Why Does My Puppy Always Seem Hungry? | Is This Normal Behavior?

Apart from their puppy dog eyes begging you for food all the time, when your new puppy scarf down their food so quickly, it may appear to you that you are not giving them enough and that they require more. This can be surprising especially if you have just given them food. Which raises the question, is it normal for your puppy to be hungry all of the time, or are you underfeeding him? Why is your puppy always hungry in the first place?

The most obvious and typical explanation for your puppy’s constant hunger is that he is growing. Your puppy will be hungry, and as they develop, they will require a lot of nutrients. In comparison to adult dogs, they require more daily calories. If they don’t get enough, their cells will mislead them into thinking they’re still hungry as a natural response to the lack of sugar.

It’s tempting to overfeed your puppy while they’re young, but it’s crucial that you don’t. It has the potential to cause weight gain and serious health problems in the future. Overfeeding can literally be like loving them to death.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Eating human food can lead to undesirable dog habits such as food obsession. A never-ending supply of human food for your dog is the same as providing a never-ending supply of lollipops for a kid.

That being said, there are other reasons why your puppy eats too much and why they can’t seem to stop eating. Let us go over these reasons and what can be done before it leads to overfeeding.

©Cooper Pet Care

What Makes Your Dog Always Hungry?

  • Adapting to a Schedule

In their first few weeks of life, pups have access to an almost limitless amount of nourishment because their mother is always nearby and ready to provide them with milk. So weaning your puppy from their mother’s milk is like removing them from their normal environment and pushing them to learn how to function in a completely different one. They’ve gone from having an endless supply of food to anticipating your next meal eagerly. Your puppy will seem to be always hungry while they are still adjusting to their new environment and meal schedule.

  • Instinctive Response

Puppies have an inbred attitude of feast or famine. Puppies instinctively consume as much as they can when food is available since they don’t know when they’ll get another chance. It will take some time for your puppy to understand that food will be provided on a daily basis.

Additionally, it is part of your dog’s survival instinct to hide food for the winter. Puppies are prone to getting into the garbage can and stowing bones away in order to save them for later.

  • Survival Mode

Puppies that are adopted from shelters have a bigger tendency to eat a lot whenever there’s food around. This happens when your puppy did not receive an adequate amount of food before they were adopted. It will take them some time to realize that they don’t need to fight for food anymore. 

  • Bad Habits

Your puppy’s food behavior is also influenced by how you train him. If you can’t resist giving in to your puppy’s wistful eyes while you eat and always offer them table scraps, you’re partly at fault for your puppy’s belief that begging will get him food.

©Clinician’s Brief
  • Medical Concerns

In other cases, your puppy’s behavior may be a sign of a more serious underlying health problem. There are a variety of medical issues that might cause a puppy to have an irrational appetite. To rule out any of the following concerns, it is recommended that you take your puppy to the veterinarian.

  • Parasites

A lot of puppies get worms and parasites even before they are born because of infection in the womb. While there are many types of worms that can affect your dog, the bottom line is all of them feed off your puppy’s body. 

Worms and other parasites stick inside your puppy’s and absorb nutrients from your puppy’s food. This will lead to increased appetite as your puppy is not getting enough nutrients from their regular meal.

  • Cushing’s Syndrome

Cushing’s disease, also known as Hyperadrenocorticism, is an illness that allows your puppy’s body to produce too much glucocorticoid. Glucocorticoid is a hormone that helps manage stress and while this does not sound like a bad thing, it also causes your puppy to eat more. 

©Dogs-LoveToKnow
  • Diabetes

Diabetes is a serious disease that necessitates lifelong monitoring and treatment. One of the symptoms of diabetes is an insatiable appetite that is impossible to curb. 

  • Poor Food Absorption

Dogs who aren’t getting enough nutrients from their meals will inevitably become hungry since their bodies aren’t getting enough nourishment. These nutrients are necessary for development and growth.

There are a number of reasons why nutrients aren’t being absorbed. It could be caused by a bacterial infection, a lack of digestive enzymes, and much more.

How to Deal with Your Puppy’s High Appetite? 

  • Start With More Frequent Meals

Initially, when you bring your puppy home, divide their food into four different meals to help them adjust to their new environment. Feeding your puppy often but still on schedule will make the transition from free feeding easier to adapt to for your puppy. 

After a few months, increase the number of meals your puppy eats each day to three. It’s critical to keep track of your puppy’s feeding schedule.

Below is a guide on how many times a puppy needs to be fed based on their age.

AGE FREQUENCY
8-12 Weeks 4x to 6x per Day
3-5 Months 3x to 4x per Day
6-9 Months 2x to 3x per Day
9+ Months 2x per Day

  • Stick With Their Meal Schedule

A precise schedule for your puppy’s feeding can make your puppy more comfortable with his feeding schedule. This will help them stop begging for treats, unscheduled feeding and table scrap and maintain a healthy digestive system.  The more consistent you are with their feeding, the more likely it is that they will understand when feeding time is. 

Put the food down until your dog walks away from the bowl, regardless of whether he has consumed all of its food. Provide treats in between meals less.  This will assist in reinforcing the notion when mealtime is and that he will not be able to find any more food until the next meal time.

©Dog Food Advisor
  • Add Water to Your Dog’s Food

Adding little water to your puppy’s food will help to slow down their digestion and prevent them from gobbling their entire meal in a matter of seconds. 

  • Avoid Feeding Them Table Scraps

You will find it difficult to keep track of and record what your dog is eating if you are constantly feeding them table leftovers. Furthermore, your puppy will begin to anticipate food tidbits whenever you eat.

How Much Food Should I Give My Puppy Each Day?

Regardless of breed, a growing puppy needs a substantial amount of food. Your puppy’s weight should double during the first week of his life. He should then gain one to two grams per pound of his estimated adult weight on a daily basis following that.

The table below shows how much food your puppy should eat based on their weight.

Weight of the Dog 6-12 Weeks 8-12 Weeks
3 – 5 lbs 1-1 ⅓ cups ½ – ⅔ cups
5 – 10 lbs 1 ⅓ – 2 ½  cups ⅔ – 1 cups
10 – 20 lbs 2 ½ – 4 cups 1 -2 cups
20 – 30 lbs 4 – 5 ¾ cups 2 – 2 ¾ cups

 

How Can I Tell Whether My Puppy is Getting Enough Food?

Even if you follow a feeding chart or other recommended feeding schedule, it is normal to still get concerned about whether your puppy is receiving enough food and nutrients. After all, all puppies are unique. 

An easy way to determine if your puppy is eating enough is by looking at the ribs of your puppy. If you can see your puppy’s ribs, they probably need to be fed more often. Try to feel your puppy’s ribs as well. If you can feel your puppy’s ribs but there’s a thick layer of fat covering them, they’re probably fine.

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