How to control my dog’s anxiety about eating


Some dogs do not eat and others seem to have anxiety to eat and have no bottom when it comes to it. And they are willing to gobble up anything that falls near their mouth. It is true that, sometimes, it is due to the nature of the animal, and anyone who has had a Cocker Spaniel  will know what we mean when we speak of ‘vacuum dogs’. But, on other occasions, the reasons that lead our friend to eat everything available to him are deeper.

And that’s when we have to take action , study what leads our dog to eat so much and try to avoid it. Since it can happen that our dog eats more than necessary due to health problems. Among all, pancreatic insufficiency stands out (quite common in German Shepherds ), hypothyroidism, the appearance of intestinal parasites or anxiety or the aspirator dog syndrome . Therefore, today we will try to explain why they have anxiety, what to do to avoid it and what we should never do.

Why do you have anxiety about eating?

As we have already said, there are multiple reasons that can lead a dog to eat, so we will refer to the most common ones. But if you see that your dog does not fit in any of them, go to the vet in case there is a deeper problem.

Gluttonous dogs

There are dogs that by nature are true gluttons. Like humans, dogs also enjoy food and when they find a food they like, they will try to eat the more the better. But, unlike you, they do not know that this can affect their health. In addition, although today domestic, dogs keep alive a memory of their wild past, which can be translated into eating to have reserves when food is short. 

We have already talked about the Cocker Spaniel, but other dogs that also become true vacuum cleaners are the Kuvasz or the Great Dane . So it will not be the size that makes your dog a glutton, but deeper factors linked to the breed itself. The good thing about these dogs is that you can solve the problem with good training.

Hypothyroidism

It is a fairly common disease in dogs. It arises from thyroid problems and, among other factors, can cause obesity. This is because our dog will never have a feeling of being satiated. A clinical study will put us on notice and thanks to the medication, the problem can be solved . Now, it will have to be continued throughout the life of our dog.

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency

It is a problem in the pancreas that leads to a progressive decrease in pancreatic acinar cells and the consequent deficit in pancreatic enzymes. This has as a result that our dog will have poor digestions and, therefore, do not absorb proteins from food well. Faced with this, the animal’s body will react by demanding more food to be able to cope with energy expenditure.

In the case of the German Shepherd, it is genetic, already converted into an endemic disease and difficult to disappear. But it can appear in other breeds as a result of infections and viruses. In any case, it can be solved using food supplements with pancreatic enzymes.

Anxiety

Yes, anxiety is also a reason for our dog to eat with anxiety . In this case it is an almost human reflection. Think of that jar of chocolate ice cream that ends up appearing in every romantic movie. It is a natural response: faced with boredom, sadness or fear, many calm down by eating. And our dogs too.

There are many ways to avoid this problem. The simplest is to keep them entertained and prevent them from falling into the urge to eat . Although we can find a deep source of that anxiety (separation, for example). In that case, it will be essential to go to professionals.

How to deal with the situation

The first thing we have to do is know if our dog is a glutton by nature or if he has a problem. But, in no case, should it cause anxiety to us as well. We must observe our dogs and see if they eat because they need more food or, if eating enough, they desperately seek more.

On some occasions, the problem is ours, that we have badly accustomed the animal by feeding it between meals. It is essential that our dog has a meal routine, and that it is followed. Otherwise, it can happen that it becomes a vacuum cleaner that carries everything that falls near it. But beware, this does not mean that he eats with anxiety, but that he is rude.

Once you see that there is a problem, the next step is to seek a diagnosis. This is essential, since this will vary the solutions that we must give you . If it is a disease, it will be the vet who should tell you what to do, but otherwise. The tips below may be able to help you solve the problem. There are natural remedies to control, to some extent, anxiety in dogs.

Tips on what to do

  • Correct diet : A natural diet allows them to eat properly. Dogs don’t chew, they gobble. Certain foods force them to chew, which is unnatural for them, and therefore makes them anxious. This does not happen with a natural diet such as Naku or Dogfy Diet .
  • Exercise and games: it is essential that your dog is active and entertained. If he gets bored, he will search for food or become destructive. So exercise and fun will be your best ally when it comes to ending this problem.
  • Divide the food into several servings:  each dog should eat a daily amount of food to maintain its weight. If you want to avoid the problems of being overweight, divide your meals into small meals throughout the day. In addition, this will avoid problems such as stomach twisting  that can cause the death of dogs that eat a single, very large meal.
  • Mix the feed with other products. If you normally feed him food to eat, mix pieces of fruit or a small piece of meat. With this, you will prevent him from overeating and you will be inviting him to look for those different pieces that he may like. Thus, you will be teaching him to eat more slowly.
  • Find a different feeder. You will find many models on the market or you can do it yourself if you dare. This will change the way our dog eats and a slower intake will help.

Tips on what not to do

– Do not give him food after hours. You must create a food routine in your dog. And both you and your family must take it to the letter. If something falls to the ground, remove it and scold him if necessary, but do not let him eat without reprimand or laugh at him. Many dogs learn certain tricks to get food. From getting on two legs, making sad faces or barking at who they consider weaker. You must not fall for its charms and you must be firm. That you understand that this is not the time and that you cannot and should not eat at that time.

– Don’t feed him if he’s nervous.  If the dog is upset and you give him food to calm him, he will associate the food with relaxation. This will make him look for food whenever he feels anxious. So it is a practice that you should never do. First, pet him, talk to him, and try to soothe him lovingly.   Remember that in many cases, it is inattention that drives you to eat.


Divyesh Patel