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Old 03-18-2011, 09:04 PM
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Hungry or Food Obsessed

Hi,
I have a golden retriever, Cody, who is about 82 lbs, but he always seems SOOOOO hungry. He is a master counter surfer, and always scarfs down his food. He just turned a year old this month, and is currently fed 3 cups daily (1.5 cups/meal) of Wellness Chicken formula. Cody is an active puppy, and gets about 45 minutes at the dog park in the morning, as well as 2 other walks (about 10-15 min. each) daily. How do I know if he is always hungry and needs more food, or if he just loves to eat? I am afraid he will become overweight if we give him too much food, but on the other hand, I DO NOT like to see him always hungry.
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Old 03-18-2011, 09:56 PM
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Have you discussed this with your vet?

In some ways, this is very normal dog behavior, but some dogs have an extensive enthusiasm for food that could be part of an underlying health problem.
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Old 03-18-2011, 11:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RedDogs View Post
Have you discussed this with your vet?

In some ways, this is very normal dog behavior, but some dogs have an extensive enthusiasm for food that could be part of an underlying health problem.
Thanks,
I will make sure to mention it to my vet on the next appointment. Do you happen to know of any specific problems that could cause this food obsession?
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Old 03-18-2011, 11:20 PM
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Hypothyroidism can cause food obsession....Shellie had it massively before we started her on thyroid pills, it's helped but she is still ALWAYS looking for food. It's not a good idea to feed them whenever they are hungry or you could get a 'table' instead of a dog....right now we have 2 labradors boarding where I work and both are easily 30-50# overweight and can barely move :-( Sometimes adding unsalted green beans to their food keeps them satisfied a little longer.
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:36 PM
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How do you tell if a dog has Hypothyroidism? Are there any symptoms to look for besides an obssession with food? By the way he was cought today eating a stick of butter lol.
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:41 PM
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Some symptoms you might notice, poor coat quality, skin problems, ear infections, lethargy, but you may not see any symptoms either. Your vet will have to run a blood test to check his thyroid level, and you should ask for a full panel to get all the results. Also be aware, Golden Retrievers need thyroid medication if they test in the Low end of Normal range, some vets are aware of this.

You could add unsalted green beans to his food to help him feel more full, or try a food that has fewer calories per cup so you can feed him more without increasing the calories.

Goldens are notorious for being food hogs though, so it's not unusual for him to be so food driven.
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:43 PM
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Here are the official signs: http://www.nzymes.com/pc/articles.as...hyroidismsigns

The most common signs are the dog is fat & lazy, chronic infections, poor hair coat. However I have heard that they don't start showing clinical signs until the thyroid's function is 80% destroyed. However the only one Shellie had was a hair coat that wasn't growing and hyperactivity (which is NOT the norm). Your Vet can run a blood test, but even better is to have a Thyroid Panel sent off to Jean Dodd's (she is the leading expert in thyroid disorders in dogs) HEMOPET.HTM as she also offers her interpretation based on breed, age, activity etc.
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Old 03-20-2011, 01:55 PM
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Some dogs with low normal thyroid can also exhibit some hypothyroid symptoms - most often it is decreased drive and mild coat issues. The protocol now is to put the dog on thryoid medication for low normal. Vets usually leave it up to the owner. Performance dogs that have low normal are always put on thyroid medication.
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Old 03-20-2011, 06:16 PM
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I had a vet tell me once that a dog would rather eat 5 cups of cardboard than 2 cups of good quality, nutrient dense food because they felt 'fuller' eating 5 cups even if the calorie count was the same. Bearing that in mind, Ranger has never been a food hog except for when he had to go on a diet and I cut his high calorie food intake from 2 cups to 1.5 cups a day.

All of a sudden, Ranger was food obsessed. Started hovering his nose around counters, drooling while watching me eat and giving me the drama queen "I'm starving" eyes. I switched his food to a low calorie food so he could go back to 2 cups a day and it immediately stopped (even though the calorie count between the 1.5 cup of old food and the 2.5 cups of new food was the same).

That being said, you have to know your dog. Some are food hogs and some aren't. It was a big change in Ranger which is why I noticed but my brother's dog has always been food obsessed. He gets 3 cups a day in the summer and 4 in the winter...I can't imagine if he got cut down to 2 cups a day!

Definitely get your boy checked out for a medical reason and if it's not a medical issue than maybe giving him a snack between meals would help bypass the crazy hungry attitude. Sardines, an egg, a stuffed kong...something like that.
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Old 03-20-2011, 07:28 PM
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I think you need to feed him a little bit more. He is only getting about 1220 calories/ day with your current food. The feeding guidelines on the bag are suggested for the average dog. Yours seems slightly more active than the average. My 80 lb Golden gets 1800 calories/ day and he is very active. His food has 360kcal/cup, so he gets 5 cups a day.

Still a good idea to have his thyroid checked to be sure.
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