Dog appetite question

Recently, the jeevdawg has been experiencing a marked increase in his appetite. He’s a 3.5 year old terrier/ lab mix, weight about 40-50 lbs. We used to feed him about 2 cups of Iams dry adult dog food per day. For almost as long as I’ve known him, he would eat this food grudgingly. We would even spike it sometimes with a little beef broth or something to stimulate his appetite. He was also allowed to occasionally clean off our dinner plates after we were done eating. (Both of these last two things probably make us criminally negligent dog owners in the eyes of some people here on the Board, so to avoid a hijack, don’t jump on the wife and I to condemn us as bad people who shouldn’t have a dog. That’s not the point of this thread.) He started gaining some weight, so we decided to cut off the plate feedings and the food spiking to see if that would change his diet.

We boarded him for two weeks recently while we were on our honeymoon, and packaged up enough food rations for him to eat while we were gone.

After we came back, he began exhibiting a markedly increased appetite. Where before he was indifferent to his kibble, he was now attacking it ravenously. He also has taken to pushing his feeder around to signal that he’s still hungry. It’s an obnoxious habit that we’re trying to discourage, but it’s not clear where this increased appetite is coming from. His activity level has not increased markedly, though he probably was getting more playtime while being boarded, as it was an in-home facility where the dogs basically live as family pets.

I wondered if maybe he had something kicking around in his digestive system, but his bowel movements and urination don’t appear to be unusual in any way. The only thing which is different appears to be his playing with other dogs. He used to be a fairly active player in his dog park, but lately has been less interested in playing with other dogs.

Before I call the vet, I was just curious if anyone had ever seen something similar in their dogs, and if it was something to be concerned about. I don’t think we’re starving the boy, but he certainly seems to act like we are, and I didn’t think we were giving him so much extra human food that it would constitute the equivalent of a full cup of kibble.

Any insights would be appreciated.

Worms? I’d take a stool sample to the vet. He could’ve picked something up at the boarder’s.

I am not a dog expert, but when he was boarded were there other dogs in the house? If so, he may just be trying to eat his food before other dogs can get it. He could learn this behaviour in the two weeks you boarded him. I have two and they seem to learn stuff, especially bad things, very quickly. :slight_smile:

mchapman, there were other dogs where he was boarded, so I’m real hopeful that’s all it is.

troub, I thought it might be worms, but I guess I’ll check with the vet to see if that’s a possibility. I mean, his eliminations have been normal (regular, no blood or unusual looseness, etc.) so that’s the only thing that causes me to think no worms.

Also, if the kennel fed him a different food, it chould change his habits for a time, till he’s back on his wonted routine.

Cheaper foods tend to have more bulky filler, so dogs need to eat more of it to get the nutrition they require. This fools some illogical dogowners into thinking their dog LIKES the cheaper food better because he eats more of it. If he was eating bulkier foods when he was away, he may have become accustomed to eating more food.

Stand your ground and feed him appropriate portions, and he’ll get back on track.

lissener, we gave the boarding facility the food he was eating. That’s not to say that other dogs didn’t have other food that he was also eating or sampling, though. Because the dogs at this place live as family pets, they’re not caged, and I’m not 100% sure how feeding is handled vis-a-vis feeding all dogs at the same time, keeping each dog to its own food, etc.

We’re going to send in a stool sample tonight to eliminate the worm possibility, and go from there. Hopefully it will work itself out.

Have you noticed any differences in his coat? I’m thinking he might be hyperthyroid. It’s not nearly as common in dogs as being hypothyroid, but it’s possible, and it would account for the increased appetite.

Of course, it could be as simple as him finally realizing that there will be no Yummy Human Food forthcoming and finally enjoying what he has. My German Shepherd is a little like that. She doesn’t get human food (pancreatitis is ugly, and my girls ain’t getting it if I can help it), but she does get a little canned food mixed in her kibble to stimulate her appetite. When we run out of canned, she tends to just lip at the kibble, then give up and eat well.

Another possibility is that he’s finally adjusted to having a steady diet. Before, he was getting broth sometimes, and table scraps sometimes, and all that variety can make for a hellaciously picky eater. Often, once the dog has one steady diet for a month or two, they settle down and start eating more.