Dogs have always been known as “man’s best friend.”
But what isn’t as commonly known is that dogs are also notorious for being insatiable eaters.
It seems like no matter how much food you give them, they always want more. So why do dogs always want food?
Dogs are notorious scavengers and will eat whenever they get the opportunity. Their DNA is wired in such a way that they eat when they have the chance as there could be a long wait before the next meal. So, even though your dog may be well fed and cared for, he will still have the instinct to eat as much as possible whenever he can.
It is instinctive
Although the domestic dog generally enjoys a comfortable life with regular meals, walks and a place to sleep, he is still governed by canine instincts.
One of these instincts is around eating and, more importantly, eating when he gets the opportunity.
In a wild environment, the opportunity to eat may not present itself for quite some time, so, when your dog has the chance to get food ( such as your meals ) then he will take the opportunity to do so.
This basic survival instinct is hardwired into many animals, including the pet dog.
A dog’s desire for food is often encouraged by his owners
Dogs are masters at playing on our emotions and getting us to give them what they want.
In many cases dogs that constantly want food have learned that their owners are ‘soft’ and will give in easily, handing over the edible goodies when asked.
They know how to beg, whine and give us those big, soulful eyes that make it impossible to say no.
In a lot of instances the dog has simply learned that this behaviour gets them what they want – more food.
Is the dog really hungry when he wants food?
It’s important to remember that just because your dog always wants food, it doesn’t mean he’s starving.
If your dog is well fed and gets a balanced diet of good quality dog food then the chances are that he isn’t hungry and he’s just being a typical dog.
Remember that dogs are simply opportunistic eaters and will take advantage of any situation where food is involved.
So the next time your dog is begging for food, ask yourself if he’s really hungry or if he’s just being a dog.
How do I know if I’m feeding my dog enough food?
If you’re unsure about whether you’re feeding your dog enough food, the best thing to do is speak to your veterinarian.
They will be able to advise you on how much food your dog should be eating based on his age, weight, activity level and any other health factors that need to be taken into account.
All commercial dog foods will contain feeding guidelines on the packaging and, often this can be a good place to start with food quantities but you will need to watch your dog to check for weight gain or loss.
Don’t forget that every dog is different and some will require more food than others.
How to deal with a dog that always wants food
If your dog is always asking for food and you think he may be overeating, there are a few things you can do to put a stop to it.
First of all, make sure you are feeding him the right amount of food based on his age, activity level and weight.
If you’re unsure, check with your veterinarian.
Once you know you are feeding him the right amount, be sure to stick to a regular feeding schedule and don’t give in to his begging.
If he’s used to getting handouts all the time, he may need some time to adjust but eventually he will learn that he can’t always have food.
You may also want to try puzzle toys or feeders that make him work for his food.
These can be a great way to keep his mind and body active while still ensuring he’s getting the nutrition he needs.
By understanding why your dog always wants food, you can take the necessary steps to make sure he’s getting the right amount of food and isn’t overeating.
Your dog may have a health issue
If your dog is always asking for food and appears to be genuinely hungry then it’s important to take him to the vet to rule out any health issues.
There are a number of medical conditions that can cause increased appetite so it’s important to get him checked out to make sure he’s healthy.
Your vet will be able to determine if there is a medical reason for his increased appetite and will put him on a treatment plan if necessary.
Puppies need extra food
Puppies have a rapid growth phase and need more food than an adult dog.
They are growing and developing at a rapid pace and need the extra calories to support their growth.
If your puppy is always asking for food, make sure you are feeding him a good quality puppy food that is high in calories and nutrients.
You will also need to feed him more often than an adult dog as he will have a smaller stomach.
Puppies typically eat 3-4 meals per day whereas an adult dog will usually eat 2 meals per day.
As your puppy gets older, you can start to reduce the number of meals until he is eating the same as an adult dog.
Are you giving him enough of the right dog food?
Sometimes the reason your dog always wants food is because he’s not getting enough of the right nutrients from his food.
If you are feeding him a low quality dog food, he may be hungrier because his body is trying to get the nutrients it needs from the food.
Feeding him a good quality dog food that is high in protein and nutrients will help to keep him full and satisfied.
You may also want to consider adding some healthy supplements to his diet to make sure he’s getting everything he needs.
Activity levels will play a part too
If your dog is very active such as a working dog or a dog that is outdoors lots then he will need more food than a dog that is less active.
Dogs that are very active burn more calories and need more food to maintain their energy levels.
Make sure you are taking his activity level into account when you are feeding him and adjust his food accordingly.
How much should my dog eat?
The amount of food your dog needs will depend on his age, activity level, weight and breed.
It’s important to feed him the right amount of food so he doesn’t gain weight but also so he doesn’t get too skinny.
If you are unsure how much to feed your dog, ask your veterinarian for advice.
They will be able to give you a general guide on how much food your dog needs based on his individual needs.
If your dog always wants food, there could be a number of reasons why.
First of all, make sure you are feeding him the right amount of food based on his age, activity level, weight and breed.
If you are feeding him the right amount of food and he is still asking for more, there could be a medical reason why.
In this case, it’s important to take him to the vet to rule out any health issues.
Puppies also need more food than adult dogs so if you have a young puppy, make sure you are feeding him enough.
Finally, check the quality of his food and make sure he’s getting the right nutrients from it.
If you are unsure about anything, ask your veterinarian for advice.