And now you’re baffled because you never fail to feed your baby.

But why do they still act wildly whenever they see food?

Continue reading to discover:

  • 5 reasons why dogs go crazy over food.
  • Medical conditions that make canines always hungry.
  • 3 tips on how to make your dog calm down when there’s food.
  • And much much more…

Why do dogs go crazy for food?

Dogs go crazy for food because they don’t have good mealtime habits. They may have learned these from their previous homes. Your dog may also have Cushing’s Disease which can increase their appetite. Diabetes is another medical condition that affects food intake in canines.

Dog goes crazy for food – 5 reasons

#1: You encouraged the behavior

One of the reasons why dogs do certain behaviors is reinforcement. What do you do when your pooch asks for food? Especially during non-meal times?

Some fur parents give in. And provide their pooches with treats. If you’re the same, then it’s possible you “trained” your dog to go crazy.

I know it’s hard to say no to our babies. Just recall the puppy eyes you get….

But, if you continue giving in, this behavior won’t stop. They associate the action with good things. And this will make them repeat it. This is called positive reinforcement.

#2: They learned bad mealtime manners

Some dogs have poor behavior because they learned it from others. Examples of bad actions during mealtimes are:

  • Climbing on the table.
  • Taking food out of your hand.
  • Barking non-stop even if they’re already fed.

Does your canine do these things?

One reason it happens is because your fur baby had poor training.

Here’s a clip explaining how you can stop your dog from getting rowdy during mealtimes:

When executed well, you’ll have lesser issues in the future. And some canines are better at remembering what was instructed to them. Science backs this up.

Research shows that older dogs stick with what they’re taught before.

Having bad mealtime habits happens more to younger dogs. 

Canines who are 1 year old and below tend to pick up poor behavior more.

In the study, 95 dogs were arranged into 5 age groups. These canines’ ages ranged from 5 months to 13 years old.

The dog’s cognitive abilities were then tested. 

Below are the categories of the tests:

  • Memory.
  • Logical reasoning.
  • Visual discrimination learning.

The dogs were also exposed to images with negative associations.

The researchers then showed a different set of photos. One picture was new to the canines. And the other was from the previous set that had negative associations.

The researchers then tested the canines. When shown the photos, dogs shouldn’t choose the one with the negative associations.

To pass the test, the canines should select the new image shown to them.

Older dogs fared better in this test. This is because the older a canine is, the stronger they hold on to learned behavior.

And since they were taught earlier which picture is “wrong,” they knew which one to choose.

Going back, if your dog has bad mealtime actions, they may have learned these when they’re younger. And now that they’re older, they keep on repeating the behavior.

You may also wonder: Demand Barking: 19 Simple Tips To Stop It (How-To Guide)

#3: They are pregnant

Dogs Go Crazy For Food When They Are Pregnant

Your dog may be eating for two. And if you’ve been feeding them a solo meal, they’d get hungry.

Pregnant dogs eat more. This can lead them to feeling hungry all the time

After all, they need all the nutrients for their baby. This could be why they’d go crazy when there’s food. They simply need more.

Your dog will eat a bit more during weeks 1 to 6 of pregnancy.

When your pooch reaches weeks 6 to 9, you should put out 25% more food.

To help your pregnant dog, Purina suggests:

  • Keeping a fresh bowl of water.
  • Moistening their food to increase intake.
  • Their meals should contain around 22% protein.
  • Giving an estimate of 1600 kcal to them per day.

Note: It’s normal for momma canines to gain weight. This is so they’ll be ready for weaning. Don’t worry if you notice them getting a bit fat.

#4: They have Cushing’s Disease

It can be difficult to diagnose Cushing’s Disease. Vets usually take several screenings and tests for this illness.

And sometimes, fur parents may even see its symptoms as positive.

You see, one sign that your pooch has Cushing’s is an increase in their appetite. And some of us love to see our dogs eat a lot.

But, when it comes to senior canines, an increase in appetite can be somewhat “off.” 

I mean, older canines are slower. And they no longer have the energy when they were younger. Why would they need an increase in food intake?

The reason for the rise in appetite is tumors. These lumps are usually found on a dog’s pituitary or adrenal glands. 

Here are other symptoms:

  • Losing their hair.
  • Increasing water intake.
  • Getting hungry more often.
  • More accidents happening in your home.

According to WebMD, stress is the main cause of Cushing’s Disease. If your pooch is constantly in a stressful environment, their cortisol levels increase.

One of the causes that your dog becomes stressed is because of the people around them.

Research shows that your stress levels can negatively affect your dog too. 

In the paper, researchers studied 58 dogs. 25 canines were Border Collies. And 33 were Shetland Sheepdogs. All of their fur parents were females.

The researchers then studied the cortisol levels of the canines and their moms. 

Hair samples from the research subjects were taken at different times.

Once during the summertime. And the next hair samples were taken in winter. The researchers found that the cortisol levels of the dogs and their parents matched.

#5: They have diabetes

Diabetes is a common medical issue in dogs. Especially if a canine doesn’t have a proper diet.

Diabetes is either caused by the lack of or resistance to insulin. And the former is more common in dogs.

In case of insulin deficiency dogs would need insulin shots.

This imbalance causes cells to malfunction. And it can affect your dog’s appetite. They no longer get the glucose their bodies need.

Some canines even get bad gas from swallowing food too fast.

The lack of blood sugar can make your pooch hungry. And this can happen throughout the day. Even if they’re well-fed, they can still feel hunger.

BONUS: They feel bored

Some dogs have high energy levels. And these canines can get unruly. Especially if they’re under-exercised.

This happens more to working dog breeds. Or those that are naturally athletic.

Here are examples of these dog breeds:

  • Dalmatian.
  • Weimaraner.
  • Border Collie.
  • Siberian Husky.
  • Belgian Malinois.
  • Jack Russell Terrier.
  • Australian Shepherd.
  • Australian Cattle Dog.

The canines mentioned above love activities. Even the act of eating food can excite them. That’s why some of them would go crazy.

Further reading: 9 Reasons Why Your Dog Is Suddenly Being Destructive + Tips

How do I stop my dog from going crazy for food? 3 tips

#1: Take them out for walks before meals

Taking your dog for exercise is important. It keeps them mentally healthy. And generally happy.

Not only that, but it also lessens the moments where your dog goes crazy. But, you need to schedule their walks around their meals.

If a dog exercises right before a meal, it can hurt them. Walking right after eating isn’t good, either.

“So when should I take them for walks?”

Dogs should walk 30 minutes before eating. This way, they’re safe from gastric dilatation-volvulus.

Warning: You should also let your dog rest 2 hours after eating. Don’t play with them or make them walk far. Ideally, the only activities they should do are poop and pee.

#2: Teach them good mealtime behavior

Having an unruly house can be annoying. That’s why teaching your pets how to behave is important.

What you can do is change your dog’s behavior. Especially during mealtimes. You can try teaching Fido a few vocal commands.

An example would be to give “sit” and “down” commands.

Here’s how you can teach your dog:

Step #1: Use a treat to lure your dog to lie down. You can gently push their body down if needed.

Step #2: Calmly say “sit” or “down” when your dog sits still.

Step #3: If your fur baby holds the position, give them a small treat. Add pets and rubs to reinforce the action.

#3: Make sure their nutritional needs are met

Malnutrition is one reason a dog is always hungry. They might be eating on time but the amount is lacking.

The AKC says that dogs should eat twice a day. And these factors are affecting their meal intake:

  • Age.
  • Size.
  • Breed.
  • Activity level.

If you have an active pup, you should feed them 3 to 4 times daily. They need their calorie intake to fuel their bodies.

Always give your dog quality and healthy food. Make sure there’s a good balance of protein and fat. A few fresh fruits can also help them hydrate. Especially those with high water content.

These fruits are:

  • Apple.
  • Mango.
  • Orange.
  • Blueberry.
  • Cucumber.
  • Watermelon.

Unfortunately, some commercial dog food doesn’t adhere to your dog’s needs. Some brands even load their feeds with carbohydrates.

You need to make sure that the dog food you buy is transparent with its ingredients.