Why do old dogs want to eat all the time? Here’s What to Do Next

How to tell if your pet is overeating

The most obvious thing to check first is your pet’s overall shape.5

When it comes to dogs, you should clearly be able to see their waist. If you need to give them a gentle squeeze to find their ribs because they’re covered by a layer of fat, that’s a sign that your dog is overweight. Likewise, if you notice that your pet’s rib cage is suddenly a lot more noticeable, that could be a sign of undereating and/or disease.

Changes in bowel movements could mean your pet is getting too much (or too little) to eat. Other signs your dog isn’t getting the right amount to eat include flatulence, lethargy, limping or other signs of excess weight.

Why is My Senior Dog Always Hungry?

Does your dog appear to have an insatiable appetite? Some canines keep following you around the house (right after finishing their meal) in hope of getting crumbs and snacks. It doesn’t always imply that they aren’t receiving enough food. Several other reasons could also be responsible for this behavior. Let’s discuss some of the most common causes.

Why do old dogs want to eat all the time?

Experts believe that wolves gained the unique ability to trick humans into giving them scraps of food. Dogs have also developed this feature over the years to obtain food and treats from their owners. This is why it becomes difficult for some owners to ignore their pup when he/she gives you “the look”. However, falling in this trap will encourage your dog to make it a habit as it increases their odds of getting more food.

In a way, our dogs have taught us to give them food when they beg for it. That does not necessarily imply that your dog is hungry; they may want a taste of those yummy human treats.

Why do old dogs want to eat all the time?

Some dogs adore eating and will always eat when given a snack or meal, but if your dog is constantly hungry, it might be a sign of an underlying health problem. Several frequent diseases might cause your dog’s appetite to become excessive. If your dog is suddenly behaving hungrier than usual, consult your veterinarian to make sure it isn’t a sign of a significant health problem.

Why do old dogs want to eat all the time?

According to this study on dog portions and meal intake, certain occurrences of overeating and obesity in domesticated dogs relate to their owners’ feeding habits. Many dogs, probably due to their wild origin, have a “eat when food is available” mindset, and they may take food merely because they get rather than because they are hungry.

The grey wolf is the closest wild relative of a domesticated dog and has a feast-or-famine diet. They eat a lot while food is available since their next meal might be days away. This canine instinct might be one of the reasons why your dog always feels hungry.

Why does this happen? Why do dogs act hungry all the time?

Here’s we listed 5 of the biggest reasons below:

Senior Dogs Habitual Behavior Problems

Many dogs act as though their stomachs are bottomless; feed them their whole meal and they will follow you around looking for scraps. While this is a plus for positive reinforcement training, it’s hard to not wonder why your dog acts like he is starving all the time. But is there even an answer to the question? A Veterinarian and Dog Trainer weigh in below with some possible explanations for your dog’s insatiable appetite.

Dr. Jules Benson, VP of Veterinary Services at Petplan Pet Insurance says, “typically, the insatiable hunger can be attributed to canine biology, but it also can be a warning sign for a medical issue such as diabetes or Cushing’s disease.”

He explains that a “dog’s eat when food is presented mentality” may be because of their wild ancestry. “Looking at the domestic dog’s nearest wild relative, the grey wolf, they are adapted to a feast-or-famine diet and can go many days without fresh prey,” Dr. Benson explains. “They achieve this through eating large amounts when food is available, food caching (may be analogous to burying bones in the garden!) and scavenging (watch out for the kitchen trash can!).”

So it’s 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) it 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.

Dr. Benson also mentions that an always hungry dog could have a medical problem causing them to always feel hungry.

“While some dogs just simply like to indulge in food, sometimes an increased appetite is the sign of an underlying health issue,” he explains.

If you notice your dog 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.

Robin Bennett, a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, author, and consultant, suggests we may have actually caused this behavior in our dogs.

“Most of the dogs I see act hungry because they have been reinforced for acting that way.” Bennett offers. “It’s hard to resist those big brown dog eyes when a dog looks at their owner…so owners give their dog a treat. This reinforces the food seeking behavior in the dog, so that it gets stronger in the dog. And since the dog eats, the owner feels that the dog really was hungry. It’s an interesting cycle.”

Bennett notes that even if you don’t train your dog with food, you are most like “guilty” of giving them a treat when they “ask for it” through begging, staring at you, etc.

“In this sense, I think dogs often train us to feed them,” Bennett adds. “My own dog is able to do his ‘it’s time to eat act’ with each member of the family at night and we’ve fallen for it enough that we actually have to confirm with one another whether or not he has been fed. He’s a smart dog.”

Based in Tustin, Calif., animal lover Kristina N. Lotz is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer – Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA) and works as a full time trainer. She also owns her own custom pet products company, A Fairytail House, 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.