Each bite you take, every slurp you make…they are watching you! Why are dogs so obsessed with our food? Not all dogs are eating machines, but many (all) of them are. Some dogs can even regulate their food bowl and stop eating when they are full. But, seriously, most dogs are the exact opposite of that angelic dog. Feed them their dinner and they promptly look towards your dinner plate. Does this sound familiar? It might just be canine biology, there may be underlying medical reasons, they could be acting out of habit or they could just really have an affinity to deep-dish pizza.
Hungry Like A Wolf
Some experts believe that wolves became domesticated dogs by eating food scraps left by humans. They looked to humans for their food source. This idea combined with their natural instincts after a hunt, get it while you can, before any other wolves get the food, led the wolves to eating anything offered up by man. To a hungry dog, leaving food on the coffee table, dropping a bite on the floor or even the garbage can can be considered a “fair game offering.” Eat when food is presented, even if you have to go hunting in the wild for it (i.e. kitchen garbage can). Naughty is the new nice!
What’s Up Doc?
A dog owner will definitely need to rule out any medical reasons for your dog’s insatiable appetite. There are a number of conditions that could be contributing factors and you should seek a veterinarian’s advice. Aging, bacteria in the intestines, Cushing’s disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism and even reaction to a medication could all be reasons for increased hunger. In many of those medical causes, your dog’s body is unable to absorb the nutrients in their food, so their appetite goes to extremes.
Sit, Stay, Reward
So, um, yeah. We as dog owners, may be to blame. Yes, that is correct. Remember when you were teaching Fido to sit? Then training him to stay? Then giving him the command “come?” Well, oopsie, did you do it with a Scooby snack in your hand? Then when your dog gives you those soulful, puppy dog eyes and a slight whine, you think “okay, just this once you can have a piece of steak.” Well, you my friend have been bamboozled and will be forever looked at as SNACK MASTER! How about when you come home and feed the dog and then subsequently find out that your spouse has already fed the dog? Did the pooch look at you and give you the “no way, I’m good” face or did they snarf up their food like their life depended on it?
Lock The Refrigerator
A whopping 54% of dogs in the US are overweight. And most of the time, it isn’t because they helped themselves to a turkey sandwich in the refrigerator. Obese dogs are at an increased risk for cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Excessive weight can lead to faster degeneration of affected joints. Research shows that an overweight dog’s life span is decreased by 2 1/2 years. Prevention is the key and choosing a healthy diet for your fur friend. Want to indulge them with some human treats? Here are some healthy dog approved and human snacks! Another great tip for dogs that live and breathe for chow time is to put their kibble in a slow feed dog bowl.
What About MEEEEEEEE?
It goes without saying that we love our canine companions. They are our family. As the leader of your pack, your job is to make sure everyone stays happy and healthy. When your dog’s appetite is out of control, figure out the cause. Sometimes it may be really hard to resist their sweet face. Choose when and where you want to “treat” your dog. Whether it’s with a healthy human food, an extra long snuggle session in bed, or even a long walk in the neighborhood, your dog will appreciate your diligence in taking the best care of him.