Your dog steals food, licks his bowl over and over again, drags the truffle on the ground all day long looking for a little something to nibble on.
But why are dogs always hungry?
A brief overview of the issue and practical advice to help them.
First hypotheses of dog hunger
We domesticated the dog, but originally it was a carnivorous predator that spent its time hunting. It quickly devoured its prey to avoid being stolen and because it did not know when its next meal would be. Being always hungry gave it the reflex to hunt. In the canine hierarchy, the dominant dog brings back food and eats the best parts. The dominated share the leftovers. They have to be quick to escape hunger. In a litter, there may be too many puppies. As soon as they are born, they are forced to fight for access to mother’s milk. The fear of running out of food will remain omnipresent in the dog’s future existence.
Did you know that?
The dog’s taste is much less developed than ours. It only differentiates between salty, sweet, bitter and sour.
A bulimic dog is often a dog stressed by boredom and lack of activity. Searching for food becomes an attractive distraction. Your dog may suffer from polyphagia if his hunger suddenly increases. This disease causes excessive hunger with an absence of satiety resulting in a tenfold increase in appetite. You should consult your veterinarian to find out if your dog is suffering from diabetes, brain tumour or acute gastritis. Possibility of hyperthyroidism, intestinal cancer and digestive problems. Your dog may have intestinal worms. Consider worming him monthly until he’s 6 months old, then twice a year. Neutered or spayed dogs gain weight because the disappearance of sex hormones increases appetite.
Satiety in dogs
It is the hypothalamus in the brain that controls the satiety centre. After evaluating the quality of the food ingested, its quantity, energy intake and blood sugar level, the hypothalamus is activated by sensory (stress, boredom) or hormonal (ghrelin triggers hunger and leptin the feeling of satiety).
Helping your dog to feel satiated
Offer a premium quality food to ensure your dog is well nourished. It must contain lean protein (at least 30%), fibre, oil and be low in cereals. Give meals at regular times. If your dog is obsessed with food, divide his ration into three meals (morning, noon and evening). Eating at fixed times gives the body a signal to send out the hunger signal and prevents your dog from building up fat reserves. Place the kibble in a non-stick bowl or kibble dispenser. He must take the time to eat and chew to feel full. Some people moisten the food to make it bigger in the dog’s stomach and add green beans and zucchini. His meal should be eaten calmly and without stress. An anxious dog secretes a hormone called cortisol that increases appetite. Give a portion of kibble appropriate to your dog’s breed, age, expense and personal situation. Your veterinarian can guide you. Never feed your dog at the table. Never give in if he asks you for food outside the set hours. Treats should be occasional. All these bad habits disturb the center of satiety. Go for long walks with your dog. Relaxed, he will release endorphins that fight anxiety and cortisol production.
Did you know that?
As a result of a gene defect POMC (missing sequence ofADN ), the Labrador and the Golden Retrievers are always hungry because they don’t feel full (according to the study conducted by geneticist and veterinarian Eleanor Raffin of the University of Cambridge, published in the journal Cell Metabolism). Easy to train with food, they make excellent dogs to accompany people with disabilities.
Danger of overeating
Obesity, a scourge. It reduces your dog’s life expectancy. Causes vascular accidents and respiratory problems. Promotes osteoarthritis. The bigger a dog is, the less satiety he feels, because his fat layer makes a resistance to leptin and the hypothalamus no longer receives the right information. A return to a normal weight improves the situation. Stomach torsion in large breeds. It is advisable to raise their bowls for better digestion.
To meditate: “To learn from your mistakes is to move forward in stride.”