Does your pooch have a bottomless stomach?
You just fed them, but they came begging for more nom-noms.
And you wonder,
“How do I correct this behavior?”
Keep reading to find out:
- 17 human foods safe for dogs to eat.
- 9 ways to deal with a dog that is always hungry.
- 3 side effects of free-feeding a dog who’s always hungry.
- Precisely why you should use food-dispensing toys for your pooch.
- And many, many more…
Table of contents
- How to deal with a dog that is always hungry?
- 9 ways to deal with a dog that is always hungry
How to deal with a dog that is always hungry?
You can deal with a dog that is always hungry through scheduled feedings. Small but frequent meals are key. Don’t free-feed them. You can also use it as a training opportunity by using food-dispensing toys and adding fiber to their diet. Lastly, schedule a vet visit to rule out medical conditions.
9 ways to deal with a dog that is always hungry
#1: Scheduled feedings
PetMD tells us that this gives structure to a dog’s life.
It helps them:
- Avoid grazing.
- Have good manners.
- Feel like part of the family.
On the opposite side of the spectrum is free-feeding.
This is a method where dog parents will leave lots of food for their pooch.
And the dog will just eat when they want to.
There are downsides to this:
- Can cause obesity.
- No control of food intake.
- Invites small animals to eat.
But scheduled feedings give you control over what your dog eats. And you can also maintain their weight.
“How much should I feed my dog?”
According to VCA, the general rule of thumb is:
|30 x weight in pounds divided by 2.2 (or in kg) + 70 |
= daily caloric needs
|Your dog’s 66 lbs|
30 x (66÷2.2) + 70 = daily caloric needs
30 x 30 + 70 = 130 calories/day
Once you have the answer you can look at the dog food’s calories per cup. And base how much to give your pooch there.
You can find these in the nutrition facts at the back of the dog food sack.
Note: This is just an estimate. And many factors affect how much food to give your pooch.
You have to consider the following:
- Health condition.
- Exercise/activity rate.
For the best diet for your pooch, consult with your vet.
You might also want to know: Feeding Schedule For 5-Week Old Puppy: When & What To Feed
#2: Small but frequent meals
This is great for the grazers.
Those dogs who like to eat slowly or only a little bit at a time.
Measure out your dog’s food for the day. And divide it into 4 or 5 portions.
Then you can offer them to your pooch at different intervals.
This feeding method is also suited for growing puppies.
You can’t feed puppies a lot at a time.
Their stomachs would burst from all that food at once.
Small but frequent meals are also great for sick or recovering dogs.
Take this situation for example…
My friend’s dog, Hela, contracted a bacterial infection of the stomach.
She got over it. But during her healing process, she wanted to eat a lot.
Her dog parent fed her small meals throughout the day.
And the minute the bowl was in front of Hela, she’d gobble up what little food there was inside.
If my friend fed her a lot at once, it could’ve meant another round of vomiting for Hela.
“Why is this important to remember?”
Sick dogs often have sensitive stomachs. Or they don’t like to eat a lot.
With recovering pooches you don’t want to shock their digestive system.
Especially if they’re healing from an illness that affects their stomachs.
The AKC recommends these bland foods for sick or recovering dogs:
- Baby food.
- Bone broth.
- Chicken and rice.
- Shredded chicken.
Note: Ask your vet if these are okay for pooch, before feeding the foods to them.
Scheduled feedings help them get used to food once again.
#3: Don’t free-feed
What is free-feeding?
This is a method for letting your dogs eat unlimited food for the day in their bowls.
Most dog parents use this when their pooch doesn’t eat on schedule.
Some do it because their pup doesn’t eat enough.
And others do it because it’s convenient.
“What are the dangers of free-feeding?”
In #1, I talked a bit about the dangers of free-feeding.
And I’ll elaborate on the most glaring one: obesity.
There is no portion control. So it encourages an impulse to eat in dogs.
In the old days, wild dogs didn’t have a lot to eat. So they would eat as much as possible when they could.
This trait also appears in our doggos. Especially if we adopt this feeding method.
There are also genetic-related reasons why dogs eat like there’s no tomorrow.
AKC tells us that the following dog breeds are more prone to overeating:
- Bull Terrier.
- Great Pyrenees.
- Golden Retriever.
- Labrador Retriever.
- Norwegian Elkhound.
- Pembroke Welsh Corgi.
East Valley Animal Hospital says it also creates an opportunity for resource guarding.
Especially if there are multiple dogs in your house.
In this case, there is a possibility of malnutrition. As the assertive dogs get to eat more. While the others eat less or none at all.
#4: Schedule a vet visit
Sometimes the reason for an always-hungry pooch is a medical condition.
Here are 3 diseases that cause excessive eating in dogs:
This disease happes because their endocrine system doesn’t produce enough insulin.
MSD Manual states that your pooch could have it when they’re always hungry.
And they also display these symptoms:
- Weight loss.
- Cloudy eyes.
- Increased urination.
- Decreased appetite.
- Recurring infections.
- Excessive water drinking.
The thyroid plays an important role in hormone production.
But there are times when it produces too much. As a result, the dog’s metabolism gets really fast.
And this is why they’re always hungry.
Here are the other signs to look out for:
- Weight loss.
- Fast heart rate.
- Enlarged heart.
- Heart murmurs.
- Increased urination.
- Large thyroid gland.
- Shortness of breath.
- Congestive heart failure.
- An increased amount of poop.
This disease in older dogs.
And the cause is the overproduction of the stress hormone, cortisol.
It results in low blood sugar.
So the dog’s body tries to compensate for it by eating a lot.
Aside from overeating, observe your dog for the other signs:
- Hair loss.
- Thinning of skin.
- Muscle weakness.
- Frequent urination.
- Excessive drinking.
- Enlarged abdomen.
These conditions are very serious. And they’re life-threatening or life-long for your pooch.
So if you notice the signs in your dog, don’t hesitate to bring them to the vet.
They have to do many tests to confirm their diagnosis.
Also, take note of the answers to these questions:
- When did the signs start to show?
- Have the symptoms increased in appearance after you first noticed them?
- Does your dog have pre-existing medical conditions? And are they taking medicine for it?
The answers will help to let your vet narrow down the causes. Overall, it makes for a more accurate diagnosis.
#5: Don’t fall for puppy dog eyes
It’s not easy resisting those soulful gazes when you eat.
Or their whines and barks while you’re having a bite.
But you must stand your ground.
Stick to your dog’s meal plan and feeding schedule.
In the long run, it’s best for your doggo.
Feeding them human or table food can cause a lot of issues.
It tends to contain more salt and fat than what dogs need.
Salty foods decrease water retention. Which can cause constipation.
And fatty meals can cause pancreatitis, states PetMD.
It’s a condition where the pancreas releases digestive enzymes too early.
Or before the food even gets inside the digestive tract.
It causes the following symptoms:
- Severe abdominal pain.
Fatty food means high calories, which can lead to obesity.
It happens when dogs go over their recommended weight.
According to this study, it contributes to poor life quality. And a shorter lifespan.
This occurred in all the 12 breeds of over 50,000 dogs used in the research.
But don’t worry!
Another study reassures us that controlled calorie reduction and exercise can help.
So do your best to resist those puppy dog eyes begging for your food.
If you must give them human food, prepare it separately. And without salt, fat, or spices.
According to the AKC, dogs can eat these:
- Peanut butter.
You might also be interested in: Can Dogs Eat Alfredo? 7 Ingredients Reviewed + 7 Dangers
#6: Use it as a training opportunity
If your pooch goes gaga for food, then capitalize on that.
Food-motivated dogs are easy to train.
You might say they’d do anything for food.
So make the most of it by teaching them new commands.
Or cool tricks just like the ones in the video below.
These are easy for your dog to learn.
Watch this video for 6 new tricks to teach your dog in 1 day:
#7: Use food dispensing toys
If your pup is always hungry, try rationing their food.
And make their new diet fun.
You can do this by introducing food-dispensing toys or toy puzzles.
Stuff their food into the toy. And make them use their brains when eating.
You can buy all of these online:
- KONG – Wobbler.
- KONG – Extreme Dog Toy.
- AWOOF Pet Snuffle Mat for Dogs.
- Hyper Pet IQ Treat Mat Dog Lick Mat.
- Outward Hound Fun Feeder Slo Bowl.
- OurPets IQ Treat Ball Dog Ball Dog Toy & Dog Slow Feeder.
- Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound – Interactive Puzzle Game.
It doesn’t just make it exciting. The activity also helps them get physical exercise.
And by the end, they’re probably too tired to think about food for a few hours.
#8: Maintain a healthy weight
The AVMA explains that keeping our dogs at their optimal weight has a lot of benefits.
It lowers the risk of diseases such as:
- Some cancers.
- Kidney problems.
- Respiratory disease.
- High blood pressure.
And it also helps prevent conditions like:
- Low life expectancy.
- Bone, muscle, or joint injury.
“How do I find out if my pet has a healthy weight?”
You can use this healthy weight tool from PetMD.
But only take it as a reference point.
The best option is to have your pooch examined by the vet.
They will recommend the best food choices. And the different exercise plans available.
But remember that it takes commitment on your part.
That’s if you want to help your pooch lose or gain weight.
#9: Add more fiber to their meals
Sometimes dogs scarf down their food because they don’t feel full.
Adding fiber-rich foods to their diet can help. They also aid in digestion.
They’re also a source of additional nutrients and vitamins for your pooch. As fruits and veggies have a lot of fiber.
AKC lists safe fiber-rich food for dogs
For fruits you can add:
And you may not be a fan of vegetables, but your pooch can be.
Here’s what you can put in their bowls:
- Brussel sprouts (moderate, causes gas).
Note: Always consult with your vet if these are okay additions to your dog’s diet.
Gradually add these to their meals. So that your pooch’s stomach gets used to it.