Unhealthy Eating Habits: When Should You Worry About Your Pooch?

You may not be worried about your dear canine at home, but he might have developed unhealthy eating habits, silently, without you noticing. Not anything that your floofball eats other than dog food is considered ‘unhealthy’. You need to look out and observe his feeding habits from time to time to keep him under check and prevent him from falling ill. There are a few foods that you should never offer your dog. There are certain foods like shrimp which may or may not suit your furball. Try with only small helpings, do not experiment. You should also ensure a timely diet for your beloved pet which ensures him a healthy and longer life. If your pooch is eating too much or too little or playing with his food, it should immediately ring an alarm and raise a red flag.

Here’s a few signs which should draw your attention to your pooch’s eating habits:

Signs of fear around food or during mealtime

If you observe your pet is showing very definite signs of fear during mealtime or whenever he is offered food in his bowl, you should take it as a warning sign. It is most common that your beloved canine will be ready to dip his tongue into the food as soon as it is given to him. Instead, if he is cowering, it should be taken as a red flag. Dog behavior specialists suggest that there are a lot of eating bowls that are not suitable for dogs. Especially the metal bowls which might clang against the food clamp, collar, or wall and make a noise, create discomfort to your pet while eating. He might also be seeing his reflection in the metal bowl while eating which causes great anxiety or fear while eating. Try changing the food bowl and using an alternative to solve the same.

Eating too quickly

If your beloved canine is gulping down his meal too quickly, it is a sign of a medical issue like hormonal imbalance called Gastric Dilatation-Volvulus. Observe if this continues for over 3-5 days in all his meals, then take him to a vet. If the vet ensures he is healthy and has no intestinal or other issues medically, then check if there is competition for its food. Are there any other pets (cats or dogs) that lay an eye on his food and food bowl? If yes, your beloved canine might be doing it out of insecurity. If not, then try getting a slow feeder for your pooch. However slow feeders have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages, therefore be very sure before investing in one.

Taking too long to eat

Your pooch might be very comfortable in the environment and take his own sweet time to finish his food. But if your beloved pet has developed the habit of slow eating recently, it might be a sign of hidden medical issues related to stomach, tooth, intestine or liver. Observe your pet while eating for a few days and if this continues, take him to a vet describing his condition. He might be diagnosed with an intestinal issue or a tooth problem.

Complete refusal to consume food

If your beloved canine is not consuming any food at all, it is of the most concern. It might be a health issue related to his liver, stomach, intestine, tooth, allergies, or worms. Refusal of food might also stem from behavioral issues which leads to an appetite loss of your dear canine. In such cases, you can try changing the dog food, regularize the eating time of your pet, including physical activities before mealtime, or changing the condition or location of the meals.


According to a study conducted in 2018 about pet canines in the USA, 36.9% of pet dogs are overweight and 18.9% of them are obese. Obesity and overweight is not just an emerging problem among human beings but also among pets which need to be carefully looked into. Overeating among pets can cause intestinal problems, weight gain, difficulty in digestion, and depression. Here are a few reasons why your pet might be resorting to overeating:

  • Boredom: Lack of activity might be leading him to consume food as his only entertainment. Try involving him in physical activities.
  • Damage to the nervous system: A damaged nervous system can curb his ability to realize that he is full so he keeps eating. Take him to a vet immediately.
  • Imbalance in hormones: When your pooch undergoes a hormonal imbalance, it leads to overstimulating his appetite which in turn causes overeating.


Minor changes in the eating habits of your pooch must be noticed and analyzed. In case of newly grown unhealthy eating habits, it is advisable to take them to a vet immediately. We must ensure that we keep our best friends in the best condition! Please consult the vet for treating any medical or behavioral conditions and do not begin to treat them yourself based on this article.



About the Author:

Pet expert Melissa Kauffman has spent 25 years following her passion for animals as a writer and editor in the pet publishing industry. Prior to starting her career in publishing,  Melissa spent eight years working in veterinary hospitals where she assisted veterinarians as they treated dogs, cats, rabbits, pocket pets, reptiles, birds and one memorable lion cub.

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