Why Is My Dog Always Hungry?

Reading a dog’s hunger cues can be a really confusing part of being an owner. If like us, you've got a greedy dog on your hands, it's tricky to distinguish whether those puppy eyes are through genuine hunger or the treat tin is calling again.

You see, dogs are bright animals, not only do they quickly learn new behaviours (often from our reactions to them) but they also have inbred behaviours which can be traced way back to their wild ancestors who would eat as and when the opportunity arose to ensure their survival.

This eating when not necessarily hungry tactic worked perfectly for them but for our domesticated pups, it can lead to overeating, begging and pet owners constantly questioning ‘why is my dog always hungry?!’ And if that is you, we promise you are not alone.

Why does my dog act like he’s starving all the time?

There are several common reasons this could be happening.

  1. Your dog is actually hungry and needs their food intake increased.
  2. Their current food isn’t right for their needs and they aren’t obtaining the calories or nutrients that they require. Choosing a food that is high in protein, low in fat and packed full of vitamins and minerals is your best course of action in order to prevent them from always feeling hungry.
  3. They are quite honestly just being chancers and are hoping that by acting like they are hungry they’ll be given something – we said they were bright!
  4. It could be that there is an underlying health issue such as diabetes, a tumour, gastrointestinal issues or they may be suffering from stress or anxiety.

If you suspect the latter do seek medical advice from your vet as soon as possible.

How do I know if my dog is hungry or greedy?

Differentiating between hunger and greed may not be easy to do at first glance but with a few careful checks and considerations hopefully, we’ll be able to help you identify which issue you are dealing with.

If your dog is hungry then they will probably:

  • Look underweight – check if you can see their ribs
  • Run out of energy quite quickly during walks
  • Be constantly pushing or tapping their bowls
  • Scavenging even when out
  • Pestering you more for treats/titbits
  • Be drinking more (but keep a close eye on this as it can also be a sign of health issues)

If your dog is greedy then they will probably:

  • Be carrying a little more weight (usually because they have mastered their begging technique and convinced you they are hungry)
  • Be a constant nag for scraps

Your dog may also have an increased appetite if you have recently increased their activity levels, if you have upped their daily stimulation with training methods or if they have started on a new medication.

How do I stop my dog from being hungry?

If your dog is truly hungry then the first step you can take is to increase their daily food intake. Carefully look at the feeding guidelines provided by the dog food company and use your own knowledge of your dog, their activity levels, and their hunger levels to up their food accordingly.

You can also add in some low-fat, tasty treats as rewards and snacks in between meals but just take care not to go overboard because you don’t want to slip from being hungry and underweight to having an overweight issue. Balance is key.

Why is my dog always begging for food?

Well, the very simple reason for this is that they love the taste and smell of food and our pampered pooches really are triers! The thing is it often works, doesn’t it? How many times have you looked down at those cute puppy dog eyes and given them a titbit from the table? Come on, we know you do!

We aren’t saying it isn’t right, it is most definitely ok to treat them every now and then but unfortunately, those little treats of love can lead to a few bad habits but as long as those habits don’t get out of control or begin to cause tensions within the family or with guests, then you will be fine. Stick to those training techniques, let them understand that no means no, don’t give in every time and reward good behaviour with positive affirmations.

So, if your dog does always seem hungry you can now hopefully identify why and make changes in both yours and their lifestyle in order to solve any issues.