Always Hungry in Dogs

Why is my dog always hungry?

What is Always Hungry?

Dogs are born beggars. They will beg, plead, bark, whine or even do tricks to get a taste of human food. Sometimes dogs can become problematic when they see their owner eating. This behavior may lead many dog owners to believe that their dog is always hungry.

Not every dog will eat the same amount of food or be hungry as often. Each dog will have a different appetite, but if you notice that your dog always seems hungry, you should evaluate them to see what exactly is going on. There may be a medical condition that is causing your dog to have an increased appetite. Your dog’s food may also be lacking in proper nutrition values, causing your dog to be hungry more often. It could also simply be boredom that is causing your dog to always seem hungry.

  • Diabetes
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Pancreatic disorders
  • Parasites
  • Boredom
  • Poor nutrition value in dog food
  • Stress

Why Always Hungry Occurs in Dogs


Discovering why your dog is always hungry is important because if there is a medical condition causing their excessive hunger, medical care needs to be sought. Cushing’s disease, diabetes, hyperthyroidism and pancreatic disorders are all serious conditions that can cause your dog to always be hungry and these conditions require specialized care and medications to manage the conditions. 


Parasites, especially internal parasites, can cause your dog to feel hungry often. Intestinal parasites feed within the gastrointestinal tract, stealing necessary nutrients from your dog and causing them to become debilitated. Your dog may begin eating more but not showing any weight gain. 


Dogs that suffer from boredom will seem to be hungry all the time because you see them eating often. They are not necessarily eating because they feel hunger but because they have nothing to occupy their time. If you suspect your dog is eating from boredom, begin engaging your dog in more playtimes and provide them with interactive toys that give them something to focus on. 

Poor Nutrition

There are so many commercial dog food options available for dog owners to choose. Some of these commercial dog foods have quality ingredients that are beneficial for your dog and some have ingredients that are full of fillers that are not beneficial for your dog’s nutrition. Choosing the right commercial dog food that will provide the proper nutritional needs for your dog is important.


Just like with humans, dogs will stress eat. If you notice your dog staring at their food dish, foraging for any little dropped morsel or simply eating uncontrollably, take a minute to evaluate the stress levels within your dog’s environment. If there is some form of outside stress, it is a good possibility that your dog seems always hungry because of stress.

What to do if your Dog is Always Hungry

Be sure to make an appointment with your veterinarian if you suspect that your dog is always hungry because of a medical condition. Your veterinarian will need to perform a full physical examination on your dog. They will also perform several diagnostic tests that will help your veterinarian properly diagnose your dog’s condition. 

After properly diagnosing your dog’s hunger issues, your veterinarian will discuss your dog’s dietary needs with you. If your dog’s excessive hunger is from a medical condition such as diabetes, Cushing’s disease, hyperthyroidism or other pancreatic disorders, your veterinarian will set up a long-term treatment plan. Many of these treatments will include prescription medications, specialized diets and follow-up examinations and diagnostic testing. 

Parasites will need to be expelled from your dog’s gastrointestinal tract before your dog’s appetite returns to a normal level. Your veterinarian will provide you with the appropriate medications to kill off all parasites including the eggs. A follow-up visit and fecal examination will verify whether or not all parasites have been eradicated.

Dogs that are suffering from boredom will have a tendency to overeat. Your dog needs stimulation throughout the day and if they are not getting that from you or their toys, they will turn to food. Provide plenty of opportunity for exercise and interactive play with your dog to alleviate their boredom and their need to eat more and more.

Read the label on your dog’s food and research the ingredients. If your dog’s food has several fillers and/or other nutritionally lacking ingredients, your dog is probably not getting the proper nutrition from their food. Not having the right balance of proteins and other nutrients will cause your dog to always feel hungry. Ask your veterinarian which dog foods would be best to meet your dog’s nutritional needs.

Stress within your dog’s environment can cause them to overeat or to always be hungry. Try to minimize any stress that your dog is feeling by redirecting their attention to an activity that they find fun and entertaining.

Prevention of Always Hungry

It can be difficult to prevent your dog from experiencing medical problems. Being a responsible dog owner means that you will need to make sure your dog has regular veterinary examinations, is current on their vaccinations and dewormings and is eating a well-balanced diet. 

You can prevent overeating from boredom or stress by working with your dog and ensuring that they are getting the proper stimulation and exercise that their breed and size requires. Large breed dogs will have very different exercise and nutritional needs from a toy breed dog.

Cost of Always Hungry

Depending on the medical condition that has been diagnosed, your dog’s treatments can range from $500 to $3000. Dog’s suffering from certain medical conditions such as Cushing’s disease or diabetes will have on-going care for the remainder of their life, this will accrue more money paid out by their owner. Dogs that are suffering from nutritional deficiency due to their dog food will simply need to change their dog’s food to a higher quality food.

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Always Hungry Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals






2 Years


2 found this helpful


2 found this helpful

My pet has the following symptoms:
Always Hungry
Hello! I noticed that when having friends in our flat, my dog is trying to get some food from them begging and looking all miserable. With me and my partner he doesn't do that because he knows he will not get anything and will be sent to his bed. However, I wonder how can we correct this behavior when somebody else is in our home eating? Normally, this kind of behavior make people think our dog is starving, and of course, that is not the case. Thank you very much.

March 23, 2018

Answered by Dr. Michele K. DVM

2 Recommendations

It would seem that guests are feeding Lemmy, or he wouldn't be persistent in begging for food. If your guests don't feed him, eventually he will learn that nothing happens when he begs - just explain to your guests that he is learning, and to ignore him, and to absolutely not give him any food, or his behavior will become worse before it gets better.

March 23, 2018

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