It’s the same scenario every day – you feed your pup their breakfast, they devour it in ten seconds then look up at you for more. You go to sit down for your own breakfast and there they are, sitting right in front of you with those big irresistible eyes begging for your avocado toast. What’s the deal?

Are they actually starving? Well, no – but here’s why they act like they are.

The Serving Size

While most dog parents know the general amount of food they should be feeding their pup, do you know exactly how much they should be eating? While there is no ‘universal’ rule that states how much your dog should eat, there are guidelines. Their serving size depends on how active your pup is and the type of food you choose to serve. For example, if you have a highly active dog, they’ll need more food than a less active pup. You can check with your veterinarian on how much you should be feeding your pup but there is usually recommended serving sizes on the back of dog food packages.

Weight Evaluation

Another way to determine if your dog is eating enough is by checking their weight. While it depends on the breed of dog, the consensus is you should be able to feel their ribs with light pressure but not see them. If you can’t feel their ribs at all, your pup is definitely not starving but they may be overweight.

If your pup is getting the right amount of food and doesn’t look underweight, here are some reasons why they might be acting starving.

Blame it on Instinct

Since dog’s ancestors are wolves, it’s ingrained in their brain that food is a limited resource. While they hunted in packs for their meals, food was never guaranteed when they were hungry. When they did find food, they would eat as much as possible because they didn’t know when their next meal would be.
Even if your pup gets fed at the same times every day, they listen to those instincts that say, “eat now before it’s too late.”

Their Experiences

If you have a rescue dog that spent time as a stray, they are all too familiar with being hungry. Depending on how long they spent on the streets, they could’ve gone days without a proper meal. Now that they are in a home, their instincts kicked in and they feel the need to eat anything and everything they can. This behavior typically subsides or at least calms down once a dog feels comfortable and safe in their new home.

Reinforced Behavior

Some experts believe that the first domestic dog came with the innate ability to manipulate humans into giving them food. They figured out some of the best strategies for getting what they want and now your 21st century dog has picked up a few of those tips.

No matter how hard we try, we cannot deny those puppy eyes. Dogs have learned that just looking at their humans in a certain way while following them around will eventually result in a treat or food. Forget the dry dog food in their bowl – they want that last piece of cheese! But by giving in, you’re reinforcing this behavior.

Hard as it may be, resist the urge to overfeed or give in to those puppy dog eyes – a dog acting starved is not uncommon, but it won’t get any better by giving in!

Medical Issues

While acting starved is typically no cause for concern, there is always the possibility of a medical issue. Diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or internal parasites can cause increased appetite. If you think your dog may be suffering from any of these medical issues, speak with your veterinarian.
Although it may be annoying, try to remember that begging is natural and part of their ancestry!

To keep your pup’s mind off food, why not add a midday walk to their daily routine? For Your Spot provides daily walks for your pup that can help keep their mind busy and tire them out. Learn more about our services here.