Why Is My Dog Still Hungry?

We've all seen it - your pup just inhaled a fresh bowl and yet they're still ready to vacuum up anything you can throw at them. Is this a sign that you're not feeding them enough? Are they just  Or even worse, is something wrong with them? Turns out, it may be just in their nature.

Scooter is all finished but already ready for more.

There are a number of reasons your pup may have a never-ending appetite, but  canine behaviourists link endless this seemingly bottomless pit to their biological backgrounds, suggesting that dogs are simply reacting to their most basic instincts, just like their wild cousins. Food is a limited resource in the wild, so wolves will tend to overeat and sustain off of large feasts and allow their bodies to consume stored fat in between potentially long periods of time without a successful hunt.

Dogs, like wolves, fee; the need to binge until the point they feel sick; and sometimes even past that. Dogs don't know how to manage portion sizes on their own, and will eat what's available - because, well, wouldn't you if you weren't sure when your next meal is coming? 

What Else Could Be Going On?

There are some dogs who legitimately suffer from endocrine and gastrointestinal ailments that can lead to outsized appetites. Diabetes, Cushing's disease, hyperthyroidism (although rare in dogs) and some pancreatic disorders are all potentially responsible for an impressive drive to ingest.

Make sure that your dog is getting enough protein for their age (puppies and larger breeds need plenty), enough calories (considering how active they are) and dietary fats and fibre. If your dog isn't getting what they need, they may feel the need to get it elsewhere by eating trash, grass, or pretty much anything else they can get their paws on.

So How Much Is Enough?

If you can see his ribs, it’s a good bet he’s not getting enough food and you should up his intake. This varies by breed - some very active breeds, such as greyhounds, are still considered at an ideal weight even though you can see the outline of the ribs. The best practices is to your vet about the ideal weight for your specific dog.

If you can’t see his ribs and you can’t even feel them, it’s time to slow down the gravy train because he’s packing on the pounds. Checking with your veterinarian is the way to go here as well. Going over daily activities and the amount of food that you dole out with your vet allows him or her to tell you whether it’s not enough, enough or too much. Go over dietary changes of any kind with your vet before making them.