Did your old dog suddenly become a walking vacuum?
The intensity of their food hunting worries you.
What could be happening to your old pal?
Read on to discover:
- Things to expect as your dog gets older.
- 9 reasons why your old dog is food-obsessed.
- Whether you should worry about the appetite change.
- Signs and symptoms of common disorders for older dogs.
- And a lot more…
Table of contents
Why is my old dog suddenly food-obsessed?
Your old dog is suddenly food-obsessed due to disorders like diabetes, Cushing’s disease, hyperthyroidism, or exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. Sudden changes in their environment or medicines can also cause increased appetite. Bacterial overgrowth and parasites can be reasons for this too.
9 reasons why your dog is obsessed with food all of a sudden
#1: Bacterial overgrowth
You might ask.
“Are there bacteria in my dog??”
The answer is yes. But don’t panic.
Bacteria play a big role in food digestion.
However, there are times when it causes problems.
Like when a muscle contraction isn’t present during digestion.
That is when bacteria overgrow.
“So what does it mean for my furry pal?”
When overpopulated, bacteria cause damage to your dog’s system.
The food intake of your dog won’t be properly digested.
Nutrients will be poorly absorbed too.
This causes your dog to feel hungry all the time.
Hence, the intense hunting of food begins.
You should expect a lot of pawing.
They’ll sniff the ground endlessly.
And eat everything that is food or might be food.
“Should I take my dog to the vet?”
Yes. Your vet needs to know the root cause.
And treatment will depend on the findings.
#2: Environmental changes
Sudden changes in behaviors can be caused by recent experiences.
Did your dog meet with other dogs?
Did the other dogs share his food bowl?
Your dog becoming ravenous could be a response.
No need to worry.
This behavior can be managed.
Once they’re back in their usual environment, their appetite will normalize.
Let me ask you something else though.
Do you have a new dog in the house?
And is your first dog showing signs of aggressiveness?
This could happen if your old dog isn’t used to having company.
You’ll also notice them being a little food protective.
“Hey new pooch, that’s my food!”
They’ll devour the food. Especially with the presence of your new dog.
Try placing your older dog in a separate room during mealtime.
Watch if they eat as they normally do.
If yes, then you’re lucky.
Increased appetite as behavioral change is easy to deal with.
#3: New medications
Did your vet prescribe new meds?
“But the meds were for another problem….”
It doesn’t matter.
Some medications can increase appetite as a side effect.
One example is Corticosteroids.
Corticosteroids (commonly known as steroids) are anti-inflammatory.
They’re also used for immune-related disorders.
Your vet may have prescribed synthetic steroids for your dog.
Check if your pooch is taking one of these.
If they do, you found the culprit.
Because these meds will cause a big appetite for your dog.
If you want to know more about steroids for dogs, watch:
Just like in humans, insulin affects your dog.
Experts call insulin the gatekeeper.
It tells the sugar to go to the cells.
If there isn’t enough insulin production, your dog’s cells won’t get the sugar.
As a result, it will stay in the bloodstream.
That’s when diabetes happens.
And the result?
Your dog becomes excessively hungry.
“Is that food in your hand, hooman? I want.”
They’ll constantly search for food.
But you can’t blame your dog.
The effect of diabetes is another case of malabsorption.
If nutrients aren’t absorbed, they will always feel like starving.
“Is my dog at risk for diabetes?”
They can be due to old age.
AKC provides a list of other risk factors.
- Steroid medications.
- Chronic pancreatitis.
Warning: Diabetes is a threat to your dog’s health.
Older dogs should be checked regularly.
Early detection and proper care is a must.
#5: Cushing’s disease
The name itself is kind of worrying, right?
Well, you might have to.
Cushing’s disease can lead to serious health complications.
It is caused by the overproduction of cortisol.
Cortisol is a hormone that increases sugar in your dog’s bloodstream.
And this can be blamed for your dog’s eternal quest for food.
This condition happens commonly in older dogs.
“Could my dog have this disease?”
Here are some symptoms to look out for according to the FDA.
- Hair loss.
- Always thirsty.
- Skin infections.
- Increased appetite.
- Increased urination.
- Enlargement of the abdomen.
If you think your pooch has it, a visit to the vet is necessary.
#6: Thyroid problem
Senior dogs are prone to thyroid problems.
This can make your dog a voracious machine.
Hyperthyroidism happens when the thyroid glands produce too many hormones.
And these glands control the speed of metabolism.
Thus, increasing the metabolism of your pooch.
You already know this drill.
This also happens to humans.
The faster the metabolism, the faster you starve too.
So the next time you see your dog inhaling food…
It could be their hormones.
“How would I know if it’s hyperthyroidism?”
Here are symptoms to look for.
- Weight loss.
- Drinking a lot.
- Drinking a lot.
- Increase in energy.
- Excessive appetite.
- Hard time breathing.
- Enlarged thyroid gland.
If you notice these, your old pal will need help.
It’s important to get your dog checked and treated.
Are there renters in your dog’s tummy?
Not the paying ones.
But the hookworms, tapeworms, and roundworms instead.
“How do parasites affect my dog?”
The nutrients that are supposed for your pooch…
The parasites get them instead.
And your old pal is left with malnutrition.
This causes an increase in the appetite of your dog.
A quick trip to the vet is needed.
Medications can treat this digestive concern.
And your dog can say goodbye to the renters in their tummy.
Hopefully, you get to say goodbye to your dog’s extreme appetite too.
Your dog’s strong appetite will bother you.
Especially when they weren’t big eaters before.
“Could it be age-related?”
Older dogs are vulnerable to Canine Cognitive Decline (CCD) or dog dementia.
It’s better to detect it early. And give proper care to your pooch.
Here are some symptoms of CCD:
- Change in appetite.
- Barking for no reason.
- Lost in familiar places.
- Unresponsive to your voice.
- Changes in sleeping pattern.
- Peeing/pooping in the house.
“I’m sorry about my little messes, hooman.”
The last thing your dog wants is to disappoint you.
CCD is harder for your pooch than for you.
But they don’t have to go through dementia alone.
If increased appetite is noticed with other symptoms, take your dog to a vet.
The vet can guide you on how to deal with your dog.
Some extra loving is also needed by your best pal.
#9: Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency (EPI)
EPI sounds worrisome.
Here’s how it happens.
The pancreas produces enzymes.
These enzymes digest fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.
Sometimes the pancreas doesn’t produce enough enzymes.
That’s when indigestion occurs. Which then leads to malabsorption of nutrients.
Your dog won’t get enough of what he needs.
It now leads to an increase in appetite.
Check below for signs of EPI in dogs.
- Weight loss.
- Chronic diarrhea.
- Excessive appetite.
“Should I worry if my dog has EPI?”
In most cases, you shouldn’t.
EPI can be cured with meds.
With a low-fat diet, the pancreas of your pooch can also heal.
You might wonder.
“Is food obsession a serious condition?”
It will depend on your dog’s case.
Environmental and prescription changes shouldn’t worry you at all.
You can just enjoy watching them devour their food.
However, it’s different when it’s caused by disorders.
With your old pal, diseases are common. And at times could be serious.
Regular check-ups and lab tests are necessary.
In case your pooch is diagnosed, extra care is needed.
Your dog will also want assurance.
Love and cuddles will always make them feel better.
Because they should never go through it alone.
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