WHY IS MY DOG OBSESSED WITH FOOD?
Of late it seems your dog has become obsessed with food. It may not have been so in the past, but recently you notice that he or she is somewhat aggressive whenever anyone approaches them during their mealtime. If you have other dogs around, they can even go to the extent of becoming violent with these dogs. What’s more, it seems that your dog now is hungry all the time. They would beg you and anyone for food, steal food, and always be looking for food even in unhealthy places like refuse dumps, garbages, etc. But your dog has not always been like this so what changed “Why is my dog obsessed with food?”
WHAT CAUSES FOOD OBSESSION IN DOGS
1. Lack of required nutrients in food
This is easily the first cause of your dog getting obsessed with food. You might be feeding them with quantity but not quality. You see dogs of any age require the appropriate nutrients in sufficient quantity to meet their energy needs, they also need it for their internal and external body functions and also to maintain and repair body tissues.
A dog that is not getting the nutrient it needs on a daily bases would always be hungry and obsessed with food. So “what can I give my dog to make her feel full“?
That is simple, you should feed your dog with food that contains the required nutrients in the right amount that your dog needs to thrive daily. For you to do this, you have to take into consideration the dog’s size, age, breed, and more. You can learn more about the type of food your dog needs by reading WHAT ARE THE TOP TEN BEST DOG FOODS?
Some people like to make the dog food themselves, in this way they can be very sure what goes into making the dog food and what exactly they are feeding their dogs with. If you want to do this yourself, you can read MAKING FOOD FOR YOUR DOG
2. Psychological or behavioral issues.
Many things can contribute to a dog having Psychological or behavioral issues towards food. Past experiences, habits, lack of food, etc. All these can make a dog have a psychological or behavioral obsession with food. For example, a dog that has been used to fending for itself and fighting for food all his life would act aggressively even when food is presented to him only. Dogs that are raised together will also have behavioral problems around food as they may miss out if they don’t rush at it like every other dog. Also, the free-feeding of multiple dogs can also lead to this.
In simple terms the continuous strive to be aggressive and get more than the companion dog can lead to the habit of being obsessed anytime food is presented to the dog, this habit can result in Psychological or behavioral issues and become a form of obsession.
In situations like this, it is always advisable to feed each dog separately over time. If this is done continuously and the diet is balanced enough or contains all nutrition required. The dog would in a sense grow out of the problem.
It is no secret that as a dog grows old, there is a decrease in its activity level. This also translates to their nutrient requirements changing. For example, an adult dog would need more fiber to make sure that the digestive tract functions properly, they also need more omega 3 and 6 oils for better joint functionality.
The decrease in physical activities in an aging dog also translates to a slower metabolic process, this also translates to a lower need for calorie high food. In fact, an old dog that consumes high-calorie food would likely have an obesity problem in the nearest future.
All these ties into the fact that an older dog might not be getting the nutrient they need from what they are being fed and will start going in search of something to satisfy them. This might lead to them hoarding some food and acting possessive or becoming obsessed with food.
So if your “old dog suddenly food obsessed” you have the answer above.
So when is the best time to change your dog’s diet to accommodate the changes that come with aging, well any dog that has reached up to half or two-thirds of its expected lifespan should be seen as an old dog and a diet change would be necessary at this stage.
4. Poor gastrointestinal absorption of nutrients.
If your dog is obsessed with food and is also losing weight, having chronic diarrhea, and exhibiting pica – a condition in which a dog is eating things that are not food, together with a rapid increase in appetite. Then your dog is exhibiting all the signs of Poor gastrointestinal absorption of nutrients.
Causes of this include SIBO(Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) which basically is the speedy growth of bacteria in the small intestines, EPI(Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency) which is the inability of the dog’s pancreas to produce enough pancreatic enzymes to digest fats, carbohydrates, and proteins leading to poor absorption of nutrients, IBD(Inflammatory bowel disease) which is basically a disease that leads to chronic irritation of the dog’s intestinal tract, and intestinal lymphoma which is basically a form of cancer that affects a dog’s intestinal regions.
Treatment for each varies and whatever medication or treatment is needed should be done under the guardiance of your vet doctor.
A dog suffering from diabetes would in addition to having an increase in appetite and becoming obsessed with food would also show signs like weight loss, increased urination, and excessive thirsting. You see since your dog’s organs would not be able to transport sugar consumed into their cells, leading to the food not being utilized by the cells, your dog would exhibit the above symptoms.
Other symptoms that come with diabetes include accidental urination vomiting, dehydration, and lethargy. Some dog breeds like Miniature Schnauzers, Standard Schnauzers, Poodles, Australian Terriers, Spitz, Bichon Frise, Samoyeds, and Keeshonds are more likely to be diabetic than other dogs.
A visit to your vet doctor for professional advice on managing the situation is paramount in this situation.
6. Cushing’s disease.
This is a disease caused by the growth of a tumor in a dog’s pituitary gland. Signs of this disease include increased panting, excessive drinking, bloated abdomen, and excessive urination. Most times Cushing’s disease is often mistaken to be caused by a dog aging, but as we have stated above, this is not so. A series of tests are needed to verify the disease and thankfully, this disease can be treated by medication.
Some dog breeds that are prone to Cushing’s disease are The Poodle, Dachshund, Boston Terrier, Boxer, and Beagle breeds.
7. Parasitic Infections.
A parasite is defined as an organism that lives or attaches itself to another organism (can be large or small) and gets its food from this organism called the host to the demise of the host. Some examples of organisms harboring parasites in them are fleas and ticks. These are mainly external parasites. Some Internal parasites are hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms, etc. Other parasites include coccidia, giardia, and spirochetes.
Now because parasites are always feeding off their host members, infected dogs are always malnourished and hungry. This hunger leads to a situating in which the dog becomes obsessed with food.
Some dogs can get infected contact with another dog that is already infected, others get infected by staying in an environment heavily infected by organisms carrying these parasites. A quick visit to your vet doctor will help your dog to get over this problem. Mainly keep your environment clean and take the medication prescribed by your vet doctor. This way your dog remains protected and safe from parasitic infections.
8. Dog Breed.
There are “food obsessed dog breeds“. These dog breeds are more likely to gorge themselves at the bowl and snap at any hands that dare to interrupt them when they are eating. Most big and powerful dog breeds seem to fall into this category. A good example are pit bulls. You dare not interrupt them when they are having their meal.
You can control this behavior by feeding them only approved portions or quantities of food, using special bowls that would limit their eating speed, keeping them on a leash while they feed, and much more options.
This is a condition where a dog’s body overproduces the thyroid hormones, the effect of this is increased metabolism leading to weight loss, overeating, and obsession with food. Other signs include anxiety, diarrhea, labored breathing, increased heart rate, excessive thirsting, an enlarged thyroid gland, and more. Although a rare condition, it can still occur to any dog especially as they become older
Depending on the severity of the condition in a dog, treatment can range from medication, lifestyle changes to surgery.
HOW DO I STOP MY DOG FROM BEING OBSESSED WITH FOOD?
Here is “how to deal with a dog that is always hungry“.
If you have a dog that would eat up anything and everything, especially if the dog is obese, you have to start dealing with the problem immediately. The first thing you must do is to consult your vet doctor. Take your dog to the vet clinic and get him checked up. If the problem is a health issue, it makes a lot of sense for your dog to start getting the treatment it needs, whether this is medication or surgery.
After doing the above, the next thing is to liaise with your vet doctor and determine the actual dietary need of your dog. The need would be apportioned on a daily basis. You will then need to create a regular feeding schedule for your dog. This usually starts with the dog being fed twice or thrice daily depending on the situation.
Be sure to involve all members of your household and stick to the schedule created. Dog treats should be given to dogs only when they have earned them.
You should also consider feeding your dog with special bowls which will help slow down the speed at which they eat. If there are multiple dogs in the house make sure that each is fed separated from the other.
When you start the food schedule for your dog, only make the food available during the allotted period in which the dog should eat. If for any reason the dog does not eat his or her food in that period, take it away and only present the food at the next schedule. This will reinforce the idea that the dog can eat only at specific periods in the day and since the dog is assumed to be obsessed with food, he or she will automatically adapt.
OTHER RELATED QUESTIONS
Why does my dog act like he’s starving all the time?
There is the possibility that you have been over-feeding your dog for a long time. The period to try to readjust this schedule your dog would display signs as if they are starving all the time. Also, there are health issues that can lead to this behavior in a dog. Diabetes, Cushing’s disease, Hyperthyroidism, and even medication can lead to your dog acting in this way.
Can a dog be to food motivated?
Yes, a dog can be too food-motivated even when normally they are not obsessed with food. Use yourself as an example, there is food that would be presented to you and you will eat them normally, and there is food that just the thought of it would get you salivating. The analogy also applies to dogs.
Why does my dog always want more food?
The two main reasons why a dog would want more food are i.)health issues and ii.) The simple fact is that you are always presenting it with tasty and delicious food. If your dog has a health problem, get help from a vet doctor, if the food is too tasty and delicious for your dog, congratulations, you are doing well, but you need to make sure the nutritional content is correct and you should also have other tricks to divert your dog’s attention away from food.
Hi, I am Charles Nwankwo Editor-in-Chief, Mydoggything.com. Gleaning from Professional Dog Trainers, behaviorist, Registered Veterinarians, and Breeders. We are passionate about making dog care easy for you. My job is to make sure that you get the best-updated dog care information to understand and take care of your dog or dogs.