I recently adopted a beautiful puppy from a local shelter. I would have to say that this dog is perfect in every way. The problem is, the little guy wants to eat and eat. I think he must be part chow hound!
I’m sticking close to what our vet told us when it comes to how much to feed him. It does make me wonder, will a puppy stop eating when he’s full? I don’t think Wilson will ever be full.
Fed up in Florida
Dear Fed Up,
That is an excellent question. Some people even wonder if a puppy will eat itself to death. Let me set the matter straight.
Most dogs will naturally stop eating when they get full but their definition of full may not be quite what you would expect. There have been puppies that will eat until they throw up but most will stop when they have had enough food.
It’s best that you don’t test the theory and give your dog unlimited access to kibble. Feed them as directed by your veterinarian or what is on the side of the bag or can of food. Rest assured, even if a puppy has unlimited access to food for some reason, it would be a very rare occurrence for them to eat until they die.
Read on to learn more about your new puppy’s eating habits.
Why Is Your Puppy Always Hungry?
Bringing a puppy home is a great experience but the insatiable appetite of most puppies is something that takes their owners by surprise. Just like a human child, a puppy is growing quickly and needs good nutrition to continue growing.
When a puppy is born, and long before they come to live in their forever home, they have an unlimited supply of food. Most mother dogs will allow the litter to feed at will, and the puppy may grow accustomed to having it’s tummy full.
A feeding schedule is something that is foreign to most puppies when they become a part of a human family. We tend to be more structured than they are, so feeding them a certain amount of food at certain times of the day is important to us but strange to them.
When a hungry puppy has a bowl of kibble put in front of them, they are going to naturally want to gobble it down and come back for seconds. It can be difficult to stick to a structure but feeding your dog too much food would be bad for their health (and their waistline).
Feast Or Famine And Survival
Another reason why your dog may be eating more than they should is because of the way that dogs would eat in the wild. They can’t just head over to the food bowl in the wild and grab a bite to eat, they eat when they have food.
That feast or famine feeding schedule that is built into dogs may continue to carry over, even if they live in your home and sleep on your bed. You might even find that dogs are hiding food or perhaps taking kibble from their bowl and eating it in some out-of-the-way place in the home.
In either case, it isn’t a type of behavior that should cause alarm but it is something that could cause them harm if it is allowed to go on without being kept in check.
Your Dog Has A Monkey On Their Back
Aside from the bad behavior that may be built into them, there may also be times when the humans in their family are creating the bad habit. Feeding a dog because you feel sorry for them is not always a good thing.
Let’s face it, dogs love food and that is especially true when it is tasty human food. I can’t say I blame them. After all, human food smells fantastic so it isn’t surprising that a dog will give you those ‘puppy dog eyes’ while you are eating.
The decision of whether you are going to feed your dog table scraps or not is one that each dog owner must make on their own. It is one of those fiercely debated topics but in the end, it’s a personal decision. Just be cautious that you aren’t supersizing your dog because you can’t say no.
There are other reasons that a dog will eat too much, from a medical issue to parasites. These are issues that need to be addressed, but they are typically the last thing that needs to be considered. Unless it seems that your furry friend is sick or uncomfortable, it may just be a good topic for discussion at your next visit to the vet.
How Much Can a Dog Eat In One Sitting?
It is easy to tell you how much a dog ‘should’ be eating in one sitting but it is quite another to tell you how much they are capable of eating.
I would never recommend feeding a dog as much as they can eat for the purpose of answering this question. The true answer might be much higher than you expected.
Some dogs will gobble down a bowl of kibble and walk away, realizing that there isn’t any more to be had. On the other hand, if they were given access to unlimited food, they could whip themselves into a feeding frenzy, especially if there were other dogs present.
They might even eat so much that they will vomit and then continue to come back for more. There just seems to be a trigger in some dogs that allow them to eat that much food in one sitting.
On the other hand, there are plenty of dogs that will only nibble at food and would never eat to the point where they are uncomfortable. These dogs may leave dog food in the bowl and eventually come back to eat more, but only when they feel like it.
When Your Puppy Is Not Eating Kibble
There may also be times when your dog will not eat his food but he will gobble down the treats. This is a common problem, but the solution tends to be elusive for most pet owners.
First of all, you need to stop and think about what your dog enjoys eating. Dogs do not have much self-control when it comes to eating, so you shouldn’t expect them to regulate their diet on their own.
If you were to offer a child a plate of vegetables and a plate of cookies, which one would the child choose? Do you think there would ever be a time when they would choose the vegetables, just because they are better for them?
Dogs are very much the same. If they have easy access to all of the treats they want, there is no reason why they would ever go for the kibble. Let’s face it, kibble is not the most appetizing item on the menu.
Then again, there are so many different options for kibble out there that you might try switching things up and see if they like one more than the other. Just make sure that you switch their diet gradually or you might have a dog with some gastrointestinal distress.
The Bottom Line In Dog Kibble And Eating Habits
In the end, each dog is a unique individual and you could never apply a one size fits all ideal on all pups. Some dogs will continue to eat long after they should have stopped and others will only nibble at their food all day long.
You don’t need to be concerned if a puppy will continue eating, even if they are given unlimited food. Most dogs will stop long before they vomit and even if they do eat too much, the vomiting reaction will solve the issue.
It’s always a good idea to regulate what and how much your puppy is eating. It’s an important part of helping them to grow up healthy and strong. Choose good dog food and care for your puppy. If you do, they will be there to care for you for a very long time.