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Why is My Dog Always Hungry? Vet-Reviewed Reasons & Considerations

Brooke Bundy

By Brooke Bundy

labrador retriever with dog bowl

Vet approved

Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo

Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

MVZ (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Does your dog always sprint at the sound of a food bowl rattling or human food cooking on the stove? While this is normal behavior for most dogs, you might be alarmed if your dog never seems to fill up, especially if they’re crying or following you around the house begging for more. Here’s how to tell if your pup might be food-obsessed or if they’re trying to tell you they need medical attention.

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When Your Dog’s Increased Appetite Can Be a Sign Something’s Wrong

Certain diseases such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s disease, and pancreatic disorders can all change the way your dog metabolizes food, which might urge them to ask for more. If you notice your pet suddenly asking for more food than normal, it’s always a good idea to make an appointment with your vet just to ensure everything’s okay.

French bulldog eating from bowl
Image Credit: Gryllus M, Shutterstock

Factors To Consider When Wondering if Your Dog’s Appetite Is Normal

Although begging is a relatively common behavior (especially if you frequently give in to their demands), you might want to consider these factors to determine whether your pet might be telling you something more:

1. Their history/background

Did they grow up in a loving, stable home where they knew mealtime was never far away? Dogs that have lived in multiple homes or had to rough it on the streets might develop a poverty mentality because they didn’t have a steady supply of food in the past. Rescue pets may eat to keep from going hungry and will become obese if you indulge this tendency. Try bonding with your pet over toys or quality time to get their mind off of their worries about food. The more they trust you, the less they’ll go to their food bowl for comfort.

2. Age

Your growing puppy may seem like they’re always eating, but they need more calories at this stage of life than ever. It’s normal for a young dog under 2 years old to ask for more food than they usually would. If your senior dog suddenly can’t get their mind off food, it is more likely a medical issue you shouldn’t ignore.

3. Interest in their food

If they turn their nose up at kibbles but scramble to claim eggs from the frying pan, they could just be asking you for your food instead. In this case, they’re not really starving, just being picky.

Image Credit: dogboxstudio, Shutterstock
Image Credit: dogboxstudio, Shutterstock

4. Weight gain/loss

Has your pet substantially gained or lost weight since you started noticing their increased hunger drive? The more calories your dog ingests, the higher their weight should climb. It’s definitely a bigger concern if your dog drops weight despite eating more than usual. Of course, you don’t want your dog to become obese either because that opens the door to various health problems.

5. Activity level

Has your pet been joining you on your new walking schedule or frequently engaging in a game of fetch? Your dog could need the extra calories to support their active lifestyle. If your dog is just slumping around on the sofa, however, they might not need so much food.

6. Personality

Like people, some dogs always seem to be hungry. Maybe your dog is a miniature foodie that really likes to sample your plate.

dog eating
Image By: Chendongshan, Shutterstock

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You should always visit your vet if you notice a sudden, new behavior pattern, especially if it’s accompanied by undesirable side effects such as excessive weight gain or weight loss. While it’s normal for dogs to beg for food, it’s not normal for your dog to lose weight despite eating a generous amount or becoming overly food-obsessed. If the problem persists, talk to your vet to rule out serious medical illnesses like diabetes.

Featured Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

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