21 Jun 2015
by Sally Gutteridge
Is your dog always telling you how hungry he is? Perhaps you can’t seem to fill him up or maybe you feel guilty that he won’t eat his own food but often looks like he is starving whilst you eat yours?
Hunger in dogs can be due to a number of things and sometimes the big eyed, pleading animal is not actually hungry at all, but how can you tell the difference?
Does the Dog Food Satisfy?
The first thing to do, if your dog still seems hungry, is take a look at your dog’s food packaging. What does his dinner actually contain? Is it fulfilling all of your dog’s nutritional needs or does it leave him lacking? It is absolutely reasonable that if your dog eats poor quality food he could eat the entire bowl and still be hungry afterwards because his body needs specific vitamins which poor quality food does not fully supply.
Whilst researching and writing the complete natural health guide for Shih Tzu Web I found a few great online resources that enable you to locate the best dog food for your budget and your dog’s appetite. The basic rule with dog food, at the moment, is that anything goes.
Much commercial dog food is made ingredients deemed unfit for human consumption and vitamin content is of such low quality that they may not help control your dog’s hunger at all.
The lesson is that if your dog ignores his own food, yet will eat anything else that’s going, it may be because his food is no good for him. So check out that bag, tin or foil of dog food first.
How is Your Dog’s General Condition?
Your dog’s general condition will tell you how well his food is meeting his nutritional needs. The first few signs of nutrient deficiency are pretty obvious yet by the time they appear the dog’s immune system is already affected.
If your dog is eating all of his food yet still seems hungry and has the following symptoms then it is time to look at whether his food is doing its job;
- Low quality coat
- Hunger despite being at full weight or even overweight
- Poor quality stools
- Repeated episodes of parasites, particularly fleas
All of the above symptoms can be obvious signs of poor quality food and allergen ingestion. When a food is poor quality the dog can become overweight yet easily still be hungry because the body is screaming out for nutrients. This is a problem in the human species too and exactly why fast food diets lead to obesity in many people.
So first of all if your dog is hungry check out the ingredients of his food. You can also take a look at Dog Food Project for further information.
What If His Food Is Top Quality?
If you spend a fortune on dog food, try the very best to keep your dog’s appetite satiated yet he still seems hungry what on earth can you do?
First of all be sure that your dog does not have worms or other parasites which may be stealing his nutrients. Many veterinarians have one off worm treatment that are pretty un-invasive and by treating your dog you can be sure that he is not still hungry.
If you have everything covered with food and parasite treatments and your dog still seems hungry you may simply be reinforcing a begging habit. When a dog begs from the table or your plate and you hand over some food you are on a slippery slope to fussy eating.
If you suspect that your dog’s eyes are hungrier than his stomach you only need to look at his general condition to confirm this. The canine with a shiny coat, healthy weight and sprightly stride probably just begs out of habit.
When the dog is in great physical condition his body betrays him and no matter how hungry he looks his food probably meets his nutritional needs perfectly well. This type of begging is related more to behavior than health and the dog that does it, is probably not even hungry at all.
Sally Gutteridge is a member of the International Society of Animal Professionals. She is a qualified British Military dog trainer and trainer of Hearing Dogs for Deaf People. She is soon to be fully qualified Canine Behavior Manager. With the rehabilitation experience of many broken rescue dogs and the careful training of many Shih Tzu dogs, Sally has written the definitive course on improving your dog’s behavior and your understanding of it. She shares her knowledge at Shih Tzu Web.