Have you ever had a canine companion that seems to be constantly sniffing around the kitchen or lurking around the table when you’re eating? Has Fido been shadowing you about until you give in to those puppy-dog eyes and feed him a few treats?
While it might be possible that your furkid is just a glutton, after all, there might be a few underlying problems that could cause Fido to beg for food all the time—especially if you feed him on time every day.
Old age, for example, might be one of the main causes of this unusual behaviour your furkid is exhibiting, but here are a few biological reasons that explain why your pooch might be acting this way.
Increased appetite and thirst are among the most common signs associated with diabetes in dogs. Diabetes mellitus is a disease that causes your pup to either have a shortage of insulin (Type I), or an incorrect response from body cells to the insulin that is being produced in their bodies (Type II).
Both of these conditions will prevent your dog’s muscles and organs from converting glucose to energy and will result in excessive amounts of glucose in the blood.
2. Bowel Problems
It may be possible that Fido is not properly absorbing the nutrients of his food due to a gastrointestinal problem like the Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). IBD causes the inflammation of the intestines and other chronic symptoms related to your pup’s digestive system, but there has been no known cause of this condition.
IBD often leads to weight loss and increased appetite, among other things. It can affect dogs at any age but is more common in middle-aged and older dogs, as well as certain breeds including French Bulldogs and Irish setters.
3. Intestinal Cancer
There are several types of gastrointestinal cancers that can afflict your dog’s stomach and intestines with tumours. Many of these types of cancer will cause increased appetite in your dog due to the lack of absorption of food by your pup’s body. Intestinal cancer commonly affects older dogs, usually more than six years of age.
No particular breed is known to be predisposed and it is more common in male dogs than females.
Hyperthyroidism is a disease caused by overproduction of thyroxine, a thyroid hormone. Normally thyroid hormones increase chemical processes occurring within the cells of your pet’s body.
However, in hyperthyroidism, the excessive hormone levels push the cells and body into overdrive, causing an increase in metabolism and often increased appetite.
How Can I Help?
1. Create A Feeding Schedule
Schedule meals either according to the clock or by your daily rhythm (at 9 am or when you leave home, for example). Two to three meals per day are completely satisfactory for dogs, and they shouldn’t feel hunger between them.
Adding healthy treats that will boost your pooch’s immune system and maintain weight to his diet might help prevent the above-mentioned illnesses and keep him happy as well
2. Reduce Boredom
One of the most common reasons why dogs beg for food is that there isn’t anything more interesting to do. Give Fido at least one long walk a day and some time to play with you to help expend his energy.
Try to implement some activities before you give your pup his food so that he learns to understand that he will only get food after accomplishing something.
3. Obedience Training
Basic obedience training is very helpful to stop the begging and most other behaviour problems in dogs. Fido will learn to listen to your commands, and even more importantly, you will learn to communicate efficiently with him.
*Before implementing any of these methods, do ensure you consult a veterinarian if you suspect that your pooch might be suffering from any of these conditions.
*This article was updated on 15 Jul 2020. It first appeared in PetsMagazine.com on 8 Feb 2017.