Dogs are food motivated animals. If you’re like most dog owners, you’ve trained your dog to eat at certain times throughout the day. In fact, setting an eating routine for your dog is one of the easiest ways to ensure that your dog stays, healthy, well fed, and well trained.
Dogs on meal routines know exactly when their next meal is coming, and usually consume their food bowls within minutes. A hearty appetite is a good sign that your dog is healthy. But, what do you do when your dog’s appetite is too hearty?
Almost every dog owner has dealt with an over eager, voracious, and begging dog before. Sometimes your dog’s begging can make you feel like you’re failing as a dog owner by not feeding him enough.
Judging your dog’s actual level of fullness can be difficult. Especially since, in an evolutionary sense, dogs are considered “scavengers”. When given the opportunity, a lot of dogs don’t know when to stop eating and would eat an entire Costco sized bag of dog food, if given the chance. This can be dangerous for pet owners that leave their pet’s food bowl restocked at all hours of the day.
Dogs will beg for food when they’re not hungry for a number of reasons. Just think about humans, we eat for many reasons besides sustenance. We eat for community, and sometimes when we’re feeling lonely and stressed.
With that in mind, there could be psychological or environmental factors ramping up your dog’s appetite. Before overfeeding your pet, there are a number of techniques you can use to gauge your dog’s fullness and help him feel satiated after a meal.
Know Your Dog’s Body Composition
One way to know how much your dog will need to keep them full is by knowing their body composition score. Body composition scores in dogs are comparable to “Body Mass Indexes” for humans.
A score of “one” is considered dangerously underweight, while a “nine” would be a morbidly obese dog. A healthy dog will need to stay between a 4-6. Taking your dog for routine vet checkups will help ensure your dog keeps a healthy body composition score. If your dog is maintaining his healthy body composition score, despite still begging for food, there’s a chance he’s probably just looking for extra attention.
Deflect Your Dog’s Attention From Food
Most dogs overeat, because of the same reasons most humans do - because they enjoy eating, and food is delicious. One way to stop your dog from begging for food is by diverting their attention to something more exciting.
This can also help you feel less guilty for not giving into their adorable demands. Instead of re-feeding your dog, try taking them outside for a long walk, play with them on the ground, or spend some time brushing their fur out. It only takes about 15 minutes of spending quality time with your puppy to make them completely forget they wanted more food in the first place.
Avoid Kibble with Air and Water for Fillers
Some brands of dog food will make their kibble look larger by puffing them up with air during their heating process. This type of kibble can make your dog feel full quickly, but also make your dog hungry again in no time, as he burps out the air. Foods that are high in water can also create a placebo effect, making your dog feel more satisfied right after eating, then hungry again after he urinates.
Try a High Fiber Diet For Your Dog
Like humans, dogs can fill more fulfilled after eating more fiber, because it isn’t digestible. Fiber is one of the most important ingredients for gastrointestinal health, allowing your dog to feel more full without having any extra calories in his diet. Most dog food brands won’t market their products as “high in fiber.” You can ask our veterinarian office for a good recommendation on dog food that will be healthy for your pet, as well as make him feel satisfied after his meal.
Try Feeding Your Dog Vegetables
Have you already fed your dog all of their meals for the day? Try treating your dog with raw cucumbers, carrots, broccoli, or celery. You can also try boiling them first to break down some of the insoluble fiber. However, before feeding your pet vegetables from the bottom of your fridge, make sure you wash off any pesticides and chemicals first to avoid giving them an upset stomach.
Before completely changing your peckish pup’s diet completely, it’s a good idea to consult your vet. We can help you make informed decisions on the best meal plans for your dog’s breed, activity level, size, and other health factors.