If your dog acts starving all the time even after meals, constantly begging for food or scavenging for scraps, you’re not alone. Excessive hunger pangs in dogs can be frustrating for pet owners. But there are ways to curb your hungry hound’s appetite and behaviors.
Rule Out Health Issues
First, take your perpetually famished furball to the vet to make sure an underlying condition isn’t driving their insatiable appetite. Certain illnesses like diabetes, worms, or thyroid disorders can cause excessive hunger in dogs. If given a clean bill of health, you can move on to behavior-based solutions.
Stick to a Strict Feeding Schedule
Free-feeding encourages dogs to graze all day. Instead, serve set meals at the same times daily. This allows your dog’s digestion to align with eating schedules. Their hunger should spike around mealtimes rather than randomly. Pick up uneaten food after 15-20 minutes until the next scheduled meal.
Avoid Too Many Treats or Table Scraps
It’s tempting to give extra treats and human food when your dog begs persistently. But this adds unnecessary calories that can contribute to excessive hunger. Stick to healthy training treats only during active training sessions. Limit human food scraps to reduce begging.
Make Sure Their Diet is Nutritionally Balanced
Your vet can help formulate an age-appropriate diet that keeps your dog satisfied. Some dogs compulsively overeat due to nutritional deficiencies or needs not met by their current diet. Switching formulas or adding supplements may help regulate hunger.
Adequate exercise curbs stress and boredom that drives dogs to nip for food. Make sure your dog gets proper activity for their age, breed and temperament daily. Mentally stimulating games also use up energy to leave them content versus constantly hungry.
Use Food Puzzles and Dispensing Toys
These make getting food more physically and mentally challenging. Your dog has to problem solve and work for kibble bit by bit. This taps their natural foraging instincts, extending mealtimes and preventing inhaling food too quickly.
Try an Automatic Feeder
These allow small portions released over hours. By grazing smaller meals throughout the day, dogs tend not to gorge at one sitting. Portion control is built-in to prevent overeating. This can work well for dogs left alone for long workdays.
Frequently Asked Questions
Could my dog just have a naturally larger appetite?
Yes, some dogs are simply more food motivated. As long as health checks are fine and their weight is ideal, letting them eat a bit more while managing begging may work. Discuss amounts with your vet.
I give my dog the recommended food amount but they act starving, what should I do?
Some dogs need more calories based on breed, age, activity level, etc. Consult your vet on possibly increasing daily food while avoiding overfeeding obesity risk. Also ensure no health issues are overlooked.
My dog inhales meals. Could this cause excessive hunger?
It’s possible. Eating too quickly doesn’t allow full satiety signals. Slower feeders, food puzzles, snuffle mats and similar tools force a dog to slow down while eating. This may curb the urge to keep nibbling afterward.
The bottom line – rule out medical reasons first, then apply behavior and feeding schedule adjustments for a dog that acts perpetually hungry. Pay close attention to any correlated weight loss or gain. Patience and consistency will lead to lasting results.