Why Is My Dog So Greedy? Reasons and how to stop it

Why Is My Dog So Greedy
Why Is My Dog So Greedy

Once you own a dog, you’ll want the very best for them and hope they lead a long and healthy life. Overeating can damage your dog’s health and extra calories from overeating may lead to health issues as your dog gets older.

Many dog owners look for reasons behind their dogs greediness to control it.

In general, dogs love food and will eat just about anything put in front of them, especially tasty human food. It is important to control their overall food intake if they have weight or health issues.  Dogs have an instinct to eat as much as they can in case they don’t have the next meal. 

Sharing a little treat with your dog may seem harmless but it can lead to serious health problems if they eat too many calories and become overweight.

Read on to find ways to determine if your dog is greedy or hungry. We also examine the behavioral and medical reasons that could be behind your dog’s greediness.

Is My Dog Hungry or Greedy? 

When your dog first begs for a little bit of what you are eating you don’t think much of it. Maybe the poor fella just built up an appetite after that last game of fetch. 

Not many dog owners know about how many calories a dog is supposed to consume in a day. All dogs are vastly different in size, weight, muscle mass, and health conditions. Active dogs, especially, have a huge appetite and require an ample and well-balanced diet. 

Non-working pets, on the other hand, not so much. 

When your dog starts to make a habit out of begging for extra food, it is entirely possible that they are just being greedy and have developed a taste for human food. To be on the safe side, though, how can you tell the difference? 

Here are some tell-tale signs that will confirm that your dog isn’t greedy, just hungry: 

  • There was an increase in her energy levels.
  • They get too excited when the meal is served and finishes it in a few seconds. 
  • Your dog keeps licking the bowl even after finishing the food. 
  • She exhibits food aggression. 
  • Her ribs have become more visible over time. 

Why Are Dogs So Greedy? Behavioral Reasons

Here are some of the major behavioral reasons explaining why dogs are so greedy. 

1. Scavenging Instinct

Our domesticated canine friends were once mighty wolves— hunters and scavengers. Before forming an alliance with human hunters and scavengers, these ancestral dogs never had a steady supply of food. 

Instead, they functioned with the knowledge that each meal could be their last for a while. Hence, it seems that that survival instinct never went away. 

2. They Love The Taste

Or, rather, they love the smell. 

You see, dogs only have around 1,700 taste buds while humans have more than 9,000. However, dogs have 125 million sensory glands compared to a human’s 5-10 million. This means that the moment they catch a whiff of food, their nose goes into hyperdrive. 

This is why dogs enjoy eating weird-tasting (and often weird-smelling) food and treats. 

3. Changes In The Environment

Stress eating is just as common in humans as it is in animals. In fact, the reason we stress-eat is that we are overly anxious. This anxiety triggers a survival response in our body to consume as much food as possible. 

Similarly, dogs also respond to stress by going into this eating overdrive mode. 

One of the main sources of this stress is a change in their home environment. For example, when someone leaves, your dog could develop separation anxiety and start digging around in the trash. 

Or, maybe a new pet poses a threat to your dog’s food security, making the anxious pooch hog up all the food. 

Do Dogs Naturally Beg For Food? 

If there’s one thing you can say with confidence, it’s that a dog will never say no to a treat. Generally speaking, food obsession is pretty common in dogs. 

The act of humans sharing food with canines is the entire reason we have domesticated dogs in the first place.

Once ancestral wolves learned that they could “convince” humans to spare some food in exchange for protection or hunting, it was smooth sailing from there. 

Now, all it takes is their doe-like eyes and a head tilt for your dog to get some food out of you. 

However cute it may be, though, begging is not desirable behavior and requires correction and training. 

Do Dogs Ever Get Full? 

Some breeds of dogs do get full and prefer to stop eating once they have eaten enough. The part of their brain that tells them they are full is always present and working. 

However, not all dogs are the same. 

Apart from the obvious size differences between different breeds, such as a pug or a chihuahua and a labrador retriever, other factors also come into play. 

Sometimes, your dog’s “I’m full” sensors may become a little out of tune. Environmental changes and lack of obedience training are usually to blame for this. But there could be medical reasons as well.  

Why Are Dogs So Greedy? Medical Reasons

If you’ve ruled out all behavioral reasons for your dog’s greediness, it might be time to consider medical and physiological reasons. 

In this case, you’re not underfeeding your dog; but your dog isn’t being greedy, either.

Instead, something is preventing your dog from absorbing all the energy and nutrients that would otherwise make her feel full.

This could be because of various medical reasons, including: 

  1. Diabetes
  2. Aging
  3. Cushing’s disease
  4. Bacterial overgrowth in the intestines
  5. Reaction to medication
  6. Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency
  7. Hyperthyroidism

A sudden change in appetite

When your dog’s eating habits suddenly change out of the blue, it’s usually a sign of something else at play. 

If nothing else in your dog’s environment has changed, you should play it safe and assume that there is something wrong. 

Subsequently, take your dog to the vet for a thorough checkup. 

How To Stop My Dog Being So Greedy

A greedy dog can not only get on your nerves, but she could also risk her own health by gaining too much weight. 

If you’re dealing with a particularly greedy pet, try taking the following steps to curb this unwanted behavior: 

  • Set a calorie limit— The only way to do this is by accurately weighing your dog and adhering to serving size instructions provided by your dog food brand
  • Use a slow feeder—  a slow feeder forces your dog to eat slowly. This, in turn, helps your dog better identify when she is full and should stop eating. 
  • Set a feeding schedule— dogs thrive on a routine, so sticking to a mealtime schedule will benefit them greatly. Make sure that the time between feedings is not more than eight hours. 
  • Set their own eating space— if your dog has her own designated eating space, she would be less likely to beg for food by the table or dig for food from the trash. 
  • Keep food out of reach— make sure your dog can not get into the dog food stash, the fridge, or even the trash. 
  • Give them food only when they are calm— teach your dog that calmness earns her a food reward. Never give your dog food if she is overly enthusiastic, jumpy, or whiny. 
  • Don’t give in to their begging— no matter what, never surrender to those puppy dog eyes begging for food.