Most dogs love feeding time. But sometimes, even after a big bowl of food, they act like they’re still hungry.
They beg for more food or watch greedily as their owners eat their food.
Why is it that some dogs are so greedy and hungry all the time? Why do they never seem to have enough food?
Dogs are often greedy because they have the instinct to eat everything they can.
This is a survival instinct left over from their ancestors.
They also might not be getting enough food or have health issues, making them want to eat more.
However, some dog breeds are just wired to be more greedy.
To help you understand your dog’s behavior better, let’s discuss these reasons for greediness in dogs and differentiate between being hungry vs. being greedy.
Related Post: Why Are Small Dogs So Annoying?
1. Some Dogs Have a Natural Instinct To Eat Everything They Can
As much as it would be easy to overindulge our dog’s constant desire for food, we know that overfeeding them is a no-no.
Dogs can quickly become obese if we give in to their food cravings all the time.
But it isn’t always easy to say no when your dog gives you the puppy dog eyes or whines to have some of your food.
Most dogs have a natural instinct to eat everything that looks edible.
Before dogs became domesticated, they survived in the wild, gathering food using their hunting instincts.
And since food wasn’t always to be found, they ate it all up when they did find any.
Surviving in the wild also meant anticipating days when they didn’t have food.
So they feasted on whatever was available at the moment.
They ate as much as they could, regardless of whether they were hungry or not, because it could be a long time until they could eat again.
Even though it has been long since dogs became domesticated, this instinct has persisted.
This is why some dogs never seem to become full.
However, when you notice this behavior in your dog, it’s important not to give in and offer more food than they need, as this can lead to them becoming obese, which is very bad for them.
NOTE – You may also want to read this post looking at the question: do dogs enjoy their dog food?
2. Your Dog May Not Be Fed Enough
Another reason dogs can seem greedy is that they may not be fed enough.
Growing dogs have especially large appetites, and it’s essential that dog owners give them as much food as they need.
If you notice that your dog is acting uneasy or becoming aggressive towards food, or if your dog is skinny even when eating well, you may want to check whether you’re feeding the dog enough food.
If you don’t know where to start, begin by checking your dog food’s label for the recommended serving amount.
Dog owners sometimes play it by ear instead of following manufacturer instructions regarding dog food servings.
While your dog is unique, the best route is always following the recommended serving.
However, if your dog food doesn’t say precisely how much food you should be giving, here’s a quick guide:
|Dog Size||Recommended Food Amount|
|Toy||⅓ to ½ cup (0.08 to 0.12 L) per day|
|Small||¾ to 1 ⅓ cups (0.18 to 0.32 L) per day|
|Medium||1 ¾ to 2 ⅔ cups (0.41 to 0.63 L) per day|
|Large||3 to 4 ½ cups (0.71 to 1.06 L) per day|
If you notice that you’re feeding your dog less than the recommended amount, your dog could be simply hungry, especially if they are very active throughout the day.
Follow the recommended serving and see how your dog reacts.
Also, if you have a puppy, try not to withhold food from them, especially if it’s still within the recommended serving amount.
Even if you give them a little more than what is recommended, that’s perfectly okay.
Their growing bodies need more calories to fuel the changes it needs to make the changes for growth, and a little bit of puppy fat won’t do them any harm.
When we withhold food from puppies, they have a higher risk of developing insecurities around food and becoming greedy or food aggressive as adult dogs.
NOTE – You might also want to read this blog post asking the question: why do some dogs like eating ice cubes?
3. The Dog May Have Health Issues Resulting in Hunger Spikes
If you notice a sudden change in your dog’s behavior, such as if they become greedy or food aggressive, it could be more than down to them being greedy.
They could be suffering from a health problem that prevents their bodies from absorbing and properly metabolizing the food they eat.
When this happens, they can become incessantly hungry because it’s as if they have not eaten anything.
So the first thing to do is have your dog checked by a vet.
Some health conditions like diabetes that result in increased hunger have no apparent symptoms.
Here are some conditions that could be making your dog feel extremely hungry:
- Cushing’s Syndrome
- Bacterial infection or overgrowth in the intestines
Also, if your dog is suddenly food aggressive after taking medication, it might be a reaction to the drugs.
Talk to your vet about the effects you’re noticing in your dog, especially if you are to give another dose.
If you are in financial difficulty and are worried about vet bills, this website has some useful resources for charities to help you pay your bills. (If you don’t live in the US, you can use Google to find similar help in your country).
4. Some Dog Breeds Are Greedier Than Others
While all dogs naturally can’t get enough food, some breeds are just more inclined to be greedy than others.
So no matter how cute your dog looks when they beg, don’t give your dog more than they need.
You can give them treats every once in a while, but these shouldn’t comprise more than 10% of their diet.
Here are some of the greediest dog breeds:
- Labrador Retriever
- Golden Retriever
If your dog is one of these breeds, prepare to bolster your self-control because you’ll need to do a lot of resisting.
As a dog owner, you’re also the pack leader, and your dog will look to you for everything they need, including how they should behave.
So if you know that your dog is inclined to overeat, be firm about limiting their calorie intake.
Don’t give them treats or any of your food when they beg. Instead, provide them with low-calorie dog food and plenty of exercise.
Wet food is generally lower in calories than dry food, so you might want to switch to that instead or mix it with dry food for daily feeding.
Note – You might also find this video interesting. It breaks down the main reasons why dogs can be so greedy:
Final Thoughts On Greedy Dogs
Dogs are mainly greedy because of a natural instinct to overeat. However, canine greed can also be caused by being underfed or, in some cases, medical conditions.
As responsible dog owners, it’s our job to ensure that they’re healthy and happy, even if it means saying no to their cravings for more food now and then.
NOTE – If your dog always wants to eat, you might find this post about why dogs are always hungry useful.
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!