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Is Your Dog Always Hungry?

Most dogs act hungry all the time. Many scientists believe that wolves basically domesticated themselves by learning how to beg for scraps of food from humans but what if your dog’s eating habits change and he suddenly acts much hungrier than usual? If your normally picky eater suddenly starts eating every last bite, or if your well-behaved dog starts begging for table scraps, what does that mean? Do you need to be concerned? A change in your dog’s appetite could be either physical or psychological.

Psychological Cause

Dogs tend not to handle stress very well, so any change to environment can cause a dog to react by overeating. If your dog’s favourite person has moved out, like a grown child headed for college, try leaving something with that person’s scent on it near your dog’s food bowl to help reassure them. If a new person has moved into the house, have them feed your dog. That should help them bond and ease your dog’s stress. If you have added a new dog to your family, feed the dogs separately and don’t allow them to approach each other’s bowls, even if the other dog has finished. If nothing in your household has changed in a way that may be causing your dog stress, it’s time to start looking at possible physical causes.

Physical Causes

Diabetes
Having diabetes means that the dog can’t use carbohydrates properly, either because the pancreas isn’t producing enough insulin or because the cells aren’t processing the insulin appropriately. Either way, the sugars that would normally feed the body’s cells are unable to get where the need to go. This leaves them in the blood stream and the body, as a result starves. Because the body is starving from not using nutrients properly, some dogs may over eat considerably.

Parasites
With more than a dozen possible parasites that can make your dog seriously ill, intestinal parasites are one of the leading causes of trips to the vet for dogs. Some of the top culprits include:

Round Worm
Round worm can be transmitted by small rodents or polluted food or water. Other symptoms of round worm include abdominal pain and diarrhea. Round worm is treatable with medication but it needs to be diagnosed in order to be treated.

Hook worm
A hook worm hooks into your dog’s intestine and feeds on his blood leading to anemia or low iron level in the blood. Symptoms are similar to those of other parasites.

Tape worm
Usually spread by flea, tapeworm feeds on blood and other nutrients in your dog’s body. They can cause blockage, intestinal problems and bloating. They can reproduce asexually, which means once they are in your dog’s system, they can continue to multiply inside your dog’s gut indefinitely.

Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism is a disorder where the thyroid glands are underactive and consequently don’t discharge enough hormones. This slows the dog’s metabolism because the thyroid gland regulates it.
Symptoms include depression, energy deficiency, low tolerance for cold weather, chronic infections, and even weight gain. This disorder is more common in medium to large dogs.

Other causes
There are many possible explanations for increase in hunger in your dog. Like aging bacterial over growth in intestines, Cushing’s disease, exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, and medication reaction.
If your dog’s sudden appetite change can’t be attributed to stress, or the source of possible stress has been addressed but your dog is still hungrier than usual, it’s probably time to meet your vet.


Dr Sharad Singh Yadav is the Chairman of Advanced Pet Hospital & Research Centre which is open 24 hours throughout the year and located in Bishal Nagar, Kathmandu. He may be contacted on tel: 4422855 or email: aphktm@gmail.com