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Old 11-13-2012, 02:02 PM
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*Desperately* Hungry

Hi all,

I am a new member, but I've been a lurker for quite some time now. I've found so many awesome ideas from this forum... so I've decided to finally ask about my female 4 year old Golden Retriever who is constantly, and desperately hungry.

A little bit of background: She is a TALL girl, whose ideal weight (according to her orthopedist: CCL tears run in the family) is between 82-86 lbs (according to regular vet 85-90 lbs is ideal). She currently weighs 86 lbs. She also has an insatiable amount of energy: energizer bunny! She usually gets between 3-4 miles of walking/running daily... and eats out of her favorite food dispensing toy, "The Kong." (1xdaily) She's a very good listener, however...

She is constantly hungry...constantly! Lately, she has even begun eating poop. She gets fed 2 3/4 - 3 cups daily split between two meals. Her behavior was plummeting... so I upped her food intake to 3 1/4 - 3 1/2 cups daily. This helped a little bit, but she still seems like she is really starving; she's very wired. She gets extra vegetables/fruit throughout the day... but I don't know. Something doesn't seem right; she's not acted quite like this before (it's been going on for the past 5 months).

I'm thinking maybe it's time to switch her food? I have all of my dogs on Taste of the Wild which seems to agree with all of them (I have Celiac so I need their food to be grain-free). She was checked for worms/parasites less than 6 months ago...

Any ideas or thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Fondly,
Chaos
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:15 PM
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Poop eating is not a hunger issue as far as I know. Behavior or medical issuse perhaps. I know Goldens are always big eaters, but could she seem hungry for a reason other than actual hunger. Is she bored?
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Old 11-13-2012, 02:23 PM
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Have you tried giving vegies with meals? My boys are a bit overweight, like 5# each. So I've been giving them a 1/2 can per day of green beans. They like the beans and it fills them up. Maybe it might help her a bit with feeling full, if that's the real issue. I'll assume you've tested for thyroid issues. I've had pets with voracious appetites and it's the thyroid causing it.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:18 PM
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I think you should have her thyroid checked if it hasn't been lately. Many Goldens have thyroid issues, usually it shows as hypothyroidism but your dog sounds like she might be hyperthyroid. I'm not sure what else to suggest, other than finding really filling foods for her so that she feels fuller during the day. You could try giving her more fiber in her diet, but that can be a problem if it messes up her digestive tract. I'm hoping others will chime in here. Good luck!
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:20 PM
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She is a big girl. Don't feed your dog due to hunger. Find the right amount that works for her to look the ideal weight and stick with it. You should only increase or decrease food amounts if they are over or under weight. There is no excuse for either as you control it. Some dogs are just piggies. Eating fast does not mean they are still hungry and want more. I have one who gets 2 1/2 cups a day and is at a perfect weight around 64lbs. If I feed her because she was showing hungry I would have to feed her 30lbs of dog food a day. One time when the food can was left unlocked she ate about 10lbs of food and would have kept going if she wasn't stopped. Her belly looked like she was full of puppies but she was still eating. She is my only one like that at this time. The others would stop at some point but this particular one is never satisfied. Pooped eating is more of a bad habit they can get into vs. not being feed enough. It is hard to break so make sure you pick up each time she goes. Don't increase unless she looks underweight. Some dogs also take a bit after they eat to get their heads out of the bowl until they finally settle it is empty. Eating really fast is not a sign of hunger either. If your dog is ideal weight then don't let your dogs guilt you into feeding them more. Many people have problems if their dogs intake of food is small. Example: I have some goldens that have only needed 1 1/2 cups a day to maintain a perfect weight. If your dog is overweight it is your fault and not fair to the dog. Many will say it is because they don't get enough exercise. Well if they can't that is fine but you need to lower the intake due to the activity level, it is that simple. Many switch to lower calorie food so they can feed more. I just don't see how that makes sense. Find a good diet and adjust up or down if they don't look the ideal weight. Make sure you find someone who is very familiar with an ideal weight of a golden and give you an outside view where she needs to be. Many owner feed more for guilt or because they just can't see what they need to change. You can also post pictures and the forum will help. No matter how small the amount that doesn't matter as long as she is at a healthy weight.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:27 PM
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Thyroid should always be checked to make sure she isn't having a problem. You still would control the diet to make sure they are an ideal weight. If they were to find out she had a thyroid issue they would medicate her. The food advice would not change. You feed her for an ideal weight. When the medication is added you would continue to watch how much you feed her and adjust if she needs and increase or decrease. Ideal weight is ideal weight no matter if you are adjusting for activity level or medical changes.

The dog I exampled above that will eat endlessly does not and never had a thyroid issue.
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Old 11-13-2012, 03:33 PM
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I was going to say that other than our first golden who had kidney problems all his life and our collie during that time when his intestines went to hell in handbasket, we've never owned a dog who didn't act like he was being STARVED TO DEATH if he knew there was food around.

My golden eats 2 cups a day, sometimes less than that if I'm loading up on treats. The treats you give your dog adds to the amount of food they eat a day and can make your dog overweight.

He's 23.5 and thankfully on the south side of the 80 lb mark at 78.

Our 25" collie is about perfect at 55lbs... he gets about 3 cups a day.

This is a dumb question, but why would celiac dictate what goes into your dog's food? You don't eat the food.... grains actually might make your dog feel full with less to eat.
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Old 11-13-2012, 04:18 PM
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With our last dog, we switched him to a weight management food when he was older. Fewer calories for the same volume. It worked well - it felt like he got a full meal and he maintained a good weight.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:27 PM
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Thank you for all of your replies!

I think it is important to now mention that Honey stands at 27.5 inches at the shoulder; yes, she is a BIG girl! I have been varying her food intake so as NOT to put her over the ideal weight that the orthopedist mentioned (preventative measure due to past knee injuries and a family history of CCL tears). This is *very* important to me.

The poop eating is a new phenomenon. I know that it can sometimes indicate nutritional issues which is why, when coupled with both her behavior (wired; out of character) and her ravenous appetite I decided that maybe it's time to change something, or get her checked out. I'm very familiar with dogs who are convinced they don't get fed enough.

Now that you mention it, her coat has been growing (or not growing) funny as well. If I recall correctly, that can point to thyroid issues as well?

Thanks again everyone!

Edited to add: regarding the Celiac question: let me tell you, it is very easy to accidentally allow the creatures who live with you to lick you on the face (especially when those creatures are wiggly balls of happiness). ;-) It doesn't seem like a big deal, but when you deal with it everyday it is much simpler to find a food that is safe for everyone (and I don't get sick as often).

Last edited by Chaos; 11-13-2012 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 11-13-2012, 06:34 PM
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I don't have advise as I'm not an expert, bit I would love to see a picture.


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