Most dog owners will agree that most pet dogs are obsessed with food.
But, unfortunately, it often seems like all they care about is food and that they don’t care about their owners as much as they do about eating!
Why is this?
Why Does It Seem Dogs Only Care About Food?
Dogs care so much about food because their primal instinct tells them that it is always better to eat as much as they can whenever they get the chance.
But dogs also care about being part of a pack or family, so they do also care about other things than just food.
This doesn’t mean your dog is starving. They are just listening to their ancestral impulses!
NOTE – You may also enjoy reading this blog post answering the question: why are dogs so greedy?
The “Eat When You Can” Instinct in Dogs
Even though your dog is many generations removed from them, all dogs are descended from an ancient species of wolf.
In the wild, a wolf must rely on his last meal to carry him over till his next kill – which could be days or even weeks away.
Wild dogs and wolves instinctively understand that survival is often about eating when food is available, even when not particularly hungry.
Wolves in the wild are also scavengers.
Scavengers have excellent senses of smell and are not only hunting for their next meal.
They are searching for it. If they come across a dead animal in the woods, they will eat the animal as if they killed it themselves.
Science has shown us that this ancestral instinct is still present in most domestic dog breeds.
A recent study of dog portion sizes suggests that they will often clean their bowl no matter how much food a dog is given.
Researchers increased meal portions in dogs up to 300%, with about 28% of the dogs always leaving the bowl empty.
The rest of the dogs consistently ate more food every time the portion increased. In other words, dogs do not stop eating when they cease to be hungry.
This explains why your dog can finish a whole serving of dog food and still sit by the dinner table and beg: they are not simply eating until full.
They are ensuring that they can “survive” till the next mealtime.
Begging is not a sign of illness or starvation.
As long as you feed your dog the recommended amount for his age, breed, and size, you should not be worried.
NOTE – This post might be useful if your dog always wants to eat more food.
How To Manage Your Dog’s Hunger Throughout the Day
There is more than one way to skin a cat. I mean, feed a dog.
Your dog needs a couple of different types of “feeding” throughout the day.
Physical sustenance is essential, but so is mental stimulation.
Below are some helpful ideas for managing your dog’s diet and activity so that – maybe – they will not be so obsessed with food!
1. Diet Management
Experts across the board recommend feeding your dog at a set time every day.
When dogs know this schedule, they are more likely to feel secure in their food source and will – perhaps – not beg every time there is even a glimmer of food.
Also, make sure that you are feeding your dog good quality dog food.
For example, just because the kibbles appear large and the dog enjoys them does not mean they are actually filling.
The baking process dried dog food goes through can sometimes puff the kibbles up with air.
This air will not satisfy your dog’s appetite and will leave them feeling hungry just hours after feeding.
Giving your dog a high-fiber diet will also help fill their belly.
If the dog food you use is not high in fiber, you can supplement it with vegetables.
Carrots are often a big favorite of dogs, and some dogs even like broccoli.
You can play around with different vegetables and find what suits your pup best!
Just remember to rinse off any chemicals and pesticides that may be harmful and check to make sure they are safe for dogs to eat.
NOTE – You may also want to read this post looking at the question: do dogs like dog food?
2. Fun Activities
Your dog may want to snack because they are bored. Begging and eating are mentally stimulating for dogs.
If your dog is begging for treats, you may want to distract them with something to engage their mind.
For example, a game of fetch outside or a walk can distract them from begging and keep them entertained.
If you have a higher-energy or high-intelligence breed (such as a border collie or herding dog), you might want to invest in puzzle-like toys or games.
Keeping a dog’s mind occupied is a big part of keeping a dog healthy and happy.
It could be as easy as taking an unfamiliar route on your next walk, so they can explore new territory or as complicated as teaching them advanced tricks or commands.
The bottom line is that your dog’s happiness is not entirely dependent on their food.
It is also determined by the amount of exercise and playtime they get.
If your dog is on the lazier side of the spectrum, maybe they just need more quality time with you.
Most dogs like being cuddled and getting attention, so perhaps your doggy could use some pats and a hug.
Note – You might also find this video interesting. It has some excellent advice for anyone who owns a dog that only seems to care about food.
NOTE – You might also enjoy this post looking at the question: Why do dogs love eating human food?
Rest Assured: You Rank Above Treats With Your Dog
Before wrapping up our conversation, I think it is vital to get this common insecurity out of the way.
If you wonder where you stand in your dog’s affections, do not be fooled by their obsession with food, treats, and any path leading towards them.
Dogs, like their wolf ancestors, are pack animals. This means they are social and need a tight-knit family group to be truly happy.
You could give your dog all the food in the world, but they would not be satisfied without a home and a family.
Just ask anyone who has ever tried to babysit a dog while his owners are away!
Providing food is not the same as giving a feeling of safety and belonging. And your dog needs both.
NOTE – You might also want to read this blog post asking the question: do dogs like ice cubes?
Final Thoughts About Why Dogs Care About Food So Much
I hope this article has answered your inquiry and given you a better understanding of dogs and why they care so much about food.
To sum it up…
Dogs do care about food a great deal, primarily due to inherited instincts to eat as much food as possible wherever it is available.
But this does not mean that they don’t care about their owners, family members, or other dogs they live with.
On the contrary, dogs are social animals and love being part of a pack.
So, that is the end of this post looking at the question: Why do dogs only care about food?
Thanks for stopping by to visit The Factual Doggo!
NOTE – Click here if you would like to know the answer to the question: do dogs know their owner’s name?
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!