Last Updated on December 15, 2020© pixabay
Eating disorders are not only common in humans; dogs can also be affected in many different ways.
If you’re noticing that your dog is acting unnatural around food or has a bizarre habit when it comes to eating, then he/she may be suffering from an eating disorder.
So what are the eating disorders that dogs commonly suffer from? And how can you help your pup to become healthier and overcome this disorder? Find your answers right below!
Table of Contents
1. Eating feces
Coprophagia in dogs is a term that’s used whenever a dog eats feces. It can be their feces or other animals as well. Dogs are curious animals; they sniff everything. However, when they decide to consume feces, it means something is very wrong. Of course, this type of behavior is hazardous for your dog’s health since feces contain a lot of bacteria and parasites that can be toxic. It’s hard to point out a specific reason as to why your dog does this, but you must start discouraging or avoiding this type of behavior. Make sure you clean up right after your dog and pay attention to the streets where you take your dog for daily walks. Here are some explanations to why your dog is eating feces: -If you tend to punish your dog for pooping inside, he might start to eat his feces as a way to destroy the evidence and avoid consequences. -If you have more than one dog, it’s very common that the submissive one eats the feces of the dominant dog. -Female dogs usually eat poop to keep predators away and protect her puppies (feces can be a way for a dog or any other animal to learn about the animal who left the feces and their location) -Puppies eat poop because they’re unsure if it is food or not, but this habit tends to go away as they grow. -If your dog is hungry, they might try to eat their own feces. -Cat feces are super high in protein, which attracts dogs. – Pancreatic issues or parasites can also cause coprophagia. -Dogs might eat poop to get attention from their owners.
2. Eating too much
Eating a lot of food is the main cause of obesity in dogs, and obesity leads to other issues, such as heart disease, liver issues, joint stress, and kidney problems. The main problem here is that they have the food available to eat whenever they want, and that’s your responsibility. Being unaware of how much dog food your pup needs to eat daily to be healthy is one of the biggest mistakes an owner can make. When you go to the vet with your dog, you should get informed about the best food for your dog breed, the quantities you should be providing, and food schedules you should stick to. If your dog appears to be hungry, remember that they can be manipulating you into getting some dog treats. Other reasons your dog is gaining weight might have to do with hormonal problems such as the crushing’s disease or hypothyroidism. A dog with a slow metabolism is also more prone to be overweight as they grow older. As a dog owner, all you need to do is obey and follow your vet’s instructions that may change through the time, depending on your dog’s health, age, and overall lifestyle.
3. Eating too little
Dogs love to eat, even when they’re full, this is why there are more cases of obese dogs than underweight dogs. However, anorexia in dogs is a severe problem that can lead to catastrophic endings. Symptoms like fever, jaundice, pain, weak lungs, heart failure, and abdomen distention are very common in dogs who are anorexic or don’t eat as much as they should. It’s super hard to get your dog to eat when they don’t want to, and that is why you should run to the doctor as soon as you notice this behavior. But why are they eating less or refusing to eat? Some diseases can affect a dog’s gastrointestinal or neurological systems, leading to loss of appetite. They either feel pain, or there’s some kind of obstruction going on inside of their bodies. Aging, certain medication, or cardiac problems can also be related to a sudden loss of appetite. Psychological issues can also be a cause; for example, dogs who suffer from separation anxiety might refuse to eat. From stress to depression, there are a lot of reasons why your dog is refusing to eat, but a couple of tests can be enough to tell you all the information you need to know to help your dog.
4. Eating food too quickly
Whenever the food is good, we tend to eat it like we are starving, barely chewing and cleaning the plate like there’s no tomorrow. The same happens with dogs, and it’s just as dangerous. When we eat our food in a rush, we’re risking promoting gastrointestinal problems from it or even choking. If your dog is eating super fast, it can also be related to psychological factors, such as being afraid that you might take their food or that another dog steals it. Fighting for food is something that even puppies are used to do, so, commonly, this sensation sticks with them once they grow older. Normally the solution for this is to establish a new dog diet with specific quantities and schedules. For example, instead of feeding them twice a day, maybe it’s best to feed them lower quantities more times per day. Getting an interactive food bowl can also be a way of slowing down your dog’s eating since he/she has to struggle a bit before getting to the food.
Pica is the designated term for one of the worst eating disorders that can affect dogs, causing them to consume objects that aren’t food. From socks to rocks, a dog with Pica will eat anything no matter what it tastes like. Of course, this is one of the most dangerous eating disorders in dogs because it can not only lead to chocking but also gastrointestinal blockages that can be fatal if not surgically removed as soon as possible. There’s always a reason behind these eating disorders, it can be physical or psychological, but once again, no one is more qualified to diagnose your dog than a vet. At the end of the day, having a healthy dog is the main goal for any dog parent out there. This means that as an owner, you should provide your dog not only with the basics, such as a healthy diet and daily walks, but also with lots of attention and love to make them feel wanted and happy.