Most dogs are down to eat: any time, any place, any food. Small dogs, big dogs, and in between dogs seem to share an absolutely insatiable appetite for all things foodie. Some of them don’t even mind if their snack is not of the typical kibble variety. They will explore the entire world with their mouths just to make sure they don’t miss a single morsel.
The long held cliche that dogs are always hungry is certainly understandable. But what if a dog’s constant case of the hungries is cause for concern? There are some cases when a dog’s endless appetite for food should be evaluated a bit more closely. Doing so may make a difference in the quality of your dog’s life and improve their health.
Underlying Health Issue
There are many medical conditions that are associated with an increased appetite. Sometimes physiological changes in the body can drive appetite, even to the extreme. Some of the illnesses that have increased appetite as a symptom include:
- Cushing’s disease
For all of the above conditions, the underlying mechanism at play is the same. The dog’s body is unable to absorb and use the nutrients from food so the appetite goes into overdrive. In an attempt to get the required fuel to keep running, the body will stay hungry in search of satisfaction.
If your dog’s appetite has changed suddenly or your dog exhibits other symptoms, see your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health concerns. Other signs to watch for include frequent urination, lethargy, weight gain, and changes in eyes or coat.
Bacterial Overgrowth in the Intestines
When any particular type of bacteria population in the intestines gets bigger than the others, things can get out of whack in the appetite department. Exciting research has shown that the bacteria present in the gut can influence its host to crave certain kinds of food. If your dog’s microbiota is out of balance her appetite may increase as the dominate strains steer her to eat more of the food that will help them thrive.
The important role that ‘good’ bacteria play in health and well-being cannot be overstated. In order to encourage a healthy, balanced microbiota in your dog, there are three things you can do.
- Use probiotic supplements or dog food containing probiotic supplements.
- Incorporate foods that are prebiotic in your dog’s diet or choose dog food containing prebiotic ingredients.
- Feed a diet full of diverse, nutrient dense foods that will feed a wide range of microbes and prevent any one population from gaining too much ground.