why does my dog always seem hungry
So itÁs possible your dog is not actually hungry, but eating whenever food is offered in case you stop offering it. For the lazy lab that has been a house dog from birth, this may be a hard explanation to swallow, since he has not been wild even and neither has any of his nearest kin. And, if many of their other instinctual traits have been bred out of them (for example herding dogs that no longer have the instinct to herd)áit could be argued that this one would be as well, though it does have its benefits to humans. As aforementioned, it certainly makes training eaiser. As they age, your dog may act hungrier due to health issues. Health Concerns Dr. Benson also mentions that an always hungry dog could have a medical problem causing them to always feel hungry. ÁWhile some dogs just simply like to indulge in food, sometimes an increased appetite is the sign of an underlying health issue,Á he explains. Common Diseases That Show an Increase in Appetite:, for example, can trigger an increased appetite. á Although there is an excess of glucose in their bloodstream, a lack of insulin means that the glucose is effectively Álocked outÁ of the bodyÁs cells. The cells respond by telling the animal that they should still beáhungry, so this can result in an abnormally large appetite. Hyperadrenocorticism (also known asá ) can also cause an increased appetite when theádogÁs body produces too much glucocorticoid Á the hormone that helps furry friends deal with stress. Conditions causing malabsorption Á any disease where aádogácanÁt properly absorb the nutrients in their food Á can result in them being extraáhungry.
Most of the time these conditions are accompanied by other signs like diarrhea and/or vomiting. Some examples include:
á (EPI) Á most common in German Shepherd dogs, this condition results in a decrease in the enzymes required to digest food. As a result, food can pass through the digestive tract without being broken down properly, thus not being able to be absorbed. Bacterial overgrowth Á sometimes associated with EPI but also able to occur as a primary condition, small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) can cause the walls of the small intestine being damaged by bacteria, resulting in reduced nutrient absorption and an increased appetite. If you notice yourá dogá is eating more than usual, consult your veterinarian to be sure that their feeding frenzies are not the result of a more serious health concern. Force of Habit, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, author, consultant, and expert on dogs, suggests we may have actually caused this behavior in our dogs. ÁMost of the dogs I seeá actá hungryá because they have been reinforced for acting that way. Á Bennett offers. ÁItÁs hard to resist those big browná dogá eyes when aá dogá looks at their owner so owners give theirá dogá a treat. This reinforces the food seeking behavior in theá dog, so that it gets stronger in theá dog. And since theá dogá eats, the owner feels that theá dogá really wasá hungry. ItÁs an interesting cycle. Á Bennett notes that even if you donÁt train your dog with food, you are most like ÁguiltyÁ of giving them a treat when they Áask for itÁ through begging, staring at you, etc.
ÁIn this sense, I think dogs often train us to feed them,Á Bennett adds. á ÁMyá owná dogá is able to do his ÁitÁs time to eatá actÁ with each member of the family at night and weÁve fallen for it enough that we actually have to confirm with one another whether or not he has been fed. HeÁs a smartá dog. Á About the Author Based in Tustin, Calif. , animal lover Kristina N. Lotz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer Á Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and works as a full time trainer. She also owns her own custom pet products company, where she makes personalized collars, leashes, beds, keepsake pillows and blankets, and anything else your imagine can think up. In her spare time, she trains and competes in herding, agility, obedience, rally, and conformation with her Shetland Sheepdogs. As a pet owner, you don't want to feed your pet too much, and you don't want to stuff your face while it starves in the corner, either. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to tell if your dog is really hungry. David Levin, owner of dog walking and training company, says it's pretty much impossible to tell if your dog is hungry or not. "That's why dog food labels come with recommended feeding amount instructions," he explained. "Those labels usually offer a range based on your dog's ideal body weight. You should also consider the dog's activity level when deciding which end of the recommended range to feed. " Celebrity dog trainer says you also need to make sure your dog isn't sick when it is begging for food more than usual. "Keeping a close eye on your dog s body weight is crucial," he said. "If you feed your dog the recommended amount of dog food you see on the bag of dog food, there is really only a slim chance your dog is not going to be getting enough food.
If for some reason you think your dog is too thin, take him to your veterinarian and get his opinion. " "More times that not," added Silverman, "the main reason dogs beg for food is because we have reinforced that behavior, either knowingly or unknowingly. " Levin says that dogs aren't that much different from people when it comes to food. "Many of us eat when we're not hungry or eat more than we need to eat," he said. "Eating foods, especially ones that are more flavorful and novel to the ones we're used to, light up the pleasure centers in our brains. Dogs don't have the same self-awareness we do, to understand that eating anything and everything they desire is bad for them so they should hold off. " We feel ya, pup. Sometimes, we're not so great at that either. If your dog is begging for food more than you would like, try these tricks to curb that behavior: Reward with toys or words, not food Levin reminded us that dogs learn from reinforced behaviors, so it's all about behaviors and consequences. "If a dog begs and the owner gives in, the behavior was just reinforced, and it's more likely to happen again. To win at training, you often have to outlast a dog's willpower, and they can be quite strong! "
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